1932 vs 2022
The ‘last chance’ election
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 20th, 2022
Back in the 1930s a lot of industrialists, not just in Germany but among most of the western democracies, gave aid and support to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Germany. The Nazis. Part of it was fear of communism. They had seen a successful revolution in Russia, and the popularity of communist and less extreme socialist parties was on the rise as the world was in the grip of a seemingly unending depression. Capitalism had suffered an economic collapse, and capitalists are like housecats: they consider themselves wholly independent and self-reliant and are totally oblivious to their complete need for the system that supports them.
In America, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt and the First One Hundred Days that prevented complete and utter economic collapse. Few people know that the day FDR took office, one third of American states were accepting script in lieu of American currency. Despite that, as the nation slowly and painfully backed away from the precipice, capitalists tried an abortive coup against FDR just months into his first term.
They felt that the solutions offered by Hitler were more likely to save them, and possibly the nation, than those offered by FDR. Then, like now, they had a disgraced General to be the face of the revolution: Smedley Butler then, and Michael Flynn now. Many of the same families that fed money and resources into the coup attempt then—the Bush family, the Morgans, the Scaifes, the DuPonts—now support MAGA.
They knew the odds of overthrowing the US government were slim, but they had promoted the Nazi Party. The reasoning then was the same as the reasoning their 21st century correlates have now: they knew they were supporting an erratic megalomaniac and risked totally destabilizing the country and throwing an already divided and desperate population into a nightmare age, but they believed that they could control the monster, stop some of his excesses, and ensure that he didn’t destroy his entire country, taking them down with him. They were wrong then. There is little reason to hope they won’t be wrong now.
As was the case then, they played up economic desperation, trumped-up fears of “others”, and vast amounts of propaganda to bend popular sentiment.
The problem is that had Trump or Hitler been working in a political vacuum, hated and reviled by the vast majority of the population, then they would have been able to control them, although that’s little guarantee that the results would have been much better. Capitalists by nature are fascist, and fascists are cruel, incompetent, and corrupt. Always. Without exception.
After four years of the most inept, dishonest and vicious administration, perhaps in all of US history, Trump was still able to attract over 74 million votes. His party is riddled with Trump acolytes, some of whom are certifiable lunatics. Which is why you have states declaring foetuses to be people, or banning the mention of the existence of transsexuals, or declaring openly that they will challenge any election they don’t win, but not any they do win. At least two Congressional candidates—one of whom is an incumbent—have the unanimous opposition of their own families, who are begging the public to reject their own flesh and blood on the grounds that they are destructive and dangerous maniacs. Both are MAGA Republicans, of course. Ron DeSantis has taken up shipping people and stranding them, only a step removed from sending them to camps. House Minority Leader McCarthy has said he will cut aid to Ukraine, and Republicans are promising to force defaults on the debt unless Democrats agree to the same draconian economic policies that bombed the British economy and got Liz Truss tossed from office after just 45 days.
Remember, America doesn’t have a Parliamentary democracy. There are no votes of no-confidence, no easy mechanism to remove the stupid and the dangerous. We’re pretty much stuck with them. And America’s one brake on congressional and state misgovernance, the courts, have been badly suborned by the Republicans. Most judges are honest, but that’s not true of the Supreme Court, which is now run by fascists and religious nuts.
Comparisons between MAGA and the Nazis, between Germany in 1932 and America right now, are not hyperbole. In both cases, you have powerful moneyed interests working hard to appeal to the disaffected with vicious propaganda and promises to make the country great, spearheaded by a vicious charlatan who openly flaunts his personal viciousness and ethical, moral bankruptcy.
If Republicans take over the House, it’s all over. Abortion will be banned nationwide. Gays and transgenders are next on the chopping block, followed by Muslims, immigrants, Hispanics and other minorities. More books will burn. More workers rights will vanish, along with consumer protections. Major oil companies will decide what is best for us to know about the burning of fossil fuels. And your vote will be utterly pointless because the Republicans will control how those votes are counted.
In three weeks, we’ll know if the US has a future or not, and if we have a future or not. Remember Germany in 1932, and try to turn back now. There won’t be any other chances.