Toni Morrison’s Ten Steps Towards Fascism:

In a convocation address delivered at Howard University in March 1995, Toni Morrison noted that before fascist movements arrive at a “final solution” (the euphemism used by Nazi leaders to refer to the mass murder of Jews), there are preceding steps that they use to advance their agenda. From an excerpt of that speech published in The Journal of Negro Education:

Let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.

Morrison then continued, listing the pathway to fascism in ten steps:

  1. Construct an internal enemy, as both focus and diversion.
  2. Isolate and demonize that enemy by unleashing and protecting the utterance of overt and coded name-calling and verbal abuse. Employ ad hominem attacks as legitimate charges against that enemy.
  3. Enlist and create sources and distributors of information who are willing to reinforce the demonizing process because it is profitable, because it grants power and because it works.
  4. Palisade all art forms; monitor, discredit or expel those that challenge or destabilize processes of demonization and deification.
  5. Subvert and malign all representatives of and sympathizers with this constructed enemy.
  6. Solicit, from among the enemy, collaborators who agree with and can sanitize the dispossession process.
  7. Pathologize the enemy in scholarly and popular mediums; recycle, for example, scientific racism and the myths of racial superiority in order to naturalize the pathology.
  8. Criminalize the enemy. Then prepare, budget for and rationalize the building of holding arenas for the enemy — especially its males and absolutely its children.
  9. Reward mindlessness and apathy with monumentalized entertainments and with little pleasures, tiny seductions, a few minutes on television, a few lines in the press, a little pseudo-success, the illusion of power and influence, a little fun, a little style, a little consequence.
  10. Maintain, at all costs, silence.

As I have said before, you can see many of these steps playing out right now in America, orchestrated by a revitalized and emboldened right-wing movement that has captured the Republican Party. Jason Stanley, a scholar of fascism, recently wrote of Morrison’s speech:

Morrison’s interest was not in fascist demagogues or fascist regimes. It was rather in “forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems”. The procedures she described were methods to normalize such solutions, to “construct an internal enemy”, isolate, demonize and criminalize it and sympathizers to its ideology and their allies, and, using the media, provide the illusion of power and influence to one’s supporters.

Morrison saw, in the history of US racism, fascist practices — ones that could enable a fascist social and political movement in the United States.

Writing in the era of the “super-predator” myth (a Newsweek headline the next year read, “Superpredators: Should we cage the new breed of vicious kids?”), Morrison unflinchingly read fascism into the practices of US racism. Twenty-five years later, those “forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems” are closer than ever to winning a multi-decade national fight.

See also Umberto Eco’s 14 Features of Eternal Fascism and Fighting Authoritarianism: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century. (via jason stanley)

Tags: lists   politics   racism   Toni Morrison   USA

jwz: Today on Sick Sad World: How The Cryptobros Have Fallen:

In the 80s and 90s, hacker culture was flush with tech utopians who thought that computer networks in general, and cryptography in particular, would allow them to route around the world’s problems. These nerdy, young, sheltered, wealthy white men believed that you could code your way to freedom and good governance, and they could thereby avoid the yoke of whatever oppression they were suffering.

For many of these people, the oppression they felt seemed mainly to be paying taxes, or being told that they couldn’t hoard guns, or that they simply couldn’t get to do whatever they wanted to do whenever they wanted to do it. That latter particularly sociopathic part of hacker culture now calls itself “black hat”, but the Libertarian end of it, that metastasized out of hacker culture and took over the tech industry in toto.

Why saying “I don’t see race at all” just makes racism worse |:

In a way, color blindness makes the civil rights movement a victim of its own success: Legal segregation is over, so now it must be up to people of color to finish the work themselves. As Bonilla-Silva puts it, if racism is no longer actively limiting the lives of people of color, then their failure to achieve parity with whites in wealth, education, employment, and other areas must mean there is something wrong with them, not with the social systems that somehow always benefit white people the most.

Social scientists look to this question — whether you believe that racism is to blame for disparities or that Black people just need to work harder — to help them determine what they call racial resentment. And racial resentment, in turn, is a predictor of opposition to policies that would improve the economic security of millions.

Five Ways Donald Trump Tried to Push a Coup – The Atlantic:

Last year, John Eastman, whom CNN describes as an attorney working with Donald Trump’s legal team, wrote a preposterous memo outlining how then–Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election by fiat or, failing that, throw the election to the House of Representatives, where Republicans could install Trump in office despite his loss to Joe Biden. The document, which was first reported by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their new book, is a step-by-step plan to overthrow the government of the United States through a preposterous interpretation of legal procedure.

  1. I love drop-cap typography, but it shouldn’t break the actual text on the page.
  2. For something this important, I wish the big sites had exceptions to their paywalls, because this should be public record.
  3. Nothing #2, this may be paywalled when you try to read it. I normally wouldn’t link to potentially paywalled content but … Big Deal stuff.

US Constitution for sale | Boing Boing:

A first printing of the United States Constitution is headed to auction in November. It’s one of just eleven known copies of the 500 printed for the Constitutional Convention and Continental Congress back in 1787, and the only one still privately-owned.

It’s probably good that Lord Dampnut is functionally broke, or we’d be seeing this show up on Faux News with a bunch of new ammendments in sharpie that suddenly prove he actually won.

I did a spit-take on the title, as it’s true in too many ways…

The Forgotten Craft & Community of Ice Harvesting:

Ice Ball is a short documentary that follows legendary polar explorer Will Steger and the community that he’s built up around harvesting ice from frozen winter lakes near Ely in northern Minnesota.

The Pointer Sisters sang Sesame Street’s funky pinball counting song | Boing Boing:

How am I just finding out that it was *The Pointer Sisters* that sang the vocals for the pinball counting song on Sesame Street?! I’m shook! [Someone please revoke my Gen-X card, thank you.] I also just learned that the “Pinball Number Count” (its proper name) has 11 different animated segments. And that number one was skipped, it goes right into two through 12.

A link from the song’s Wikipedia page led me to even more info. The following is a letter written in 2003 by Walter Kraemer, the song’s composer and producer:

What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban – The Atlantic:

Because when it was too cold to jihad, that IED still got planted. When they had 30-year-old AK-47s and we had $100 million war planes, they kept fighting. When we left a village, they took it back. No matter what we did, where we went, or how many of them we killed, they came back.

Afghanistan pullout: Biden’s biggest call yet – will it be his most calamitous? – BBC News:

Afghanistan… The decision of the President to withdraw from the region is no doubt hard, but I think there’s good reason to understand that lasting change there can’t be made from the outside.

As a mystery reader/viewer, I was … struck… when watching Sherlock the first time, specifically for how little one thing had changed.

“Nothing of the sort. I knew you came from Afghanistan. From long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind, that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps. There were such steps, however. The train of reasoning ran, ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but with the air of a military man. Clearly an army doctor, then. He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness, as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. He holds it in a stiff and unnatural manner. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan.’ The whole train of thought did not occupy a second. I then remarked that you came from Afghanistan, and you were astonished.”

A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle

I didn’t know, I saw.
Your haircut, the way you hold yourself says military. But your conversation…
Bit different from my day.
…said trained at Barts –
so Army doctor, obvious.
Your face is tanned… but no tan above the wrists.
You’ve been abroad, but not sunbathing.
Your limp’s bad when you walk, but you don’t ask for a chair when you stand, like you’ve forgotten about it, so it’s at least partly psychosomatic.
That says the original circumstances of the injury were traumatic.
Wounded in action, then. Wounded in action, suntan – Afghanistan or Iraq.

Sherlock – s1e1 – A Study in Pink

It’s a neat narrative trick, but it belies… Over a hundred years different, but embroiled in essentially the same conflict.

Why is the English language so weird and inconsistent? Blame the printing press. | Boing Boing:

Refering to: Aeon – Typos, tricks and misprints

The same, however, cannot be said about the English language, which often feels like a clusterfuck of arbitrary rules. It’s a difficult and confusing language, but also a malleable one. Grammar and pronunciations vary depending on location, because it’s adaptable by design.