Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Why Melania's Fascist Jacket Had To Have Been Intentional And Why The Republican Party Under Trump Is A Fascist Party

For anyone who thinks my calling the Republican members of the Supreme Court fascists was over the top, here's an interesting piece about Melania's interesting choice to wear the first $39 item on a trip to her husband's child prisons, the history of the slogan, its present day revival by neo-fascists, the neo-fascist messaging of the company that made the jacket.

The meaning of ‘Me ne frego’

The proud Black-Shirt motto ‘I don’t care’ written on the bandages that cover a wound isn’t just an act of stoic philosophy or the summary of a political doctrine. It’s an education to fighting, and the acceptance of the risks it implies. It’s a new Italian lifestyle. This is how the Fascist welcomes and loves life, while rejecting and regarding suicide as an act of cowardice; this is how the Fascist understands life as duty, exaltation, conquest. A life that must be lived highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future.

Benito Mussolini

The connotations of altruism at the end of the quote are in direct contrast with the meaning taken on by the word menefreghismo (literally, ‘Idontcareism’), which ever since the regime has meant in common parlance a kind of detached self-reliance, or moral autocracy. Just as Italy broke with its former allies and charted a stubborn path towards the ruin and devastation of the Second World War, so too the Fascist citizen was encouraged to reject the judgement of others and look straight ahead. It should be remembered in this regard that the regime treated ignorance and proclivity to violence as desirable qualities to be rewarded with positions of influence and power. This required a swift redrawing of the old social norms, and of the language used to signify the moral worth of individuals. ‘Me ne frego’ was the perfect slogan for the people in charge of overseeing such a program.

Four years ago, speaking at a First World War commemoration in the small town of Redipuglia, Pope Francis linked ‘me ne frego’ not only with the carnage of that conflict, but also with the horrors of Fascism, recognising its ideological and propaganda value for Mussolini’s project. This is the form in which the slogan has survived until the present day, as a linguistic signifier not of generic indifference, but of ideological nostalgia. And because the attempts in Italy and beyond to stem the spread of such signifiers have been comprehensively abandoned, we readily find those words appearing not just on seemingly ubiquitous Fascist-era memorabilia but also on posters,

At the link above, there are several pictures of neo-fascist propaganda using that phrase, including an image of a tee shirt with it over the fasces worn by a model.

One of the commentators at another blog, where I read about this, points out that Melania Trump came from and lived in places where, unlike the United States, people who she knew and encountered would have known all about "I don't care" as a slogan of some of the most brutal of the Italian and other fascists.  Slovenia was a place where fascists were active during the war, the places she lived have a strong and ongoing commemoration of that history, the Communist Party of which her father was an official, promoted the remembrance of the anti-fascist struggle.

Melania Trump was born in Novo Mesto, a city in Slovenia which was part of first Fascist Italy, then the Third Reich in World War II.  Her father was a Yugoslav Communist Party member, from a village which has three large mass graves from the struggle against the Fascists and Nazis.  She went to school and first worked in Lubljana, a city full of references to the fight against Fascism.  She started her modelling career there before moving on to Milan, the city where Mussolini was executed after a mass uprising against the Nazis and Fascists. She speaks Italian.

Let me repeat that:  Melania Trump speaks Italian.

When you add to this the fact that Fascists have just had an electoral victory in Italy, that there are active Fascist street movements everywhere there today, actively resurrecting and using the Fascist slogans and mottos of the 1920s and '30's (including "I Don't Really Care"), that admirers of these movements have worked and do work in the White House, from Steve Bannon to Sebastian Gorka to Stephen Miller, and that Zara, the jacket manufacturer has previously been controversial for producing a swastika themed handbag and a shirt with a concentration camp Jewish star on it, it is impossible for me to think that this signalling was not intentional.

Some may think the jacket is a distraction from the very real threats facing our country and world right now, from scapegoating of vulnerable immigrants and refugees to the stripping of the social safety net and the destruction of workplace and environmental protections.  I firmly believe it is not. The First Lady of the United States, who grew up in the heartland of symbolic contestation over Fascist symbols and mottos, wore a Fascist message jacket from a company with a history of Fascist messaging. 

So, it is impossible that Melania Trump coming from where she did, at the time she did,  didn't understand that she was wearing a fascist slogan on her back as she was acting in an official capacity as the American First Lady, though you'll not catch me calling her that in the future.

The Republican Party is an overtly fascist party, now.  I'd argue that its judicial appointments largely have been for a long time, certainly as the Federalist fascists have had such a big hand in choosing them.

Basically,  Republicans are crooks and crooks always want to deal with their fellow crooks rather than people with an inconvenient notion of the common good, equal rights, justice . . . It's stupid to look at any anti-democratic ideologies or parties as anything but organized criminals.  Their use of ideology is in service to their goal of getting power, keeping power to serve their main goal, stealing everything they can and keeping it.   Basically the only reason anyone would have for marrying Donald Trump.

Update:  Oh, and, by the way,  Meghan McCain can go to hell.

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