I think we need a new word to describe what the old word 'fascism' describes, because many people don't understand the word anymore.
They hear 'fascist' and just think 'Nazis goose-stepping in the streets', so instantly discount any use of it as being a bit over-hyped.
Perhaps we can take a tip from hurricane names. When there's been a terrible destructive hurricane, that name is retired from future use and a new name substituted under that letter. Fascism has had that terrible destruction, and perhaps we need a new word for new incarnations.
Otherwise, I find myself trying to explain something the government has said or done as being fascist, or a worrying step towards fascism, and I can feel people rolling their eyes like "Tsk, hardly! Britain hasn't invaded Europe with troops in the streets rounding people up. Don't exaggerate."
But what fascism describes is divide and rule, the distortion of the truth and confusion between right and wrong, those in power thinking themselves above the law, the 'othering' of some group of people to unite a population in hate. Any of that sound familiar?
The original fascists, in Italy, coined the name themselves. It meant roughly 'a bundle of sticks' because they used this imagery to show how the people were stronger together in a populist movement than each stick was alone. It was then picked up by others.
This time around we as a society should be the ones to name and define this authoritarian divisive dangerous movement, rather than letting them choose their own moniker. So far they have taken the names of existing moderate political movements they have harnessed, travelling undercover as republicans or conservatives. We need to spotlight that these people are very different to the political parties they have take over.
We need to highlight how dangerous they are.
So what's the perfect word?
Originally a Twitter thread.