If You Really Believe Trump Is A Fascist, It Is Your Moral Duty To Violently Resist — Right Now

Let’s not sugarcoat this. If you sincerely believe a fascist has just been elected president of the United States, you have attendant moral obligations. These obligations are effective immediately.

First, you have an obligation to violently resist. This means you should be out organizing armed squadrons comprised of combatants prepared to use lethal force against Trump and his enablers. Underground support networks would be required to sustain the violent resistance movement. You should be organizing a cell in your locality and then negotiating back-channel communication methods with other cells, so that coordinated violent resistance can be carried out. This is an absolutely urgent priority. You should drop everything else going on in your life — jobs, families, school — and immediately take steps to ensure that the violent resistance campaign can be activated as soon as humanly possible.

Now: let me be absolutely clear. I do not believe Trump is a fascist. I’ve been consistent in that belief ever since he began running. I prefer to label Trump a “petty authoritarian” — the term “fascist” has always struck me as spectacularly inapplicable. Here’s what I tweeted in June.

OK, so now that has come to pass. The logical conclusion one must draw from the belief that a fascist has seized power in the United States — and will thereby command the most powerful military in the history of the world — is that immediate extreme tactics are required to block him from taking the reins of state. It doesn’t matter if this violates “norms” or tosses the Constitution in the trash: what matters most is protecting the American citizens who’d be exterminated under his rule, and the people abroad who’d be invaded and subjugated in fulfillment of his tyrannical vision.

As usual, Freddie DeBoer got it exactly right back then:

Oddly, those who professed to believe that Trump is a “unique fascist menace” were content at that time to sit around and wait for November, when Glorious Hillary would send Trump back to Mar-a-Lago in ignominious defeat. Wrong again, Bob.

The fact that the “TRUMP IS A FASCIST!!!!” pundit crowd nevertheless declined to make any preparations to violently counteract Trump indicated that they never really believed he was a fascist in the first place: they were just using overblown rhetoric to rile people up. Which is irresponsible and shameful: they should be permanently censured for doing this.

The entire failed pundit class was oh-so-sure that Trump had no chance of winning, so at the same time they were screaming that he was a “fascist,” the most tangible resistance they were willing to engage in was sitting on Twitter preening for their clever colleagues about how Bad (with a capital B) Trump was. Additional resistance strategies included refreshing the FiveThirtyEight forecast every 20 minutes.

So now let’s see if they ever believed their rhetoric. (I doubt it.)

Here’s something I wrote in August on the moral obligations incumbent on people who sincerely believe that they are facing down a fascist threat. I’d encourage you to go read it in its entirety.

In particular, this quote:

If it’s true that Trump is a fascist on the order of Hitler — meaning that he is 270 electoral votes away from appropriating the mechanisms of the most powerful state in world history to fulfill his catastrophic vision — then whatever forces might have incubated or enabled him along the way are not just worthy of condemnation, but outright purging. Think of all the forces that this would include. Firstly, Trump gained a national profile most centrally due to his primetime TV slot from 2004 to 2015 on The Apprentice, a television program aired by NBC Universal, one of the most influential (and thoroughly mainstream) media companies in the United States. If NBC Universal was found to be the central abettor of world-destroying fascism, then they are in for a kind of reckoning that must go far beyond internal self-reflection and maybe reputational sanction. (Also, let’s not kid ourselves: if a fascist took the reins of state in America, that would be a world-destroying event.) NBC Universal executives would be in for a level of reprisal comparable to what German industry tycoons who aided the rise of Hitler faced in the aftermath of the Third Reich. So, Nuremberg-level recriminations — expropriation, expurgation, etc.

Please tell me where I’m wrong.

But again, none of these obligations are incumbent on you if, like me, you reject the notion that Trump is a fascist and have all along.

On November 4, I discussed whether Trump is a fascist with Richard Yeselson, a scholar of political theory. We both agreed that no, Trump is not a fascist, and further agreed that declining to characterize him as a “fascist” shouldn’t be taken as any kind of defense of Trump. There’s plenty bad about Trump without reaching for the totally unwarranted “fascist” label.

So, with that all said, here are some people of note who have called Trump a fascist. Are they out organizing the resistance brigades? Assuming they are able-bodied, it would be their unambiguous moral obligation to do so. So what have they been up to for the past week? There’s not much time left.

The incredibly smug and pathetic writer Jonathan Katz:

Neocon luminary and staunch Hillary supporter Robert Kagan:

The failed Slate writer Jamelle Bouie:

Cenk Uygur from the Young Turks:

Robert Reich:

Andrew Sullivan:

Jamil Smith:

Martin O’Malley:

Believe me when I say I could find many, many more examples.

OK, so…now what? What are these people going to do? Sit around and send more angry tweets? That’s their response to fascism prevailing in America?

Furthermore, if Trump is a fascist as claimed, it’d be odd that Obama essentially repudiated that line of thinking yesterday:

Has Obama thus “normalized” a fascist? If so, doesn’t that mean he’s also an enabler of fascism? Should he be arrested and jailed too, along with Trump?

Look, there are definite dangers of a Trump presidency. Trump is bad in a lot of ways. He has authoritarian tendencies. He has disregard for certain “norms.” But he’s not a fascist. George W. Bush erected a worldwide torture regime, illegally invaded Iraq, and unleashed mass surveillance on a scope never before seen in human history. Still: George W. Bush was not a fascist. Obama has deported more people than any president ever, but he’s still not a fascist.

Get a grip.