Trumpista militias

M….S……, from Northwest Olympia
December 16, 2016
Does anyone know anything about the four armed men walking on Capitol Blvd in downtown Olympia around 2 pm today, carrying an American flag and a huge Trump flag?

I suspect this is related to that troop of young boys I saw running around Capitol Lake with the flag that said “Trump’s Troops”. I stopped and questioned them. They stated that they were in training to help the government find the “illegal aliens” and “Islamic terrorists” and “drag them out of their houses”.

“To do what?” I wondered.

The first sign of the development of a true fascist state is the development of a private army or paramilitary group which responds to the perceived decisions of the supreme leader, the national ideology or certain extreme tendencies within the ruling elite. Examples of this can be found in such entities as the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (MVSN, “Voluntary Militia for National Security”), commonly called the Blackshirts in Facist Italy; the Sturmabteilung, (SA or brownshirts) in Nazi Germany, Ansar-e Hizbullah in modern day Iran, and the so called the Grey Wolves (Bozkurtlar or Ülkü Ocakları) in Turkey.

These groups operate to intimidate those groups within society who are going to be the future targets of the state in the future, but who are not yet officially announced “state enemies”. Their actions and the response help to gauge public opinion by engaging in provocative acts including violence or physical attacks on those future targets. They are usually permitted to operate with a free hand by the police or local authorities, another sign that the official organs of the state are permitting this kind of conduct.

This is not without historical precedent in this country. A similar organization in the United States was the Silver Legion of American, a 1930’s paramilitary white-supremacist, antisemitic group modeled after Hitler’s Brownshirts; the members of the Silver Legion wore a silver shirt with a tie along with a campaign hat and blue corduroy trousers with leggings, and a big red “L” on their shirt. They were suppressed after Pearl Harbor by the US Government and their compound in Los Angeles was seized. Their predecessors in this country include the American Legion (originally derived from a paramilitary group called the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen, an anti-IWW company union organized directly by the U.S.Army during WWI in an effort to curb the influence of the Industrial Workers of the World in the lumber camps of Washington and Oregon). It is no historical coincidence that this recent event happened in Olympia; the first groups of the American Legion were in the Olympia/Centralia area, mobilized after the 1919 Centralia Massacre made it clear that the IWW was not going to be marginalized of intimidated by unorganized vigilante groups such as the one that attacked the union hall in November 1919 during the Armistice Day parade. American Legion Post No. 1 and 2 were organized in the Seattle/Olympia area in response to both the Centralia Massacre of 1919 and the Seattle General Strike of 1919. The Legion lobbied for the passage of the “criminal syndicalism” laws that outlawed the IWW, and they participated in mobs that attacked suspected members of the IWW on the streets of Olympia and burned the homes of suspected supporters (while the police and fire departments stood by).

It is not coincidence that there has been a campaign to organize young (pre-puberty teenagers) by the Trumpistas, just as the Hitler Youth were organized in the same age groups (11-14). I noticed that several of the young boys who I observed wore small gold crucifixes. There is a direct relationship between the recruitment of these children and the ideology of hate that is behind this kind of movement.

The counterpart adult fascist paramilitaries frequently target those who are perceived to have “deviant” sexual or religious orientations, such as gays, lesbians, trans people or even independent (single or unmarried) women, as well as Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and Latinos. There have already been a spate of these kinds of attacks that have been reported on social media and YouTube. These are seemingly uncoordinated attacks on various individuals by groups of white men, remarks or comments directed towards Muslims, gays and blacks by individual white men. What appears to be uncoordinated is really a symptom of a larger, and as of yet unorganized fascist mindset in our culture.

The fascist mindset originates, as Wilhelm Reich correctly points out, in the suppression of the natural sexuality of children. It is no coincidence that the first group that I observed was a group of young boys. This kind of sexual repression is rife in American Protestant Evangelical thinking and the practice of the American Christian Right. This kind of repression (by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child), produces a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. When this is combined with the false/Fox news cycle it forms a new authoritarian orientation which is unlike the kind we have seen evidenced on the right in the recent past. In brief, modern American white Christian sexual suppression produces an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation that they have to endure. At first the child has to submit to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state found in the family and patriarchy; this lays the foundation for later subordination to the general authoritarian system that the Trumpistas promote. When armed with an ideology of racism, sexism, classist perspectives and pro-corporate messages fueled by false news and an ahistorical re-writing of events. This produces an unquestioning foot soldier for these fascist paramilitary groups.

The other important factor which explains the psychology of these largely male militia groups who will be drawn to the Trumpista message is general decline of white working class men’s economic position relative to that of women of the same general socio-economic status.  While it is still the case that women earn about 80% of what men do; that they are paid less for the same or similar occupations, it is also the case that women’s participation in the labor force has increased by about 30% since the early 1970’s; they have entered both traditionally “male” occupations and they frequently predominate in some of the new technical fields that did not exist 30 or 40 years ago.  This process has accelerated the “valiorization” of female labor and it has occurred largely as the result of corporate and government action which is perceived as hostile by many white men.  As the participation of women has increased, the power of patriarchy as a system of control has been seriously challenged and replaced by a system of “coercive control” which involves layers of management in the workplace performing HR functions, “diversity training”, centralized planning  etc.  These are positions that are often held by women; so for many white working class men, they are now experiencing a women manager who is enforcing rules or controls that are perceived to be “unnecessary”.

Reich proposes that this early childhood sexual repression makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient and subservient to authority, which is to say “good” and well-adjusted in the authoritarian sense. However the mere presence of any kind of deviation from what they perceive to be “normative” behavior or physical appearances in the society around them produces anxiety and fear. The strong father figure (Trump) assures them that he will sooth their anxiety by eliminating those who are disturbing from their view.

This is why there is such a suburban/urban dichotomy that we see played out on this most recent election and in various social memes that are playing out on social media. Cities are associated with the presence of blacks, Latinos, gays, headscarf wearing Muslims, which frightens and produces anxiety in these repressed adult men who are the product of this kind of background. This is the reason that there is an almost primal attack on those who are “different” or who can be demonized as “Un-American” on the part of the Trumpista forces; the combination of the economic forces at work in the society, the narrowing of jobs for largely uneducated white working class men and this kind of primal fear based reaction originating in the childhood sexual repression is a potent combination. The development and growth of these militias, paramilitary forces who support Trump and his ideology will be the first telltale sign of where we are headed.


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