Beware fascist marches: they are the hatcheries for fascist coups

There are some key facts about the events of January 6, 2021, that must be made crystal clear as the fascist Republican Party embarks on a campaign of gaslighting America about the Donald Trump coup attempt against the government of the United States. Fascists are anathema to the historical record and attempts by Trump operatives and propagandists, particularly Steve Bannon, Dinesh D’Souza, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and others, to revise history are in full swing. On the eve of the annual neo-fascist love fest, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference, held this year in Orlando, irrefutable facts must be laid on the table.

The January 6 coup attempt, highlighted by a march from the Ellipse, south of the White House, to the U.S. Capitol, where the new Congress was being sworn in and the votes of the Electoral College were being certified, used the same template as one of Trump’s heroes, Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. During the 2016 campaign, Trump used the following quote: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” When it was pointed out to him that the quote was Mussolini’s, Trump replied, “Mussolini was Mussolini . . . What difference does it make? It got your attention, didn’t it?” Trump, if anything, is a lazy student of history. He remembers a single quote from Mussolini and once kept a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches at his bedside. Someone else used the example of Mussolini’s successful National Fascist Party march on Rome in 1922 to encourage Trump to provide the encouragement and drumbeat for similar fascist march in Washington some 99 years later. That “someone” is, without a doubt, Trump’s chief ideological adviser, Steve Bannon, one of the craftier of grifters surrounding Trump, who received a presidential pardon after his federal indictment for charity fraud.

Similar to the Trump march on the Capitol, Mussolini’s Fascist Blackshirt march on Rome was not taken very seriously by the incumbent Italian Prime Minister. On October 28, 1922, after Mussolini besieged the Italian government with some 30,000 Blackshirt militia supporters, the Italian King, quite happily it turns out, handed over the reins of government to Mussolini and his fascists. By 1925, Italy was a full-blown fascist dictatorship. The Parliament was dissolved and replaced by the “Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.” It is clear that the January 6 American coup plotters intended to replace the U.S. Congress with a rump parliament consisting of only Trump supporters. With the elimination of much of the Congressional leadership through assassination, the January 6 coup marchers and enablers at the White House, Pentagon, and in Congress would have ensured the rejection of the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden and declared Donald Trump the winner. Such an act would have ushered into being an American fascist dictatorship using the example set by Mussolini in Rome in 1922.

For Bannon and his ilk, Italy remains the Valhalla of Fascism. With the support of Italian fascists like former Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Bannon has been trying to create a fascist academy to train a new generation of political leaders at the 13th century Trisulti monastery on the slopes of Monte Rotonaria in central Italy. Bannon has received support in this endeavor from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, which is associated with the fascist Opus Dei Roman Catholic order. Bannon’s plan has also received quiet support from former Pope Benedict XVI. Bannon’s other deep-pocketed supporters include Rebekah Mercer, who controls the purse strings of the multi-billion dollar Mercer Family Foundation, which bankrolled Bannon when he was the editor of the far-right Breitbart News and which currently funds the far-right social media platform Parler, instrumental in organizing the January 6 coup attempt in Washington. Bannon has also established a secretariat for a de facto “Fascist International,” known as “The Movement,” in Brussels. Bannon’s current far-right media projects are also supported by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and U.S.-based Falun Gong cult leader Li Hongzhi. When Bannon was busted by federal agents last year in the charity fraud case, he was on board Guo Wengui’s super-yacht off the coast of Connecticut.

Bannon, being a student of fascist history and political tactics, is well-aware of the success of a march by armed militias to foster a coup d’etat. That is why Bannon should be as much a target for federal law enforcement investigators as Rudolph Giuliani, Roger Stone, Alex Jones, or any of the other rabble-rousers, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, of the January 6 revolt.

It is now known that the law enforcement and security authorities in Washington failed to heed a warning, issued the day before the Capitol siege, by the FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, which stated: “As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C. An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.’” Participants in planning the siege of the Capitol also possessed restricted-use maps of the Capitol’s underground tunnels and contingency facilities that could have only been provided from members of Congress or their staffs.

The FBI’s Norfolk office appears to have been closely tracking Trump coup plotters since November 5, 2020, when it alerted the Philadelphia Police Department that “individuals were in route from Virginia Beach to Philadelphia in a silver Hummer truck and we’re [sic] in possession of weapons and ammunition.” Philadelphia Police officers spotted a Hummer, sporting a Qanon sticker, parked outside the Philadelphia Convention Center in Center City. Inside the convention center, votes from the November 3 election were still being counted. Police later arrested two of the vehicle’s occupants, Joshua Macias and Antonio LaMotta, both from Chesapeake, Virginia, for weapons violations. The two men were alleged to have been involved in a plot to launch an armed attack on the vote-counting workers. Both Macias and LaMotta, who had been released on bail in Philadelphia, were present at the siege of the Capitol two months later, another indication that the law enforcement and the courts had been totally compromised by Trump supporters and enablers.

The Capitol siege and coup attempt not only involved law enforcement enablers and sympathizers, with as many as 35 Capitol Police officers currently under investigation for their actions or lack thereof on January 6, but also pro-Trump elements within the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, who failed to heed the warnings from the FBI office in Norfolk. The Tidewater region of Virginia, with its large contingent of active duty, reserve, and retired military, appears to have been a major staging area for the January 6 coup attempt. This, too, follows the template of Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome. A number of Mussolini’s Blackshirts were veterans of World War I.

Italian Prime Minister Luigi Facta never believed that the 60,000 Blackshirt militia members and National Fascist Party supporters Mussolini had assembled in Naples for the march on Rome amounted to much of a danger. Facta believed that the planned march could never result in a full-scale insurrection. To the contrary, former Italian conservative Prime Minister Antonio Salandra warned Facta that Mussolini would demand his and his government’s resignation after they launched their march on the Italian capital. Facta figured that if he offered Mussolini a position in his cabinet, that would be enough to placate the National Fascist Party leader and his supporters. Facta was dead wrong.

When armed Fascist militias began entering Rome on October 26, Facta belatedly declared a “state of siege.” He also appealed to King Victor Emmanuel III to order the Italian military to battle Mussolini’s militias. The King, a quiet supporter of Mussolini, refused. Facta was forced to hand in his resignation to the King, who, in turn, appointed Mussolini as the new prime minister. The alarming thing about Mussolini’s seizure of power is that it was done within the constraints of the Statuto Albertino, the Italian Constitution at the time. The January 6 coup attempt was a hybrid putsch. Some elements of the U.S. Constitution dealing with the presidential election were to have been cherry-picked, such as rejecting, albeit dubiously, the electoral votes of some states with a plan to throw the final decision on the election victor to the House of Representatives.

Mussolini’s “March on Rome” inspired other fascists to follow the lead of the Italian fascists. On November 8 the following year, Nazi leaders in Munich, including Adolf Hitler, led a 2,000-strong march on the Feldherrnhalle in central Munich. Their goal was the overthrow of the Bavarian state government and to establish a base in Munich, from where they would march against the Weimar government in Berlin. The German police, acting under orders from Bavarian pro-Catholic Center Party Prime Minister Eugen Ritter von Knilling, reacted much differently to the Nazi march than had the Italian police — which were riddled with fascists supporters — to Mussolini’s march the previous year. The Munich police opened fire, killing 16 Nazis and hitting Hermann Göring in the leg, while losing four within their own ranks. Hitler was sentenced to five years imprisonment for treason, however, he only served nine months. That was long enough for Hitler to have written Mein Kampf, a book highlighting all of Hitler’s grievances and which soon became a best seller in Germany.

After Hitler and his colleagues were freed from prison after their ill-fated “Beer Hall Putsch,” they were more dangerous than ever, having garnered sympathy from some of the conservative-leaning members of the German electorate. This should be kept in mind by juries and judges handling the criminal cases of hundreds of Trump supporters arrested for their role in the U.S. Capitol attempted putsch. We have already seen two would-be terrorists, who had plans to shoot up the Philadelphia Convention Center to halt the vote counting taking place there, show up at the Capitol on January 6 after being freed on bail in Pennsylvania. The granting of bail to some of the accused Capitol coup plotters is setting the stage for significant problems in the near future.

The Biden administration must be vigilant at home and abroad to the dangers posed by modern fascism, which has manifested itself in Donald Trump, who has gladly adopted many of Mussolini’s physical mannerisms, and Trump’s fascist political Svengali, Bannon. Bannon serves Trump in the same manner as Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg served Hitler, as keeper of the fascist mythos. Bannon knows his fascist tactics and history, including what occurred on February 23, 1981 in the Spanish Congress of Deputies in Madrid. Lieutenant-Colonel Antonio Tejero led some 200 armed Civil Guard officers, all supporters of the late Fascist dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco, into the Congress of Deputies during the vote to elect a new President of the Government. ejero disrupted the roll call vote for a new head of government and decided to pick out certain deputies, separating them from the rest, for possible execution. Those selected included outgoing Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez, who was physically manhandled out of the chamber; the opposition Socialist Party leader, Felipe González Márquez and his deputy, Alfonso Guerra González; Communist Party leader Santiago Carrillo; and the Defense Minister, Agustín Rodríguez Sahagún. The insurrectionists, in taking key members of the Executive and Legislative branches hostage, would create a power vacuum that would result in the establishment of a new fascist regime. Sound familiar? Bannon is well aware of this history. What were the U.S. Capitol insurrectionists’ ultimate plans for Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic congressional leadership? The zip ties, loaded weapons, and hangman’s noose and functional gallows erected on the east side of the Capitol should provide the answer. The only person who saw to it that the Spanish coup was aborted was the King. Unlike Spain in 1981, America’s head of state in 2021, Trump, was in on the operation, as was, undoubtedly, Bannon. Bannon’s close ties to fascists in Italy, Belgium, Austria, and in the Jair Bolsonaro government in Brazil are more than mere causes for alarm. They are, as January 6 should have proven by now, significant threats to U.S. national security.

Other tinpot dictators have already followed Trump’s lead and well-before the siege of the U.S. Capitol. In February 2020, the Trump-friendly president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, entered the opposition-controlled Legislative Assembly with armed police and soldiers in what was called an attempted coup. The fascists have set the stage for similar anti-parliamentary actions everywhere.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, well aware of his own nation’s slide into fascism following a military coup in 1926, four years after Mussolini’s March on Rome, recently told the UN Human Rights Council that the threat posed by global neo-Nazis and white supremacists have been “cheered on by people in positions of responsibility in ways that were considered unimaginable not long ago.” Guterres added, “We need global coordinated action to defeat this grave and growing danger.” He is correct. Trumpism and Bannonism must be eradicated before the appearances of new Mussolinis and Hitlers on the world stage.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2021

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

2 Responses to Beware fascist marches: they are the hatcheries for fascist coups

  1. Thank You for this informative – interlocking past and present history steps – exposing the fascist winds propelled by trump and his ilk on this nation. If only people paid attention — or if only people pay attention to the clear and present danger still alive and well coming out of trump and his camp post January 6th there might be a way to stop them cold on their tracks.
    Just yesterday I was mentioning to my husband how weird it is that other presidents who retired from the presidency (voted out of office or ran to the end of their two terms) went happily home not needing to hold on to, or manipulate, the reins of power, except perhaps for GHWB but even his need to continue involvement in the reins of power was not as an iron hot red fascist grip as trump’s.
    You are so correct in saying, “Trumpism and Bannonism must be eradicated before the appearances of new Mussolinis and Hitlers on the world stage.”
    If only, if only people open their eyes and listen before it is too late!

  2. You missed the contemporary fascists in India and Bangladesh.

    Fascism in the world’s biggest democracy began with the breaking of a mosque, not exactly a march, but close enough.

    India’s prime minister has been widely credited with assisting, one way or another, the pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 that killed 2,000 Muslims. His popularity soared – even as America denied him a visa.

    Creating hatred for a minuscule minority – Muslims – and generating “libidinous feelings”, to use Freud’s expression, for the majority is a constant in fascism. On our side of the border, the minuscule minority are the Islamists, 14 of whom were recently gunned down while peacefully protesting the arrival of Narendra Modi.

    You will observe that these fascist governments – ours in Bangladesh, and India’s – receive sanction from the United States and other western countries.