Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Fascism's Recent Resurgence

I recently read an excellent essay on fascism in general and, in particular, on the recent resurgence of fascistic forces in some countries. In it, the author Luis Gonzalez Reyes describes eight factors that caused or, at least, favored fascism’s  resurgence. I largely agree with the analysis, but am unhappy about some omissions. I also have some criticism of his answer to the question as to what now needs to be or can be done. Here is the link to the essay:


    I request the readers to first read the essay of Reyes and then my critique.


Luis Reyes,

I read your essay “Fascism is Back to Stay” with great interest, not only because I want to understand the phenomenon, but also because I (a dark-brown Indian migrant in Germany, 83+ years old) am personally affected. As you surely know, since 2016, there is a steep rise of xenophobic/fascist forces in Germany, France, Holland etc.
    I appreciate your analysis of the post-WWII situation in Europe. I largely agree with it. I agree that our situation today is one of impending
collapse, But I am unhappy about the contents of the final section (Some Ideas for Standing up to Fascism). So pleaseFascism's allow me to make some constructive critical comments:
    (1) You have too much focused on Europe only. You have failed to see (or to mention) that collapse has already started (is taking place) at
the periphery of Europe. How else can you describe the situation in Somalia, Nigeria, DR of Congo, Central African Republic etc.?
    Europe is intimately connected with Africa, not only through colonial history, but also culturally (Christianity and language). A part of Spain even lies in Africa, and a large minority of whites (25%?) still lives in South Africa. It is therefore no surprise that the results of the collapse in Africa is spilling over into Europe in the form of a large and steady stream of illegal migrants and refugees. In the case of the Spanish exclaves and in the case of Greece, one can also speak of a full-blown storming of the gates of prosperity.
    Because in the meantime Europe too has lost (and is increasingly losing) its economic capacity to offer a satisfactory perspective to its own youth and to a large section of its own proletariat, the people, that once welcomed also non-European, non-Christian foreign workers with open arms, are increasingly becoming xenophobic. The xenophobic section of the population is still a minority. But who knows, it may soon become the majority.
    This development is not limited to Europe and Africa. Similar (though not in all respects identical) developments are taking (has taken) place between the UK and Eastern Europe (especially Christian and White Poland), India and Bangladesh, Bangladesh and Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the USA and Central and South America. And since recently we are even observing a similar development between the relatively developed South African Republic and its northern neighbors (all blacks).
    Most, though not all, of these migrants are not refugees, but simply unwelcome migrants who are in search of a better life in a country where they hope to find one.
    (2) One factor, a very important one, that you have not considered in your essay is overpopulation and/or continued population growthcombined with poverty and/or violence in everyday life – in the countries from where the illegal migrants and refugees are coming (or are being forced to leave). It is a common feature of these countries.
    (3) What is also missing in your essay is an actionable idea to stand up to the danger, actionable today.
    In the said section, one can find many vague and idealistic concepts and expressions relating to a future ideal society and the movement to create such a society: “human liberation”, “encourage autonomy”, “allow the population to satisfy their needs”, “emancipated societies”, “Promoting a widespread empathy” etc. In Germany, I have taken part in dozens of conversations of activists, in which such expressions were thrown around. I was never sure that all understood the same thing under such expressions.
    Be that as it may, even if a person understands them or gets them explained by an activist, they actually are only relevant for the distant future. In our times, when we are facing the danger of ecological and societal collapse, there are more important concrete things waiting to be done,
today. In one word, it is to ensure bare survival. We have to accept that it is impossible to fulfill the continuously growing "needs", demands, wishes, aspirations and ambitions of a continuously growing world population while our resource base is continuously dwindling and the ability of nature to absorb man-made pollution is continuously diminishing.
    Limiting myself to the subject of your essay, i.e. renewed rise of fascism in Europe, I would like to suggest the following:
    I think among all the factors you have mentioned, currently, “fear of the other” is the weightiest. Fascistic, xenophobic right radicals are afraid they are “losing their country”, that “Germany will soon cease to be the home of the Germans”, or “a great change (transfer) of population” is taking place in white and Christian Europe, that Europe will soon become Muslim Eurabia etc. I am sure you too have heard/read about this discourse. This fear comes from the deepest layer of our biological, i.e. genetic, makeup.
    You suggest we should all promote “a widespread empathy with people nearby and far afield, and with all other living creatures”. It is a crucial sentence in your essay. The phrase “with people nearby and far afield” would mean: people in Spain, and people from Morocco across the whole North and West Africa to Bangladesh. It is this empathy that prompted Angela Merkel to open the gates of Germany to one million refugees and illegal immigrants. This event also showed the limits to the human capacity to feel empathy for the others. And it is this event that marks the beginning of the recent rise of the until then dormant fascism in Germany (Europe?).
    Also the phrase “empathy with … all other living creatures” is fraught with significance. You have heard of the ongoing sixth extinction, you know that currently hundreds, if not thousands, of species are becoming extinct every year, that the number of insects (including bees) and plant species as well as of large animals is rapidly dwindling. The main cause of this ongoing extinction is the
growth of both the number of humans living on this planet and of their economic activities.
    In the light of this development, I would like to suggest that the most important thing to do
today is to stop both kinds of growth, that of our own numbers and that of our economies. Addressing people like us – leftist and ecological activists – Prof. Paul Ehrlich once wrote, Whatever [be] your cause, it is a lost cause unless we control population [growth]”. I share this exhortation. Controlling economic growth is at present too big a task for groups of people like us. But we can start a campaign for controlling the numbers of our own species in the known problem countries (of e.g. Africa). That is at present the most important actionable idea that we have been neglecting since long, because most of us have been too afraid to articulate them. But we can start the campaign now.


NB. I have elaborated these views and ideas in some of my blog articles. See

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