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Notes from the US: Fascism rising


Last weekend a slurry of far right, anti-semitic, supremacist conspiracy theorists who screamed that “Hitler was right” to annihilate Jews in Germany and eastern Europe in the middle of the last century met to push their ‘Great Awakening‘ junk as part of the broader ‘ReAwaken America‘ tour. They somehow managed to claim both that the Holocaust never happened and that fewer people died in the Holocaust (which is a myth, remember) than from (Covid) vaccinations.

Among them were notorious fascists Scott McKay, Charlie Ward (who at the last minute were dropped from the speakers’ list, though not from the rest of the tour) and the likes of Peter Navarro, economic adviser to the last administration; one of its official national security advisers, Michael Flynn; former senior Department of ‘Defense’ official Kash Patel; former acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker; the CEO of ‘Truth’ Social, Devin Nunes; and Roger Stone – ally of the former, twice impeached and (so far once) indicted president, Donald Trump. And – two of Trump’s children, Eric and Lara Trump.

The venue for this public, official exhibition of supremacist and anti-semitic hatred and rhetoric? The Trump Doral Hotel in Miami Florida.

You read that aright: the likely nominee of the Republican party for the presidential election in 2024, and a credible candidate at that, is at best acquiescing – for sure implicitly encouraging – close members of his family to host – on one of his premises – an event that promulgates the notion that “Hitler was actually fighting the same people that we’re trying to take down today…“.

Last month a jury in Travis County, Texas, found 35-year-old army sergeant, Daniel Perry, guilty of murdering Garrett Foster in 2021 at a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas. Both men are white. On the day after the verdict, a Saturday, far right governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, tweeted that he was “…working as swiftly as Texas law allows […to…] pardon Sgt. Perry…”. After sentencing Abbott repeated his threat, thereby strengthening his approval of murder when those killed have opposing political views and understanding of racism to his own. Soon afterwards (not that it would have changed Abbott’s mind) multiple social media posts were entered into court records showing the extent of Perry’s overt racism and violent racist intent.

Only a step down from this – at best – double standard is the way in which Trumpers and right wing lawmakers and officials have turned George Kelly, a rancher from Arizona, into a hero for playing a valiant part in stemming the tide of “‘illegals’ flooding the US”. Kelly is charged with murdering Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea last January as he crossed into the US to look for work.

A perhaps more direct line may be drawn between the racist and white supremacist speeches, stances, legislation, pronouncements, actions and plans of many Republican and far right lawmakers at state and national levels in the United States and the mass shootings on any given day. Doing their best to legitimise supremacy and the lethal consequences of racism were, for instance, both the 33-year-old man named as the shooter who killed nine people in Allen, Texas, on 6 May. He was wearing an insignia that read ‘RWDS’ for ‘Right Wing Death Squad‘; and the 34-year-old man, George Alvarez, who drove his car into a group of migrants outside their shelter in Brownsville, also Texas, killing eight of them. He is alleged by some witnesses to have been shouting and gesturing with racist slurs before he killed them.

The “hearts” of some Republicans routinely “go out” to those slaughtered in the quickly increasing numbers of mass shootings in the United States. Those shot are usually “in” these officials’ “prayers”. But when asked to pass legislation to reduce the availability of weapons now used this way at the rate of one mass shooting (defined as four or more shot, excluding the shooter) every 15 hours, around the clock, they refuse: their ‘freedoms’ (to carry guns to murder almost always innocent bystanders) are more important. In fact late last week a judge in Virginia struck down a federal law prohibiting the sale of handguns to 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds. So more slaughter to come. They will, though, ban books.

In 2016, somewhat against the odds, Al Lawson was elected to Congress – a black man in Florida. The good work he seemed to have done for his constituents in Gadsden County, which is the only county with a majority of black residents in the state, rewarded Lawson with re-election in 2018 and 2020. Things suddenly changed, though, in last year’s midterm election, when Lawson lost by 20 points. For over the very weekend in January 2022 when Martin Luther King’s achievements are celebrated across the US, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stepped in. Although the state’s Supreme Court had ordered that Lawson’s district in northern Florida be left as then drawn so as to preserve the likelihood that black voters there could elect a candidate of their choice who represented their community, DeSantis pushed his own plans to divide the constituency in such a way that no black candidate would be likely to be elected again. The state legislature objected. But it eventually gave in to DeSantis’s gerrymandering. Black representation in the redrawn Gadsden County district now seems all but impossible.

Not far away in Alabama, one of that state’s two senators, Tommy Tuberville, was asked about white nationalists in the United States ‘military’ on a local radio station last week. He supports them and likes the idea of putting them in charge of weapons and the ability, power and authority to use them… “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans”.


Two states, Arkansas and Utah, have now passed laws which restrict social media use for young people. Both the ‘Utah Social Media Regulation Act‘ and Arkansas’s ‘Social Media Safety Act‘ require the providers of any online forum that lets users create public profiles and interact with one other through digital content to verify that new users are at least 18. Ostensibly to protect young people online, the real purpose of curtailing Internet use is easy to perceive.

Shortly after last month’s ‘Notes from the US‘ appeared, fascist governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed into law a total ban on abortions in his state after six weeks, a passage of time before which many women may not know they are pregnant. Then towards the end of April in North Dakota a near-total ban on abortion became law – again with exceptions during the first six weeks of pregnancy.

Members of the élite in Florida are not very good at understanding health matters, though. ‘Notes from the United States’ has reported before on Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the unqualified Covid denier and anti-vaxxer, who – amazingly – holds the post of Surgeon General there. A document emerged last month which strongly suggests that – in his attempt to minimise the severity of the pandemic and his anti-vaccination stance fully in line with MAGA propaganda – Ladopo removed text to suggest that the links between Covid vaccine(s) and cardiac-related mortality were greater than they actually are or were. Ladopo is still in post. In fact his role as Florida’s leading health expert and director was recently confirmed.

Intolerance and bigotry, ignorance and fear led to Florida’s first ban on any discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. This includes silencing those who offer counselling care for young people who benefit from understanding and compassion in schools. The notorious ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Its reach became greater last month. The censorship now applies to all ages up to and including those already of the age of majority, 18. The bigotry previously applied only to classes for pupils aged Kindergarten (5 years) to nine year olds. This extension is part of a wider anti-LGBTQ+ campaign to spread narrow-mindedness throughout Florida as its governor, Ron DeSantis, whips up fanatical discrimination and hatred of various kinds ahead of his attempt to run for president in 2024.

Last month the Republican state of Missouri almost simultaneously took two measures. The first severely restricts care and support for transgender young people and adults, the latest (but not to be the last) in a series of hate laws, directives, regulations and executive actions to discriminate against and persecute as many members of the LGBTQ+ community as possible. Secondly, the state’s House of Representatives passed a bill allowing the carrying of guns in more public places: on buses, in churches and in schools, where many trans youth are becoming too scared to attend. Presumably this is because not enough people have yet been massacred in Missouri.

In April anti-trans legislation went through the House of Representatives in Montana. Fortunately there is a member uniquely qualified to contribute to the debate: Democratic state Representative Zooey Zephyr, who is trans. What did she have to say? Nothing – because Republican lawmakers prevented her from speaking on the House floor again after she explained to them the previous week that they would have “…blood on their hands…” if they removed gender-affirming healthcare for trans children and young people. The week after that she was banned altogether and prevented from attending the chamber for the current session. Montana lawmakers do like their bans.

At the end of April the Republican majority in Kansas overrode the governor’s veto to turn the state into yet one more (there are now at least eight) place where trans people are discriminated against. The measures enacted in Kansas, though, are amongst the most severe and intolerant. Trans people are now prevented from using toilets and similar facilities designated for their own gender identities. The law is aimed to discriminate mainly in schools but it also applies to locker rooms, prisons, domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centres.

The Republicans really do seem afraid of trans people: last month, for instance, the Texas Department of Agriculture put out a written memo obliging everyone who works for it to wear clothing corresponding to their so-called biological gender. The Agriculture Commissioner in Texas, Sid Miller, is a loyal supporter of former President Trump. In Florida a new bill has been introduced which bans children from attending ‘adult live performances’ – that is, drag shows.

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking over 450 anti-trans measures across the United States. GLAAD also keeps a tally of anti-drag intimidation and attacks. Like those in towns like Akron, Lakewood and Wadsworth and Ohio recently, where mobs have turned up in uniform, often protected by the police and actually carrying swastika flags to emulate those who carried out mass murder against Jews, communists and socialists, gays and those with health conditions which the Fascists in Germany considered unacceptable… Fascist militias also admit to firebombing locations, including churches to try and stop events they disapprove of.

Yes, they are currently small in number (and influence) and probably totally unrepresentative of the communities in which they are active. But the fascist gangs which are now acting this way help official (Republican) lawmakers and supporters in their states – like this one – to seem legitimate and ‘normal’. They can now openly and without much opposition pass such hate bills as this into law. This time – on the basis that its opponents – and members of the Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities are “possessed by demons”.

To these attacks must now be added H.R.734, the first national act to advance hate and bigotry.

It was introduced to Congress thus: “For thousands of years in human history, we have recognized as a species that there are women and there are men who are obviously biologically different. Yet over the last several years there has been a perversion in our culture by the enemy, and the left completely embraced the lie to erase the lines of gender and to convince you… gender is fluid and can be whatever you want”.

Florida Republican, Greg Steube is that bill’s chief sponsor; he is an ex-terrorist in the United States army who was helped to election by gerrymandered redistricting in southwest Florida. He is in favour of repealing the Affordable Care Act, which extends healthcare more widely than previously. Although seemingly educated, Steube argued that the ‘deep state’ at the Food and Drug Administration prevented the use of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug proven to cause damage to humans, from being made available during the Covid-19 pandemic. He voted against certifying the legal winner of the 2020 election and against the second impeachment of Donald Trump for attempting to overturn it.

As a result of Steube’s lies and misdemeanours while failing to act to execute his congressional duties, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Steube and the other lawmakers. Symbolically, Steube was one of 21 House Republicans who voted against a resolution that would have rewarded police officers who defended the US Capitol on January 6. Even so, it’s unclear whether by “the enemy” Steube meant specifically people of whose gender identity Steube is afraid, or tolerant people in general.

Other people have already made up their own minds, though: Rasheeda Williams was a transgender woman based in Atlanta, Georgia. She was involved in a documentary film which tells the stories of four Black transgender sex workers Georgia and New York City. She became the third transgender woman to be shot in the state in almost as many months.

Over the previous weekend more evidence emerged of just how confused the right is about what constitutes ‘grooming’ in the context of sexual identity. ‘Grooming’ is the buzzword they use to try and whip up intolerance of the LGBTQ+ community. “Perverts abusing children.” They clearly need to do some more thinking though: one of their number defends marriage for children as young as 12.

The élite also liked the idea of children working as slaves when they are as young as 10 years; until late into the night; at places where murdered animals are chopped and served. That’s OK by them.

Even drinks are not immune from this growing intolerance: last month the makers of Bud Light, the lager popular with many in the United States, decided to honour transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney’s first year transitioning by marketing a can with her face on it. This was too much for the bigots: Florida governor Ron DeSantis (of course), Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and several hosts still working for embattled media outlet, Fox ‘News’, all called for Bud Light to be boycotted; this is exactly the kind of ‘cancel culture’ which they decry when they approve of the person or product. One prominent entertainer posted a video of himself shooting 12-packs of the drink with a submachine gun; others also filmed themselves smashing and dumping cans. Facilities of the makers of Bud light, Anheuser-Busch, received bomb threats as their sales fell 17% in the second week of April while some bars are refusing to sell the drink.

If you thought that the dismissal of far right hate-monger, racist and posturing misogynistic host at Fox ‘News’, Tucker Carlson, in the middle of last month was going to change the network’s stance and approach, think again. All you had to do was watch the programming on the outlet in the days and weeks that followed. Anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda continued to be vomited from stand-in presenters and the regular crew. Guests appeared to augment attempts to try and belittle the attempts by some lawmakers nationally and locally to decrease the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and the well-meaning mayor of New York’s (admittedly faltering) push to reduce the city’s ‘food-based emissions’.

The Fox world sees – or its proponents and adherents say they see – almost any attempt to convince others to act in less selfish ways (cars, guns, masks, preservation of others’ lives) as “The commies are coming to get us and take away our…”. Facts adduced in attempts to expose the flaws in such thinking are decried as ‘fake’. That way, they cannot lose.

After all, the cart-before-horse basis of their output (erect a false, misleading or absurdly distorted fantasy explanation of the world… climate science is a left wing plot, the 2020 election was stolen, immigrants are dirty criminals; then ‘support’ your ‘thesis’ with unverifiable lies and selected misinterpretations, adding a dash of xenophobic, homophobic histrionic generalisation can’t be demolished overnight. Not if you want to keep the advertising revenue coming in. People turn to the Fox world to have their prejudices, hatreds and fears confirmed. The most to which the ‘logic’ of Foxers can aspire is the assertion that, if you don’t believe the conspiracy, you must be part of it.

Expect more of the same.


Even though anarchists have little or no time for shoring governments up, neither do we approve of attempts by the far right to replace existing ones with something even more oppressive, coercive or hierarchical. But – according to a new poll – over a quarter of Republicans approve of the use of violence to reverse the results of a general election if it doesn’t go the way they want. They feel that the death of nine people in the violence of January 6 2021 was legitimate political protest.

For some people on the right you can’t start teaching people to be violent too soon. At last month’s NRA conference very far right governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, boasted that her two-year-old granddaughter already had her very own shotgun and rifle. That same night 15 children (teenagers) were shot at a party in Dadeville Alabama, several in critical condition. Four children were killed by the firearms, ownership of which Noem was so proud. Later that night, at a park – again in Louisville, Kentucky – at least two people were killed and four others wounded when shots were fired into a crowd. More reason for Noem and her like to rejoice, presumably, as shooters exercise their freedoms.

Over the weekend at the start of this month five members of a family and their neighbours were shot dead by in the area around Cleveland Texas. Yet again, the culture of violence which prevails in the United States, rampant selfishness and the availability of guns were the cause. Neighbours had to ask the suspect – now in custody – to stop firing his rifle close to their home. Throughout the aftermath of the event and the huge person-hunt which followed, Fox ‘News’ invariably and exceptionally referred to the perpetrator “illegal immigrant Francisco Oropesa” with the barely concealed inference that the 38-year-old male’s immigration status caused the atrocity, his non-whiteness caused him to act as he did.

As has been well and widely reported, more and more ‘freedom’-seeking individuals have decided that they should shoot anyone who strays into or near their property and vehicles dead. Like a six-year-old girl playing in her back garden.

But when they’re unable actually to take lives themselves, preferably innocent lives, the ‘Right to bear Arms’ merchants love to elevate and celebrate, to lionise and applaud those who do. Over another weekend when – yet again – children and adults alike lost their lives across the country – for holding parties, for instance – Republicans raising money in Bonneville county, Idaho, invited Kyle Rittenhouse to be guest of honour. It was Rittenhouse, you’ll remember, who (as part of a self-appointed vigilante militia) shot and murdered two anti-racism protesters in August 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests of that summer. He was found not-guilty and became a welcome guest on Fox ‘News’ and other fascist media outlets: the brave man who would stand up to the Blacks.

So as to glorify the use of weapons of mass destruction as loudly and unambiguously they could, the organisers of the event last month auctioned an AR-15 rifle (the weapon of choice for those ‘freedom’ fighters who massacre school children, party- and church-goers and those who mistake their front doors) autographed by Rittenhouse. Tickets to ‘Trigger Time‘ were available in aid of boosting the Republican agenda.


Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, obviously likes power as a way to impose racist and sexist misery on large sectors of the state’s residents. If he gets his way as an (as yet potential) presidential candidate, he’s said that he’d like to extend supremacist repression across the whole of the United States. So in order both to hang onto the governorship and declare an interest in the presidency he has had to change the law (in Florida) which currently prevents that. At the end of April Republican lawmakers in the state amended the ‘resign to run’ law which states that ‘…any person seeking the office of President or Vice President of the United States…’ must resign ‘local’ office as soon as they file the requisite paperwork to run, qualify for the ballot, or when they are nominated by their party.

At about the same time as this took place, allegations (as yet not fully substantiated) emerged of his apparent crimes against prisoners (illegally) incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay during the Bush presidency when DeSantis was an attorney there.

It’s also to be noted that DeSantis is pushing legislation in Florida which is intended to make it easier to escape media criticism by litigation when the source of an exposé or work of investigation uses anonymity to protect its sources. Of House 991 and Senate 1220 bills DeSantis said, “…if somebody is defamed… if they’re using anonymous sources, then that can be a presumption that that was done with malice…” Really? Is that how journalism works?

With the usual proviso that anarchists have little time for elections, it should be reported that the rush to the right as perpetrated by Republicans at the moment is in some ways, and on some levels, more dangerous in the short term than the managed capitalism of the Democrats – largely because of the former’s anti-social and environmentally destructive actions. So moves such as that in the Texas Senate last month, which would give the Secretary of State there (who is appointed by far right Republican governor Greg Abbott) the legal authority to reject election results in Harris County, which is controlled by Democrats and the third most populous in the US, should be noted.

At about the same time earlier this month documents revealed how the Supreme Court helped to get George W Bush selected as president in 2000.


Large scale animal massacre continues totally unstemmed in the US. The fire at the South Fork Dairy near Dimmitt which killed nearly 20,000 cattle drew attention to the callous selfishness and disregard for life which has prevented the élite in the US from passing (federal) regulations to prevent what are quaintly called ‘barn fires’. Over six million animals have died in the last ten years from such events. That’s more than one death every minute around the clock.

As often happens in May, horses are murdered as a result of their abuse, of being overworked, by lack of adequate safety measures and because they sustain injuries in the period during which the infamous horse-racing fiasco, the Kentucky Derby, takes place. This year was the event’s 149th; it saw no fewer than seven otherwise well and able horses lose their lives so that spectators could enjoy themselves and large amounts of money raised in betting.

Last month’s ‘Notes from the US‘ reported on the damaging Willow Project introduced by the Biden administration. But worse is to come: the US Department of Energy (DOE) has now approved exports from the Alaska LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Project, which will free up to 20 million metric tons of gas derived from the potentially catastrophic and discredited fracking process from 2030 on. The DOE itself admits that this is likely to contribute nearly three billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the project – actually ten times as much Earth-wrecking pollution as the Willow Project is expected to unleash.

Democrats also made a small but decisive contribution to air pollution when, at the end of April, the Senate (which they control) voted to rescind a regulation on emissions from heavy-duty lorries. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted with Republicans allowing the measure to pass 50 to 49. Interestingly, in order to put profit over life’s survival, Republicans used the Congressional Review Act. in order to bypass Democrat control and force a floor vote, which needs only a straight majority – and not the 60 votes usually required to pass (such) legislation. The Earth must come last.

The State and city of New York are generally considered amongst the more ‘liberal’ in the US. It is here, after all, that Trump still faces some of his toughest legal challenges. It’s also in New York that some of the more successful initiatives to reduce crime have been effected. But lest you credit the state with too much, note that Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, last month nominated Caitlin Halligan to serve on the state’s Court of Appeals, its highest judicial body. Halligan represented Chevron in its specious charges against Steven Donziger, the human rights lawyer who successfully sued the oil company on behalf of Ecuadorian Amazonian Indigenous peoples as it caused massive pollution in their ancestral land.

The Annual Report of the American Lung Association indicates that about one in three of all those living in the United States are in areas classified as unhealthy because of air pollution – from soot and smog. Non white people are almost four times as likely to reside in these areas as whites.

In some states it now seems to be illegal peacefully to persuade other people of your point of view with reasoned verbal argument and fact. Direct Action Everywhere activist, Curtis Vollmar, was found guilty last month of ‘criminal trespass’ and ‘disorderly conduct’ for leafleting peacefully at a park in Beaver County, Utah, about the crimes against animals of Smithfield Foods. The judge, Shadrach Bradshaw, who fined Vollmar US$850 (£684) is a former dairy farmer who has not attended law school.

Louis Further

Image: Rod Webber

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