As Trump Builds His Authoritarian Presidency, Echoes of 1930s Germany and 1950s McCarthyism Abound

Domestic crackdowns. Militarism abroad?

Source: AlterNet

Author: Steven Rosenfeld

Emphasis Mine

When Richard Spencer, a leading alt-right white power ideologue finished his speech at Saturday’s day-long “Become Who We Are” summit at Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building, someone yelled, “Heil the people!” and the room shouted back, “Heil victory.”

It wasn’t the evening’s first Nazi reference nor most brazen. Soon after Spencer started slamming the mainstream media, overlooking how it gave the president-elect endless free coverage, he jeered, “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” The crowd shouted back, “Lügenpresse,” a Nazi-era word for “lying press.” Spencer continued, to cheers, that white power was rising. “America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity… It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

America under Donald Trump is entering an uncharted authoritarian era. Whether apt historical precedents are in the first months of Hitler’s rule in 1933 in Germany or closer to the 1950s anti-Communist witch hunts led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy remains to be seen. But there are myriad events that everyone is seeing and unfolding behind closed doors that are forming a prologue to Trump’s authoritarian rule.

Looking backward, people always ask if the course of history could have been changed. Many people would like to dismiss some of the recent events as bad dreams that will vanish if ignored—like last weekend’s neo-Nazi rally in a federal office complex in the Capital; to Trump taking to twitter to denounce the cast of the musical, Hamilton, for closing a performance by openly imploring the vice-president-elect, Tim Pence, in attendance, to honor America’s diversity.

But that becomes harder to do when the president-elect is appointing scarily intolerant men, propagandists and war mongers to top White House posts. It doesn’t just look like Trump is posed to deport millions of migrants, roll back civil rights and go after his critics—by appointing race-baiting propagandist Stephen K. Bannon as a top adviser; Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General; and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as top national security advisor—a man who supports racial profiling by police and has lied that Islamic law is spreading across America. It also looks like Trump is relishing his unfolding role as an American strongman, as evidenced by his Sunday tweet: “General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General’s General!”

The question is how far will Trump go to achieve his objectives at home and abroad, including putting the country on a path toward war. Historic comparisons are both useful and imprecise. Yet there are enough echoes of Trump’s ascension to Germany in 1933, the year Adolph Hitler became the country’s newly appointed chancellor. Then and now were periods seen by some as a brutal darkening and others as a great national revival. (My most recent book is set in Holland during the war).

Like Hitler’s earliest days in power, we are seeing increases in race-based hate crimes. Back then, it was targeting communists, socialists and Jews. Now it is targeting muslims. Trump’s advisors are pointing to a much-criticized World War II-era Supreme Court ruling, Korematsu v. United States, to allow creation of a national muslim registry. That ruling held that wartime detention was constitutional.

Where today parts with the past, at least so far, is we haven’t seen how Trump would expand the federal policing and deportation apparatus. People forget that President Obama oversaw the arrest and deportation of 2 million immigrants before signing executive orders suspending deportation of 40 percent of the 11 million undocumented migrants here. It’s an open question what Trump would do accelerate and ramp up the federal police state. In Germany, Nazi-supporting paramilitary groups created their own arrest, detention and torture stations during the first year of Hitler’s rule. The authorities didn’t stop them, and most of the American journalists stationed there at the time didn’t want to conclude that paramilitary violence was part of a larger societal trend.

What those outside targeted circles in Germany didn’t see at that time were the steps being taken to start transforming a democratic republic to authoritarian rule. (The military buildup and dictatorship followed). In short, the tell-tale signs were the increasing control that the government exerted over all aspects of society, but especially the civil rights of the officially loathed minorities. It started with national registries, moved to what jobs could and could not be held, and then declaring and forfeiting property and assets.

What is the contemporary parallel? On immigration, visa-less detainees have virtually no legal rights. Until Obama issued his executive orders suspending deportations in his second term, undocumented people arrested for traffic stops would be turned over by local police to ICE—federal immigration authorities—and disappear into a deportation treadmill. Trump and the GOP have threatened to ramp up that process, including the prospect of blocking all federal aide to any municipality or state that acts as a sanctuary state. There’s also been talk about seizing the international wire transfers of money sent by migrants here to families in Central America. What’s clear is that this is uncharted territory, domestically speaking, on this issue.

What happens with the Muslim registry, with segments of police forces resurrecting racial profiling, with crackdowns against protesters and dissent, are all open questions. But the president-elect and his top advisors, like most of the anti-Communist crusaders from the 1950s McCarthy era, have shown little tolerance of dissent and a willingness to go after critics. In California, people at anti-Trump protests talk about opening their homes to people fleeing federal police sweeps. The last time that was heard was in the 1980s when refugees fled Ronald Reagan’s Central American wars and hid from U.S. authorities here.

During the first months of Hitler’s rule, German authorities told foreign journalists and diplomats that attacks by fascist thugs were outliers and would soon end. There were even official denunciations by the government, but it didn’t stop. There even were a handful of Americans who were assaulted, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But most of the foreign press corps, visiting tourists and even diplomats didn’t grasp the emerging character of the new regime. And those who did see it for what it was—after witnessing violence firsthand—and tried to talk about it, were, frequently dismissed as too political, prejudiced and shrill.

Some people will shrug and say that upheaval and random victims always accompany every revolution—including what’s in store as Trump strives to “make America great.” Others will respond that people must speak out against dark forces when the future hangs in a balance and those accumulating power are silently gathering their forces. What’s certain about Trump’s America is the country is heading into an authoritarian time. How wide, how deep and how destructive that wave will be is unknown.

As Richard Spencer, who led the neo-Nazi chants last weekend at the white power gathering in Washington told the New York Times, his movement and Trump shared many values. “I do think we have a psychic connection, or you can say a deeper connection, with Donald Trump in a way that we simply do not have with most Republicans.”

 

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-builds-his-authoritarian-presidency-echoes-1930s-germany-and-1950s-mccarthyism?akid=14902.123424.cBnOxt&rd=1&src=newsletter1067620&t=2

With Donald Trump, the Nazis Seek to Finally Conquer America

“White power” is the American “Sieg Heil.”

Source: PoliticsUSA

Author:

Emphasis Mine

The unholy alliance between ethnic nationalism and big business saw its 20th century heyday in the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. Ethnic Nationalists in this country have long been looking for their version of Germany’s Führer, and they have finally found him in Donald Trump, and with him, the hope of a 21st century redux.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported the other day,

With his campaign showing no signs on slowing down, Donald Trump continued his war on immigrants by introducing a six-page immigration plan that reads like the playbook of the organized anti-immigrant movement in America. Trump’s plan — calling for mass deportations, a border fence and gutting the 14th amendment — also strengthened his support among white nationalists.

The SPLC’s Hatewatch report shows praise coming in from white nationalist Brad Griffin on his website Occidental Dissent, from Jared Taylor, “one of the most significant white nationalists in the movement today” at American Renaissance, and from former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.

What happened when Trump addressed a crowd in Mobile, Alabama, ought to give every American pause:

One person could be heard yelling “white power!” during Trump’s remarks, and white nationalist Olaf Childress, editor of the racist paper The First Freedom was on hand to pass out copies to attendees. The New York Times also interviewed a Trump supporter who stated, “Hopefully, he’s going to sit there and say, ‘When I become elected president, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make the border a vacation spot, it’s going to cost you $25 for a permit, and then you get $50 for every confirmed kill. That’d be one nice thing.”

“White power” is the American “Sieg Heil.” As Trump is speaking their language, he will likely hear many more of these.

If you look at Trump’s Greenville, South Carolina crowd, you see his demographic plainly:

The Lindsey Graham crowd. According to Trump, Graham’s former crowd (They’re his now). The combustible center of right wing angst. Old white people.

Trump is no former soldier. Unlike Hitler, he hasn’t faced an enemy in battle, been wounded, or won any medals. But like Hitler, he is subscribing to a homeland “stabbed in the back” mentality that rallies all the disgruntled and discontented to his banner, those who feel they have been betrayed by the establishment.

In 1930s Germany, this was the post-war leftist Weimar government. In 21st century America, it is another “leftist” government that is the target – the presidency of Barack Obama.

Jews, blacks, immigrants. It doesn’t matter. These are all people who are fundamentally unlike us, they say. Germany for the Germans. America for Americans. White. Like Jesus.

Hitler said Germany could be great again. Neither Trump nor Reagan invented the idea of lifting a nation from the ashes and restoring it to its former glory. And like Hitler, Trump is pushing the idea that the military has been betrayed by the politicians, and just as Hitler linked this betrayal to the Jews, Trump is linking it to immigrants:

Like post-war Germany, America is riddled with right wing militias, all eager to come to blows with the communists in their midst. The trouble with that analogy is that here in America, there are really no communists with which to come to grips. So conservatives have invented “other” communists: liberals, progressives, gays, atheists; anyone to the left of where they themselves are.

Despite their claim to represent a “silent majority,” their list of enemies includes most of the population.

Hitler had the Jews. Today’s right wing has had, until recently, to settle for Muslims, atheists, Hindus – and Jews – anyone, really, who isn’t what they perceive to be “Christian” and white. The concept of white has never been entirely about skin color in this country. Once upon a time, even the Irish weren’t considered white. Now Donald Trump has given them immigrants, who are mostly rapists and murderers anyway, he says.

The result of the Trump hatefest should not be surprising:

Stormfront, the Web’s largest white supremacists website founded by former Klan leader Don Black, has no less than nine threads discussing the New York billionaire’s plan. With a history of violence attributed to the site’s users, it’s no surprise that Trump’s supporters have begun calling for the murder of immigrants.

In one thread, a user claimed it would only be plausible to deport 25 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the country. Another user followed up with the statement, “Everyone in favor of shooting the rest…raise your hand.”

In a country where we already have police, the people whose job it is to protect and serve the public, gunning down or killing while in custody those portions of the public of which it does not approve, talk like this is not just talk. We have seen armed white men take to the streets at the possibility of gunning down black protesters in Ferguson. We have white ranchers emerging from armed showdowns with the federal government without consequence, and white militias are already patrolling our southern border while white men with their ubiquitous AR-15s infest restaurants and stores alike, using the Second Amendment like a weapon.

Too much should not be made of Walmart’s decision to stop selling AR-15a – announced the same day two journalists were murdered in Roanoke, Virginia – because the decision was not made in response to shootings there or elsewhere, but according to Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg, “slumping demand,” and the decision to cater to hunters and clay-shooters.

Ethnic nationalists militias will not be hard pressed to continue to arm themselves. The NRA has seen to that.

The biggest difference here is that Adolf Hitler needed the support of the 1 percent, and got it. They supported the Nazi party from its very early days. Donald Trump does not need the support of the 1 percent. He IS the 1 percent. People have always wondered how Germans let themselves be mislead by Hitler, but Americans need wonder no longer: we are seeing it for ourselves in the response to Donald Trump.

The totalitarian demagogue they have been waiting for has arrived, and he is leading them down a rosy path to destruction. We do not have to say violence will result. Violence has already resulted as a couple of would-be Trump stormtroopers beat a Hispanic man in his name.

Indeed, as in the days of Adolf Hitler, violence has preceded him in his march to power, because violence is inherent in the forces he is seeking both to harness and to unleash. And this is but a foretaste of what is to come, because the inevitable consequence of ethnic nationalism when given the power it craves, is ethnic cleansing.

Donald Trump has already promised us that, and look out, because if you’re not with Trump, he has already made clear you are against him, and his well-armed supporters enthusiastically agree.

See:http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/28/trump-nazis-finally-conquer-america.html