Speaking to an audience at Howard University 25 years ago, Toni Morrison warned: "The genius of fascism lies in the fact that any political structure can host the virus, and virtually any developed country offers an adequate culture broth."
More current than ever, in the United States and Brazil, the speech given at the university he graduated, founded in Washington to receive black students, is the basis of “Racism and fascism”, an essay published in hacksaw # 32 in July 2019 , one month before his death.
It is less for premonition than for acute critical and historical awareness that Morrison lists ten fundamental steps for the implantation, always slow and gradual, of a regime of force, exclusion and death. “The movement towards the final solution is not a leap”, observes the author of Amada and The Blue Eye, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Let us not forget that, before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second, even a third. The move towards the final solution is not a leap. It requires an initial step, followed by another, and another one. Maybe something like this:
1. Build an internal enemy, to serve both as a focus and as something to divert attention what you want to hide.
2. Isolate and demonize this enemy, triggering and protecting the practice of verbal offenses and blatant or indirect insults. Use personal attacks as legitimate accusations against the enemy.
3. Recruit and create information sources and disseminators willing to reinforce the demonization process because it is profitable, because it offers power or simply because it works.
4. Segregate all art forms; monitor, discredit or expel anyone who challenges or destabilizes the demonization and deification processes.
5. Sabotage and slander all representatives and sympathizers of the enemy so constructed.
6. Look for enemies among allies who agree with the expropriation process and can contribute to “cleaning it up”.
7. Use academic publications and mass media to characterize the enemy as a pathology; for example, recycle scientific racism and myths of racial superiority to relate the pathology to certain segments of the population.
8. Turn enemies into criminals. Then, providing the appropriate budgetary resources and explaining your need, prepare the facilities the enemy will be confined, especially men and without a doubt their children.
9. Reward indifference and apathy with monumental diversions and small pleasures and seductions: a few minutes on a television program, a few lines in a newspaper article; crumbs of apparent success; the illusion of power and influence; some fun, moderate doses of style and importance.
At any cost, keep silent.
In 1995, racism wore new clothes and bought a new pair of boots, but neither he nor fascism, the succubus who is his twin, are new or can do something new. Together, they are only able to reproduce the environment that sustains their own health: fear, denial and an atmosphere in which the victims have lost the will to fight.
The forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems are not in this or that political party, in one or another wing of a given party. Democrats are unable to present an immaculate history of egalitarianism. Nor are liberals exempt domination projects. Republicans housed white abolitionists and supremacists in their midst. Conservative, moderate, liberal; right, left, extreme left, radical right; religious, secular, socialists - we must not be blinded by these Pepsi and Coca-Cola labels, as the genius of fascism is that any political structure can host the virus, and virtually any developed country offers an adequate culture broth . Fascism uses the rhetoric of ideology, but it is in fact a marketing phenomenon, the propaganda of power.
He is recognizable by the need to purge, by the strategies he uses to purge, and by his dread of truly democratic projects. It is recognizable for its determination to convert all public services into private companies, all non-profit organizations into profitable ventures - so that the narrow but protective chasm between the government and private businesses disappears. It turns citizens into taxpayers - so that individuals become angry even at the notion of the public good. It turns neighbors into consumers - so that our value as human beings is not measured by benevolence, compassion or generosity, but by our possessions. It makes child rearing a constant source of panic - so we vote against the interests of our own children, against their health, their education, their safety against the use of weapons. And, by provoking all these these changes, fascism produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being in exchange for some commodity (a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car) or to kill generations to gain control of many commodities (oil, drugs, fruits, gold).
When our fears are all turned into episodes in a series, our creativity censored, our ideas brought to market, our rights sold, our intelligence reduced to slogans, our strength exhausted, our privacy auctioned off; when life is completely transformed into staging, entertainment, commerce, then we will find ourselves living not in a nation, but in a consortium of industries in which we will be totally unintelligible to each other, except for what we can see through a dark screen.
Translation of Jorio Dauster | Serrote Magazine / IMS. Source: IMS / Serrote Magazine