Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1088 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 3.

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing our look at the rise and suc­cess of fas­cism around the world, we again high­light the roles of both the inter­net and relat­ed tech­nolo­gies and anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment in that polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy’s ascent.

In Brazil, the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment received deci­sive momen­tum from YouTube, which is trans­form­ing the polit­i­cal land­scape in Brazil, as it is in this coun­try.

We begin this show with review of this impor­tant arti­cle, recapped from our pre­vi­ous pro­gram and empha­siz­ing two fun­da­men­tal aspects of the role of the inter­net and relat­ed tech­nolo­gies in the growth and ascent of fas­cism.

YouTube has played a deci­sive role in the rise of Jair Bol­sa­naro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment in Brazil, and fig­ures to aug­ment his regime with more politi­cians of his stripe.

Two dom­i­nant ele­ments of YouTube fas­cism are what The New York Times describes as “An Ecosys­tem of Hate” and “The Dic­ta­tor­ship of The ‘Like.’ ”

“. . . . An Ecosys­tem of Hate

. . . . As the far right rose, many of its lead­ing voic­es had learned to weaponize the con­spir­a­cy videos, offer­ing their vast audi­ences a tar­get: peo­ple to blame. Even­tu­al­ly, the YouTube con­spir­acists turned their spot­light on Deb­o­ra Diniz, a women’s rights activist whose abor­tion advo­ca­cy had long made her a tar­get of the far right.

Bernar­do Küster, a YouTube star whose home­made rants had won him 750,000 sub­scribers and an endorse­ment from Mr. Bol­sonaro, accused her of involve­ment in the sup­posed Zika plots. . . . .

. . . . As far-right and con­spir­a­cy chan­nels began cit­ing one anoth­er, YouTube’s rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem learned to string their videos togeth­er. How­ev­er implau­si­ble any indi­vid­ual rumor might be on its own, joined togeth­er, they cre­at­ed the impres­sion that dozens of dis­parate sources were reveal­ing the same ter­ri­fy­ing truth.

“It feels like the con­nec­tion is made by the view­er, but the con­nec­tion is made by the sys­tem,” Ms. Diniz said.

Threats of rape and tor­ture filled Ms. Diniz’s phone and email. Some cit­ed her dai­ly rou­tines. Many echoed claims from Mr. Küster’s videos, she said.

Mr. Küster glee­ful­ly men­tioned, though nev­er explic­it­ly endorsed, the threats. That kept him just with­in YouTube’s rules.

When the uni­ver­si­ty where Ms. Diniz taught received a warn­ing that a gun­man would shoot her and her stu­dents, and the police said they could no longer guar­an­tee her safe­ty, she left Brazil. . . .

. . . . ‘The Dic­ta­tor­ship of the Like’

Ground zero for pol­i­tics by YouTube may be the São Paulo head­quar­ters of Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which formed to agi­tate for the 2016 impeach­ment of the left-wing Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff. Its mem­bers trend young, mid­dle-class, right-wing and extreme­ly online.

Renan San­tos, the group’s nation­al coor­di­na­tor, ges­tured to a door marked ‘the YouTube Divi­sion’ and said, ‘This is the heart of things.’

Inside, eight young men poked at edit­ing soft­ware. One was styl­iz­ing an image of Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni for a video argu­ing that fas­cism had been wrong­ly blamed on the right. . . .

. . . . The group’s co-founder, a man-bunned for­mer rock gui­tarist name Pedro D’Eyrot, said “we have some­thing here that we call the dic­ta­tor­ship of the like.”

Real­i­ty, he said, is shaped by what­ev­er mes­sage goes most viral.
Even as he spoke, a two-hour YouTube video was cap­ti­vat­ing the nation. Titled “1964” for the year of Brazil’s mil­i­tary coup, it argued that the takeover had been nec­es­sary to save Brazil from com­mu­nism.
Mr. Dominguez, the teenag­er learn­ing to play gui­tar, said the video per­suad­ed him that his teach­ers had fab­ri­cat­ed the hor­rors of mil­i­tary rule.

Ms. Borges, the his­to­ry teacher vil­i­fied on YouTube, said it brought back mem­o­ries of mil­i­tary cur­fews, dis­ap­peared activists and police beat­ings.
“I don’t think I’ve had my last beat­ing,” she said. . . .

Next, the pro­gram resumes analy­sis of Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­dut­va fas­cism and relat­ed “Boseian revi­sion­ism.”

Mod­i’s gov­ern­ment, and the BJP and Hin­dut­va fas­cist RSS for which it fronts: are embrac­ing the anti-immi­grant xeno­pho­bia com­mon to so many of today’s bur­geon­ing fas­cist move­ments; have tol­er­at­ed the anoint­ing of Gand­hi’s assas­sin as a “patri­ot;” are imple­ment­ing a full-blown Hin­dut­va fas­cism in India.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ro Khan­na’s rejec­tion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism; the promi­nent role in the Hin­dut­va milieu in Amer­i­ca of Tul­si Gab­bard, a key cog in the Bernie Sanders machine; Saikat Chakrabar­ti’s ref­er­enc­ing of FDR in his fund-rais­ing attempts for the “Green New Deal;” review of Chakrabar­ti’s affin­i­ty for promi­nent Indi­an fas­cist Sub­has Chan­dra Bose; the Hong Kong pro­test­ers’ embrace of Pepe the Frog; Steve Ban­non’s cen­tral role in the anti-Chi­na move­ment.

1. In recent pro­grams, we have exam­ined the pro­found role of online tech­nol­o­gy in the pro­mo­tion of fas­cism, as well as over­lap­ping areas of intel­li­gence activ­i­ty. In that con­text, it is vital to remem­ber that the Inter­net was devel­oped as a weapon, with the focus of the tech­nol­o­gy being coun­terin­sur­gency. In Brazil, the rise of Jair Bol­sonaro’s fas­cist gov­ern­ment received deci­sive momen­tum from YouTube, which is trans­form­ing the polit­i­cal land­scape in Brazil, as it is in this coun­try.

We begin this show with review of this impor­tant arti­cle, recapped from our pre­vi­ous pro­gram.

“How YouTube Rad­i­cal­ized Brazil” by Max Fish­er and Aman­da Taub; The New York Times; 8/11/2019.

. . . . In col­or­ful and para­noid far-right rants, Mr. Moura accused fem­i­nists, teach­ers and main­stream politi­cians of wag­ing vast con­spir­a­cies. Mr. Dominguez was hooked.

As his time on the site grew, YouTube rec­om­mend­ed videos from oth­er far-right fig­ures. One was a law­mak­er named Jair Bol­sonaro, then a mar­gin­al fig­ure in nation­al pol­i­tics — but a star in YouTube’s far-right com­mu­ni­ty in Brazil, where the plat­form has become more wide­ly watched than all but one TV chan­nel. Last year, he became Pres­i­dent Bol­sonaro.

‘YouTube became the social media plat­form of the Brazil­ian right,’ said Mr. Dominguez, now a lanky 17-year-old who says he, too, plans to seek polit­i­cal office. . . .

“. . . . An Ecosys­tem of Hate

. . . . As the far right rose, many of its lead­ing voic­es had learned to weaponize the con­spir­a­cy videos, offer­ing their vast audi­ences a tar­get: peo­ple to blame. Even­tu­al­ly, the YouTube con­spir­acists turned their spot­light on Deb­o­ra Diniz, a women’s rights activist whose abor­tion advo­ca­cy had long made her a tar­get of the far right.

Bernar­do Küster, a YouTube star whose home­made rants had won him 750,000 sub­scribers and an endorse­ment from Mr. Bol­sonaro, accused her of involve­ment in the sup­posed Zika plots. . . . .

. . . . As far-right and con­spir­a­cy chan­nels began cit­ing one anoth­er, YouTube’s rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem learned to string their videos togeth­er. How­ev­er implau­si­ble any indi­vid­ual rumor might be on its own, joined togeth­er, they cre­at­ed the impres­sion that dozens of dis­parate sources were reveal­ing the same ter­ri­fy­ing truth.

“It feels like the con­nec­tion is made by the view­er, but the con­nec­tion is made by the sys­tem,” Ms. Diniz said.

Threats of rape and tor­ture filled Ms. Diniz’s phone and email. Some cit­ed her dai­ly rou­tines. Many echoed claims from Mr. Küster’s videos, she said.

Mr. Küster glee­ful­ly men­tioned, though nev­er explic­it­ly endorsed, the threats. That kept him just with­in YouTube’s rules.

When the uni­ver­si­ty where Ms. Diniz taught received a warn­ing that a gun­man would shoot her and her stu­dents, and the police said they could no longer guar­an­tee her safe­ty, she left Brazil. . . .

. . . . ‘The Dic­ta­tor­ship of the Like’

Ground zero for pol­i­tics by YouTube may be the São Paulo head­quar­ters of Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which formed to agi­tate for the 2016 impeach­ment of the left-wing Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rouss­eff. Its mem­bers trend young, mid­dle-class, right-wing and extreme­ly online.

Renan San­tos, the group’s nation­al coor­di­na­tor, ges­tured to a door marked ‘the YouTube Divi­sion’ and said, ‘This is the heart of things.’

Inside, eight young men poked at edit­ing soft­ware. One was styl­iz­ing an image of Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni for a video argu­ing that fas­cism had been wrong­ly blamed on the right.

But even some peo­ple here fear the platform’s impact on democ­ra­cy. Mr. San­tos, for exam­ple, called social media a “weapon,” adding that some peo­ple around Mr. Bol­sonaro “want to use this weapon to pres­sure insti­tu­tions in a way that I don’t see as respon­si­ble.”

The group’s co-founder, a man-bunned for­mer rock gui­tarist name Pedro D’Eyrot, said “we have some­thing here that we call the dic­ta­tor­ship of the like.”

Real­i­ty, he said, is shaped by what­ev­er mes­sage goes most viral.
Even as he spoke, a two-hour YouTube video was cap­ti­vat­ing the nation. Titled “1964” for the year of Brazil’s mil­i­tary coup, it argued that the takeover had been nec­es­sary to save Brazil from com­mu­nism.
Mr. Dominguez, the teenag­er learn­ing to play gui­tar, said the video per­suad­ed him that his teach­ers had fab­ri­cat­ed the hor­rors of mil­i­tary rule.

Ms. Borges, the his­to­ry teacher vil­i­fied on YouTube, said it brought back mem­o­ries of mil­i­tary cur­fews, dis­ap­peared activists and police beat­ings.
“I don’t think I’ve had my last beat­ing,” she said.

2a. Naren­dra Mod­i’s Regime is real­iz­ing a dom­i­nant fas­cist strat­a­gem: scape­goat­ing immi­grants and call­ing them “infil­tra­tors who were eat­ing the coun­try like ter­mites”. Modi and com­pa­ny are using this sup­posed threat to jus­ti­fy remov­ing sub­stan­tial por­tions of the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion (unless they can prove they have the right paper­work, which in some cas­es is dif­fi­cult to repro­duce due to minor cler­i­cal errors on doc­u­ments dat­ing back to the ear­ly 1970s). This process poten­tial­ly affects: Mus­lims, women and the poor dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly as part of India’s gov­ern­men­tal effort to weed out “for­eign infil­tra­tors”. The arti­cle also reports that India’s home affairs min­is­ter has said his gov­ern­ment “will not allow a sin­gle ille­gal immi­grant to stay” amid out­cry over a cit­i­zen­ship reg­istry in Assam that could leave almost 2 mil­lion peo­ple state­less. The pur­pose appears to be to strip auton­o­my from India’s Kash­mir region.:

“Not a Sin­gle Ille­gal Immi­grant Will Stay, Says India after Assam Reg­is­ter Excludes Mil­lions” by Guardian Staff; The Guardian; 9/8/2019.

Threat comes after con­tro­ver­sial project in bor­der state that forced 33 mil­lion res­i­dents to prove their her­itage

India’s home affairs min­is­ter has said his gov­ern­ment “will not allow a sin­gle ille­gal immi­grant to stay” amid out­cry over a cit­i­zen­ship reg­is­ter in Assam that could leave almost 2 mil­lion peo­ple state­less.

The com­ment were made by Amit Shah dur­ing a vis­it to the bor­der state. The home affairs min­istry, para­phras­ing Shah’s speech, said he was sat­is­fied with the “time­ly com­ple­tion of the process”.

Over the past four years, about 33 mil­lion peo­ple in Assam have been forced to prove they are cit­i­zens by demon­strat­ing they have roots in the state dat­ing to before March 1971. Shah, prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s right-hand man, has pre­vi­ous­ly said India must act against “infil­tra­tors who were eat­ing the coun­try like ter­mites”.

Lawyers have raised seri­ous con­cerns over the process, which they say has wrong­ly exclud­ed peo­ple on the basis of minor cler­i­cal errors in decades-old doc­u­ments. There are fears that Mus­lims, women and the poor­est com­mu­ni­ties could be the worst affect­ed.

Senior fig­ures in the Hin­du-nation­al­ist Bharatiya Jana­ta par­ty (BJP) had so far shied away from com­ment­ing on the list, pub­lished on 30 August.

Modi’s gov­ern­ment had backed the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of Cit­i­zens (NRC), say­ing it was aimed at weed­ing out “for­eign infil­tra­tors”.

Dur­ing his vis­it, Shah was expect­ed to be urged by the local BJP lead­er­ship to pass leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect the rights of peo­ple it says are gen­uine cit­i­zens exclud­ed from the list.

While there are no clear answers as to how or why indi­vid­u­als have been includ­ed or exclud­ed, bureau­crat­ic bungling amid the moun­tains of paper­work appears to be one fac­tor.

Assam shares two sec­tions of bor­der with Bangladesh and has long seen influx­es of migrants.

Shah did not make fur­ther com­ments about the NRC. Those left off the reg­is­ter have 120 days to appeal at for­eign­ers tri­bunals, and if they fail, they can appeal against that deci­sion through the courts.

The nation­al gov­ern­ment has stressed that those omit­ted will not become state­less.

Touch­ing on New Delhi’s con­tentious move on 5 August to strip auton­o­my from Kash­mir, Shah said his gov­ern­ment would not revoke anoth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al clause for sev­er­al states – most in the north­east.

The Arti­cle 371 clause, which also cov­ers Assam, is aimed at pre­serv­ing the local cul­ture of those states. “I have clar­i­fied in par­lia­ment that this is not going to hap­pen and I am say­ing it again today in Assam,” he said.

Oppo­si­tion politi­cians had ques­tioned Modi’s gov­ern­ment on whether those spe­cial rights would also be scrapped after the Kash­mir move.

2b. The rela­tion­ship between polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion and the rise of fas­cism is fun­da­men­tal and has been the focal point of much of Mr. Emory’s work over the decades. A recent devel­op­ment in India under­scored the con­ti­nu­ity between the Hin­dut­va fas­cist RSS’s pri­ma­ry role in engi­neer­ing the assas­si­na­tion of Mahat­ma Gand­hi and the dom­i­nance of Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP in that nation. (The BJP is a polit­i­cal cat’s paw for the RSS.)

” . . . . On Thurs­day, Pragya Singh Thakur, a par­lia­men­tary can­di­date from India’s rul­ing Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty, or BJP, said in response to a ques­tion from a reporter that Godse ‘was, is and will remain a patri­ot.’  Thakur’s state­ment sparked a cho­rus of con­dem­na­tion, but it accu­rate­ly reflects the views of right-wing Hin­du extrem­ists. . . .”

As dis­cussed at length in FTR #‘s 988 and 989, Nathu­ram Godse was the RSS trig­ger man who mur­dered Gand­hi, and was the fall guy in what was a well-doc­u­ment­ed and mas­sive RSS con­spir­a­cy to elim­i­nate the Mahat­ma.

Expound­ing on the rise of Hin­dut­va fas­cism in India, an arti­cle in The Nation details the depra­da­tions that the Hin­dut­va forces have exe­cut­ed, with impuni­ty, under Mod­i’s reign.

” . . . . Thakur, like Modi, is a pro­po­nent of a far-right mil­i­tant ide­ol­o­gy called Hin­dut­va, which was invent­ed in the 1920s by an all-male vig­i­lante group called the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh. Its founders cor­re­spond­ed with Adolf Hitler and met with Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni in 1929 to mod­el their par­ty along fas­cist lines. A mem­ber of the group assas­si­nat­ed Mahat­ma Gand­hi in 1948. . . . Modi has . . .  shift­ed his rhetoric from fight­ing cor­rup­tion to gen­er­at­ing hate. . . Under Modi, India hit its high­est rate of unem­ploy­ment in 45 years. . . . A mas­sive stu­dent and farm­ers move­ment grew, and Modi’s gov­ern­ment retal­i­at­ed. Stu­dents and pro­fes­sors were false­ly arrest­ed, the press was muz­zled, and mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion were charged with cor­rup­tion. One jour­nal­ist, two writ­ers, and a dis­sent­ing judge were killed. . . . . The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the fam­i­ly of an 8‑year-old Mus­lim girl, who was alleged­ly raped by the care­tak­er of a Hin­du tem­ple, was forced to with­draw after repeat­ed threats and intim­i­da­tion by BJP lead­ers. The father of a 17-year-old Dalit girl who says a BJP leader raped her was arrest­ed on false charges and died mys­te­ri­ous­ly in a police sta­tion. . . . the sim­ple truth: Modi is lay­ing the foun­da­tion of a fas­cist Hin­dut­va state, one which was first envi­sioned by the founders of the RSS. . . . For demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly mind­ed Indi­ans, the stakes couldn’t be high­er. On one side is the lega­cy of Gand­hi and on the oth­er is lit­er­al­ly the lega­cy of those who assas­si­nat­ed Gand­hi. . . .”

Indi­an Politi­cian Calls the Man Who Killed Mahat­ma Gand­hi a ‘Patri­ot’” by Joan­na Slater; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 05/16/2019

With just days remain­ing in India’s mam­moth nation­al elec­tions, the polit­i­cal debate has veered into an unlike­ly and inflam­ma­to­ry top­ic: the assas­si­na­tion of beloved inde­pen­dence leader Mahat­ma Gand­hi.

Gand­hi, who led a non­vi­o­lent strug­gle to free India from British colo­nial rule, was fatal­ly shot in 1947. His assas­sin was Nathu­ram Godse, a Hin­du extrem­ist who believed Gand­hi had betrayed Hin­dus in the nego­ti­a­tions over Indi­an inde­pen­dence and the cre­ation of Pak­istan.

On Thurs­day, Pragya Singh Thakur, a par­lia­men­tary can­di­date from India’s rul­ing Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty, or BJP, said in response to a ques­tion from a reporter that Godse “was, is and will remain a patri­ot.”

Thakur’s state­ment sparked a cho­rus of con­dem­na­tion, but it accu­rate­ly reflects the views of right-wing Hin­du extrem­ists. One fringe group cel­e­brat­ed the anniver­sary of Gandhi’s death ear­li­er this year.

Thakur is per­haps the most con­tro­ver­sial can­di­date con­test­ing the elec­tions. She is out on bail as she faces tri­al on ter­ror­ism charges relat­ed to a blast in 2008 that killed six peo­ple and injured more than 100. She has denied the charges.

Despite the charges, the BJP chose Thakur to run for a seat in Bhopal, the cap­i­tal of the state of Mad­hya Pradesh. Senior par­ty lead­ers have attend­ed her cam­paign events and endorsed her run for office, which appears to be the first time a major par­ty in India has field­ed a can­di­date accused of involve­ment in a ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cy.

On Thurs­day, a spokesman for the par­ty dis­tanced the BJP from Thakur’s lion­iza­tion of Gandhi’s assas­sin. “We strong­ly con­demn this par­tic­u­lar state­ment,” G.V.L Narasimha Rao told reporters. Thakur, he said, should offer a “pub­lic apol­o­gy.”

Ran­deep Sur­je­w­ala, a spokesman for the oppo­si­tion Con­gress par­ty, said in a state­ment that Thakur’s com­ment “crossed all lim­its” and called for her with­draw­al from the race. “India’s soul is again under attack,” he said.

Godse, Gandhi’s assas­sin, was once a mem­ber of the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh, or RSS, a stri­dent Hin­du nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tion that is the par­ent of the BJP. After Gand­hi was killed, the group was briefly out­lawed. In recent decades, it has moved from the fringes of pub­lic debate in India to the main­stream. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi spent most of his career as an RSS orga­niz­er.

Dur­ing the cam­paign, Modi has crit­i­cized mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion for using the term “Hin­du ter­ror” to describe alleged acts of vio­lence by Hin­du extrem­ists, say­ing there was not a sin­gle such inci­dent in thou­sands of years of his­to­ry. On Sun­day, Kamal Haasan, an oppo­si­tion politi­cian in the south­ern state of Tamil Nadu, retort­ed that inde­pen­dent India’s “first extrem­ist was a Hin­du: Nathu­ram Godse.”    . .  . .

3. An arti­cle in The Nation encap­su­lat­ed the rise of Modi and his episod­ic insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of Hin­dut­va fas­cism in India.

   “A Modi Vic­to­ry Puts India’s 200 Mil­lion Mus­lims in Dan­ger” by Ruchi­ra Gup­ta; The Nation; 05/21/2019

On Thurs­day, India will announce elec­tion results that could put the country’s 200 mil­lion Mus­lims in dan­ger. Over the last five and a half weeks, more than 500 mil­lion Indi­ans vot­ed in an elec­tion that will deter­mine whether Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s ultra-nation­al­ist Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty will return to pow­er. If exit polls are to be believed, Modi and the BJP seem set to win a ter­ri­fy­ing man­date.

One can­di­date for Par­lia­ment in par­tic­u­lar illus­trates the grow­ing extrem­ism of the BJP. In Bhopal, a city of 1.8 mil­lion peo­ple, Modi per­son­al­ly endorsed Pragya Singh Thakur, who is out on bail after almost nine years in jail for alleged involve­ment in a ter­ror­ist bomb­ing that killed six Mus­lims.

She denies hav­ing any­thing to do with the 2008 attacks, but says a curse she placed on the inves­ti­gat­ing police offi­cer result­ed in his mur­der.

Thakur’s main elec­tion plank appears to be revenge against Indi­an Mus­lims for 400-year-old humil­i­a­tions. At her cam­paign launch, she boast­ed that 27 years ago she helped demol­ish a 16th-cen­tu­ry mosque in north­ern India: “I climbed atop the struc­ture and broke it, and I feel extreme­ly proud that God gave me this oppor­tu­ni­ty.”

Thakur, like Modi, is a pro­po­nent of a far-right mil­i­tant ide­ol­o­gy called Hin­dut­va, which was invent­ed in the 1920s by an all-male vig­i­lante group called the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh. Its founders cor­re­spond­ed with Adolf Hitler and met with Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni in 1929 to mod­el their par­ty along fas­cist lines. A mem­ber of the group assas­si­nat­ed Mahat­ma Gand­hi in 1948.

On the cam­paign trail, Thakur said Gandhi’s assas­sin “was a patri­ot, is a patri­ot, and will remain a patri­ot.” While the remark pro­voked out­rage even among the BJP mem­bers, many Indi­ans memed and mes­saged on social media endors­ing Thakur’s stand. Prais­ing Gandhi’s killer may have been a step too far for the par­ty, but if the BJP wins big, it will not be because they shied away from Hin­du nation­al­ism.

By nom­i­nat­ing an alleged ter­ror­ist as a law­mak­er, Modi has made his party’s agen­da clear. He’s shift­ed his rhetoric from fight­ing cor­rup­tion to gen­er­at­ing hate. Five years ago, the RSS helped lead the BJP to an out­right major­i­ty in Par­lia­ment as a “clean and prin­ci­pled” alter­na­tive to the “crim­i­nal” Con­gress par­ty. His promise to make India great again appealed to both big busi­ness and unem­ployed youth. Dur­ing his tenure, Modi pri­va­tized and sold state com­pa­nies to multi­na­tion­als, made it eas­i­er for con­glom­er­ates to acquire cheap land in indige­nous areas, cut tax­es for cor­po­ra­tions, can­celed edu­ca­tion and health sub­si­dies for mar­gin­al­ized groups, and signed near­ly 200 deals for the pur­chase of arms from dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Many ordi­nary Indi­ans, how­ev­er, were plunged into an eco­nom­ic night­mare. Under Modi, India hit its high­est rate of unem­ploy­ment in 45 years. Self-employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties declined when Modi dig­i­tized India’s cash-based econ­o­my in an overnight move called “demon­e­ti­za­tion.” Between 2014 and 2016, 36,320 farm­ers killed themselves—an aver­age of 33 sui­cides per day.

A mas­sive stu­dent and farm­ers move­ment grew, and Modi’s gov­ern­ment retal­i­at­ed. Stu­dents and pro­fes­sors were false­ly arrest­ed, the press was muz­zled, and mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion were charged with cor­rup­tion. One jour­nal­ist, two writ­ers, and a dis­sent­ing judge were killed.

To jus­ti­fy the state ter­ror, Modi turned to Islam­o­pho­bia with dis­as­trous con­se­quences across soci­ety. Mobs marched into pri­vate res­i­dences in search of young peo­ple in inter-faith rela­tion­ships. These self-styled “anti-Romeo” squads ter­ror­ized Mus­lim and Dalit youth for befriend­ing Hin­du girls and detained hun­dreds of young men from minor­i­ty groups. In June, a mob in Kash­mir beat police offi­cer to death after an alter­ca­tion.

Vig­i­lantes raped Dalit, Mus­lim, and Adi­vasi girls with impuni­ty. The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the fam­i­ly of an 8‑year-old Mus­lim girl, who was alleged­ly raped by the care­tak­er of a Hin­du tem­ple, was forced to with­draw after repeat­ed threats and intim­i­da­tion by BJP lead­ers. The father of a 17-year-old Dalit girl who says a BJP leader raped her was arrest­ed on false charges and died mys­te­ri­ous­ly in a police sta­tion.

Human Rights Watch reports that between May 2015 and Decem­ber 2018, cow vig­i­lantes lynched at least 44 people—including 36 Muslims—suspected of eat­ing beef or trad­ing in cat­tle. In one case in 2016, a group beat to death a Mus­lim cat­tle trad­er and a 12-year-old boy trav­el­ing to an ani­mal fair in Jhark­hand. Their bad­ly bruised bod­ies were found hang­ing from a tree with their hands tied behind them. Instead of try­ing to keep Mus­lims safe, the gov­ern­ment announced a nation­al com­mis­sion to pro­tect cows in Feb­ru­ary 2019. Police often stalled pros­e­cu­tions of the attack­ers, while sev­er­al BJP politi­cians pub­licly jus­ti­fied the attacks. Com­men­ta­tors accuse Modi of nor­mal­iz­ing big­otry by refus­ing to con­demn such acts. The Pew Research Cen­ter has ranked India the fourth-worst coun­try in the world for reli­gious intolerance—after Syr­ia, Nige­ria, and Iraq.

Modi estab­lished a mas­sive dig­i­tized iden­ti­ty-card sys­tem, which links the reti­na scans and fin­ger­prints of mil­lions of cit­i­zens to basic gov­ern­ment ser­vices. Fears that it could turn India into a sur­veil­lance state are under­stand­able. . . .

. . . . Much of the West­ern media still down­play Modi’s assault on civ­il lib­er­ties. They are reluc­tant to state the sim­ple truth: Modi is lay­ing the foun­da­tion of a fas­cist Hin­dut­va state, one which was first envi­sioned by the founders of the RSS. That shouldn’t be sur­pris­ing; The RSS recruit­ed Modi to their cause when he was just 8 years old.

RSS work­ers have been appoint­ed to high-rank­ing posi­tions in cru­cial gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions like the Reserve Bank, the Supreme Court, and the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion. New text­books are replac­ing fac­tu­al his­to­ry and sci­ence with Hin­dut­va mythol­o­gy and sym­bols.

This elec­tion will decide whether India will con­tin­ue more steeply down the path of right-wing Hin­dut­va nation­al­ism or return to some of its past ideals of sec­u­lar­ism and eco­nom­ic poli­cies intend­ed to uplift the lives of poor and work­ing peo­ple.

For demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly mind­ed Indi­ans, the stakes couldn’t be high­er. On one side is the lega­cy of Gand­hi and on the oth­er is lit­er­al­ly the lega­cy of those who assas­si­nat­ed Gand­hi. India is turn­ing its back on non­vi­o­lence. In his final ral­ly, Modi told his audi­ence that when you vote for the BJP, “you are not push­ing a but­ton on a [vot­ing] machine, but press­ing a trig­ger to shoot ter­ror­ists in the chest.”

Yet opin­ion polls sug­gest Thakur, an actu­al accused ter­ror­ist, could win a seat in Par­lia­ment with the BJP. . . .

4a. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ro Khan­na of (Fre­mont) Cal­i­for­nia has tak­en the lead in attack­ing Hin­dut­va fas­cism and its adher­ents in the U.S. Pri­ma­ry among the lat­ter is Tul­si Gab­bard, a major cog in the Bernie Sanders machine.

“Op-Ed: Ro Khan­na Rejects Hin­dut­va, Launch­es New Debate for South Asian Amer­i­cans;” San Jose Inside; 9/3/2019.

. . . . Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na (D‑Fremont) tweet­ed the fol­low­ing on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every Amer­i­can politi­cian of Hin­du faith to stand for plu­ral­ism, reject Hin­dut­va, and speak for equal rights for Hin­dus, Mus­lims, Sikhs, Bud­dhist & Chris­tians.” . . . .

. . . .  Fur­ther, Modi and the Hin­dut­va move­ment have set upon a path to influ­ence U.S. pol­i­cy from with­in the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem, which brings us to recent events.

Last month, Car­a­van pub­lished a long­form exposé by South Asian ana­lyst, Pieter Friedrich. The arti­cle sourced and detailed decades of Hin­dut­va orga­niz­ing in the US and their devel­op­ment of polit­i­cal allies. At the top of that list is Con­gress­woman Tul­si Gab­bard, also a can­di­date for the US pres­i­den­cy, who has cul­ti­vat­ed deep ties to the Hin­dut­va move­ment. She attends their events in India and the US, solic­its mon­ey from Amer­i­can Hin­dut­va orga­niz­ers, and even invit­ed their lead­ers to her inti­mate wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny. As an appar­ent term of that bar­gain, she does not engage in crit­i­cism of the Indi­an gov­ern­ment and often advo­cates its posi­tions dur­ing US pol­i­cy debates.

On Aug. 12, the author of the Car­a­van arti­cle tweet-replied to a Gab­bard cam­paign post, pro­vid­ing a link to the piece. Khan­na also replied. The exchange is pro­vid­ed below:

Khanna’s state­ment was imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nized by South Asian politi­cos as a seis­mic shift in Indo-cen­tric pol­i­tics. He is the high­est rank­ing Amer­i­can elect­ed offi­cial of Indi­an ori­gin, with a deep under­stand­ing of and con­nec­tion to South Asian pol­i­tics, and, yet, he stat­ed in deci­sive moral terms that the dom­i­nant polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy of India must be reject­ed as a mat­ter of fun­da­men­tal human rights. . . .

4b. Intro­duc­ing the patent­ed “Dave Emory Weight Loss Pro­gram!” Read the fol­low­ing and it is guar­an­teed to reduce appetite and calo­rie con­sump­tion. In fact, it might make you want to f* puke!

Saikat Chakrabar­ti, appar­ent acolyte of promi­nent Indi­an fas­cist Sub­has Chan­dra Bose, is cit­ing FDR’s efforts in mobi­liz­ing the U.S. for the Sec­ond World War in a fund-rais­ing solic­i­ta­tion for–you guessed it–AOC and her fel­low ringers in “The Squad.”

On Mon­day, Decem­ber 10, 2018, 2:45 PM, Saikat Chakrabar­ti (via JusticeDemocrats.com) <us@list.justicedemocrats.com> wrote:

Jus­tice Democ­rats | It’s #Our­Time

Roger –

Over the last few months, Jus­tice Democ­rats and pro­gres­sives in Con­gress have done some­thing incred­i­ble — we have seized the atten­tion of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, and brought a Green New Deal to the fore­front of our nation­al dis­course.

It hasn’t been easy. Every cor­ner of the estab­lish­ment has cried out that the Green New Deal is “a nice orga­niz­ing tac­tic,” but claims that we need to revert back to “what’s pos­si­ble.” In their view, our ambi­tion is mere­ly fan­ta­sy. But that’s only because they don’t remem­ber what we’ve been capa­ble of before.

In 1940, we stood on the precipice of cat­a­stro­phe — star­ing into the dark­ness pre­sent­ed by the rise of fas­cism. FDR saw what need­ed to be done, and called for the cre­ation of an arse­nal of democ­ra­cy: 185,000 planes, 120,000 tanks, 55,000 anti-air­craft guns, 18 mil­lion tons of mer­chant ship­ping.

Hitler thought it was just Amer­i­can pro­pa­gan­da. CEOs, gen­er­als, busi­ness lead­ers, you name it — every­one believed it wasn’t pos­si­ble for a nation that had pro­duced few­er than 3,000 planes just one year ear­li­er to achieve glob­al super­pow­er sta­tus.

They were all wrong. Through the pow­er of our col­lec­tive will, we blew past FDR’s ‘unre­al­is­tic goals,’ and con­front­ed the dark­ness of fas­cism togeth­er. We came togeth­er as a nation, and we achieved the impos­si­ble because that is what our real­i­ty demand­ed.

Today, we con­front anoth­er form of dark­ness: the cli­mate cat­a­stro­phe that we have just 12 years to save our­selves from. And the free mar­ket is not com­ing to save us — it wasn’t in 1940, and it is not in 2018.

Togeth­er, we must fight cli­mate change with bold, unprece­dent­ed action with­out delay. But we need your help to do it:

Jus­tice Democ­rats is fight­ing along­side pro­gres­sive cham­pi­ons nation­wide to pass a Green New Deal, and get rid of incum­bents who refuse to lis­ten to the people’s demands. Con­tribute $3 to sup­port our mis­sion today.

Con­tribute $3 »

This is why peo­ple across the coun­try are com­ing to ral­ly around Alexan­dria, Ayan­na, and oth­er new pro­gres­sives in Con­gress — because they’re will­ing to call for what is need­ed, not just what is ‘pos­si­ble.’

In sol­i­dar­i­ty

Saikat Chakrabar­ti

7. Mov­ing from the top­ic of fas­cism in India to the major pres­ence of fas­cism in the tur­moil engulf­ing Chi­na and Hong Kong, we note a sto­ry about Pepe the Frog–a fas­cist icon around the world–being adopt­ed by the “pro-democ­ra­cy” forces in Hong Kong.

Although The New York Times–predictably–disses the notion that this indi­cates alt-right sen­ti­ment among the pro­test­ers, Steve Ban­non’s promi­nence in the anti-Chi­na effort sug­gests that the analy­sis may be pre­ma­ture.

As will be dis­cussed in future pro­grams, the Hong Kong dis­tur­bances are being dri­ven by social media, part of the weaponized com­mu­ni­ca­tion process that spawned the inter­net and is part and par­cel to the rise of fas­cism around the world.

“Hong Kong Pro­test­ers Love Pepe the Frog. No, They’re Not Alt-Right.” by Daniel Vic­tor; The New York Times; 08/19/2019

Ask the Anti-Defama­tion League, and they will tell you Pepe the Frog is a hate sym­bol, a cheer­leader of racism and anti-Semi­tism, a friend of alt-right extrem­ists. The sad, green frog is wide­ly viewed as tox­ic across the world, a sig­nal of a sin­is­ter and dan­ger­ous world­view.

So it can be a bit jar­ring to see Pepe in his new role: a pro-democ­ra­cy free­dom fight­er in the Hong Kong protests, sid­ing with the peo­ple in their strug­gle against an author­i­tar­i­an state. The pro­test­ers here hold signs with his image, use stick­ers of him in mes­sag­ing apps and dis­cus­sion forums, and even spray paint his face on walls.

Pro­tes­tors graf­fi­tied a “Press Pepe” at the Lennon Wall at Hong Kong’s Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment Office tonight. Civ­il ser­vants gonna see this in the morn­ing…#HongKong­Protests#antiELAB #antiELABhk #Pepe#PressPepe pic.twitter.com/xWxQFWLP5p

— Alex Hof­ford (@alexhofford) August 18, 2019

Does that mean that Hong Kong pro­test­ers are alt-right, or that they sup­port the racism he rep­re­sents?

The ques­tion con­fus­es many pro­test­ers, many of whom had no idea about the symbol’s racist con­no­ta­tions else­where in the world. They just like him.

“It has noth­ing to do with the far-right ide­ol­o­gy in the state,” one per­son wrote on LIHKG, an anony­mous forum that has been the cen­ter of dis­cus­sion for pro­test­ers. “It just looks fun­ny and cap­tures the hearts of so many young­sters. It is a sym­bol of youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in this move­ment.”

Mari Law, a 33-year-old pro­test­er, knows how Pepe is per­ceived else­where, but said it did not mat­ter because Pepe did not car­ry the same tox­ic rep­u­ta­tion in Hong Kong. Most of the pro­test­ers don’t know about the alt-right asso­ci­a­tion, he said.

“To me, Pepe is just a Hel­lo Kit­ty-like char­ac­ter,” he said.

Few Hong Kongers have shown aware­ness online about Pepe’s sin­is­ter side. There has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion about what sym­bol­ism he car­ries, and in the few occa­sions it has been point­ed out, it has most­ly been met with a shrug.

To Hong Kongers, he is just one of them. A stick­er pack for mes­sag­ing apps like Telegram and What­sApp depict Pepe wear­ing the pro­test­ers’ sig­na­ture yel­low hel­met, sur­round­ed by tear gas or hold­ing antigov­ern­ment signs. He has also been trans­formed into a first aid work­er and a jour­nal­ist hold­ing an iPhone.

Emi­ly Yueng, 20, said she had no idea about Pepe’s check­ered past. After she learned, she won­dered if maybe she and oth­er pro­test­ers ought to stop hand­ing out posters with his image at the air­port.

“But still, dif­fer­ent coun­tries have very dif­fer­ent cul­tures,” she said. “Sym­bols and col­ors that mean some­thing in one cul­ture can mean some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent in anoth­er cul­ture, so I think if Amer­i­cans are real­ly offend­ed by this, we should explain to them what it means to us.”

Pepe was not always seen as a racist sym­bol. He was cre­at­ed more than a decade ago by Matt Furie, who killed off the char­ac­ter in 2017 after it was adopt­ed by the alt-right.

Mem­bers of the alt-right on forums like 4chan and cer­tain cor­ners of Red­dit had appro­pri­at­ed his image, much to Mr. Furie’s dis­may. He said the frog, per­pet­u­al­ly stoned, was meant to be pos­i­tive, and denounced any link to racist or fringe groups. . . .

8. As not­ed above, alt-right lumi­nary Steve Ban­non is piv­otal in shap­ing the anti-Chi­na move­ment sug­gests that the Hong Kong pro­test­ers’ adop­tion of Pepe the Frog may not be so inno­cent.

Also worth not­ing are the pres­ence in Ban­non’s anti-Chi­na pha­lanx of Uighur Islamists and Falun Gong cultists.

The Uighurs have pro­found links to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, al-Qae­da, NATO, the Dalai Lama’s milieu and Pan-Turk­ist fas­cists. They have open­ly engaged in ter­ror­ism as part of the desta­bi­liza­tion effort against Chi­na. We have dis­cussed these in past pro­grams and will resume this analy­sis in the imme­di­ate future.

In addi­tion, Team Ban­non includes the Falun Gong, a fas­cist mind con­trol cult that will be dis­cussed at greater length in our next pro­gram.

“A New Red Scare Is Reshap­ing Wash­ing­ton” by Ana Swan­son; The New York Times; 7/20/2019.

In a ball­room across from the Capi­tol build­ing, an unlike­ly group of mil­i­tary hawks, pop­ulist cru­saders, Chi­nese Mus­lim free­dom fight­ers and fol­low­ers of the Falun Gong has been meet­ing to warn any­one who will lis­ten that Chi­na pos­es an exis­ten­tial threat to the Unit­ed States that will not end until the Com­mu­nist Par­ty is over­thrown.

If the warn­ings sound straight out of the Cold War, they are. The Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger, a long-defunct group that cam­paigned against the dan­gers of the Sovi­et Union in the 1970s and 1980s, has recent­ly been revived with the help of Stephen K. Ban­non, the president’s for­mer chief strate­gist, to warn against the dan­gers of Chi­na.

Once dis­missed as xeno­phobes and fringe ele­ments, the group’s mem­bers are find­ing their views increas­ing­ly embraced in Pres­i­dent Trump’s Wash­ing­ton, where skep­ti­cism and mis­trust of Chi­na have tak­en hold. Fear of Chi­na has spread across the gov­ern­ment, from the White House to Con­gress to fed­er­al agen­cies, where Beijing’s rise is unques­tion­ing­ly viewed as an eco­nom­ic and nation­al secu­ri­ty threat and the defin­ing chal­lenge of the 21st cen­tu­ry.

“These are two sys­tems that are incom­pat­i­ble,” Mr. Ban­non said of the Unit­ed States and Chi­na. “One side is going to win, and one side is going to lose.” . . . .

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #1088 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 3.”

  1. Greet­ings Mr. Emory. I just want­ed to thank you for all the work you have done and con­tin­ue to do in expos­ing the myr­i­ad ways fas­cism and fas­cist dog­ma has crept its way into mod­ern cul­ture. The decades you’ve ded­i­cat­ed toward this effort is unmatched and it does­n’t look like the pow­ers that be are going to give you a vaca­tion any time soon.

    While I am a few decades your junior, I have been around the block a few times and might be bold enough to offer a small cri­tique regard­ing the arti­cle cit­ed above by Fish­er and Taub regard­ing the ‘rad­i­cal­iz­ing pow­er’ of YouTube’s das­tard­ly algo­rithms. I’d like to do this with a short anec­dote:

    One day I was inno­cent­ly watch­ing YouTube videos of a reporter inter­view­ing a pro­fes­sor named Christo­pher Simp­son about some­thing called Oper­a­tion Paper­clip. Next thing you know, it rec­om­mends me a chan­nel fea­tur­ing tin­foil-hat­ters who doubt the sin­gle bul­let the­o­ry, peo­ple who don’t believe Hus­sein had WMDs, and even some who think the Nazis are still around. A rab­bit hole of rad­i­cal­iza­tion!

    As if it could do no more evil, now it’s point­ing me to chan­nel of archived audio record­ings of a guy named Dave Emory inter­view­ing peo­ple like the afore­men­tioned Simp­son along with oth­er nutjobs like Michael Par­en­ti and Peter Laven­da.

    Man, those devi­ous algo­rithms got me to where I start­ed to think my gov­ern­ment has been lying to me about every­thing and for­ev­er. What kind of rad­i­cal was I becom­ing?!?

    If the sar­casm is too dry for you to detect, let me be clear– if it weren’t for my look­ing for cer­tain vids on YT about cer­tain things, its algo­rithm would­n’t have point­ed me in *your* direc­tion.

    It’s easy to take some­thing most lay­men can’t fath­om (i.e. algo­rithms) and turn it into some sort of evil manip­u­la­tive device. But to ascribe any moti­va­tion oth­er than a com­mer­cial one to the YT rec­om­men­da­tion algo­rithm is to play into this scare­mon­ger­ing.

    This isn’t even the first scare­mon­ger­ing arti­cle about YT rad­i­cal­iza­tion to find its way into the Grey Lady. It’s a run­ning theme in that rag, and a top­ic that main­stream media picks up and ampli­fies at every oppor­tu­ni­ty. Fol­low the mon­ey and you will know why- YT is drink­ing their adver­tis­ing milk­shakes.

    > June 8, 2019: The Mak­ing Of A TouTube Rad­i­cal

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/08/technology/youtube-radical.html

    Read this arti­cle from start to fin­ish then com­pare the sto­ry you read to the title they chose to run above it. How would you change the title to reflect more accu­rate­ly the sto­ry with­in?

    In short, the NY Times is a paper that’s good for wrap­ping fish in if you can’t find any­thing bet­ter.

    Posted by Baby Gerald | November 15, 2019, 6:49 pm
  2. @Baby Ger­ald–

    I think you missed the point.

    Algo­rithms point peo­ple toward “more of the same.”

    If you are look­ing for Chris Simp­son and sim­i­lar mate­r­i­al, you will be so direct­ed.

    If you are look­ing for fascist/“Alt right” mate­r­i­al, you will be so direct­ed.

    Your enthu­si­asm, how­ev­er, is appre­ci­at­ed.

    You might want to help out–http://spitfirelist.com/support-dave-emory/

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 16, 2019, 4:51 pm

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