“Fascist law and order rhetoric is explicitly meant to divide citizens into two classes: those of the chosen nation, who are lawful by nature, and those who are not, who are inherently lawless.”Jason Stanley, Author, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them
Divisiveness is a hallmark of fascism. It divides people on the lines of Us Vs Them. It never talks about economic growth and prosperity but evokes the fears of the masses to divide and control the society. When the true faces of Fascism are exposed they further divide the society as that is the only way they find to stay in power.
And shamelessly, law and order will be used to create the divide. Law and order in their regimes will be unjust to favor the majority against a minority population.
Even before becoming the President of the United States, Donald Trump is notorious for running a $85,000 newspaper ad campaign in 1989 to falsely accuse 5 black teenagers for the rape of a white woman at the Central Park, New York City. One such ad was titled “The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police”
All the Five men were proven not guilty and were paid a $40 million cash settlement by the city.
Trump wanted to paint a picture that African Amercians are a crazed misfit, lawless in society and he wanted to do it with the help of law and order.
What’s more agonizing and gruesome is – In 2016 Trump was praised for the same incident by Senator Jeff Sessions. He said, as quoted in CNN, “People say he wasn’t a conservative, but he bought an ad 20 years ago in The New York Times calling for the death penalty. How many people in New York, that liberal bastion, were willing to do something like that?”
His rhetoric against Hillary Clinton also made his supporters clamor for her arrest chanting “Lock her Up” by law and order officials.
What happened in the Manipur State of India is another classic example of how law and order is made to work against the minorities. Peaceful and civilian protests observed by the minorities (Kukis, who have been living in Manipur for centuries and have been targeted by the recent state legislations evicting them off their resident lands for expansion of the forests), were made bloody by directing law and order officials to turn violent on the protestors. They are termed as illegal immigrants from Myanmar by the Chief Minister of the State.
He has also spread fears among the majority population (Meitei) that the minorities who are protesting as Kukis are militants imported from Myanmar and soon they will be ruling over them.
This divisive rhetoric agitated the majority population and as a result a heinous crime of two Kuki women being dragged and paraded through the streets naked and gangraped happened in broad daylight.
In this case the Meiteis are the lawful and the Kukis are the lawless, in the present day Manipur’s law and order scenario.
In both the above cases and innumerable similar examples from the past, it is evident that divisiveness is the fuel for Fascist forces to control the narrative and remain in power.
They are successful when a group of people (like the White Americans, Indian Hindus, Meiteis, Turkish Muslims) fear another group of people (like the African Amercians, Indian Muslims, Kukis, and Americans, respectively).
These forces want to work for the ones who they identify as lawful ones and destroy who they identify as the lawless ones.
When a community is divided and is enshrouded in fear and hostility, Fascism wins.
To be continued..
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them