Hopefully it will not happen, but Insider thinks that, given the current state of play – and the direction of the political wind – some variant of fascism is likely to emerge triumphant, not today or tomorrow, but medium term, from the political turmoil consuming Europe and the USA since at least 2014.
By fascism Insider does not mean Donald Trump or Brexit. People on Twitter like to say 'fascism' a lot because it sounds dramatic. However they mostly do not realise what fascism actually is and what it would do were it to get hold of the reins of the state.
Fascism only ever emerges as a serious force during a period of profound economic instability, such as the one we have been going through since the collapse, and then effective nationalisation of, our banks a decade ago.
During times of prosperity and stability fascism is usually reduced to a few psychopaths, and people who have nowhere else to be, other than sitting in a damp basement on the horrible side of a town no one ever visits deliberately, and gazing fondly at pictures of Martin Bormann, Unity Mitford, and former Garda commissioner Eoin O’Duffy. When capitalism starts to fail though, the bacillus that is fascism begins to grow rapidly in its bowels and eventually bursts unpleasantly into the sunlight.
Alt.Right and fascism are the same thing
There are two features to look out for when diagnosing fascism. The first is that it is an overt attempt to move blame for the economic crisis from those who actually run society – the likes of Allied Irish Bank and the various political puppets they operate in Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour, and the Shane Ross silly people’s alliance – and to place that blame instead on the altogether frailer, and entirely blameless, shoulders of people such as asylum seekers, Travellers, LGBT+ people, and of course communists. And in the heaving mind of your typical fascist the meaning of the word ‘communist’ is expanded beyond any real meaning to include everyone from Ivana Bacik to Pol Pot.
'The Irish media absolutely hated the anti-water charges movement because it involved ordinary working class people standing up for themselves'
The people who run the world, and those in The Sunday Independent who speak on their behalf, do not like fascists and would prefer never to have to invite such people for Sunday lunch. And who could blame them? Your average fascist is, to paraphrase David Cameron, a swivel-eyed lunatic. Yet when the economic and political crunch comes, the ladies and gentlemen who own the world, will always choose the raving middle class types and boot boys who are typically drawn to fascism – or the Alt.Right as it has lately rebranded itself – over any political movement of the Left.
Because the Left – and Insider is not talking about the likes of Aodhan Ó Riordan here, but the real Left of people like trade union leader Brendan Ogle, Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, and Bernie Sanders in the US - points the finger at the real enemy of most of us, ie, the banks and the tax avoiders like Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, and the politicians they own.
In the aftermath of the crash of 2008 the public relations department of international capitalism was in serious need of someone else to blame, for fear the politically awakening proles – the likes of you, me, and the woman at number nine who waters her hanging baskets every Sunday – might in a moment of clarity and desperation actually put a torch to their system. This is why Nigel Farage has been given such a platform by the British media and it is also why you will read far more favourable coverage of Peter Casey in the Irish Daily Mail than you ever would of Clare Daly, Luke Ming Flanagan, Mary Lou McDonald, or Richard Boyd Barrett.
'Angry working class people do not suddenly become more tolerant of asylum seekers or Travellers simply by having posh liberals tell them to be tolerant'
Every time the Irish Daily Mail, or some such comic, describes Peter Casey as “outspoken” it is keeping its option open on a bit of fascism, should the political going continue to be rough, as it probably will. The Irish media – RTÉ and the posh liberal newspapers, just as much as the Independent and Mail – absolutely hated the anti-water charges movement because it involved ordinary working class people standing up for themselves, and your average media type despises the working class when they are doing anything other than passively being victims in worthy documentaries narrated by Fergal Keane types, or being made fools of on the Jeremy Kyle Show.
These days, fascists like to call themselves the 'Alt.Right' because it makes them sound like an indie band, or some such, rather than what they are: the political heirs of the people who gave the world Treblinka, the Waffen SS, and the Battle of Stalingrad which, all things considered, did not go too well for that earlier incarnation of the Alt.Right
Apart from being a peddler of crank theories aimed at getting us to misdiagnose what is wrong with the world, Alt.Right/fascism is an inherently authoritarian movement which detests freedom of expression. Were the Alt.Right to really get its paws on the levers of the state it would not allow you the luxury of criticising it on Twitter. There would be no free artistic expression, no Cúirt, no Over The Edge, no Galway International Arts Festival; scientists who work in the area of research into climate change would not be allowed continue their work. And that is just for starters. Then the killing would start. This is the real agenda of those who rant away on Twitter about “cultural Marxism” which, like the “international Jewish conspiracy”, is just something mad they made up.
Defeating the Alt.Right
So how to defeat them? As Insider indicated at the outset, he is not optimistic, or rather he prefers to operate on the basis of Gramsci’s “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”, ie, expect the worst but do everything you can to try to make sure it does not happen.
The Alt.Right will not be defeated by pro-choice advocates wearing Repeal The 8th T-shirts on Quay Street; nor by closet members of the Green Party accusing anyone who criticises Ailbhe Smyth’s recent apparent endorsement of Fine Gael Euro Election candidate, Frances Fitzgerald, of being a FASCIST! Such people always use screaming capital letters. Nor will the Alt.Right be driven back by posh liberal appeals for tolerance.
Insider is all in favour of tolerance but knows that angry working class people do not suddenly become more tolerant of asylum seekers or Travellers or members of the Social Democrats simply by having posh liberals tell them to be tolerant.
The anger so many people feel right now is entirely justified. It needs to be directed positively against the people who really are to blame: Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the vulture funds they have been quietly selling the country off to at a thrift store price. These are the people responsible for our increasingly grotesque housing crisis, which is not being solved because these so-called investment funds and Minister Eoghan Murphy do not want it solved.
People should be angry. People should be giving Government ministers hassle when they see them on the street. Insider was delighted to see activists hilariously disrupt a recent Fine Gael election meeting in Cork. We need more of this. We need a campaign to force Government action to abolish homelessness, a campaign that is as vibrant and angry and occasionally outrageous as the anti-water charges movement was. We need to get together because, if we don’t, the Alt.Right is coming to get you.