Fascistas electorales / Fernando Rodríguez

Electoral Fascists

The word "fascist" can be so equivocal that the two sides we have turned the country into can use it against each other with the utmost recurrence and assertion. More than one commentator has pointed out, rightfully so, that one of our greatest and most peremptory political imperatives is to return a minimum of coherence and prudence to our political dictionary, so as to exit the ideological mystification we inhabit.

In a brief and famous text, Umberto Eco has dispatched the question of defining fascism, refusing to provide a precise and closed version of "that field of contradictions," and enumerating a heterodoxal group of symptoms that tend to appear, not necessarily all of them and with the same intensity, among diverse political phenomena.

Without intending more than a small aggregate to such a complex problem, I would venture to say there is a note that always accompanies fascist regimes and which to me seems to luminously typify their sordid essence: the use of irregular violence as a political weapon. From there, violence is the circulatory system of the irrationality and the intolerance that inhabit the heart of the fascist. And on an inevitable slope, this ends up motivating the militant, the fanatic, converting this impulse into physical aggression against the enemy, against anyone who doesn't buy the products of his sick emotiveness, of his ideological perversion. The historical examples of the XX century are the best proof of this: from the black and brown shirts to the Latin American death squads.

The very heights of power innoculate the stimulant of that social pathology. The irritating and sharp word will become the stone and the gunshot of the political assassin. The self-proclaimed altruistic discourse—the nation, Christ, sacrifice, love...—that hides the calculated signals of hate acquires its true face in the induced ire of the thug who attacks the unarmed protest marcher or the thoughtful exponent at a meeting or colloquium, who feels intoxicated by that force that places him above argument and ideas, above civilized discipline or pacifism, above his political rivals. My beast can do more than your good civic manners and your attempt at decency. Your brain is no match for my stick, I'll cut out your tongue and you'll shut up. That is what lies behind all henchmen, in the torture chambers, in the terrorist bomb, in the batallions of men wielding sticks and guns.

We had already said this weeks ago and the events continue to occur.

To all the grotesque distortions which the electoral process has undergone, to its systematic prostitution, manipulating as much as possible the diverse stages of the electoral path, from naming a CNE [Consejo Nacional Electoral] of automatons to ensure there will be no surprises until the achievement of the State's action as merely an electoral emanation, in a Persian market of votes and the exclusion of those who don't wish to participate, condemned as many of them are in the inferno of being named in the Tascón list, aside from all that, now it seems as though we're going to add overwhelming violence against those who want to engage in political campaigning with decidedness and audacity, those who don't respect the geographic and demographic limits established by the autocracy. They tried to prevent Teodoro Petkoff from entering Coche. They tried to sabotage his event at the UCV concert hall. They couldn't stop him. Could it be because the candidate has made the fight against fear one of his central banners?

Now, what is the intent behind these actions, surely directed from some instance of power, so foreign to any type of spontaneity, even—I would say—foreign to the sentiments of everyday Chavistas, who as the polls reveal want to return to a country in peace and coexistence? That we only campaign between Plaza Altamira and Plaza Brión? Or that, on the contrary, we are forced to arm our own brigades against fear? There are already a few injured, should we prepare to count the dead? History says: Don't continue debasing the major exercise of democracy, nations have limits.

{ Fernando Rodríguez, TalCual, 12 June 2006 }

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