Sara Robinson, on Dave Neiwert's blog, has an important post (the first of a series) about whether the term "fascist" applies to the escalation in disruptive, even violent behavior from the right now that we see open encouragement of that behavior even by the more "moderate" national leaders of the GOP and corporate interests.
The pessimistic conclusion of Robinson's analysis strikes me as overly dependent upon a "clockwork" notion of history. I don't think human events and politics works like that; yes, there are rough patterns, but there is also a lot more contingency than most schematics I've encountered appear to take into account. That said, what Sara writes is deeply troubling and I don't think she's wrong: far from it.
Here is the main point, but you really must read the whole thing.:
Now, the guessing game is over. We know beyond doubt that the Teabag movement was created out of whole cloth by astroturf groups like Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips' Americans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. We see the Birther fracas -- the kind of urban myth-making that should have never made it out of the pages of the National Enquirer -- being openly ratified by Congressional Republicans. We've seen Armey's own professionally-produced field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process -- and the film of public officials being terrorized and threatened to the point where some of them required armed escorts to leave the building. We've seen Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."She promises that in a future post, she will describe how we can pull back from this awful brink. Can't wait.
This is the sign we [scholarly experts who track the growth of fascism] were waiting for -- the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America's conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country's legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America's streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won't do their political or economic bidding.
This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It's also our very last chance to stop it.