Friday July 14, 2017

American Fascism: It can't happen here?

American Fascism: It Can’t Happen Here 1:27

Listen to Full Episode 54:00

Donald Trump has been called a buffoon, an entertainer, a circus clown.  He's also been called a fascist. What did his campaign, and the voters it mobilized, have in common with Fascism, not only in Europe but in America's own dark past? **This episode originally aired October 28, 2016.

"As long you have racism, as long as you have Islamophobia, as long as you have rampant misogyny, you're going to have the wellsprings of fascist sensibility." -- Chris Vials

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis - Book Cover

First Edition, published in 1935 by Doubleday, Doran and Company. (Wikipedia)

It Can't Happen Here by American writer, Sinclair Lewis, was published in 1935, and later mounted as a play. Lewis was the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1930. His novel captures how fascist thinking demonizes entire groups of people, how it tacitly or explicitly sanctions political violence -- and how its rhetoric privileges emotionality over rationality, and charisma over substance. As fascism rose in Europe, Sinclair's view of American politics darkened -- hence the ironic title: it could happen in the U.S. 

The hurling of the f-word -- 'fascist' -- has happened a lot since Donald Trump entered the American political stage. But name-calling is facile -- and imprecise. So how do we distinguish fascism from authoritarianism, populism, ethnic nationalism?

Guests in this episode:

Related websites & further reading: 

**This episode was produced by Tom Jokinen and Greg Kelly.