The latest crash, just blocks from my apartment in Cambridge, Mass., a a gang of neo-Nazis They gathered in Harvard Square on Sunday afternoon. The videos showed a group of masked white men shouting, spitting, cursing, homophobic slurs and chest beating on students. They were part of the Social Nationalist Club, a local neo-Nazi outfit called the “131 Crew”, as a sneaker collective and not a gang.
In researching the rise of the fascist movement in the United States, I found troubling parallels in 1930s Italy and Germany. From cultism and antisemitism to hateful minors and naive theories steeped in eugenics, the overlap between the fascist ideas of the interwar years and our own is too great to ignore.
Why is it that so many young white people, especially my age, are turning to fascism and far-right?
Recent surveys according to the Anti-Defamation League 85% of Americans believe “at least one anti-Jewish trope” has emerged since 2019. Whether the 131 Crew or Gavin McInnesVICE MEADOWS FOUNDER AND proud boy the founder or even lower reaches QAnon, Andrew Tate-land and the message board 4chan: angry, alienated male does not call finding fascism, but. cold
In McInnes, he is currently a Proud Boy Partner in trials in federal court for sedition, or attempting to destroy the US government by force. McInnes hails from Ottawa, Canada, wears a slick beard and glasses; When he is profiled in an American newspaper, he looks like a hipster. “We’re not going to start fights,” McInnes said he saidbut we will finish them. Far-right influencers have won legions of the followers of Youtube and other platforms and he accumulated hundreds and hundreds of thousands of sentences, throbbing in a badly burdened psyche, which few other means reach. This is also considered an alternative form of social media where it is collected quite correctly. If they fail to recognize this fascist cult, it is because it is readily available.
The word “fascism” is often thrown around loosely, and some may feel that this label is too dramatic. But its current manifestation in the US mirrors its incarnation before its time: an ideology that glorifies traditional masculinity, believes it has a spiritual right to demand violence and to usurp authoritarian government. Fascists are united by a love of violence, a hatred of progress and a leftist sense of identity that declares America belongs to them.
Fascism feeds the culture wars, and the psychological issues of insecurities and the use of deeply held anger to convert impressions. In a time of great polarization and cultural battles over race, gender and democracy, it is not surprising that young people have found fascism, this time to live, with cosplay.
In Italy, Benito Mussolini noted in the first pages of “The Doctrine of Fascism” that Fascism was not merely a political doctrine, but a “spiritual attitude.” In Italy, as in the rest of Europe in the interwar years, the Fascist party won an increasing share of the vote, giving people not only a political reason to live through the state but they also perform Saturnalia; it stopsmarkets and other social frameworks. For ten thousand Europeans, it was Fascism fun And it has been seen for several years a legitimate alternative to liberal democracy.
Fascists, then and now, are singularly emphasized in propaganda. Indeed, at a radio conference in Berlin, in 1933, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, gave the republic of radio. some urgent advice: “The first law is not boring!”
From the beginning, Fascism was focused on culture. Mussolini wanted a strong and masculine society like the Roman Empire. Hitler was similarly fascinated with the imagined past and in the memoirs of Albert Speer, the chief architect, Hitler found architectural plans and plans for hours on end building. They had neoclassical buildings, they had to be strong, gigantic mock-ups. The Nazis mainly aimed to break up “degenerate” and “Jewish” art – museums and galleries, destroying every aspect of modernism.
Fascism made a huge effort in the aesthetics of both Italy and Germany: shows, carnivals, shows, parties of young people – everything was properly incinerated, elaborated, brought to the public in front of the social media. Titulus himself preferred nights with torches, which added an ominous, hellish feeling to the scene. Spectacle and symbols were the key tools to promote the ideology.
Today’s fascisms are docile and take on many forms, some more racist than others, some more sexist. Instead, they are drawn to propaganda and symbols of racial and sexual cruelty. For many young whites, fascism begins as a cultural identity rather than a political ideology.
Humanity creates thoughts that, if poisoned, will have horrific consequences. In shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church In Charleston, SC, in 2015, a mass killer wore a jacket emblazoned with the flags of Rhodesia, the racist former British colony that became Zimbabwe and apartheid South Africa. The insignia of white supremacy and fascism are woven into his clothes. 2019 mass slaughter of Muslims in New Zealand was living on social media. Last November, a killer who killed five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs ran he used a neo-Nazi website and racial slurs while playing video games.
On the toxic spectrum of sexism, Andrew Tate is a prime example of a propagandist who feeds an audience of millions of people the authority that is ideology. Album of the nation influencers – who goes by the nickname “Cooked Alaska” and loves weed and attacks Jews and colored people in the street – recently pleaded guilty to involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.
The cast of these has expanded exponentially algorithms and social media platforms to create outrage and excitement. The Fascists of the 20th century could not have dreamed of such an easier means of propaganda. The battle ahead will not be easy. It will take a generation to get the best out of fascism and rebuild democracy, this time at home. Nazis march through Harvard Square as a reminder that fascism is here. We ignore it in our own form.
Omer Aziz is a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard and the author of a recent essay, “brown boys.