Back in the 90s, I lived in Vancouver, BC and became quite active in federal and provincial politics. It was an interesting time politically. In Canada, the national Conservative Party was decimated in the ’93 election, and another right-wing party (the Reform Party) became popular. This was the start of the Alberta-centric federal movement (Canadian Alliance) that inevitably merged the two parties, becoming the now Conservative Party of Canada; and got Stephen Harper into power. In my opinion, a sad time for us Canadians as they eroded our social programs, silenced our scientists, removed environmental protections, and increased the gap between the rich and poor.
In the background though,
many left-wing activists started to research during that time regarding the connections between the anti-abortion & anti-gay movements, and the neo-Nazi/white supremacists groups active in many communities across the country. There was such a strong link between the fringes of the right-wing Reform Party to these groups, that many anti-racist rallies were taking place in the major cities in Canada expressing their disgust for such hate, and disregard for human rights.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I see obvious parallels between the hostile take over of Progressive Conservatives by the Canadian Alliance, and the take over of the Republican Party by neo-nazis in the USA. Everyone seems so surprised by the rise of the fascists. Whereas, I see obvious signs that the conditions are ripe for disengaged and under-education youth to grab onto the idea that they are being marginalized.
Sadly, they are being marginalized by their own party and a system that does not care about them. With Trump trying to gut Obamacare, cut spending for education, and to try to spin facts by declaring those facts “fake news”, they are being led into a confusing mixing pot of poverty, racial differences, breaking unions, global conflicts uprooting entire populations, and the threat of nuclear war.
Very Raegan-esque if you ask me. Bring back the cold-war, ramp up right-wing propaganda that it is USA first, then point fingers at the poorest citizens of your country, immigrants, “terrorists”, and blame them. Oh, and still make everything overseas for pennies on the dollar, and give massive tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
I’m aware that Canada has a shitty track record as well. We have marginalized our aboriginal population for hundreds of years and we have most recently been involved in killing civilians in global conflicts thanks to Harper deciding we aren’t just Peacekeepers anymore. We have a shameful history of racism and incarceration of Asian communities before and during the world wars. We have a history of being a racist country.
Yet, it is fair to say that our political parties are a good step to the left on the political spectrum. And, though I hated Stephen Harper, he wasn’t actively recruiting a white supremacist to be his chief political strategist. Trump on the other hand, hired Steve Bannon. And he is surrounding himself with really horrible people who have no interest in social programs, the poor, minorities, education, etc…Trump’s administration is a disaster.
And I would suggest, that it is a disaster ON PURPOSE! Trump is not an accidental idiot. He is a very strategic placement to overtake the Republican Party, and push forward a radical and racist right-wing agenda.
We are going to see more violent protests, more radicalization of youth, and sadly more swastikas. This is just the start of a swing in the political pendulum to the right. And much like the 2nd world war, unless people start speaking up, standing up, protesting, and saying NO TO FASCISM, I fear we are heading closer to the destruction of democracy, human rights and the threat of a nuclear future.