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FTR #951 Fascism: 2017 World Tour

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The Yamato Dynasty [6]Intro­duc­tion: The events over­tak­ing the Unit­ed States are echoes of events occur­ring world­wide. This “2017 World Tour” exam­ines aspects of ascen­dant glob­al fas­cism, includ­ing his­tor­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal trends stretch­ing back to the World War II peri­od.

Yet anoth­er of the fascist/Nazi/racist influ­ences on Steve Ban­non is French writer Charles Mau­r­ras [7]. A doc­tri­naire anti-Semi­te, he was sen­tenced to life impris­on­ment for col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Third Reich.

Set­ting Mau­r­ras’s activ­i­ties in an his­tor­i­cal con­text, we recap an excerpt from FTR #372 [8] (August of 2002) detail­ing the French Fifth Col­umn [9] that sub­vert­ed the French mil­i­tary resis­tance to the armies of the Third Reich. Mau­r­ras’s L’Ac­tion Fran­caise was among the jour­nals influ­enc­ing French fas­cists, who saw the Ger­man inva­sion as a vehi­cle for elim­i­nat­ing democ­ra­cy and, at the same time, blam­ing the defeat on gov­ern­ment of Leon Blum, whose mur­der was advo­cat­ed by Mau­r­ras.

In Italy, Bepe Gril­lo’s Five Star Move­ment is lead­ing [10] in the polls, and may come out ahead in the 2018 elec­tions. Observers have seen the par­ty as an heir to Mus­solin­i’s black­shirts [10]. We note, in pass­ing, that the pop­ulist ide­al­ism offi­cial­ly endorsed by Five Star is sim­i­lar to aspects of many left-pop­ulist agen­das, while incor­po­rat­ing fea­tures of con­tem­po­rary fas­cist pol­i­tics.

Trav­el­ing north­ward, we observe the resus­ci­ta­tion [11] of Slo­va­kian fas­cism and the cel­e­bra­tion of Nazi quis­ling Josef Tiso’s World War II col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment. Social media/Facebook are a key ele­ment of the suc­cess of the “neo-Tiso’s.”

An American/Swedish axis, of sorts, man­i­fests as a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort [12] between Trumpenkampfver­bande sup­port­er Richard B. Spencer [13] and Daniel Friberg [14], a key fig­ure in the Swedish fas­cist milieu of Carl Lund­strom [15].

Trav­el­ing to Asia, we note the re-emer­gence of Japan­ese fas­cism, insti­tut­ed [16] in the Abe gov­ern­ment by orga­ni­za­tions like Nip­pon Kai­gi. In addi­tion to insti­tut­ing revi­sion­ist teach­ing in the Japan­ese edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, the Abe gov­ern­ment is cur­tail­ing that coun­try’s free press.

Sev­er­al of Abe’s cab­i­net min­is­ters are sup­port­ive [17] of Hitler’s elec­toral strat­e­gy, see­ing it as a blue­print for the imple­men­ta­tion of Japan­ese reaction–among them Tomo­mi Ina­da [18], the new defense min­is­ter.

The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at Naren­dra Mod­i’s Hin­du nationalist/fascist gov­ern­ment and it selec­tion [19] of a hard-line anti-Mus­lim big­ot to gov­ern the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1. Anoth­er of the fas­cist influ­ences on Steve Ban­non, Trump’s top strate­gist, is French anti-Semi­te and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Charles Mau­r­ras.

“Stephen Ban­non Is a Fan of a French Philoso­pher . . . . Who Was an Anti-Semi­te and a Nazi Sup­port­er” by Pema Levy; Moth­er Jones; 3/16/2017. [7]

Stephen Ban­non, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief strate­gist, recent­ly spoke approv­ing­ly of the ideas of an anti-Semit­ic French intel­lec­tu­al who was sen­tenced to life in prison for coop­er­at­ing with the Nazis dur­ing World War II.

In an arti­cle on Ban­non’s inter­ac­tions with Euro­pean right-wing nation­al­ists who want to break apart the Euro­pean Union, Politi­co report­ed last week that Ban­non has “expressed admi­ra­tion for the reac­tionary French philoso­pher Charles Mau­r­ras, accord­ing to French media reports con­firmed by Politi­co.” Recent arti­cles in French media claim Ban­non favor­ably cit­ed Mau­r­ras to a French diplo­mat. . . .

. . . . But Mau­r­ras was more than a nation­al­ist. He was an infa­mous anti-Semi­te, whose anti-Jew­ish views were cen­tral to his out­look. From 1908 to 1944, Mau­r­ras edit­ed the anti-Semit­ic paper L’Ac­tion Fran­caise, the organ of an epony­mous move­ment that was anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic and pro-monar­chy. The move­ment was born out of the Drey­fus Affair, an inter­na­tion­al con­tro­ver­sy in which an inno­cent Jew­ish sol­dier was con­vict­ed in 1894 of pass­ing secrets to the Ger­mans, a crime for which he was lat­er exon­er­at­ed. The move­men­t’s “found­ing prej­u­dice” was that Drey­fus was in fact guilty and that those who sup­port­ed him were under­min­ing France, accord­ing to Fred­er­ick Brown’s The Embrace of Unrea­son: France, 1914–1940. Mau­r­ras spent years writ­ing anti-Semit­ic arti­cles. He referred to the French gov­ern­ment, known as the Third Repub­lic, as “the Jew State, the Mason­ic State, the immi­grant State.”

In 1936, Mau­r­ras served eight months in prison for incit­ing the attempt­ed assas­si­na­tion of Jew­ish politi­cian Léon Blum and oth­er French offi­cials. Accord­ing to Car­men Callil’s Bad Faith: A For­got­ten His­to­ry of Fam­i­ly, Father­land and Vichy France, Mau­r­ras penned numer­ous arti­cles call­ing for Blum to be lynched and shot in the back and have his throat slit.

Mau­r­ras blamed World War II on the Jews, fault­ing them for the Ger­man occu­pa­tion of France. “The bar­barous occu­pa­tion of 1940 would not have tak­en place with­out the Jews of 1939, with­out their filthy war, the war they under­took and they declared: our occu­piers were intro­duced by them, it was the Jews who launched us into cat­a­stro­phe,” he wrote, accord­ing to 2001 arti­cle by Callil in the New States­man. Callil also not­ed that Mau­r­ras’ news­pa­per sup­port­ed the Nazis and “named names, hunt­ed down ene­mies, and called for hostages, resis­tants, Jews and Gaullists to be shot.” In his polit­i­cal col­umn dur­ing the war, Mau­r­ras wrote that “if the death penal­ty is not suf­fi­cient to put a stop to the Gaullists, mem­bers of their fam­i­lies should be seized as hostages and exe­cut­ed.”
At the end of the war, Mau­r­ras was sen­tenced to life in prison for com­plic­i­ty with the Nazis. He report­ed­ly called his con­vic­tion “Drey­fus’ revenge.” Due to his fail­ing health, he was released from prison short­ly before his death in 1952.

Accord­ing to Politi­co, Ban­non approv­ing­ly cit­ed Mau­r­ras’ dis­tinc­tion between what the French philoso­pher called the “real coun­try” of the peo­ple and the “legal coun­try” led by gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Mau­r­ras put Jews in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, accord­ing to Brown, and referred to all Jews as for­eign­ers. . . .

2a. Next, we excerpt part of FTR #372 [8], dis­cussing the French Fifth Col­umn to which Charles Mau­r­ras belonged.

The account of the actions of the French Fifth Col­umn relies heav­i­ly on the account pro­vid­ed by Pierre Cot, the French min­is­ter of avi­a­tion under the Leon Blum gov­ern­ment. In his 1944 book Tri­umph of Trea­son, Cot dis­cussed the sub­ver­sion of the French mil­i­tary resis­tance to the Ger­mans by mem­bers of the armed forces sym­pa­thet­ic to the fas­cist cause. The Vichy gov­ern­ment then under­took to pin the stun­ning mil­i­tary defeat on the Blum gov­ern­ment, instead of the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al activ­i­ties of some of its own sym­pa­thiz­ers.

Tri­umph of Trea­son; by Pierre Cot; Copy­right 1944 [HC]; Ziff-Davis; p. 14. [9]

. . . First of all, it was nec­es­sary to ‘pre­serve the hon­or of the Army.’ Gen­er­al Wey­gand thun­dered these words like a com­mand. He used, uncon­scious­ly, the same terms that lead­ers of the French Army had invoked dur­ing the Drey­fus affair to pre­vent pub­lic opin­ion from dis­cov­er­ing their crit­i­cal mis­takes. ‘Pre­serve the hon­or of the Army,’ to French mil­i­tary men, is to secure by every means-includ­ing those out­lawed by moral law and the Penal Code-the defense of the mil­i­tary cor­po­ra­tion.

The ques­tion of the respon­si­bil­i­ty of mil­i­tary lead­ers in the mil­i­tary defeat of France either had to be evad­ed or posed in dis­tort­ed terms. To ‘pre­serve the hon­or of the Army,’ the scape­goats of the defeat had to be cho­sen from the polit­i­cal per­son­nel of the Third Repub­lic. . .

2b. The com­bi­na­tion of inep­ti­tude and delib­er­ate sub­ver­sion by ele­ments of the armed forces was rel­a­tive­ly well known at the time.

Ibid.; pp. 14–16. [9]

. . . In truth, at the end of June, 1940, the ques­tion of who was respon­si­ble was in every­one’s mind. In the two weeks pre­ced­ing the armistice, I was in touch with the crowd of refugees that slow­ly and painful­ly fol­lowed the roads south­ward. In the offices of the pre­fects, in the town halls, restau­rants, and relief cen­ters, I lis­tened to many con­ver­sa­tions received many con­fi­dences, heard many opin­ions. Opin­ions dif­fered on gov­ern­men­tal pol­i­cy, but all agreed in denounc­ing the blun­ders of the French Gen­er­al Staff. The coun­try was unan­i­mous, not against Blum, Dal­adier, or me, nor even against Laval, Pierre-Eti­enne Flandin, Georges Bon­net, or Jacques Dori­ot, but against the gen­er­als who had been inca­pable of under­stand­ing the con­di­tions of mod­ern war­fare and who were guilty of not know­ing the rudi­ments of their pro­fes­sion. ‘Just as before 1914 they had pre­pared for the war of 1870,’ the peo­ple said, ‘before 1939 they pre­pared for the war of 1914.’ . . .

. . . .The sever­est con­dem­na­tion came from the sol­diers. Lost on the roads in pur­suit of dis­persed divi­sions and phan­tom reg­i­ments, thrown togeth­er with the refugees whose uncer­tain­ties and anx­i­eties they share, the men in uni­form cursed the con­duct of their lead­ers. They repeat­ed that they nev­er had been schooled in the tech­niques of mod­ern war­fare, espe­cial­ly in the com­bined use of tanks and avi­a­tion, and they were amazed at the inept­ness of their com­man­ders in the bat­tles of May and June. They asked why the Meuse and Seine bridges had not been blown up before the arrival of Ger­man motor­ized columns; why Paris had not been defend­ed street by street, as the Span­ish Repub­li­cans had defend­ed Madrid (and as the Rus­sians were to defend Stal­in­grad); and they want­ed to know why more than half of the tanks and air­planes had been left in the rear-in Orleans, Toulouse, Lyon, North Africa-instead of being massed for a coun­ter­at­tack that might have changed every­thing. They knew that the depots were burst­ing with the can­non, air­planes, and equip­ment they had need­ed. . . .

. . . . One began to hear quot­ed the dis­turb­ing remarks with which Gen­er­al Wey­gand had tried to per­suade the cab­i­net to ask for an armistice: that he need­ed his tanks to mas­ter the rev­o­lu­tion­ary ele­ments, if it should become nec­es­sary. That is to say, the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the French Army pre­ferred fight­ing French work­ers to throw­ing all his forces against the Ger­man troops. The sol­diers praised the brav­ery of cer­tain lead­ers-Giraud, Lestien, De Gaulle, Lucien, Delat­tre de Tas­signy, and many oth­ers-but they declared that most of the offi­cers had been the first to flee. ‘They left in auto­mo­biles and we left on foot,’ they said, talk­ing about those offi­cers, faith­ful fol­low­ers of l’Ac­tion Fran­caise, [Ban­non influ­ence Charles Mau­r­ras’s publication–D.E.] Je Suis Partout, Gringoire, and oth­er Fas­cist news­pa­pers which had said in var­i­ous forms, dur­ing the win­ter, that this was a demo­c­ra­t­ic war and con­se­quent­ly did not inter­est them. . . .

. . . Their anger was legit­i­mate. It was inex­plic­a­ble, after all, that the Gen­er­al Staff, after decid­ing to aban­don Paris and thus open­ing the east to the Ger­mans, had not ordered the troops which occu­pied the Mag­inot Line to fall back toward the south. More than a mil­lion men, the best of the French Army, were caught in the Ger­man trap, a dis­as­ter which could have been pre­vent­ed by an order from Gen­er­al Wey­gand. . .

. . . . By its com­po­si­tion, the gov­ern­ment of Vichy was rep­re­sen­ta­tive not of the French peo­ple but of the Gen­er­al Staff. Its first cab­i­nets were head­ed by Petain, the spir­i­tu­al leader of the French Army, the man who had played the most impor­tant part in the prepa­ra­tion of the war and in the for­ma­tion of the Gen­er­al Staff. And these cab­i­nets were com­posed large­ly of mem­bers of the Gen­er­al Staff-Gen­er­al Wey­gand, Gen­er­al Pujo, Admi­ral Dar­lan, Gen­er­al Huntzinger, Gen­er­al Berg­eret, and Admi­ral Pla­ton. As the French proverb says, ‘the wolves do not eat each oth­er’! . . .

2c. Cot dis­cuss­es in detail the appoint­ment of Cagoulard fas­cists to posi­tions of influ­ence with­in the Vichy gov­ern­ment, in addion to the use of Fifth Col­umn activ­i­ty by fas­cists in the 1930s and 1940s. (AFA 10 [22] con­tains an account of the 1934 coup attempt in the Unit­ed States by pow­er­ful eco­nom­ic inter­ests who hat­ed Franklin Roo­sevelt’s New Deal.)

Ibid.; pp. 17–18. [9]

. . . . To their aston­ish­ment the French peo­ple saw Petain slow­ly fill the most impor­tant posts of author­i­ty in local, depart­men­tal, and cen­tral admin­is­tra­tions with men who had tak­en part in the Cagoulard plot, with those who had repeat­ed the infa­mous refrain ‘rather Hitler than Leon Blum,’ and even with some of those who before or dur­ing the war had been arrest­ed for trea­son­able domes­tic and for­eign activ­i­ties. The peo­ple were apply­ing to the gov­ern­ment the old proverb, ‘tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.’ They were alarmed to see Vichy employ for its most del­i­cate mis­sions Fer­di­nand de Brinon, Jean Mon­tigny, Jean Goy, Jean Luchaire, and Gas­ton Hen­ry-Haye-mem­bers of the Comite France-Alle­magne, an orga­ni­za­tion which, before the war, had been inspired and financed by Otto Abetz, after 1940 Hitler’s Ambas­sador in Paris.

They learned with fury that on the night of the armistice, when France was in mourn­ing, French­men and French­women of the aris­toc­ra­cy, high finance, and indus­try had drunk at Bor­deaux to the defeat which had rid them of the night­mare of democ­ra­cy and the Pop­u­lar Front. The peo­ple under­stood that the Fifth Col­umn in France, as in Spain, had opened the door to Hitler’s agents. And they watched with awe the agents of the Fifth Col­umn become mas­ters of France, the France of Petain, Wey­gand, and Laval.

The activ­i­ty of the Fifth Col­umn will not be con­sid­ered by his­to­ri­ans a spe­cial phe­nom­e­non of French pub­lic life, but as an inte­gral part of Fas­cism. The Fifth Col­umn has appeared wher­ev­er Fas­cism has tried to gain a foothold. It was at work in Spain, Aus­tria, and Czecho­slo­va­kia before it turned up in France, and there are Fifth Columns in the Unit­ed States, India, and Latin Amer­i­ca. By the Fifth Col­umn I do not mean only spies and licensed trai­tors. The Fifth Col­umn includes all who, by accept­ing fas­cist doc­trines or meth­ods, become the con­scious or uncon­scious accom­plices of a for­eign pow­er. Trea­son and com­plic­i­ty have their degrees and nuances. The Gen­er­al Staff of the Fifth col­umn con­sists prin­ci­pal­ly of ambi­tious men who try to seize pow­er by destroy­ing or par­a­lyz­ing the demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem.

The body of the Fifth Col­umn is com­posed of peo­ple who think they are sav­ing their coun­try from the ‘com­mu­nist men­ace’ or from ‘British impe­ri­al­ism,’ and who do not even know in whose favor their actions are oper­at­ing. Through hate of the Poplar Front, good French­men, or men who con­sid­ered them­selves such, served Hitler gra­tu­itous­ly by doing work to which they would nev­er have con­sent­ed, had they had been offered pay­ment. Why? Because they detest­ed the Repub­lic and democ­ra­cy more than they loved France.

They accept­ed the idea of the defeat as a nec­es­sary evil which per­mit­ted them to rid France of the demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem and to keep in pow­er, in the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, the Fas­cist dic­ta­tors whom they con­sid­ered sole­ly capa­ble of main­tain­ing order in Europe. They then became uncon­scious col­lab­o­ra­tors of these dic­ta­tors. They thought they were doing their duty in let­ting Hitler free France from the ‘Judeo-Mason­ic’ influ­ence, and Europe from the Com­mu­nist per­il. . . .

. . . .They pre­ferred the risks of an entente with a vic­to­ri­ous Hitler to the risks of a demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry that would cause the col­lapse of the Fas­cist dic­ta­tors in Europe. Con­sid­er­ing Hitler in Ger­many, Mus­soli­ni in Italy, and Fran­co in Spain as knights of an anti-Bol­she­vist cru­sade, they became pre­cur­sors and lat­er par­ti­sans of ‘col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hitler’s New Order.’ . . .

2d. More about Cot’s account of the Fifth Col­umn:

Ibid.; pp. 62–64. [9]

 . . . . Enough evi­dence has been pub­lished already to prove that France was stabbed in the back by those who saw in Hitler the new St. George who would slay the Com­mu­nist drag­on. When Pierre Lazareff, for­mer edi­tor-in-chief of Paris Soir (the French news­pa­per with the widest cir­cu­la­tion), reports roy­al­ists as say­ing: ‘We need the defeat to wipe out the Repub­lic;’ when Elie Bois, for­mer edi­tor of the Petit Parisien (the most influ­en­tial polit­i­cal news­pa­per), reports great indus­tri­al­ists ad admit­ting to him, dur­ing the win­ter of 1939–1940, that a plot had been orga­nized to replace the demo­c­ra­t­ic regime by a ‘gov­ern­ment of author­i­ty’ and that this plot pre­sup­posed a Nazi vic­to­ry. . .We have every rea­son to accept their affir­ma­tions, which tal­ly so per­fect­ly with the events. . . .

. . . . No, France received no excep­tion­al treat­ment from Hitler and Fas­cism. A gen­er­al plan coor­di­nat­ed the activ­i­ty of the Fifth Columns all over the world. All were recruit­ed from the same cir­cles and had the same social and polit­i­cal com­po­si­tion. The object was the same every­where: to divide and unnerve pub­lic opin­ion, weak­en the resis­tance of the regime, and pre­pare a gov­ern­men­tal group ready to exe­cute a Fas­cist coup d’e­tat at a moment of trou­ble or con­fu­sion. The meth­ods were the same every­where: cul­ti­va­tion of the seeds of dis­uni­ty which nor­mal­ly exist among free men and in free coun­tries, exag­ger­a­tion and inflam­ma­tion of all racial and reli­gious con­flicts, all class rival­ries, all polit­i­cal antag­o­nisms, grad­ual con­ver­sion of oppo­si­tion and dis­sent into hate, cre­ation of an atmos­phere of civ­il war. The means used were the same every­where: cam­paigns of calum­ny against the demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers capa­ble of oppos­ing Fas­cism (Blum in France, Roo­sevelt in the Unit­ed States), the devel­op­ment of anti-Semi­tism, because anti-Semi­tism is the first man­i­fes­ta­tion of racism and con­tains in pet­to the whole doc­trine of Hitler, use of the fear of Com­mu­nism among the mid­dle class­es, because anti-Com­mu­nism is the best way to pre­vent the union of all anti-Fas­cist forces. This last device has been the most effi­ca­cious; the fear of Com­mu­nism has become, in Euro­pean and Amer­i­can pol­i­tics of recent years, a much more impor­tant fac­tor than Com­mu­nism itself. . . .

3. Here’s a reminder that even if the EU makes it through 2017 with­out one of the nation­al elec­tions hand­ing the far-right a major vic­to­ry, there’s always 2018! [10]

“Italy’s 5‑Star Builds Strong Lead over Renzi’s PD in Polls” by Crispi­an Balmer; Reuters3/21/2017. [10]

Italy’s anti-estab­lish­ment 5‑Star Move­ment, ben­e­fit­ing from a split in the rul­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (PD) and divi­sions in the cen­ter-right, has built a strong lead over its rivals, an opin­ion poll showed on Tues­day.

The Ipsos poll in Cor­riere del­la Sera news­pa­per put the 5‑Star, which wants a ref­er­en­dum on Italy’s mem­ber­ship of the euro, on 32.3 per­cent – its high­est ever read­ing and 5.5 points ahead of the PD, which was on 26.8 per­cent.

The sur­vey sug­gests that the 5‑Star is like­ly to emerge as the largest group in nation­al elec­tions due by ear­ly 2018, although it might strug­gle to cre­ate a gov­ern­ment giv­en its stat­ed aver­sion to forg­ing coali­tions.

Such a sce­nario could spook finan­cial mar­kets wary of both the 5‑Star’s euroskep­ti­cism and the threat of pro­longed polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty in Italy, which has the heav­i­est pub­lic debt bur­den in Europe after Greece.

The PD appeared to be pay­ing the price for its inter­nal feuds, drop­ping more than three per­cent­age points in a month, as for­mer prime min­is­ter Mat­teo Ren­zi bat­tles to reassert his author­i­ty fol­low­ing a walk­out by a left-wing fac­tion.

“Polit­i­cal par­ties that pre­oc­cu­py them­selves with their inter­nal divi­sions are elec­toral­ly doomed,” said the British-based think tank Euroin­tel­li­gence in a note.

“We are now at the point where it becomes increas­ing­ly improb­a­ble for the PD to regain pow­er after the next elec­tions.”

The cen­ter-right is riv­en by its own divi­sions, with for­mer prime min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni look­ing to take charge of the bloc once more, but strug­gling to find com­mon ground with old ally the North­ern League, which has shunt­ed to the far right.

Tuesday’s poll of some 5,000 peo­ple put the anti-immi­grant North­ern League on 12.8 per­cent, with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) on 12.7 per­cent.

A small cen­ter-right par­ty, which is in the gov­ern­ment coali­tion and is led by For­eign Min­is­ter Angeli­no Alfano, has seen its sup­port grad­u­al­ly erode and was put at 2.8 per­cent, mean­ing it risks fail­ing to even enter the next par­lia­ment.

Alfano’s group, which rebrand­ed itself at the week­end as the Pop­u­lar Alter­na­tive (AP), is the only main­stream par­ty besides the PD and MDP, which open­ly touts a pro-EU agen­da, rais­ing the prospect of a euroskep­tic gov­ern­ment tak­ing pow­er in Italy.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are still try­ing to draw up a new elec­toral law, with polit­i­cal ana­lysts expect­ing them to agree on some form of pro­por­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion that might reward a sta­ble major­i­ty to any par­ty or group that wins 40 per­cent of the vote.

The Ipsos poll sug­gest­ed that both the tra­di­tion­al cen­ter-left and cen­ter-right blocs would fall well short of the 40 per­cent thresh­old, leav­ing the 5‑Star in the dri­ving seat.

How­ev­er, the par­ty, found­ed by com­ic Beppe Gril­lo, has repeat­ed­ly ruled out form­ing an alliance with oth­er groups, sug­gest­ing Italy could face months of polit­i­cal uncer­tain­ty fol­low­ing the next elec­tion, as hap­pened last year in Spain.

“The sur­vey sug­gests that the 5‑Star is like­ly to emerge as the largest group in nation­al elec­tions due by ear­ly 2018, although it might strug­gle to cre­ate a gov­ern­ment giv­en its stat­ed aver­sion to forg­ing coali­tions.”

4.  Is Italy in store for a 5‑Star revolt next year? Well, a lot can change between now and Italy’s ear­ly 2018 elec­tions but don’t for­get that one of the biggest changes over the next year could be some­thing like a far-right vic­to­ry else­where in Europe. But if cur­rent trends con­tin­ue it’s look­ing like the EU’s 2017 elec­toral scares aren’t going away any time soon. What that means for the EU as a whole if Italy decides to go down the ‘pop­ulist’ route remains to be seen. And, inter­est­ing­ly, what a 5‑Star vic­to­ry would mean for Ital­ians real­ly remains to be seen too in part because it’s unclear what exact­ly 5‑Star stands for although the dis­tinct Trumpian flare gives us an idea [23]:

“Italy’s Five Star Move­ment May Be the Heir to Mussolini’s Fas­cists” by Fred­eri­ka Ran­dall; The Nation; 8/30/2016. [10]

The par­ty harps on the mes­sian­ic theme of redemp­tion for the betrayed, is allied with Britain’s far-right UKIP, and is con­trolled with an iron hand by leader Beppe Gril­lo.

When 38-year-old Vir­ginia Rag­gi, a lawyer and rel­a­tive new­com­er to pol­i­tics, was elect­ed may­or of Rome in June, it was a stun­ning vic­to­ry for her par­ty, the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle (M5S), or Five Star Move­ment. Rag­gi beat her Par­ti­to Demo­c­ra­ti­co (PD) rival in the runoff vote by a crush­ing mar­gin of 67 per­cent to 33 per­cent, sym­bol­i­cal­ly slay­ing the gov­ern­ing PD, also the incum­bent in the city of Rome.

Though the M5S had pre­vi­ous­ly gained pow­er local­ly in a few places, Rome was much big­ger polit­i­cal prize, an inter­na­tion­al­ly vis­i­ble are­na where the three main post­war pow­er groups, the neo-Fas­cist far right, the Catholic cen­ter, and the Com­mu­nist left, had each fought for its piece of ground for decades. Now the M5S, dis­tin­guished main­ly for its fero­cious attacks on the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment, was to have its place in the sun. In Turin, too, the M5S tri­umphed, when Chiara Appendi­no, 32, with a back­ground in busi­ness man­age­ment, won a sur­prise vic­to­ry over the incum­bent may­or Piero Fassi­no, a PD vet­er­an whose polit­i­cal career goes back to the Ital­ian Com­mu­nist Par­ty.

So the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle had final­ly stormed the Win­ter Palace… or should we say, car­ried out its March on Rome?

There­in lies the prob­lem. If only we knew what they stand for.

For the M5S is far more mys­te­ri­ous than it has appeared to some observers, to whom it seemed to resem­ble Spain’s Podemos or Syriza in Greece. The move­ment took off in 2007 with stand-up come­di­an Beppe Grillo’s suc­cess­ful Vaf­fa ral­lies, where crowds turned out to shout “Vaf­fan­cu­lo!” (“Get Screwed!”) at Italy’s cor­rupt politi­cians. Grillo’s huge­ly suc­cess­ful blog soon became a ral­ly­ing point for the dis­af­fect­ed. In 2009 he and the late Gian­rober­to Casa­leg­gio, an eccen­tric, sci-fi lov­ing web-mar­ket­ing guru in favor of both enlight­ened despo­tism and direct democ­ra­cy, found­ed the M5S­­. Today only a few acolytes seem to remem­ber what those five stars in the name and on the par­ty sym­bol sig­ni­fy.

The five stars were born, one jour­nal­ist mused recent­ly, because the pam­pered Gril­lo and Casa­leg­gio mea­sured well-being by hotel stan­dards. “We could have a five-star life!” the come­di­an used to scream at his ral­lies. That is, if those thiev­ing politi­cians didn’t steal all the mon­ey.

No, the five stars stand for “water, envi­ron­ment, trans­port, con­nec­tiv­i­ty, devel­op­ment” shot back one ardent Grilli­no in a tart com­ment. It’s true, those were the watch­words in the very ear­ly days, just after “vaf­fan­cu­lo” was dis­card­ed, although you do have to won­der what “five-star water” might be (mere­ly uncon­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, or pos­i­tive­ly deli­cious?), and why a rank­ing sys­tem for resource-guz­zling lux­u­ry hotels would make sense for the envi­ron­ment, which flour­ish­es where the hand of man is absent. A guar­an­teed “citizen’s income” for all whose earn­ings fall below a cer­tain lev­el is anoth­er long­time M5S pro­pos­al, warm­ly backed today by Turin’s Appendi­no.

Accord­ing to the most recent nation­al pro­gram, the M5S’s projects today are “state and cit­i­zen, ener­gy, infor­ma­tion, econ­o­my, trans­port, health, edu­ca­tion.” A look at the spe­cif­ic pol­i­cy promis­es turns up a hodge­podge of the pet­ty and the grand, a long wish list that seems to have been com­piled from the kind of web sur­vey dear to par­ty strate­gist Casa­leg­gio (he died in April this year, aged 61, of a brain tumor). Thus under “econ­o­my” the pro­gram calls both for “vig­or­ous debt reduc­tion” and “ceil­ings on exec­u­tive pay in pub­licly trad­ed and state-con­trolled com­pa­nies” and favors “local pro­duc­tion” and “non­prof­its” as well as guar­an­teed unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. Along­side all these good inten­tions, how­ev­er, there is no trace of the hard choic­es about how to stim­u­late a depressed econ­o­my that any gov­ern­ing par­ty would have to make. No men­tion of employ­ment, inequal­i­ty, or EU-imposed aus­ter­i­ty. Under “trans­port,” the pro­gram calls for more bike paths and an improved rail sys­tem to dis­cour­age auto­mo­bile use, but there is no men­tion of spend­ing on infra­struc­ture under “econ­o­my,” or of how to accom­plish all these good deeds and pay a min­i­mum income while slash­ing the debt. Nor does the pro­gram have any indi­ca­tions on for­eign pol­i­cy. The M5S is anti-Europe, and its Euro MPs are aligned with the far-right xeno­phobes of Britain’s UKIP in the EU par­lia­ment, at least until Britain final­ly leaves the union. It’s a pro­gram rich in mag­i­cal think­ing, in short.

Like many a charis­mat­ic leader who rides the wave of pub­lic dis­gust with estab­lished pol­i­tics today (Don­ald Trump and Sil­vio Berlus­coni come to mind, and so does UKIP’s Nigel Farage, who claimed vic­to­ry with Brex­it), Casa­leg­gio was a kind of businessman/aspiring wheel­er-deal­er. Grillo’s suc­cess­ful blog was one of his ven­tures, and Casa­leg­gio expert­ly milked the adver­tis­ing on it. And Gril­lo, a wealthy show­man, shares much of his out­look. They are men who believe that pol­i­tics is intrin­si­cal­ly sil­ly and cor­rupt and that any entre­pre­neur can do it bet­ter. Their pro­found scorn for the polit­i­cal class springs from a per­son­al dis­like of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and tax­es they con­sid­er pun­ish­ing, and not sur­pris­ing­ly, they are firm­ly pro-cap­i­tal.

In recent years, prod­ded by Casa­leg­gio, the M5S has embraced anti-immi­grant and anti-reg­u­la­to­ry posi­tions dear to the small-busi­ness own­ers they hope to draw into the move­ment. When the gov­ern­ment of Mat­teo Ren­zi was final­ly poised to pass a law on civ­il unions, giv­ing gays long-need­ed rights (a mea­sure hot­ly con­test­ed in a coun­try occu­pied by the Vat­i­can), the M5S sud­den­ly with­drew sup­port and mem­bers were told to vote their con­sciences, thus doom­ing the most con­tro­ver­sial plank, the one allow­ing gay cou­ples to adopt. The promised “direct democ­ra­cy” of online voting—candidates and major M5S deci­sions are decid­ed by a vote on the Gril­lo blog site—has time and again brought accu­sa­tions of fraud­u­lent vote-count­ing. By many accounts, the par­ty is frag­ment­ed, held togeth­er by dra­con­ian mea­sures from the top, like the penal­ty of 150,000 euros that local rep­re­sen­ta­tives, includ­ing May­or Rag­gi, are con­trac­tu­al­ly oblig­ed to pay the par­ty should they stray from the agreed-upon pol­i­cy line. Nei­ther of the two young MPs spo­ken of as suc­ces­sors to Gril­lo is any­where near as pre­pos­sess­ing as the leader.

Accu­sa­tions of fas­cism are quick to fly here, in the coun­try that invent­ed the phe­nom­e­non; Prime Min­is­ter Ren­zi is rou­tine­ly called a fas­cist by the dis­si­dent left of his par­ty. But in truth, if any par­ty resem­bles the one Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni was build­ing with the sup­port of bit­ter World War I vet­er­ans in 1919–20, it is the M5S. There is the same mes­sian­ic theme of redemp­tion for the betrayed—in today’s case, cit­i­zens betrayed by their cor­rupt and spend­thrift gov­er­nors. The same mix­ture of ideas hasti­ly bor­rowed from right and left (lest we for­get, Mus­soli­ni was a Social­ist before he was a Fas­cist). The same dic­ta­to­r­i­al grip at the top, applied to keep a sprawl­ing move­ment togeth­er.

For the only issue that real­ly unites the M5S is scorn for pol­i­tics and politi­cians. That whole­sale “plague on all their hous­es” con­dem­na­tion of the polit­i­cal class is rather dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile with pub­lic office, as some M5S mem­bers elect­ed to local gov­ern­ment or to par­lia­ment in Rome have learned to their dis­may. Sev­er­al have been expelled from the par­ty for mak­ing alliances or not obey­ing orders. Anoth­er became embroiled in an orga­nized-crime scan­dal when a fel­low M5S city coun­cilor was inves­ti­gat­ed for con­nec­tions with the Camor­ra, Campania’s local mafia.

The first moves of both new­ly elect­ed may­ors Rag­gi of Rome and Appendi­no of Turin have met with intense scruti­ny and a bar­rage of crit­i­cism. Rag­gi, who is up against a hos­tile pub­lic bureau­cra­cy in a city where basic ser­vices like garbage col­lec­tion and bus and metro ser­vice are con­stant­ly on the verge of col­lapse, a city in which wide­spread cor­rup­tion was unveiled in 2014–15 in the Mafia Cap­i­tale scan­dal, does seem to lack the need­ed polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence. Mul­ti­ple urban brush­fires burned across Rome this hot, dry August, and she seemed unable to react. The city utter­ly defeat­ed her pre­de­ces­sor, Ignazio Mari­no, a sur­geon who was elect­ed with the PD but was even­tu­al­ly forced out by his own par­ty. Raggi’s can­di­dates to super­vise the envi­ron­ment and san­i­ta­tion have been hot­ly con­test­ed on the basis of their past expe­ri­ence, for if expe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary, it is also taint­ing in the mind of M5S purists. In Turin, oppo­nents of a much-con­test­ed high-speed rail line through the Val di Susa to the west lashed out at May­or Appendi­no for express­ing her sup­port for the police guard­ing the build­ing site; the M5S has strong­ly defend­ed the pro­test­ers.

Still, one doesn’t need to be a fan of the M5S to think two months in office is too lit­tle to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance of their new may­ors. In Raggi’s case, the attacks are con­stant. Beppe Gril­lo, who last year was report­ed to have drift­ed away from his cre­ation, fatigued and bored, has appar­ent­ly decid­ed to occu­py him­self with mak­ing Raggi’s gov­ern­ment a suc­cess as a show­case for the next elec­tions.

Just what the Movi­men­to 5 Stelle would do if elect­ed to nation­al gov­ern­ment remains a mys­tery. The mes­sian­ic “throw the bums out” ral­ly­ing cry wins votes but offers no pro­gram. It’s been called pop­ulism, but it’s not even clear that Gril­lo is speak­ing to the “lit­tle man”; his is a howl of pure rage. We need to ask our­selves why it is so attrac­tive today.

One rea­son is that the estab­lished par­ties are dis­cred­it­ed every­where. They are in Britain, which vot­ed for Brex­it despite Con­ser­v­a­tive and (weak) Labour sup­port for EU mem­ber­ship. And in Spain, where two elec­tions in a six-month peri­od still have not pro­duced a gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Not to men­tion France, where the Front Nation­al of Marine Le Pen threat­ens to over­whelm the Social­ists and the right. The estab­lished par­ties strug­gle to con­vince nation­al vot­ers they are look­ing after their inter­ests because the pow­ers they need to do so are sim­ply not avail­able at the nation­al lev­el. Neolib­er­al cap­i­tal­ism, tru­ly glob­al in scope, can no longer be reg­u­lat­ed by nation­al gov­ern­ments; it can only be con­trolled at a supra­na­tion­al lev­el. If Italy wants more jobs and growth, it can only get them through Euro­pean eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, although cer­tain­ly not the hege­mon­ic pol­i­cy of the moment, the aus­ter­i­ty imposed by Ger­man finan­cial author­i­ties. What­ev­er Mat­teo Renzi’s defects, he has cer­tain­ly tried to push Ger­many and France toward a more Key­ne­sian Euro­pean con­sen­sus.

Does the M5S under­stand these mat­ters? Does Beppe Gril­lo, who has made no polit­i­cal alliances in Italy and no inter­na­tion­al alliances except with Nigel Farage, even care? Like Mus­soli­ni, he seems to believe Italy can live in autarky, by impos­ing nation­al eco­nom­ic self-suf­fi­cien­cy. It’s not just a crazy idea (where will he get his new iPhone?) but reveals a pro­found naïveté about prob­lems that don’t real­ly inter­est him.

You would think that Italy, after almost twen­ty years of a soi-dis­ant anti-estab­lish­ment fig­ure like Sil­vio Berlus­coni, would have learned the les­son. In 1994 the rogue TV tycoon’s Forza Italia par­ty was that era’s equiv­a­lent: an upstart “anti-polit­i­cal” polit­i­cal move­ment that swept away the rul­ing par­ties after the Mani Pulite (“Clean Hands”) cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions of 1992.

But per­haps cyn­i­cism breeds more of the same. It was the Berlus­coni government’s hun­gry, light-fin­gered approach to pub­lic office that opened a space for Gril­lo and his Vaf­fa ral­lies in 2007. Now Gril­lo hopes that same anger will bring down a cen­ter-left only mar­gin­al­ly impli­cat­ed in cor­rup­tion, but deeply divid­ed and defeat­ed.

5. In Slo­va­kia, the heirs to fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Nazi quis­ling Rev­erend Josef Tiso are com­ing back above ground.

“Once in the Shad­ows, Europe’s Neo-Fas­cists Are Re-Emerg­ing” by Rick Lyman; The New York Times; 3/19/2017. [11]

Head bowed in rev­er­ence, Robert Svec gen­tly placed a bou­quet of blood-red flow­ers at the foot of the only known stat­ue of Jozef Tiso, Slo­va­kia [24]’s wartime fas­cist leader, in a weedy mon­u­ment park known as the Pan­theon of Slo­vak His­tor­i­cal Fig­ures.

For years, Mr. Svec’s neo-fas­cist cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tion, the Slo­vak Revival Move­ment, was a tiny fringe group. But now his crowds are grow­ing, as 200 peo­ple recent­ly gath­ered with him to cel­e­brate the country’s fas­cist past and call fas­cist-era greet­ings — “Na Straz!” or “On the guard!” Mr. Svec is so embold­ened that he is trans­form­ing his move­ment into a polit­i­cal par­ty, with plans to run for Par­lia­ment.

“You are ours, and we will for­ev­er be yours,” Mr. Svec said at the foot of the stat­ue, hav­ing declared this as the Year of Jozef Tiso, ded­i­cat­ed to reha­bil­i­tat­ing the image of the for­mer priest and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, who was hanged as a war crim­i­nal in 1947.

Once in the shad­ows, Europe’s neo-fas­cists are step­ping back out, more than three-quar­ters of a cen­tu­ry after Nazi boots stormed through Cen­tral Europe, and two decades since a neo-Nazi resur­gence [25] of skin­heads and white suprema­cists unset­tled the tran­si­tion to democ­ra­cy. In Slo­va­kia [26], neo-fas­cists are win­ning region­al offices and tak­ing seats in the mul­ti­par­ty Par­lia­ment they hope to replace with strong­man rule. . . .

. . . . “Before, pro-fas­cist sen­ti­ments were kept hid­den,” said Gabriel Sipos, direc­tor of Trans­paren­cy Inter­na­tion­al Slo­va­kia. “Par­ents would tell their chil­dren, ‘You can­not say this at school.’ Now, you can say things in the pub­lic space that you couldn’t say before.” . . . .

. . . . “Now, extrem­ists and fas­cists are part of the sys­tem,” said Grig­orij Meseznikov, pres­i­dent of the Insti­tute for Pub­lic Affairs, a lib­er­al research group. . . .

. . . . Mr. Kotle­ba, 39, who recent­ly renamed his par­ty Kotle­ba — People’s Par­ty Our Slo­va­kia, used to appear in uni­forms rem­i­nis­cent of those worn dur­ing the wartime Slo­vak State. Once he and his par­ty got into Par­lia­ment, the uni­forms dis­ap­peared and he shift­ed his attacks from Jews to immi­grants [27] and the country’s Roma minor­i­ty.

. . . . But the under­ly­ing mes­sage of groups like Mr. Kotleba’s and Mr. Svec’s has not shift­ed — Slo­va­kia was bet­ter off under a fas­cist gov­ern­ment.

“Some­thing very dark and very trou­bling from the past is com­ing back,” Mr. Havran said. “They feel they are fight­ing for some­thing very pure, some­thing very old and sacred. A few years ago, they were ashamed to talk about it. Now, they are proud.” . . .

. . . . Mr. Kotleba’s par­ty has been espe­cial­ly effec­tive on social media, with more than 140 inter­con­nect­ed Face­book pages. When a local retiree, Jan Ben­cik, 68, began blog­ging to expose the country’s neo-fas­cists, his name appeared on a list of “oppo­nents of the state.”

“They called me a Jew, said that I should die, die, die,” Mr. Ben­cik said. “They said that peo­ple like me would be dealt with in the future.” . . .

6a. Trump backer and “Alt-Right” main­stay Richard Spencer has launched a new web­site with Daniel Friberg, part of the Swedish fas­cist milieu to which Carl Lund­strom belongs.

“Richard Spencer and His Alt-Right Bud­dies Launch a New Web­site” by Osi­ta Nwavenu; Slate; 1/17/2017. [12]

On Mon­day, Richard Spencer, New Jer­sey Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy lec­tur­er Jason Jor­jani, and Swedish New Right fig­ure Daniel Friberg launched altright.com, a site aimed at bring­ing togeth­er “the best writ­ers and ana­lysts from Alt Right, in North Amer­i­ca, Europe, and around the world.” . . .

. . . . As of now, most of the site’s con­tent is recy­cled mate­r­i­al from Friberg’s Ark­tos pub­lish­ing house, Spencer’s oth­er pub­li­ca­tion, Radix Jour­nal, the alt-right online media net­work Red Ice, and Occi­den­tal Dis­sent, a white nation­al­ist blog run by altright.com’s news edi­tor Hunter Wal­lace. . . .

…. Still, Spencer’s intel­lec­tu­al­ism does lit­tle to hide the cen­tral­i­ty of big­otry to his own world­view and the views of those he pub­lish­es. His pre­vi­ous site, Alter­na­tive Right, once ran an essay called, ‘Is Black Geno­cide Right?’” [28] “Instead of ask­ing how we can make repa­ra­tions for slav­ery, colo­nial­ism, and Apartheid or how we can equal­ize aca­d­e­m­ic scores and incomes,” Col­in Lid­dell wrote, “we should instead be ask­ing ques­tions like, ‘Does human civ­i­liza­tion actu­al­ly need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black geno­cide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and eas­i­est way to dis­pose of them?’” It remains to be seen whether altright.com will employ sim­i­lar­ly can­did writ­ers. . . .

6b. Pirate Bay sug­ar dad­dy Lund­strom has dis­cussed his polit­i­cal sym­pa­thies. [The excerpt below is from Google trans­la­tions. The Swedish sen­tence is fol­lowed by the Eng­lish trans­la­tion.] Note that he appears on the user/subscriber list for Nordic Pub­lish­ers, the Nazi pub­lish­ing out­fit that han­dles the efforts pro­duced by one of Jer­mas’s [aka “Shamir’s”] pub­lish­ers.

“The Goal: Take over all Pira­cy” by Peter Karls­son; realtid.se; 3/10/2006. [29]

. . . Lund­ström har inte gjort någon hem­lighet av sina sym­pa­ti­er för främ­lings­fientli­ga grup­per, och för­ra året fanns hans namn med på kun­dreg­istret hos det nazis­tiska bok­för­laget Nordiska För­laget. Lund­strom has made no secret of his sym­pa­thy for the xeno­pho­bic groups, and last year was his name with the cus­tomer code of the Nazi pub­lish­ing house Nordic Pub­lish­ers.

– Jag stöder dem genom att köpa böck­er och musik. — I sup­port them by buy­ing books and music. Ni i media vill bara spri­da mis­sak­t­ning om oli­ka per­son­er. You in the media just want to spread con­tempt for dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Ni i media är fyll­da av hat till Pirate Bay, avs­lu­tar en myck­et upprörd Carl Lund­ström. You in the media is full of hatred to the Pirate Bay, fin­ish­ing a very upset Carl Lund­ström.

Nordiska För­laget säl­jer vit makt musik och böck­er som hyl­lar rasis­tiska våld­shan­dlin­gar. Nordic pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny sells white pow­er music and books that cel­e­brates the racist vio­lence. För­laget stöder nazis­ter­nas demon­stra­tion i Salem och bjöd in Ku Klux Klan ledaren till en före­drag­turné i Sverige. Pub­lish­er sup­ports the Nazi demon­stra­tion in Salem and invit­ed the Ku Klux Klan leader [David Duke] for a lec­ture tour in Swe­den. . . .

6c. Expo–found­ed by the late Stieg Larsson–revealed that Friberg’s Nordic Pub­lish­ers has mor­phed into Ark­tos, one of the out­fits asso­ci­at­ed with Spencer, et al.

Right Wing Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion” by Maria-Pia Cabero [Google Trans­la­tion]; Expo; Jan­u­ary of 2014. [14]

. . . . When NF were dis­con­tin­ued in 2010 found­ed the pub­lish­er Ark­tos by basi­cal­ly the same peo­ple. Ark­tos pub­lish­es New Right-inspired lit­er­a­ture and CEO Daniel Friberg, who was dri­ving in the NF, has played a key role in the estab­lish­ment of ideas. . . .

The Yamato Dynasty [6]7. Turn­ing our atten­tion to Japan, we note the rise of fas­cism in a “process guid­ed from above.”

“Part­ners at the Pacif­ic;” german-foreign-policy.com; 3/20/2017. [16]

“Right-Wing Pop­ulism from Above”

. . . . Japan, with which Ger­many is seek­ing clos­er eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion, has tak­en a sharp nation­al­ist course. This course is gen­er­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Abe becom­ing Prime Min­is­ter. Abe, who arrived in Hanover yes­ter­day, “is antic­i­pat­ing in Japan, (…) what right-wing pop­ulists dream of in Europe,”[6] a lead­ing Ger­man dai­ly recent­ly not­ed. With his vis­it at the Yasaku­ni Shrine, which is also hon­or­ing some WW II war crim­i­nals, he is pro­mot­ing a nation­al­ist trans­for­ma­tion of the state, he is per­mit­ting the grow­ing fal­si­fi­ca­tion of his­to­ry and he is respon­si­ble for the increased patron­iz­ing of the media. As a result, Japan slipped from 22nd down to 72nd on the world press free­dom index issued by “Reporters With­out Bor­ders.” Observers note that with the Nip­pon Kai­gi (“Japan Con­fer­ence”), a nation­al­ist lob­by orga­ni­za­tion has gained sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence. Of the 722 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, 289 are mem­bers and 13 of the 19 min­is­ters and the Prime Min­ster Abe are in close con­tact with Nip­pon Kai­gi. Nip­pon Kai­gi says of itself that it is striv­ing to strength­en the empire, loosen the sep­a­ra­tion of state and reli­gion, upgrade the tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly and gen­der roles, pro­mote the coun­try’s mil­i­ta­riza­tion and end crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion of Japan’s crimes dur­ing WW II. “Right-Wing pop­ulism in Japan” is a “process guid­ed from above,” par­tic­u­lar­ly pushed by the coun­try’s elite, accord­ing to Gabriele Vogt, japa­nol­o­gist at the Ham­burg University.[7] The new nation­al­ism is push­ing the coun­try ever deep­er into a con­fronta­tion with Chi­na. . . .

8. Abe is turn­ing back the Japan­ese his­tor­i­cal and polit­i­cal clock. Japan­ese gov­ern­ment offi­cials are open­ly sanc­tion­ing anti-Kore­an racism and net­work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote that doc­trine. Sev­er­al mem­bers of Abe’s gov­ern­ment net­work with Japan­ese neo-Nazis, some of whom advo­cate using the Nazi method for seiz­ing pow­er in Japan. Is Abe’s gov­ern­ment doing just that?

 “For Top Pols In Japan Crime Doesn’t Pay, But Hate Crime Does” by Jake Adel­stein and [17] Angela Eri­ka Kubo; The Dai­ly Beast; 9/26/2014. [17]

 . . . . Accord­ing to the mag­a­zine Sun­day Mainichi, Ms. Tomo­mi Ina­da, Min­is­ter Of The “Cool Japan” Strat­egy, also received dona­tions from Masa­ki and oth­er Zaitokukai asso­ciates.

Appar­ently, racism is cool in Japan.

Ina­da made news ear­lier this month after pho­tos cir­cu­lated of her and anoth­er female in the new cab­i­net pos­ing with a neo-Nazi par­ty leader [30]. Both denied know­ing the neo-Nazi well but lat­er were revealed to have con­tributed blurbs for an adver­tise­ment prais­ing the out-of-print book Hitler’s Elec­tion Strateg [31]y. Coin­ci­den­tally, Vice-Prime Minister,Taro Aso, is also a long-time admir­er of Nazi polit­i­cal strat­egy [32], and has sug­gested Japan fol­low the Nazi Par­ty tem­plate to sneak con­sti­tu­tional change past the pub­lic. . . .

. . . In August, Japan’s rul­ing par­ty, which put Abe into pow­er orga­nized a work­ing group to dis­cuss laws that would restrict hate-crime [33]although the new laws will prob­a­bly also be used to clamp down on anti-nuclear protests out­side the Diet build­ing.

Of course, it is a lit­tle wor­ri­some that Sanae Takaichi, who was sup­posed to over­see the project, is the oth­er female min­is­ter who was pho­tographed with a neo-Nazi leader and is a fan of Hitler. . .

9. Devo­tee of Hitler’s polit­i­cal strat­e­gy Tomo­mi Ina­da is now the defense min­is­ter of Japan.

“Japan’s PM Picks Hawk­ish Defense Min­is­ter for New Cab­i­net, Vows Eco­nom­ic Recov­ery” by Elaine Lies and Kiyoshi Tak­e­na­ka; Reuters; 8/3/2016.  [18]

Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe appoint­ed a con­ser­v­a­tive ally as defense min­is­ter in a cab­i­net reshuf­fle on Wednes­day that left most key posts unchanged, and he promised to has­ten the economy’s escape from defla­tion and boost region­al ties.

New defense min­is­ter Tomo­mi Ina­da, pre­vi­ous­ly the rul­ing par­ty pol­i­cy chief, shares Abe’s goal of revis­ing the post-war, paci­fist con­sti­tu­tion, which some con­ser­v­a­tives con­sid­er a humil­i­at­ing sym­bol of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

She also reg­u­lar­ly vis­its Tokyo’s Yasuku­ni Shrine for war dead, which Chi­na and South Korea see as a sym­bol of Japan’s past mil­i­tarism. Japan’s ties with Chi­na and South Korea have been frayed by the lega­cy of its mil­i­tary aggres­sion before and dur­ing World War Two. . . .

10. We have spo­ken of Naren­dra Mod­i’s BJP, a cat’s paw [20] for the Hin­du nationalist/fascist RSS [21]. Mod­i’s anti-Mus­lim agen­da is now com­ing into the open.

Steve Ban­non is a fan of Modi and his BJP par­ty.

“Mr. Mod­i’s Embrace of Hin­du Extrem­ists;” The New York Times; 3/23/2017. [19]

Since he was elect­ed in 2014, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi [34] of India [35] has played a cagey game, appeas­ing his party’s hard-line Hin­du base [36] while pro­mot­ing sec­u­lar goals of devel­op­ment and eco­nom­ic growth. Despite wor­ry­ing signs that he was will­ing to humor Hin­du extrem­ists, Mr. Modi refrained from overt­ly approv­ing vio­lence against the nation’s Mus­lim minor­i­ty.

On Sun­day, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Embold­ened by a land­slide vic­to­ry in recent elec­tions in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his [37]par­ty named [37] a fire­brand Hin­du cler­ic, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shock­ing rebuke to reli­gious minori­ties, and a sign that cold polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions ahead of nation­al elec­tions in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty to believe that noth­ing stands in the way of real­iz­ing its long-held dream of trans­form­ing a sec­u­lar repub­lic into a Hin­du state.

Mr. Adityanath has made a polit­i­cal career of demo­niz­ing Mus­lims, thun­der­ing against such imag­i­nary plots as “love jihad”: the notion that Mus­lim men con­nive to water down the over­whelm­ing Hin­du major­i­ty by seduc­ing Hin­du women. He defend­ed a Hin­du mob that mur­dered a Mus­lim man in 2015 on the sus­pi­cion that his fam­i­ly was eat­ing beef, and said Mus­lims who balked at per­form­ing a yoga salu­ta­tion to the sun should “drown them­selves in the sea.”

Uttar Pradesh, home to more than 200 mil­lion peo­ple, bad­ly needs devel­op­ment, not ide­o­log­i­cal show­man­ship. The state has the high­est infant mor­tal­i­ty rate in the coun­try. Near­ly half of its chil­dren are stunt­ed. Edu­ca­tion­al out­comes are dis­mal. Youth unem­ploy­ment is high. . . . [38]

. . . . India needs to gen­er­ate a mil­lion new jobs every month to meet employ­ment demand. Should Mr. Adityanath fail to deliv­er, there is every fear that he — and Mr. Modi’s par­ty — will resort to dead­ly Mus­lim-bait­ing to stay in pow­er, turn­ing Mr. Modi’s dream­land into a night­mare for India’s minori­ties . . . .