The Facade Of Fascism

In all its political manifestations, fascism can be credited with being the spectre of the twentieth century tantamount to totalitarianism, as far as the human decimation is concerned. This has led people like Jonah Goldberg to challenge the status-quo’s far right standing of fascism. 

His controversial book ‘Liberal Fascism’ discusses the liberal popularization of the idea. The political phantom of fascist ideology is progressing incrementally in the guise of revivalism. Demagogues all over the world manipulate people employing the overarching axioms of fascism and populism.

In a global culture where prevalent mode of politics is post-political coupled with biopolitics, the fear of victimization is averted by conspiracy theories. The rampant use of external threats to fuel emancipatory politics is reflective of fascism. As the philosopher Giulia Napolitano suggested that conspiracy theories are pivoted at some out-group and in the service of some in-group. These out-groups are cloaked in narratives based on the amplified prejudices of people – a culturally p dictated setting exploited by the fascists. In Europe, populists like Victor Orbán, capitalize on the fear of immigrants to achieve their political ends, and presently Imran Khan is harnessing the public sentiment by falsely claiming to be a victim of American conspiracy.

Fascist politics is characterized by ‘draining swamps’ and purportedly fighting against corruption while having the corrupt lot in their own ranks. 

The analogy between the unconstitutional proceedings of the parliament earlier this month and Hermann Göring’s mala fide ruling to exclude the members of the communist party in order to pass the Enabling Act of 1933, has invoked the academic consciousness to take fascism as a serious threat to democratic values. Amid the vague use of terminologies, the need is to retrospectively analyse Imran Khan’s rhetoric and rendition.

Fascist politics is characterized by ‘draining swamps’ and purportedly fighting against corruption while having the corrupt lot in their own ranks. The Insaf-led government, claiming to be the bastion of transparency, couldn’t help Pakistan from slipping 117 to 140 on the corruption perception index. A romanticized mythical past is created, offering blueprints for a future where collective salvation lies in tradition and patriarchy.

The PTI government promulgated a presidential ordinance called PECA to curtail the freedom of expression. A draconian law, declared unconstitutional by the relevant court. 

 Khan’s sexist remarks now and then are reflective of the sexual anxiety in a country ranked sixth worst for women and second lowest on Global Gender Gap Index. In such politics, dissent is discouraged and public discourse is robbed of its intellectual basis. Governments use anti-intellectualism as a tool to confine the debate to false dilemmas. The PTI government promulgated a presidential ordinance called PECA to curtail the freedom of expression. A draconian law, declared unconstitutional by the relevant court.

Imran Khan, after being ousted in the successful no-confidence motion, is masquerading as an anti-imperialist who contradictorily implemented the Washington consensus and neo-liberal economy. In the absence of theoretically crystallized economics, fascism in contemporary world follows capitalism camouflaged with socialism to perpetuate ultra-nationalism. Khan’s government gave robust subsidies to the rich inflating wealth concentration and simultaneously tried to extend social safety net in the health sector.

Another symptomatically totalitarian tendency is to demean the opposition. Political opponents are devoid of the constituent democratic existence and doubted for their loyalty to the state. What has recently prompted the cult following of Imran khan is the mirage of foreign policy based on idealism and his removal as consequential vindication of the external involvement. All being established on the dispositional anti-Americanism extended to traitor-branding. In the midst of conspiracy mantra, PTI’s constitutional violations are yet to die down.

The current turmoil has polarized the society on political fault lines begetting a hierarchical triumvirate where depoliticization soars beyond the antagonism of ‘Us-vs-Them’. People have become apathetic prone to choosing between the autocratic corporate dynasties and resurgent fascism. To politically represent the working class and curb economic disparity, what we need is not the nineties Fukuyamaism but the sixties’ social democracy.

– Shamoon Riaz

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