Babies in Cages and other ‘Out-Groups’
The following article is written in response to Fintan O’Toole’s excellent study called “Trial Runs for Fascism are in Full Flow,” originally published by the Irish Times, June 26, 2018.
Babies in Cages and other ‘Out-Groups’
This is an important analysis by Fintan O’Toole (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-trial-runs-for-fascism-are-in-full-flow-1.3543375?mode=amp). Please read it. It puts Trump-ism in its proper historical place. Trump is one of the voices of/mouthpieces for U.S. monopoly capital. When Trump-ism leads to the imprisonment of immigrants, placed in for-profit prisons, to labor and create products for private businesses, it is in the service of U.S. monopoly capital, which is founded on slave labor, gained its world supremacy because of slave labor, and is today seeking, everyday, to increase the amount of people here and anywhere else in the world who can be forced to work as slaves.
The slave system is a male supremacist system. It is undergirded by inuring acceptance of it by an armed minority of “citizens.”
“You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination” (O’Toole).
A Devoted Minority
The above notion leads to examination of one area of inaccuracy in O’Toole’s testimony: He maintains that fascism needs the allegiance of a minority of the population, say 40%. He says that 40% of Nazi Germany was die-hard Nazi’s.
This is inaccurate. That figure is too high. In an election year with maximum participation in the United States, only 50% of the people of the country vote. At its peak, 50%. In less “contested” years, about 40% of the voting-age population is normal. The term “voting-age population” is utilized here because it includes everyone who actually lives here. The “voting-age population” is far more than double the amount of people who vote. This scribe conducted the U.S. Census for three decades in of-Color, economically impoverished neighborhoods of Boston. I saw firsthand how many people are not counted by the U.S. census. Those not counted are routinely the most economically impoverished sections of the actual population.
O’Toole says, “…it [fascism] has been trialled by Trump: let’s see how my fans feel about crying babies in cages.”
Voters are a Minority
“58 per cent of Republicans are in favor of this brutality. Trump’s overall approval ratings are up to 42.5 per cent.” Polls taken by calling registered voters are polls of middle class Americans, a minority of the population. Registered Republicans make up a small percentage of the actual total population. When 47% of those who voted did so for Trump, that means that something like 18–20% of the voting age population voted for Trump: Less than half the votes of those who voted.
A study entitled “Who are the three-quarters of adult Americans who didn’t vote for Trump?,” authored by the Guardian, tells us that “Some 63 million votes were cast for Trump out of America’s 250 million adults. The rest of the population includes several different types of people. There are the 73.5 million people who voted against Trump. They include more than 65.8 million who cast a vote for Hillary Clinton — a majority by a straight popular vote count. Then there are those who didn’t have the right to vote, and those who didn’t exercise that right for various reasons” (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/18/american-non-voters-election-donald-trump).
The “various reasons” group, also termed “the disengaged” or the “apathetic,” are the millions of people who are “disengaged” from one of America’s religions: the pretense that electoral politics is synonymous with politics. Far from apathetic, the people, everyday, everywhere are engaged in politics — that is, the coming together of everyday people, with their neighbors, in their communities, at their places of work, with their families and friends, to take measures, action, to try to survive, to try to get through this apocalypse, towards the ultimate goal of thriving, the goal of the liberation of humanity. Electoral politics is one form of politics, one owned by the ruling groups and their representatives, the Republicrats and the Demoblicans, to distract us from fighting to save our own lives and that of the planet. We, the people, utilize this one form of democracy, elections, when we see the opportunity to broaden our freedom under capitalism.
Fascists are a Small Minority
Indeed, it was not 40% of Germans who were die-hard fascists. Hitler rigged elections (just like Kennedy, Nixon, Bush/Gore, and Trump after the Fuehrer), had an armed group of hundreds-of-thousands of thugs, and had the allegiance of a solid, frothing-at-the mouth, 25% of the population. It is important to understand that the rest were forced, whether to support or to go into the gas chamber (https://www.newsweek.com/top-five-rigged-us-presidential-elections-511765).
The same is true here in the United States. Fascism needs “…[T]he generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities.” Indeed, there are no more tribal people on planet Earth than White Americans (https://medium.com/@alexandersjeunity/the-most-tribal-people-on-planet-earth-1acba77b58d3). When O’Toole says, “Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group,” the good news is that Trump’s “out-group” is the large majority of the people of this country. If you doubt this 18–20% estimate, please consider that of this 18–20% is an entire class — the U.S. monopoly capitalist class backs fervently both Obama-ism and Trump-ism. This .001% of the U.S. population, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class, packs quite a punch. They determine the lion’s share of what the U.S. population consumes as “news,” they determine the giant half of what the U.S. population enjoys as culture, and they have Congress and the President as their direct representatives. It is easy to believe that Trump has a majority — the voice of U.S. monopoly capital takes up a lot of space in our daily lives.
O’Toole is definitely “on the money” when he says, “Forget ‘post-fascist’ — what we are living with is pre-fascism.”
The fascist project is one of the presentations of the rule of monopoly capital. Democracy is their favorite presentation. Indeed, capitalist democracy has enjoyed the favor of close to the majority in most non-crisis times. Unfortunately for capitalism, crisis is progressive, chronic and fatal. Monopoly capital utilizes fascism in times of crisis, and, as O’Toole’s premise ably points out, they are always honing their tools and seeing what works best for which circumstances. Putting babies in cages is one of their latest experiments.
The good news for us is that it is not an “out-group,” but the large majority of nations and peoples living in the U.S. It is women of all nationalities, it is working people. In order for U.S. fascism to launch its project it has to “out” all “non-heteros,” all “non-abled” peoples. Trump’s supporters are indiscriminate haters. When Trump’s rhetoric is dissected, it comes to pass that they hate most White Americans. Trump-ism is also exclusive of the “ineligible voter” population: children, young people, the imprisoned, foreign nationals (“ineligible”) and elders are oppressed groups in this system — “out-groups,” and we need these groups to act together to get us through this “transition period” in human history.
The Mandate of the Majority
This leaves our work on the table in front of us. African Americans are one “out-group.” Taken together, all people of African descent in this country are an “out-group.” Each of the Caribbean peoples in the U.S. are “out-groups.” All “non-evangelicals” — Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Buddhists — “out-groups.” Each of the of-Color nations and minority nationalities in this country — Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, Alaskans, Dominicans, Chicanos, Native Nation Peoples, all nations and peoples inside the U.S. who are originally from Asia and Latin America — are “out-groups.” Women are an out-group, that is, unless you are in favor of rich men groping. The entire LGBTQ community is an “out-group.” All sectors of the disabled population, taken together, are an “out-group.”
These “out-groups” must be dehumanized for the fascist project to succeed. Audre Lorde left us this adjuration: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” (https://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Lorde_The_Masters_Tools.pdf). We must refuse to dehumanize the fascists — of those who are being ground down by this social order are the poorest of the White American population. They are human beings — some of these people comprise a section of Trump’s base. Each of these people has humans in their ancestry who have fought for human rights and human dignity. These fights are deep down in the soul of United States history. These instances of our history are largely unwritten. At the heart of the fight for the liberation of the human race is unearthing this righteousness in our history, and winning over to this basic righteousness those who have been fooled by the fascist project. We must not dehumanize these people.
Our mandate is clear: all we have to do is unite all of these groups, including those who think they are benefiting from fascism. Who said the liberation of humankind was going to be easy?
 Both of these projects of monopoly capital have served them very well. For those of you who cannot put Obama and Trump in the same sentence without posing these social phenomena against each other, please study NPR and the Washington Post’s exposure of Obama’s most recent (2016) support for Big Pharma: Two “rogue” DEA officials, who thought their job was to try to stop the flow of drugs into the country, and to counter the pandemic of opioid addiction and death, tried to launch a federal multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry. Obama hastily signed the bill created by Congress — yes, our Massachusetts liberal Capuano and Marky both get money from the pharmaceutical industry — which declared it illegal for anyone (including the DEA) to sue the pharmaceutical industry. Soon after he passed the bill, Obama forced out of employment the two DEA officials responsible for trying to fight Big Pharma (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/investigations/dea-drug-industry-congress/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.67d103001782).