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The Republican Party has embraced American fascism, an anti-democratic ideology that is unique to our country, and is engrained deeper in our collective consciousness and our history than most of us have been taught.
Historians often come ever-so-close to calling American fascism what it is, before backing away and concluding that fascism is something from abroad. Robert Paxton, a preeminant historian of the political philosophy, called the Ku Klux Klan (which was founded by high-ranking former Confederate soldiers) “the earliest phenomenon that can be functionally related to fascism.” Yet somehow we do not own our American fascism.
Building on Paxton in the Washington Post in August, Princeton University historian David Bell acknowledges that Trump and the terrorist groups that support him are nationalists, yes. Anti-democratic, of course. But he says they are not fascists because they have not created a powerful mass movement — not like the movements in Europe between World War I and World War II.
This logic reeks of American exceptionalism. The fascist KKK derived its ideology from a mass, explicitly anti-democratic movement to overthrow the government of the United States — the Confederacy.
In 1861 the rich plantation owners of the South were able to mobilize the entire region to fight the Civil War. It was a movement so violent, that Union soldiers were forced to stay in Southern states for years after the Confederate Army surrendered in order to uphold democracy.
Some historians call what the Confederate slaveholders did “a counterrevolution.” It was an explicit rejection of a crucial line founding father Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”
The Confederacy’s repudiation of equality is outlined in its founding documents, including ‘The Cornerstone Speech,’ a seminal speech given by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens just a few weeks before the Civil War broke out. In it he outlined the the new nation’s rejection of equality on the basis of white racial superiority. His country promised wealth and possibility, but only for a few white men.
It is equality that makes a democracy possible. Without it, the strong can crush the weak and impose their will on the rest of society. That is how fascist governments are structured, that is how the Confederacy came to be, and that is what Trump’s Republican party is embracing now.
The Southern slaveholders were fascists
In order to justify the institution of slavery as humane and just, rich Antebellum Southern planters and politicians (they were almost invariably one in the same) started rejecting democracy and equality in the mid-1800s. Instead they decided their society should be built on a strict order, with the plantation owner on top and the slave on the bottom.
“Thanks to Jefferson we have made a mistake… and pushed the love of democracy too far,” Georgia political journal The Southern Watchman declared in 1857.
“Vulgar …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics