Chris Hedges and Paul Street: Neo-fascist Seizure of America’s State Governments

American Jesus

Image by Chris Barker via Flickr

with Chris Hedges
and with Paul Street
Writer, Dandelion Salad
October 22, 2021

RT America on Oct 21, 2021

On the show, Chris Hedges discusses the seizure of state government by American’s homegrown neo-fascist movement with the historian Paul Street.

The creeping homegrown Christianized fascism that is steadily gaining power in the United States is most evident not in Washington but in state-level politics. Some 150 million Americans live in fully or mainly “red states,” where state politics and policy are completely or largely in the hands of a neo-fascist Republican party. There are 22 states where Republicans control the governorship and legislative bodies. There are 15 states where the Democratic party controls the governorship and legislative bodies. And there are 13 states with divided governments.

In the “red” states such as Texas and Florida, laws are being passed to suppress voting, outlaw abortion, forbid honest discussion of white systemic racism in public education, ban local governments and school districts from enforcing minimum wage ordinances, prohibit local vaccine and mask mandates, cut pandemic-related unemployment benefits, reject federal Medicaid dollars to help the poor receive health care, and persecute undocumented workers and their families. The nation’s most retrograde corporate political funders and operatives – the Koch-backed “fifth column” culprits in historian Nancy MacLean’s book Democracy in Chains – have long focused heavily on politics and policy at the state level.

State politics, with the collapse of the local press and its consolidation by a handful of corporations, is an easy mark. It is rarely covered and almost never in depth. Corporations, for relatively small costs, can buy the loyalty of state officials and banish those who do not do their bidding. What is happening, as the historian Paul Street writes, is that in the white nationalist “flyover” states, Republican neo-fascists are hard wiring these jurisdictions to orchestrate this creeping coup with Leninist discipline.

Paul Street is the author of ten books including his latest Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement. He also writes regularly for Counterpunch where he published a recent column headlined “What Happens in the Red States.”


Paul Street is an independent radical-democratic policy researcher, journalist, historian, author and speaker based in Iowa City, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of eight books to date: Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004); Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York: Routledge, 2005); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: a Living Black Chicago History (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008); The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (Paradigm, 2010); (with Anthony DiMaggio) Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media and the Campaign to Remake American Politics (Paradigm, 2011); and They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014). Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement (CounterPunch Books, September 2020). Paul writes regularly for Counterpunch and Dandelion Salad. Help Paul Street keep writing here and/or here.

See also:

The Brennan Center for Justice

From the archives:

The Frontier is Closed: Capitalist and Constitutional Chickens Coming Home to Cancerous Roost, by Paul Street

A Time of Plague in an Era of Corruption, Distrust and Irrationality, by Kenn Orphan

Chris Hedges: Undercurrents of American Fascism

From Iowa Nice to Iowa Nazi: A Report from the Friendly Fascist Heartland, by Paul Street

Paul Street: Is Trumpism Fascism? + Paul Jay: Trump’s Treason and McConnell’s Mayhem

Chris Hedges: The Undercurrents of Fascism in America’s DNA

Chris Hedges: American Fascist Christian Right

Abby Martin and Chris Hedges: Christianized Fascism Is More Dangerous Than The Alt-Right

23 thoughts on “Chris Hedges and Paul Street: Neo-fascist Seizure of America’s State Governments

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  23. I’m a bit bothered by that phrase “Leninist discipline.” But I’ll put that aside.

    Hedges and Street seem to be acting as though this fascism is something new. It’s not. It’s the inevitable result of private property, which has been going on for 12,000 years. (In particular, the USA was founded in land theft, genocide, and slavery.) Private property necessitates trade, which increases inequality, but let’s put that aside too. Just the very fact of private property has these implications:

    Someone else is less fortunate than me, and I can’t do anything about it. In order for me to feel okay with that, I convince myself that their misfortune is not my responsibility or concern, and in fact their misfortune was their own doing. They are somehow at fault, and so in fact they deserve to be punished further. And I could be next, but that idea makes me nervous, I’d rather not think about that, let’s not talk about that. Hurrah for the bully.

    And perhaps the Democrats aren’t quite the same bullies, but they still agree with the basic principles of the bully culture. Don’t look for any opposition there.

    We need a cultural change, but we only get that by seeing the old culture more clearly. We won’t get there by thinking of reforming the old culture or compromising with it. We won’t get there by seeking kinder, gentler bullies. Anyone thinking in those terms — including Street and Hedges — is in denial.

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