Understanding the rising threat of fascism in the U.S.

Understanding the rising threat of fascism in the U.S.


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

Fascism is a term loosely used by all sections of society. The common use of this term can sometimes degrade the seriousness and relevance of fascism here in the U.S. Since WWI, we have seen a number of fascist nations rise in response to rising class struggle and the ongoing crisis of imperialism. Our party should dive into what distinctly separates fascism from neoliberal imperialism and better grasp the concepts of the United Front and People’s Front. Georgi Dimitrov, the General Secretary of the Communist International during WWII, said, “It is difficult to imagine a higher degree of political shortsightedness and absurdity than to contrast the principles of the class struggle with the policy of the People’s Front, as some of our overzealous critics from the “Left” do…[they] have become disillusioned with the Social-Democratic policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, and are moving away from reformism are frequently inclined to go to the other extreme and become the victims of sectarianism and Leftist excesses…”

Dimitrov described fascism as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital. So what makes up the most reactionary, chauvinistic, and imperialist elements of finance capital? Xenophobia, misogyny, racism, plus some key economic factors like state monopoly capitalism. Benito Mussolini described fascism as “corporatism” which can be more broadly defined by the outlook of the most notable and historical fascist nations in the world: Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

State monopoly capitalism, the political and economic system of fascism, happens when national monopolies unite along “national interests” against global capital and rising socialist and peoples’ movements. It occurs when bourgeois democracy is seized by a totalitarian party run by these monopolists and militarists. Monopolism is deeply rooted in fascism and today it is clearly embedded within the regime of Donald Trump and MAGA extremists who seek the same system.

Political and cultural monopolization 

Political monopolization, another core aspect of fascism, is political absolutism. In essence, it is the monopolization of politics. This occurs when the party of fascism persecutes its opponents: Communists, socialists, trade-unions, and general democratic forces. Anti-communism is vital for the fascists as we are the main opposition to their movement. The fascists understand this and take great care to rid their countries of any and all forms of class struggle and substitute it with “national unity”— the purported unity of the working class and the capitalist class in one nation against the working class and capitalists of other nations. As Communists, we know that the fascist concept of national unity can never occur because the working class and capitalist class are in direct contradiction to one another.

In MAGA, we see a resurgence of this “national unity”— the return of “Christian” and reactionary forms of extreme bourgeois nationalism as well as rampant anti-communism. As Trump said,

“those who come to enjoy our country must love our country. We’re going to keep foreign, Christian-hating communists, Marxists, and socialists out of America.” When asked if he would be a dictator, Trump said, “No, no, no, other than day one. After that, I’m not a dictator.”

Who really believes that?

It is no surprise that U.S. fascists want to put restrictions on, and ultimately seek the complete abolition of, all competing political parties. We can unite with all progressive and people’s forces on the principles of anti-fascism, preserving democratic rights, and struggling against the abolition of political opposition. A second Trump presidency could, and most likely would, result in the end of any semblance of democracy in the United States.

Civic and ethnic nationalism 

Cultural monopolization, the most notable, and perhaps identifiable characteristic of fascism, is “beastial hatred,” exemplified most clearly in the Holocaust. As we know, the slaughter was not limited to Jewish people: it extended to Communists, Black, LGBTQ, Slavic, Catholic and Muslim peoples. This is the monopolization of culture wherein the “majority race” of a nation imposes its culture onto the “minority races,” and persecutes any form of culture separate from it.

There are two distinct avenues of this persecution, civic-nationalism, which pits the national identity against those of other national identities, and ethnic nationalism, based on a toxic brew of racism and chauvinism. These two often overlap, as they did in Germany and Italy, and as they are today in the United States. The hatred towards Latinos/as vis-a-vis the influx of immigrants in the U.S., largely a result of imperialism, is a key component in the fascist logic.

It’s also exemplified in the anti-Black rhetoric perpetuated by reactionary groups that condemn African Americans as “criminals.” Civic nationalism plays a pivotal role in developing U.S. fascism, even while the fascists entertain the idea of the “Black community” joining together with them — so long as they hold the “correct” politics and cultural values. This extends into all marginalized peoples: the Latino/a, Indigenous, Asian, and Arab communities, as well as many others.

Neoliberalism and fascism 

While neoliberalism definitely perpetuates imperialism, class contradictions, racism, and xenophobia, it is not the open terrorist dictatorship of finance capital. As Lenin said, imperialism is “reaction all down the line.” However, the fact that the Communist Party USA exists legally under bourgeois democracy is proof of this distinction. The critical rhetoric progressives and the Left take against the Democratic Party is certainly not without merit, and it is the Communists who understand this contradiction. However, without a unified People’s Front, the fascists will play on these contradictions and pit the anti-fascist working-class against itself and the broader democratic forces.

As Dimitrov said, “Every Communist, every class-conscious worker, must not forget for a minute that the opponents of unity of the international proletariat would be extremely gratified if, in the face of their sabotage and provocation, the Communists themselves would give up the struggle for unity and refrain from consistently carrying out the People’s Front policy.”

We cannot expect the bourgeois Democratic Party to lead this fight. The class interests and its social base prevent it from doing so. We can however, unite with the mass movements inside and outside the democratic forces when their interests do align with the working class: defending democracy and struggling against the growing threat of fascism in the U.S.


    West Michigan Regional Collective, CPUSA

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