Let’s talk about Fascism, baby!

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November 28, 2012 by wildducks

So, I am often fielding questions or receiving warnings from well-meaning Berliners about neo-nazi fascist ghouls who haunt Brandenburg, Berlin’s rural neighbour. It’s like some kind of scary camp-fire story that keeps getting told. And I must answer that I haven’t seen any or had any unpleasant encounters while living there. And then when I add that I have encountered few young people, and mostly retired senior citizens, I get warned again that they’re there, or I’m told that they’ve been sighted, or that I need to watch out, take care, Aufpassen, usw…. How exactly to do that, or to even correctly identity a neo-nazi is never discussed, nor are these stories of terrifying sightings or events ever transparent. Perhaps I must look harder, for someone with a Mein Kampf look? Hitler `stache? Hackkreuz tattoos?  No, I have met friendly old ladies who sell me eggs and butter, kind old men who bring me fresh eggs, and workers in a cafe and dairy, which employs and supports disabled people. So yeah, no, I haven’t seen them.

Obviously there are right wing-extremists, but it is really myopic to assume that they live solely in the backwaters of Brandenburg, i.e. not in Berlin, or in Berlin’s heart. It seems to me that the privileged and enlightened denizens of Berlin equate ruralism with fascism. One look at history shows quite the opposite. Fascism was propagated by the upper class and Bourgeoisie, and found its economic and intellectual backbone in the city centers, not the villages. What it found in the countryside were impoverished people who were looking for a party to address their needs. And of course there was a struggle between communism and fascism, as well as and to a lesser degree, anarchism, and the fascist propaganda machine was the winner, due to its financial support from the wealthy, power-hungry, urban citizens. So here we have the head of Fascism, the impetus, emanating from the city, not the countryside.

Now, let’s address what Fascism would actually look like today, no ghost stories from Brandenburg. Please tick all that apply.

  • A select few will rule the masses.
  • People outside the privileged group will have marginalized power, if any at all. Systems will be set up for the select to succeed and the subordinate to fail.
  • Executive and legislative powers will be controlled by the rich, for the rich.
  • Mass Media will be run by the elite as a propaganda venue.
  • The subordinates will internalize the values placed upon them by the ruling elite, values that they aren’t able to live up to, thereby destroying their self-worth, proliferating their subordination.
  • Information will be privatized and controlled.
  • War, and constant threats of outside danger, will foster nationalism and uniformity. A military state will keep the masses defending the structure they are subjugated by.

Look familiar? This is not coming from rural Brandenburg, but brought to you by your very own government, typically loceted in your city centers.

I guess what’s so annoying about people asking about Brandenburg isn’t really whether there are more Nazi’s in rural Brandenburg than in cosmopolitan Berlin. It’s the lack of relevance, when fascism is clearly fostered by our society in so many infuriating ways, why single out Brandenburg? Why not go for the jugular – the system itself? I don’t see anyone doing that by asking about Nazi’s in the countryside, I see it as feigned concern concealing urban elitism.

Umberto Eco wrote a rad and concise little article on something he calls Ur-Fascism (Ur in German means Primal or Ancient), or eternal Fascism, admitting to the long-standing power Fascism has had and continues to have.

“Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple.”

So when and if I ever see the elusive neo-nazi in Brandenburg, should I discuss the aforementioned bullet points with him? Do you think he would agree with them? Do you? “Who’s your leader? Who do you watch?” – Crass!

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