The term fascism is an evocative one. More often than not it recalls images of Nazism and abhorrent acts perpetrated in the early 20th century. Fascism itself is a tricky term to define. It is both a right-wing political system anchored in post World War II European history and a far more warped world view, which is inseparable from doctrines of racial superiority. The associated imagery, from swastikas to skinheads, is highly emotive. And it is troubling therefore to witness a growing resurgence of fascist sentiments across the globe – and especially across Europe.
…it is troubling to witness a growing resurgence of fascist sentiments across the globe – and especially across Europe.
Don’t be fooled into thinking fascism is merely a historic concept, though. For if certain conditions recur, fascism would rise again. Umair Haque, economist and commentator, proposes a model consisting of the four stages of fascism: stagnation, demagoguery, tyranny and finally self-destruction. He says, “We are already past it’s opening stages…we are past the stagnation phase, and nearing the end of the demagoguery phase.”
What is meant by stagnation and demagoguery? Economic decline and rising unemployment fuel the former. They create an opportunity for demagoguery to take advantage of the seemingly empty “middle ground”, as political parties take on increasingly entrenched polar positions. The demagogue usually peddles a narrative of nationalist cohesion at the expense of “the other” – usually a race or a sect. This group is blamed and scapegoated for the stagnation. The role of the other is currently played by Muslims in discourse across Europe, the USA and elsewhere.
Hussain had a very different perspective. Hussain espoused a system of meritocracy – regardless of ethnic origin or spoken language. Many of his most loyal allies arose from beyond the Arab peninsula and from the most humble of origins. For Hussain knew that a system of thinking that divides humanity by skin colour is inevitably going to call upon mankind’s worst attributes and beckon us towards our lower selves. Hussain rejected fascism.
Hussain espoused a system of meritocracy – regardless of ethnic origin or spoken language.
By standing up against all the faces of fascism – from Islamophobia to misogyny and bigotry in all its guises – we deny the demagogue their oxygen. We can then confront the stagnation together.