Charting a trajectory of American fascism reveals its ability to transmogrify to whichever epoch is relevant. Unlike other ideologies, such as socialism or capitalism, fascism lacks any concrete ideology. There is no manifesto through which liberates this collective. Historians remain burdened by the necessity of attaining an absolute definition. One of the only social scientists who validates the fascist emphasis on preserving whiteness is Darwin. And while neo-nazis may idealize Hitler, it is unlikely that these individuals consciously embrace Mein Kampf’s thesis. It remains invasive, parasitic, and protean. Probing the galvanization of fascists following the 2016 election establishes horrifying evidence that they will project their aspirations onto any figure – in this case, it is Donald Trump.
Trump’s ability to foment fascists is nearly banal at this point. During his presidency, countless hate crimes broke out. Leftists delineated their predictions about this trajectory, employing Trump’s lexicon as a harbinger. Unfortunately, many remained unconcerned about the proliferation of the alt-right. Liberals sustained attention on Trump’s appearance. Media outlets focused on futile aspects such as body-shaming Trump and producing jokes about his McDonalds’ tendency. In fact, it seems like nobody paid much attention to the fascist organizing concomitant with his election. Reflecting on the events following the 2020 election elucidates the voracious guerilla movement which has been under the surface.
Members of the alt-right view themselves as the American other, regarding the white race to be in a precarious position. This epistemological error encourages them to concentrate on whiteness preservation, which materializes into pernicious racism. The Saturday afternoon that Biden was announced the projected winner of the 2020 election, American fascism augmented their sense of alterity greater. It was that same day that I discovered that Trump’s loss would mobilize this group further.
On the evening of the election results, my partner and I went to a local dive bar. Although we both voted for Biden, we were less than voracious about a Biden presidency. Nonetheless, when the bar owner was setting fireworks off, we cheered along. As the other patrons were ebullient about the success of democracy, I remained cynical, and my enthusiasm was performative. A man approached the bar moments after the fireworks ended. Shouting from across the street, the stranger demanded to know who was responsible for the fireworks. He was wearing all black and a mask; thus, my immediate impression was that he was an undercover cop, and I intended to plead the fifth. It was not until the man began throwing eggs at my partner and me that I realized it was another adversarial fascist. Although the situation escalated, eggs were the only thing left broken.
It has been well over a month since the infamous egging. I stopped talking about it with peers out of fear of seeming hyperbolic. The implications associated with the event resonated with me, and on January 6th, my concern felt validated. Live-streaming as alt-right, neo-nazis, and Trump supporters infiltrated the Capitol; I felt unwell. In real-time, the world was observing the lack of impediments for fascists. I acutely recalled the policing of Black Lives Matter protests from the summer: how I would cover my tattoos for fear of being traced, or the FBI seeking down other protestors. Oscillating between my comrades’ experiences and the demonstration of fascists taking over the Capitol, my anxiety from the egging incident emerged. The alt-right will endure few repercussions for seeking to besiege the state.
Similar to fascism, it is difficult to define what occurred on the 6th. Calling it a coup feels like conjecture. The fascists who infiltrated the Capitol seemed to be more focused on taking ugly selfies, vaping, and spinning around in Pelosi’s chair. It didn’t seem like a calculated effort to overthrow the state. Honestly, it feels inconsiderate to the successful American coups in Venezuela and Bolivia. It indeed should not be defined as a protest, either. While the left struggles to determine the correct term for this event, our opponents are organizing. From throwing eggs at strangers in public to breaking into the Capitol building, fascists are strategizing with direct action. It is challenging to formulate what our next move should be.