This morning, I had a short debate with a writer whose work I thoroughly enjoy and learn a lot from. It was regarding comparison between Corbyn and Trump, as well as whether any of these similarities could be called ‘fascist’. I will not recount the specifics, they are available on Psybertron’s blog here. Following from the discussion, there are some notes to the post which I will respond to here.
First of all, a short note by way of apology, I did misunderstand the intent of the original post. I was at work reading Twitter on my phone (slap on the wrist) so probably not paying the attention required to give a sensible response. Having said that, there are still some points which I do have a different slant on.
I do not think that the comparison between Trump and Corbyn is particularly helpful. Certain ‘fascist tendencies’ are noted which are doubtless present in both men:
demagoguery appealing to prejudice, personality cult, appealing to the kind of motherhood and apple-pie that you know your audience likes, demonising your opponents – despicable Blairites/Tories/Mexicans (delete as inapplicable).
Any of these terms could be applied to any politician with whom one disagrees. Perhaps, as Psybertron notes, we should move past doing politics in this way:
We need politics (and governance generally) that doesn’t have those qualities – whichever “side” you’re on in any disagreement or difference of opinion.
I wonder what politics would look like without individuals who appeal to their followers, are popular and say that their opponents are wrong. These are simply non-pejorative ways of wording the original similarities.
In this case, I would say that it is more enlightening to note that Trump and Corbyn are polar opposites in almost every way. So much so that it confuses things to note a small number of vague similarities rather than adding anything to the debate. There is only one similarity that I would regard as relevant which is the similarity between their economic policies.
Cards on the table here, I am a fan of Jeremy Corbyn. However, I am absolutely not a fan of many of my fellow fans’ conduct. Their unwillingness to acknowledge any criticism of the leader is very reminiscent of Trump fans and in this sense, the comparison between supporters of the two men may well be appropriate.
Another point which I will respond to quickly is the following:
@contronline – a young fella I happen to have met, a human individual for whom I have empathy, but he plies his trade anonymously on-line with zero bio & opaque identity.
I do use Twitter anonymously, as well as WordPress. I can also understand how this may be misunderstood. First of all, it is not in order to ‘troll’ people online. Quite the opposite, I find that it is easier to have respectful disagreements with people when as many preconceptions as possible are eliminated. The simplest way to do this is by posting anonymously.
Secondly, my use of Twitter is confined mainly to following others in order to read their work and very occasionally commenting. I also post writings of my own on the off chance that they may be of interest to a small number of people. Of all the people I follow, Psybertron is the only one I have ever met in person or am ever likely to meet. My real name is irrelevant in any case.
Having said all that, the point is a fair one.
It was noted that there was some disagreement on definitions of the term ‘fascism’. If anyone is interested in my definition – drawing on Eatwell, Griffin, Mussolini and Bonevac – it is available here.