Thursday, April 29, 2010

the difference between racists and fascists (the Tea Party)

Anti-racists see the Tea Party as a racist movement, even though Gallup says the Tea Party is 6% non-Hispanic black and 15% other. While I don't know much about that "other" category, 6% black in a country that's 13% black is hard to damn for being racist.

But it's easy to damn for being fascist. Tea Party members, with their love of corporations and government benefits like Social Security that are reserved for citizens of the empire, are fascists.

Yes, fascists can be racists, as the Nazis proved. But the Nazi concept of nationalism was only for white people. The Tea Party has some racist supporters, but given the prominence of people like Lloyd Marcus and Michelle Malkin, it's not racist. Their concept of nationalism is based on the Constitution. If you're homeless in America, they don't want the government to help you, no matter what color you are.

A reminder about poverty in America. According to the US Census Bureau’s Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005, the racial makeup of poverty in the United States of America looks like this:
Asian persons in poverty: 992,856 (2.92%)
Black or African American persons in poverty: 9,168,000 (25.17%)
Hispanic or Latino persons in poverty: 9,368,000 (22.68%)
non-Hispanic Whites persons in poverty: 16,227,000 (49.23%)
ETA: Steve Brust called me on my use of "fascism" in the comments. I partly agreed with him; it may be more accurate to say the Tea Party is reactionary or proto-fascist.


  1. I'm extra-sensitive to things Tim Wise says because he makes a whole lot of money on the lecture circuit teaching people that the biggest problem in the US is racism. People on the left just feel good when they believe their opponents are racist.

    I do think there's something to Laarman's take. (I read that recently, I'm thinking from a link at your blog.) I keep thinking there should be a way for progressives to co-opt some of the Tea Party movement.

  2. RE: Tea Party and racism: The interesting thing, though, is that what Wise takes on in his essay is how the Tea Party's actions are perceived as much as or more than the Tea Party itself. So I don't think it's as simple as "people on the left feel[ing] good when they believe their opponents are racist."

    I agree w/ you and Thandeka on the importance of a class analysis, but by the same token, I don't think we can ignore race (and I know you don't either). You've examined Wise more closely, so I agree your skepticism merits consideration, but I do think there's a fundamental logic in the 4 corners of his "Imagine..." essay.

    As for co-opting some of the Tea Party movement...To be honest, I think as an objective that's a non-starter. But if by that you mean paying attention to the issues motivating it -- and addressing those issues that resonate with Progressive values -- then that's a more likely approach.

  3. To be fair (which I hate being!), I haven't read enough of Wise to know if he's as oblivious to class issues as many of his followers are. I intend to research him a bit more.

    And yes to addressing those issues with progressive values. Part of their rage comes from feeling the issues are simply being ignored.

  4. Fascist? Will, do you know what the word means? The tea party is reactionary as hell, and could certainly turn into a recruiting ground for fascists, but it isn't fascist. It has no paramilitary arm, it is not openly calling for violence, it has not openly calling for the removal of democratic rights, and it is not calling for the smashing of all working class organs of resistance. Calling them fascist is crying wolf, and this is a very, very dangerous time to do that.

  5. Dude, you should only ask me if I know what a word means if you have a special non-dictionary definition.

    The border movement carries weapons while hunting for "illegals."

    I think this page is a bit exaggerated:

    but Palin's 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' is pretty unambiguous.

    They're rabidly anti-union, and they're quick to demonize anything that smacks of socialism.

    I agree they're not all fascists. I really wish socialists were trying to redirect their rage, because it's fairly chaotic now, and some of them could be pulled into a libertarian socialist movement. But currently, it's a perfect setting for a fascist demagogue to step into.

    Hmm. Is "proto-fascist" more accurate?

  6. "fascist" began to mean "person I disagree with" almost immediately after it was introduced, and that's all it has reliably meant ever since.

    In that sense, Will's got it perfectly correct ;)

  7. Littlebob, definitely true on the first. I'll have to look a little more at the enforcement side fo the movement now.