On March 4, 2018, after following around Richard Spencer and his alt-right entourage for months, Serena Tarr found herself in Michigan for the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas conference, organized by Kyle Bristow, the white nationalist attorney who used to sue colleges that rejected requests for Spencer to speak. But due to public pressure and possibly […]
PRISONS ARE REMINISCENT of Tolstoy’s famous observation about unhappy families: Each “is unhappy in its own way,” though there are some common features — for prisons, the grim and stifling recognition that someone else has total authority over your life. My wife Valeria and I have just visited a prison to see arguably the most prominent […]
Far right parties and groups have been enjoying increasing support across Europe. Such parties have performed well in recent domestic elections, often occupying second or third place – and in some cases joining governing coalitions. Examples include the French Front National (FN, now Rassemblement National), the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), the Austrian Party for Freedom (FPÖ), the […]
On September 26, the Federal Supreme Court upheld the exclusion of 3.3 million registered voters who did not attend a special electoral review between before a deadline of May 2018. Most of those canceled did not register their biometrics, which became mandatory in 1,248 cities, unevenly distributed around the country, and concentrated in the traditionally left voting North East. The move has […]
In our global slide toward despotic unaccountability, three words act as the primary signifiers of the changes in governing and political norms at work around the globe. The words are fascist, illiberal and authoritarian.
Let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of each.
Fascist:A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Illiberal:Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behavior.
Authoritarian:Favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. Showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; dictatorial.
Whether we’re talking about Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Jair Bolsonaro, Benjamin Netanyahu, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin or Daniel Ortega you see aspects of each these dangerous modes of social control being normalized and, in many instances, enacted through executive or legislative means.
While it is natural to be most alarmed by the rise of neo-fascist political parties in Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, and the UK, perhaps a more dangerous trend is the emerging religious authoritarianism infecting Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. In India, Modi’s BJP has actively encouraged ethnic cleansing campaigns by Hindus against Muslims in northern states. In Israel, Netanyahu successfully passed a new law elevating the citizenship rights of Jewish Israelis over those of Muslims. In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has given tacit approval to Buddhist death squads attacking Muslim Rohingya villages. Across the Middle East, leaders leverage the Sunni/Shia divide to redraw national boundaries resulting in the refugee crisis in Europe. In the United States, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are rushing the decisive Christianist candidate onto the nation’s Supreme Court. In Brazil, the leading candidate in October’s presidential election is an open supporter of military dictatorship is supported by 90% of white Catholic and Evangelical voters.
Any of these political-religious movements could result in illiberal, authoritarian or fascist governing regimes. Adding the accelerant of religious dogma any of these are much more likely to spread across national boundaries and endanger regional or even global peace.
The Hungary-Serbia border runs through a wilderness, tall grass flatlands ringed by imposing clusters of trees and thickets. When I visited a stretch of the Serbian side on a sunny day in June, the landscape would have been lovely — had it not been for the gigantic barbed-wire fence running straight through the middle of […]
The cruelty took place in the distant past. Tour the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American history in Washington (this columnist’s hometown for the last 45 years) and there you will stumble upon a slave narrative from 1848 that is part of the Weeping Time exhibit, documenting the tragic history of enslaved children being separated from their enslaved […]
The recent World Hindu Congress in Chicago, an attempt to endow the intolerant majoritarian philosophy of Hindutva with international legitimacy, couldn’t have chosen a better time to bring the party to the US. Socialism, the saying goes, subjects art to politics, while fascism is guilty of the opposite. The goal of the extreme aestheticisation of […]
BRUSSELS — As Prime Minister Viktor Orban steadily established an “illiberal state” in Hungary, dismantling the country’s checks and balances, stacking its constitutional court with loyalists and creating a template for other far-right leaders, a powerful group of European politicians took note. And said little. Mr. Orban is now seen as a threat to Europe’s mainstream leadership, […]
Far-right groups across Europe and North America are using mixed martial arts to swell their numbers, spread their ideology and fight their enemies. “You will not replace us.” This was one of the slogans chanted during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on the night of 11 August 2017. Approximately 100 young white men – most of […]
Pulitzer prize winning reporter and veteran foreign correspondent Chris Hedges has just released his newest book America, the Farewell Tour. Hedges is the author of numerous best-selling books including War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, and Days of Destruction Days of Revolt which he co-wrote […]
Errol Morris’s career as an Oscar-winning documentarian has been shaped by his fascination with crime, from the false murder conviction at the center of The Thin Blue Line (1988) to the war crimes of Robert S. McNamara (The Fog of War, 2003) and Donald Rumsfeld (The Unknown Known, 2013). His new film, American Dharma, profiles Donald Trump’s former […]