Europe Has Been Saved Forever, The End

This weekend the Macaroon Man swooped in to save the day and we’ll never have to think about Marine Le Pen or the National Front ever again even though France has parliamentary elections in June and holy shit did a crypto-fascist candidate really earn 34.5 percent of the popular vote and oh good the NF is changing their name to further hide their monstrous nature

You know what? Everything’s fine. Everything’s fine. Why are we worrying? Everything’s fine. It’s not like Macron is a empty neoliberal tool and “right-wing populism” continues to gain support among France’s young and discontented. That’s silly! Hahahaha!

Ha.

Ha.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Nine)

The Threat Of A Government Shutdown, Marxism v. IdPol, And More

It’s refreshing to see the Democrats being the ones to threaten a government shutdown for once. Unlike Obama-era Republicans, who were contented to use the abstract idea of federal debt as their justification, Dems have a good reason:

“If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” the No. 2 Democratic leader in the House, Steny Hoyer, said in a statement.

Do you want to read a Marxist critique of identity politics? Of course you do! It’s less stuffy that it sounds.

Marine Le Pen’s decision to temporarily step aside as head of the National Front ahead of France’s runoff election does not appear to have fooled anyone.

While we fretted about any number of other terrible things, Jeff Sessions has been quietly preparing to double down on mass incarceration.

What have you done to beef up your defense against far-right doxxing?

The Nation asks if neighborhoods can be revitalized without gentrifying them.

Ireland’s 18 – 34 population is ready to overthrow their government. Wouldn’t be the first time.

What ever happened to all those civil rights-era bigots? The answer may… not surprise you.

So America and NAFTA aren’t breaking up after all. Maybe. Ask again tomorrow.

The United States Senate isn’t taking its investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia seriously.

More than three months after the committee announced that it had agreed on the scope of the investigation, the panel has not begun substantially investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, three individuals with ties to the committee told The Daily Beast.

The investigation does not have a single staffer dedicated to it full-time, and those staff members working on it part-time do not have significant investigative experience. The probe currently appears to be moving at a pace slower than prior Senate Intelligence Committee investigations, such as the CIA torture inquiry, which took years to accomplish.

And now for something completely NBA-related: Russell Westbrook’s sensational season transcended wins and losses.

It’s day ninety-eight of year zero in Trump’s America…

Donnie And Marine

Convincing a majority of any nation of the correctness of an argument is difficult. Tedious, even. Outside of one’s own fan club, there will be people who disagree on firm ideological grounds, some who hint they can swayed but never seem to change their minds, and those who stand in opposition for reasons related to personality or identity.

And if, say, one has MacGyvered together a political career using pocket change, bits of string, populism and bullying, lack of persuasive skills will exacerbate the difficultly and tediousness.

That must be why Diable Mandarine is wistful for terror attacks, which could potentially give a boost to fascist cohorts like France’s Marine Le Pen and assist him in maintaining his own power in a pinch.

Not only that, but he all but officially endorsed Marine Le Pen ahead of Sunday’s electionThere’s a very real chance that she will be France’s next president. She’s run an ugly nationalist campaign while eliding the inconvenient “f” word that dogs her party. Her father Jean-Marie Le Pen led France’s National Front from its formation until 2011, and though the modern party would never openly call itself fascist, well

The first obstacle to understanding the French fascist dynamic comes from how the FN has been characterized from the 1990s, but especially in the last six years. Many mainstream analysts assure that the FN has transitioned from neofascism to “populism” (or “national-populism”), moving from the far right to slightly right of center. Some even assert that it has never been truly fascist because the French political culture would be “immune” to fascism, as many French historians have been constantly (and absurdly) contending that there has never been such a thing as an authentic French fascism in the twentieth century.

However, the “National Front for French Unity” (which is its original name) was created in the early 1970s by the party Ordre nouveau, which was rooted in the history of French fascism, and the FN was imagined as a broad organization in which neofascists — renamed “nationalists” — could attract, maneuver, and lead all of the moderate nationalists of the traditional right.

But when one stops thinking of the political trajectory of the FN in terms of changing symbols and words, in order to think it in terms of a strategic project, Marine Le Pen’s break from her father represented no fundamental change in the party’s platform, but rather a new manifestation of the party’s longstanding strategy for gaining political support.

The FN’s bait and switch aligns it closely with classical fascist political strategy. In The Anatomy of Fascism, historian Robert Paxton argues that far-right movements treat ideas as essentially instrumental: their promises contradict each other, and their platforms abruptly and radically change to gain a wider following. For example, fascist parties sometimes reject modernity, industry, and capitalism in the name of more deeply rooted, traditional values. Just as often, however, they defend these ideals in the name of national transformation.

In case the mainstream media’s current flight-of-fancy narrative about the president’s turn toward conventional respectability was holding any sway, let’s remind ourselves: Donald Trump just endorsed a fascist. Donald Trump is a fascist. Donald Trump could be one dramatic terrorist attack on American soil away from making that blindingly obvious.

(Year Zero/Day Ninety-Two)

Thoughts On “Our Civilization”

Iowa Rep. Steve King has been in a bit of a brannigan since he took to Twitter to endorse the views of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders using explicitly nativist language.

In its bio, Voice of Europe offers the mission statement “Real news from a beautiful continent in danger. Anti EU / Pro Europe / MAGA”.

Liberal Americans were rightly appalled by Steve King’s tweet, and the usual for-shames and this-isn’t-Americas were brandished. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is out for King’s blood — or rather, this being the House of Representatives — his gavel. Pelosi won’t get it. In another day or two some fresh outrage will consume the politerati and the whole thing will be more or less forgotten.

*  *  *

After the King controversy had been the scuttlebutt of Washington for just over a day, Paul Ryan offered a watered-down admonition.

“I don’t think that statement reflects what is special about this country,” he said. But then Ryan added this: “I would like to think — and I haven’t spoke to Steve about this — I would like to think he misspoke, and it wasn’t meant the way it sounds, and I hope he’s clarified that.”

King clarified that.

“Of course I meant exactly what I said, as is always the case,” King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Well, that went well.

*  *  *

Steve King isn’t alone in his thinking. You can visit Right Wing Watch any day of the week for a toxic stew of racism, nativism, evangelical religious fervor, paranoia, outlandish conspiracy theories and militant activity. Recent headlines include Former Trump Campaign Adviser Says God Warned Him About Bugging Of The White House, Jim Bakker: Trump Opponents Bringing ‘Anarchy’ And ‘Civil War’ To America, Peter LaBarbera: The Fight For LGBTQ Equality Is ‘Satanic and Lance Wallnau Claims Milo Yiannopoulos ‘In The Name Of Jesus For The Kingdom Of God’. As uncomfortable as it is to think about, this worldview pollutes the minds of many Americans.

*  *  *

If there’s anything racists who insist they aren’t racists love to talk about, it’s comparative birth rates. For them, it’s a numbers game based on simple arithmetic. On one side is children who descend from a variety of nations and ethnicities who, through complex social/historical processes, are now considered to be “white”. Membership rules have been modified over time (to allow the eventual admittance of the Irish after they rallied against the Chinese, for example, and depending on the circumstances Jewish people are or aren’t in the club), but the consensus is that when it comes to power, “white” people are the in-group.

On the other side is everyone else. The racial caste system, though weaker than it used to be, still places some people of color above others. It’s generally agreed that people of African descent occupy the lowest level. To complicate this schema, since 9/11 people who have immigrated from the Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries have been near the bottom as well. In their situation, racism mingles with xenophobia and antimuslimism to create an especially harmful atmosphere. Similarly, “Hispanics” face racism mixed with xenophobia, the sacrificial lamb for the failures of neoliberalism and the perfidy of corporate America.

The arrangement of our country’s caste hierarchy has no meaning except insofar as the in-group has made it mean something. These racists who don’t like the way that word sounds in other people’s mouths want plenty of “white” babies so that the system will, visibly or invisibly, continue to the benefit of their “race”. It’s usually more visible during GOP administrations, but as Jordan Peele’s metaphorization of the black experience in Get Out masterfully showed, white liberals are not immune from racism or benefit from the system any less.

*  *  *

The caste system has so far been maintained by the numbers. The openly nativist among whites correctly intuit once “somebody else’s babies” outnumber their own, things will have to change. Their fear helps re-elect Steve King every six years, and gave Donald Trump enough electoral college votes to force his way into power.

*  *  *

“Whatever the outcome of the election today, the genie will not go back into the bottle. People feel misrepresented.” As I write this, polls have just closed in the Netherlands. Exit polling data shows Geert Wilders performed more poorly than expected. Some will say this reverses the lurch towards the far right in Europe, others like myself are keeping one eye permanently glued on French demagogue Marine Le Pen. The Genie is out of the bottle at in America, in Britain, in every place where the frothing “white” masses feel emboldened. Steve King and Donald Trump will still be part of the nationalist international after the current news cycle has ended. It will take more than a Dutch embarrassment to stop the fascist creep in the West.

(Year Zero/Day Fifty-Five)