The road to fascism

What we see in Chico is a microcosm of what’s happening nationally, but there’s a way to stop it

The author is a father, permaculturalist, veteran and social critic who is active in the Green Party.

It’s hard not to see American fascism’s ascendance in the images from Charlottesville, N.C., police lynchings and children being torn from their parents at deportation centers. Yet, fascism is broader than ethnonationalism. Equating the two conceals the former’s subtle creep into our own communities and elevates resistance as emotional spectacle over critical analysis and effective strategy.

Fascist ideology arises from economic crisis. Drawing an exclusionary box around those deemed worthy—often along racial lines, but not necessarily—it uses violence to “protect” the elite from this Other. Wedding the state apparatus to business interests, it advances its agenda and secures legitimacy among the masses.

America is a kleptocracy in imperial decline, gripped by economic instability, social dislocation and ecological collapse. These crises manifest as homelessness, a precariat class of working poor, substance abuse and more. Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime, Socrates opined. Our city is a microcosm.

Rather than addressing the root causes of these crises and their symptoms, the insulated elite, predominately white and affluent, have drawn a box around themselves. Only through violence and by violating human rights can they maintain order. Six-figure bureaucrats and the wealthy landowners formulate policy to concentrate the extreme poor into camps, creating a safe space downtown where they can socialize and ignore our society cannibalizing itself.

The retired attorneys, politicians, shopkeepers and upper-middle-class housewives accept this agenda. The apathy of all “Good Germans” guarantees fascism’s rise and eventual hegemony. Unless we acknowledge it as a reactionary current and confront it with a praxis of our own, we will only watch it grow stronger.

We possess the skills and knowledge to build the new world within the shell of the old. We need to build democratic economies that restore the productive capacities of our bioregional ecosystems, align our material lives to these productive systems and do so equitably. We need to provide ourselves and our neighbors, the ill and indigent, the basic necessities of a dignified life. We must intentionally create a world where fascism cannot take root.