US neo-Nazis and fascists supporters march in Charoltsvill, USA.
Image credit: Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via Reuters
Wouldn’t that be nice? What if the current almost universal condemnation of fascism by the main stream media and social media commenters were genuine.? That it represents an abhorrence for fascism and its modern supporters who attempt to revive it – and not just partisan politics.
Because fascism is abhorrent. And it does have its modern apologists, even revivalists. It is not new, even in the US, and people shouldn’t be surprised at its manifestation in Charlottesville.
After all, we have seen similar actions in other parts of the world – in parts of the world which understandably understand fascism and its consequences far better than the average US citizen does.
Thousands of nationals, neo-Nazis and pro-fascists march in Kiev, Ukraine, on the anniversary of the birth of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
Image credit: South China Morning Post.
Yes, I know. Our media tends to treat the marchers in Kiev and Riga as “freedom fighters” and not what they really are – supporters of Nazi collaborators and those organisations derived from them which still exist today and play a role in the politics of those countries. But, unlike the USA, those collaborators were responsible for thousands of deaths of their fellow citizens(see my article Don’t put all the blame on the Germans – a lesson from World War II).
Sculpture of the “Unbowed man” at the Khatyn Memorial site near Minsk in Byelorussia. The sculpture depicts Yuzif Kaminsky, the only adult to survive the massacre by Ukrainian Nazi groups, holding his dead son Adam.
Image credit: John Oldale.
Which brings me to my real message – my suggestion for action
Why not take advantage of this new-found anti-fascist feeling? Rather than let the lessons of Charlotteville disperse and die out why not do something meaningful and specific? Something that might last. And something with an international influence.
My suggestion – the US should change its stance next time the regular United Nations General Assembly resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” comes up.
The resolution expresses concern about the fact that in some countries, famed Nazi movement leaders and former members of the SS are honoured, and monuments to fighters (e.g partisan heroes) against fascism are demolished or subjected to desecration. It calls on states to pass legislation prohibiting the denial of crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Second World War.
It was last passed in November 2016. Then the only countries voting against the resolution were Ukraine, the United States and Palau!
Just imagine, if the US goes with its current anti-fascist feelings it could, at last, vote for this resolution. Of course, Palau as a client state will also automatically reverse its vote.
As for Ukraine – well, who could say the country is such a mess. Chances are the current government in Kiev may not be in power next time the vote occurs. But, unfortunately, the extreme nationalist and neo-fascist forces which seem to dictate affairs in that country will still be around.
But what about closer to home
Can not New Zealand also learn from the current anti-fascist feelings emanating from the USA? New Zealand traditionally takes the cowards way out and abstains on this resolution. Apparently aligning itself with the 131 countries supporting the resolution in 2016 would have caused too much displeasure from the USA – something we still seem to be afraid of. So we joined the group of 48 countries that abstained.
But, I guess, if the USA changed heart and voted for the anti-fascist resolution we would meekly snap into line and also vote for it.
A job for the US (and NZ) House of Representatives?
OK, the current US president may be even less willing than previous presidents to take a real international stand against fascism. But don’t we have some recent history that might provide a solution. Why don’t the US Congress and Senate follow on from their recent almost unanimous resolutions constraining the president in his handling of international affairs?
They made it impossible for President Trump to take any action on sanctions against Iran, North Korea and the Russian Federation without a decision from Congress.
So why not a near unanimous Congressional resolution demanding the USA in future votes for this resolution in the UN General Assembly? A resolution that prevents the US Ambassador from voting against it again without a decision from Congress?
Perhaps the New Zealand Parliament could place a similar restriction on our representatives at the UN
After all, aren’t we all anti-fascist now?
Ken wrote: “It calls on states to pass legislation prohibiting the denial of crimes against humanity and war crimes during the Second World War.”
I almost always agree with you, but not this time.
In the USA, we are supposed to have real freedom of speech. We cherish the fact that we allow people to make any kind of idiot, erroneous, or hateful remark. (The worse it is, the more we know we do have freedom of speech.)
The only exception is if speech poses an imminent harm to someone else or it rallies people to a unlawful activity, providing specifics, such as who, what, where and when.
The UN resolution would violate our First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. And the Bill of Rights, violated as it has been over the years, is still the best thing about this country.
The early Fascists such as Mussolini were Marxists . Communism killed around 100 million people in the 20th Century, yet we still glorify mass murderers such as Mao and Stalin
Hitler didn’t think of himself as a Fascist, but a National Socialist
Of course, the latter is an abhorrent and diabolical racist ideology based on the subordination of Jews to a second class citizen, yet their ideology was broadly based on segregation in the USA supported by the Democratic Party at the time of the Civil War. US race laws were harsher than the Nazi Jew laws in that there was a “one drop of blood” rule for determining blackness. Nazis used a less strict criterion for Jewishness
Fascist ideology is not so race based. It’s worth investigating what the underlying philosophy actually means. It may be painful to realise that a lot of so called “progressive” ideology is closer to fascism than you think