Nicholas Farrell Nicholas Farrell

It’s absurd to call Trump a fascist

Many thousands of words have been written and many more will now be written by the liberal intelligentsia on trying to prove that the 45th President of the United States of America is a fascist. Among the first to leap out of the starting blocks after the triumph of Trump was the hyper-trendy historian Simon Schama who tweeted at dawn on Wednesday to say: ‘This calamity for democracy will of course hearten fascists all over the world’. The trouble is: Trump is not a fascist, let alone a nazi. Even calling him Donald Duck would be more accurate than calling him Donald Duce. The main reason that Trump is, in fact, not a fascist is the most embarrassing of all (at least for the left that is): Trump is not left-wing. For when left-wingers call hate figures ‘fascists’ nearly always they themselves have much more in common with fascism than their hate figures do. If this were not so scary – similar to branding a woman a ‘witch’ in 16th Century – it would be hilarious.

To take a conveniently forgotten example: the 1939 alliance between fascism (Germany) and communism (Russia), against capitalism (Britain and France) was far more natural than the subsequent alliance between capitalism (America and Britain) and communism (Russia) against fascism (Germany). But democracy was not the only enemy the fascist and communist dictatorships had in common. 

Few people even seem to know this any more, but Benito Mussolini, who invented fascism in 1919 after the First World War, was a revolutionary socialist (what communists used to be called). He was therefore an international socialist who believed in the abolition of nations and world revolution. But the First World War forced him (and many other socialists) to recognise a fundamental point about human nature: people are more loyal to their country than their class. The key event was the decision, in 1914 by the French socialists, to support France against Germany in the war and then by the German socialists to support Germany against France.

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