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By Jason Michael
Charlottesville isn’t just about Trump’s America. This is only the latest warning of the fire that is burning right across the world. We are kidding ourselves on if we think this is all just going to blow over. This is getting worse.
Fire has always been humanity’s most useful tool, but – as an analogy of the frightening developments we are witnessing around us – there reaches a point when lighting fires when the flames get out of control. Our world is on fire. We are caught in the midst of a conflagration that is threatening to consume us all. Watching events unfold in Charlottesville, where thousands of white supremacists marched on the town in a Nuremburg rally-style torchlight procession and where at least one counter-protestor has now been killed, we are forced to realise that a line has been crossed; that the world has taken a turn for the worse.
It is not the case that this verrechtsing (or right turn) is limited to Trump’s America. This rise in right-wing populism is a global phenomenon. The racism we are seeing emboldened by the current US administration is also being emboldened across Europe and Russia, and – terrifyingly – these groups are more connected to one another, thanks to the internet, than ever before. In Scotland the coded and overt Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia at the core of hard unionism is echoing and is being echoed by Tommy Robinson and neo-Nazi organisations like Britain First and the English Defence League. We’re looking at a disease that has spread far and penetrated deep into our society.
I'm pretty much persuaded that unionism is basically the alt-right of Scotland and the UK.—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) August 03, 2017
In the month following the Brexit vote reports of hate crimes across England and Wales doubled, while incidents of Islamophobic abuse and violence – specifically targeting Muslims – increased by a terrifying 326 per cent in the year prior to the vote. Politically very little is being done to tackle this trend because populist leaders in the west are relying on support from the right to stay in power. In some cases, as is the case with Donald Trump in the States and Theresa May in the UK, leaders are actively inciting the far-right and turning a blind eye to the consequences. It is little wonder then that these rightists are feeling emboldened and becoming more audacious and violent.
Having pondered this intensification of right-wing sentiment over the past half-decade or so I have reached a conclusion that is not in the least optimistic. The forces that right-populist political leaders have harnessed and piggybacked have – like the fire – gotten ahead of them. What they thought they could control has become their master, driving them ever further to the right in the pursuit of power. We are now in the midst of an uncontrollable inferno, one that is going to get a damn sight worse before it will either blow itself out or be defeated.
If you are thinking what I am describing here is apocalyptic, you’re right. This is apocalyptic. Not in the modern sense of an end of the world, but in the proper sense; an unveiling – a cataclysm between the ages, a laying bare and an unleashing of the aggressions that the dying age has stored up in sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Yes, I fear we are about to reap the whirlwind.
It is all too easy to think that we are safe in Scotland. Racially motivated hate crime in Scotland has been falling steadily over the past ten years, and this is praiseworthy. But this is a bubble. It is an anomaly created for the most part by the growth of a socially inclusive independence movement which sets itself against the ideological trends of the Westminster government and the populist political positioning of Scottish unionism and its English cognate British nationalism. We hope that the Scottish exception lasts and that the cause for independence is ultimately successful in extricating Scotland from the mounting toxicity of the United Kingdom, but its failure will burst this bubble. The death of the independence movement will unfetter all the rage and bile that is simmering beneath the surface of right-wing Scottish unionism.
Since the Brexit result hate crime in England has increased by 100% and Islamophobic attacks by 300%. All racist crime is down in Scotland.—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) August 13, 2017
With or without Scotland, this cataclysm is coming. Every time I say this, however, someone will tell me that war is over in Europe. Apparently we are too modern, too sophisticated, too bloody technologically advanced and scientific to go to war with one another (but we’ve never had a problem going to war with non-Europeans). Bullshit! The holocaust wasn’t shocking. Mass murder and genocide are par for the course in human history. What was shocking was that Germany did it. Germany was the apex of philosophical, scientific, cultural, and technological enlightenment. No way could Germany perpetrate such a crime – but it did.
On the eve of every major war or social-civilisational collapse there are those who say it can never happen. These things never happen… until they do.
Of course I hope I am wrong. I pray to God I am wrong, but I don’t think I am. All the signs are there. Police participating in the violence against refugees in Hungary, the government sending vans around London telling foreigners to “go home,” the President of the world’s leading super-power calling Mexicans rapists and signing orders banning Muslims from entering the country. There were plenty of people in Berlin and Paris convinced it would all blow over when Hitler started expelling Jews and other “undesirables” from the Reich. Many in Rwanda thought it only a phase when the government began describing Tutsis as “cockroaches” – now a familiar slur against Muslims in England.
This isn’t going to get better. What, do you think that when it gets too much for you to take you can just tweet POTUS and ask him nicely to cool it down? It’s already upon us people, the axe is already at the root, and it is high time that we decided what side we are on.
White House defends Trump’s response to Charlottesville unrest