Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Bush the 'fascist'? posted by Richard SeymourNaomi Wolf, a Clintonite feminist, on Bush's ten steps toward fascism. I don't doubt the existence of fascist potencies in the United States, but to speak of it as a clear and present danger is misleading, to put it blandly. If you ask me, it's part of this 'Anyone But Bush' politics that is destroying the American left and drawing the antiwar movement into the frigid Democratic Party graveyard. The politics of MoveOn.org, Howard Dean's fan club, and such alignments, are to divert mass disaffection with Bush's wars into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Wolf rightly criticises Bush's openly repressive measures, including the Patriot Act. However, there is no mention Democratic complicity. There is no effort by the Democrats to reverse these measures at all (indeed, most Democratic senators have consistently supported its re-authorisation, often at the behest of the most 'liberal' senators such as Diane Feinstein), no effort to counter the crackdown on immigrants, and more basically the plan for 'withdrawal' from Iraq is - despite appearances - a plan for escalation. The Democrats will certainly, if they get Clinton elected, manage an eventual, prolonged withdrawal to the comfort of the fortified military bases if they are forced to, but what's going to happen to the troops? They're going to Afghanistan. And as for the prospects of a strike on Iran? Leading Democrats are all for it.
In the middle of all the heat on the Iraq war, debate over the 'war on terror' (or the policies implemented under its rubric) has been occluded. What the US is doing to the horn of Africa has been practically unnoticed, and Afghanistan is rarely debated (although most Americans now oppose that venture too). So, the mainstream of the Democratic Party, so often depicted as to the left of a cautious public, actually enforces a consensus on a range of issues where there is in fact broad dissent. There will certainly be no debate on Palestine, and the evidence is that Clinton will be a great deal worse on this question than Bush. This is going to become the decisive problem in American politics, since Bush will be out in 2008, and there will probably be a Democratic president with allies in both houses. The Republican Party is being splintered by Bush's intransigence on a whole range of issues, and we have had the corrollary spectacle - perhaps a first in American politics - of a number of conservatives moving to the left. The era of a Rovean 'permanent Republican majority' is finished.
Bush's catastrophic regime will be gratefully terminated, but talk of him being a 'fascist' is, in my view, an ideological secretion of the 'Anyone But Bush' alignment that seeks to suck all of the popular movements that have sprung up, all of the hope in American politics, under the canopy of the DLC. And that is lethal.