COMMENT: The new face of fascism

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Fascism is on the rise. After the traditionally far-right political ideology reared its head in 1930s Europe to rapturous applause, similar ideals have never seen the light of day since.

In 2017, however, the return of extreme ideologies have resurfaced.Various speeches from individuals in the political limelight have been booked at universities (primarily in the USA), to express their opinions and to spark debate. Surprisingly, though, this hasn’t been warmly received. Prominent speakers have their events shut down, whether through violent protest or student led campaigning for the universities to drop the event. We saw it in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany where the ‘wrong’ political parties were banned from even existing. So, is the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, banning views different to his? Er, no. If not from the right wing, where are these new manifestations of fascism coming from?

Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro and Gavin McInnes have seen planned appearances either disrupted or terminated by the universities themselves. The common trait? Having right-wing views. A new form of fascism has risen and, ironically, has been brought back by the far-left. Rather poetically ‘Antifa’, apparent anti-fascists clad in all black with faces obscured, has been the leading force in shutting down these speakers. Antifa violently protested Yiannopoulos’ talk at the University of California, going as far as pepper spraying English born Yiannopoulos’ supporters outside the event’s venue (the Martin Luther King, Jr. student union building), in addition to firing fireworks at the building.

Fears of ‘violent clashes’ at Coulter and Shapiro’s planned talks were highlighted as reasons for their cancellation, as the Illinois based DePaul University revoked McInnes’ appearance due to his controversial comments on ‘fighting back’ against violent protesters, primarily Antifa. Antifa also made a bold appearance at the recent G-20 Summit in Hamburg, furthering their cause through burning vehicles and the destruction of local shops. The New Jersey Office for Homeland Security and Preparedness has labelled Antifa as a ‘domestic terrorism’ group since.

Heather Heyer memorial

The recent Charlottesville, North Carolina ‘Unite the Right’ rally has highlighted the glaring flaws with the far-right, with the newly formed ‘Alt-Right’ harbouring Neo-Nazis and KKK followers. The killing of Heather Heyer by registered Republican James Fields will forever be tied to right-wing extremists. The media has come out in force to condemn white supremacy, with President Trump being constantly pressured to distance himself specifically from his Neo-Nazi and KKK supporters.

No similar mainstream cries were heard after the politically motivated shooting of Representative Steve Scalise in Virginia by Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson. Neither did the death of Republican committeeman George Brooks Jennings by anti-Trump ‘fanatic’ Clayton Carter in Pennsylvania. The world rightfully rallied against the far-right hatred on show in Charlottesville and broadly condemned all those who attended. However, the same voices were quiet when it was the far-left’s actions.

Far-right ideals that promote a sense of superiority over another are toxic. Silencing those with a differing opinion to you through violence is both a denial of freedom of speech and a fascist act. The extremes from both sides must be treated the same, as they are either side of the same coin.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nerve.