Posted in democracy, politics by jrahman on June 14, 2010

‘It’s a fascist regime’ is a common refrain in Bangladesh.  Every opposition party in our history has accused the government of being fascist.  And every opposition in the past has been wrong.  And I hope that the current opposition is wrong too.

But I fear the current government is much more likely to become fascist than any in our history.  And the reasons are not what most people think.

Fascism doesn’t mean any odd dictatorship or undemocratic regime.  Mere intolerance of the opposition is not enough to be fascist.  To be a fascist regime, a government needs a large enough popular base, a cult of personality, and a dogma/ideology which is going to invoked by academics and intellegentsia to support the regime.  

The 1/11 or Ershad regimes were not fascist — they had none of these ingredients.

Bakshal had the cult of personality, ideology and intellectual cheerleaders. Had Sheikh Mujib instituted Bakshal in 1972, he would also have had massive popular support.  But by 1975, it was too late.

BNP in 2001 had the popular support to become fascist, but for all its thuggery and brute force, it wasn’t fascist because there was no ideology or intellectual support.

The current AL government is popular enough, has a sufficiently coherent ideology and a cult of personality, and a very strong intellectual support base.

When Ershad or BNP stepped over the line in terms of censorship or rigged election or sheer decency (think about Mrs Zia’s bogus birthday), there were massive outcries.  

Nothing like that happens now because those who are supposed to protest are all on the same side as establishment.  

And that’s why, for the first time in our history, fascism is a genuine threat.


3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] inevitable rise of fascism […]

  2. […] I do not believe Shahbag is precursor to Fascism.  But I do believe Awami League has a Fascist underbelly that can try to hijack Shahbag’s nationalism.  If that were to happen, this blog […]

  3. […] of Shahbag. I do not believe Shahbag is precursor to Fascism. But I do believe Awami League has a Fascist underbelly that can try to hijack Shahbag’s nationalism. If that were to happen, I will stand with anyone […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: