What is a fascist? Is Boris Johnson a fascist? Is Britain becoming fascist?
This is what we know about fascists:
- They worship the Motherland – or Fatherland – and constantly repeat patriotic slogans – Global Britain, Build Back Better, Make America Great Again.
- National flags grow larger and appear on every pole and beside every desk, on clothes and badges and along the sides of buses.
- The people are encouraged to rally around an easily identified enemy: Europeans, foreigners, migrants, religious minorities, socialists. Hitler chose Jews; Trump Muslims and Mexicans.
- Human rights are ignored. Torture, imprisonment without trial and long prison sentences are introduced to protect the nation from foreign enemies. Independently-minded judges are driven out and called ‘Enemies of the People.’
- The hard right extravagantly supports the military: the UK is spending £6 billion on two new aircraft carriers: HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. Boris Johnson said it would reflect ‘the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.’
- Fascist regimes are generally male dominated. Women are seen as home and baby-makers. Homophobia is rampant. Boris Johnson called gay men ‘tank-topped bum boys,’ black people piccaninnies with ‘water-melon’ smiles and Muslim women letterboxes.
- Fascist leaders control or are supported by a compliant media that applauds reactionary policies – banning street demonstrations – and reports social concerns as the work of traitors and communists. National life is trivialised with blanket coverage of celebrity culture, sports and royal tittle-tattle.
- Fascists are fond of God. They draw on religious rhetoric to justify policies that are damaging to working people. They believe the poor, meek, mild and hungry are to blame for their own situation and should ‘Get on their bike!’ They hate social security, social medicine and believe there is no such thing as society.
- The corporation bosses, bank moguls and aristocracy in a fascist nation form one force that promotes political leaders from their own class. They create a system beneficial to themselves, appoint each other to government positions, provide government contracts to friends – £37 billion for a Covid test and trace system that never worked – and protect each other from accountability.
- Politicians with fascist tendencies promise the world and are prone to mendacity. They are supported by a right-wing press that smears opponents and manipulates the system by changing boundaries and making it hard for the weakest members of society to vote.
- Fascist leaders are attracted to dressing up and uniforms, brown shirts, black shirts, jackboots. A uniform can be a dark suit with a red tie of a scruffy suit with a crooked tie. They like parades, columns of tanks in avenues lined with flags and stirring music. Hitler was partial to Wagner. Donald Trump appropriated Puccini’s ‘Nessun dorma’ for his mass rallies. Boris Johnson’s favourite band is The Clash, according to Damian Jones in the NME, November 2019.
- The only real threat to a fascist regime is working people. Their potential power is diminished by austerity measures, suppressing wages and sanctioning trade unions.
Is Boris Johnson a fascist?
The Italian writer Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose) grew up under Mussolini’s fascist regime. He wrote: ‘The fascist game can be played in many forms, and the name of the game does not change.’ Eternal Fascism, as he describes it, ‘cannot be organised into a system; many features contradict each other and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.’
The last time fascism got a strong foothold in the United Kingdom was in 1932 when Oswald Mosley created the British Union of Fascists. Mosley was a charismatic aristocrat who went to the best schools and created about himself a personality cult. He believed in corporate power, nationalism and authoritarian government: the definition of fascism.
Is Boris Johnson a fascist?
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