Fascism won’t come goosestepping down O’Connell Street. It won’t suddenly mark its arrival in a dramatic public oration delivered by a demagogue promising the dawn of a new era.
Fascism sits next to you in the pub, shares jokes, buys you a pint, tells you how we should “look after our own first.” Fascism is on your football team, and tells you – with a laugh – it wouldn’t want any “fuckin’ queers” in our changing room ha ha ha.” Fascism appears in the media saying “they might have racist connections, but maybe they have a point in some cases.” Fascism is the conversation at the table next to you, quietly and casually announcing “we should just behead the lot of them, give them a taste of their own medicine.”
Fascism creeps in. You’d barely notice it at first; just a few crass comments here and there from people you reckon probably don’t know much better. Then they start to nod and agree with each other. They form groups – as is their right to do – and start to talk publicly about their ideas and thoughts.
“Let’s see what they have to say,” some declare. Others – who have been keeping their ideas to themselves, knowing they’re a bit off the mark – also nod and agree, and listen to these groups. Now that their once-quiet ideas have been validated by other people and other groups, it has now become “normal” and “acceptable”. So they go the pub, or to their football match, or the café, and continue to share and spread the toxic ideas.
It creeps in.
Eventually fascism spreads, and an extreme political party or individual is elected into a seat of power. Now that fascism has been “validated” on a national level, many of its supporters begin to carry out their ideas: acts of violence and harassment against those they believe are harming their way of life. The fascist leaders start to employ segregation to deal with the so-called undesirable elements of society, eroding their legal status in the country. The Undesirables are used as a labour force to carry out work those deemed superior don’t want to do.
Over time, you’d barely notice it.
Fascism announces that in order to build a perfect society, those that damage it must be removed. All over, thousands and millions of people are carted into camps to be deported. Or worse.
Fascism doesn’t march in with a dramatic announcement. It’s already here. It happened before, and it’s happening again. But we can do our bit to stop it. It’s up to us to say “not this time.”