In a recent interview, I was asked if the term fascism is batted around too much. I responded by saying it is used too little. Certainly this is the case when there are actual fascists on Europe’s doorstep whose crimes are being ignored.
For those who have little or no knowledge of the Great Patriotic War, The Holocaust or the struggles of European partisans against German, Italian, Spanish and allied puppet fascist regimes, the term fascism has sadly become a kind of de rigueur insult for anything broadly disliked or deemed to be outside of the realm of mainstream, polite emasculated western culture.
But in reality, fascism is different. It is real and it lives. It is evil and it is dangerous.
The most obvious place where fascism lives is in Ukraine where an openly fascist regime took power via coup in February of 2014. The supporters of the new regime and those agitating for it to go further in their crimes, openly chant slogans calling for the death of Russians, Jews and Poles. Their heroes are both German Nazis and Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, namely the barbaric Stepan Bandera.
A war of ethnic cleansing continues to rage against the people of Donbass where Kiev sends terrorists, mercenaries and what’s left of their standing army to commit war crimes in the name of a fascist ideology. This war has killed and disfigured civilians whilst women and children have been raped and entire areas pillaged.
Whilst the mainstream media points fingers at supporters of Donald Trump who is a traditional Robert Taft style Republican and nothing more extreme than that, actual fascist war crimes are taking place, but they are being ignored by the western mainstream media.
It is also apparent that whilst their flag looks different and so too is the rhetoric in which they express their ideology, different than that of ‘classical’ 20th century fascism, the Wahhabist regimes of the Gulf and their terrorist proxies such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra are practicing fascism in all but name.
Throwing the word fascist about to smear opponents is dangerous not just because it is libellous against the targets towards which the insults are aimed, but even more importantly, it devalues the meaning of the word fascism and will cause people to forget about the real fascist crimes of the 20th century as well as those being perpetrated today.
This phenomenon is nothing new. Perhaps surprisingly there are two examples of such misusage of the word ‘fascism’ in rock music journalism from the 1970s. In 1978, British rock journalist Barry Miles interviewed the Canadian progressive rock band Rush and determined they were a ‘fascist rock band’ because their lyricist and percussionist Neal Peart was an Ayn Rand style libertarian.
An even stranger example of this trend was a review of the album Jazz by the well-known rock band Queen from 1979. The review by David Marsh, originally published in Rolling Stone says the following of the music album:
Whatever its claims, Queen isn’t here just to entertain. This group has come to make it clear exactly who is superior and who is inferior. Its anthem, “We Will Rock You,” is a marching order: you will not rock us, we will rock you. Indeed, Queen may be the first truly fascist rock band. The whole thing makes me wonder why anyone would indulge these creeps and their polluting ideas.
One feels the sudden urge to tap Mr. Marsh on the shoulder and say, “Look, it’s just a record that you happened not to like, it’s literally, not the end of the world”. The album itself, unlike some of Rush’s music, is not ideological and certainly not political. The album is a pastiche of various musical and lyrical styles that the band virtuosically engage in, including a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Freddie Mercury’s Iranian heritage. Jazz is about a band having fun, not about ‘control’, let alone fascism.
Whenever someone asks me to explain to them how the mainstream media tries to control minds by setting and then skewing the terms of debate, I don’t tell them to read the New York Times or watch CNN. I tell them to read the 1979 Rolling Stone review of Queen’s Jazz. If someone can turn a fun and innocent rock record into a political diatribe, it means that the mainstream media either have no brains, no priorities, no circumspection and perhaps most of all, no sense of humour.
In the western mainstream media, fascism is a phrase that is ignored when fascist conditions persist and it is batted about with impunity when it has no place in the debate. I suppose the anthem of the mainstream media ought to be ‘We will, we will mock you’. They’ve mocked people’s intelligence for too long. Luckily they are no longer the queens of the castle.