Professor explains how Trump’s ‘Save America' rally contained not-so-subtle elements of fascist propaganda
Hours before a mob of far-right insurrectionists — including members of the Proud Boys, QAnon supporters, White nationalists and members of various militia groups — violently stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, then-President Donald Trump held a "Save America" rally in Washington, D.C.'s Ellipse Park. Trump and his allies showed a propaganda video at that event, and according to Yale University professor Jason Stanley — author of the book "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them" — that video was full of fascist themes.
Stanley has made no secret of the fact that he considers Trumpism a fascist movement. In an article published by Just Security on February 4, the Yale professor identifies some of the overtly fascist themes in the video presented at the Save America Rally.
"On January 6," Stanley explains, "Trump supporters gathered at a rally at Washington D.C.'s Ellipse Park, regaled by various figures from Trumpworld, including Donald Trump, Jr. and Rudy Giuliani. Directly following Giuliani's speech, the organizers played a video. To a scholar of fascist propaganda, well-versed in the history of the National Socialists' pioneering use of videos in political propaganda, it was clear, watching it, what dangers it portended. In it, we see themes and tactics that history warns pose a violent threat to liberal democracy. Given the aims of fascist propaganda — to incite and mobilize — the events that followed were predictable."
NEW A movie was shown at the Ellipse on 1/6. It's escaped attention. Until now. We asked a top expert on propagan… https://t.co/UzIExOEwPK— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman)1612445788.0
Fascism, according to Stanley, "is a patriarchal cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by a treacherous and power-hungry global elite, who have encouraged minorities to destabilize the social order as part of their plan to dominate the 'true nation,' and fold them into a global world government."
Such themes, Stanley stresses, were "laid bare in the video" that Trump and his allies showed at the Save America Rally.
"In it, Trump is repeatedly represented as the nation's father figure," Stanley notes. "It is laced through with images of masculinity, and mournful loss at the hands of traitors, clearly justifying a violent restoration of recent glory."
In the video, Stanley adds, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is now Senate majority leader, "is wearing a Kente cloth, an image evocative of Ku Klux Klan ideology — that Jews support Black liberation movements as a way to undermine White rule and destroy the nation. The next frame shows the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, flanked by two Jewish congressmen, Representatives (Jerry) Nadler and (Adam) Schiff. Pelosi, too, is controlled by Jews…. Fascist propaganda creates an awesome sense of loss, and a desire for revenge against those who are responsible."
Although Stanley draws parallels between Trump's video and Nazi Germany propaganda of the 1930s, he stresses that Trumpism is a distinctly American brand of fascism.
Stanley explains, "Fascism is not an ideology consigned to Europe. Black American intellectuals from W.E.B. Du Bois to Toni Morrison have spoken of American fascism. America has a long history of anti-Semitism similar to Nazi anti-Semitism, central to the ideology not just of the Ku Klux Klan, but to Henry Ford's 'The International Jew.' In its American version, communist Jews supposedly use Black liberation movements, control of Hollywood, and labor unions to destroy the nation in the service of a global elite. We should not be surprised at all by the rise of a fascist movement in the United States."
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