Adolf Hitler rose to power during a period of similar social tumult as that which has currently garnered Donald Trump such fervent support, according to Noam Chomsky. In a recent interviewwith Aaron Williams for Alternet, Chomsky explained how fear, alone, does not sufficiently explain Trump’s surprising popularity:
“Fear, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period. People feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces they do not understand and cannot influence.”
Governmental control over the lives of the U.S.’ populace has increased tremendously in recent time. With few avenues for effective protest — as in the example of Texas and other states, which have passed laws prohibiting localities to ban fracking — there is no shock such outsiders as Bernie Sanders and Trump have amassed throngs of devotees.
In fact, as Chomsky cautioned, the current social atmosphere that led to Donald Trump’s rise may actually beworse than the build-up to fascism in the early twentieth century:
“It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember. Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream.”
Both Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. and Sanders in the U.S. have conveyed signs of empathy toward traditional labor movements, Chomsky noted, calling the Vermont senator “an honest and decent New Deal Democrat.”
He added, tellingly, “The fact that they are regarded as ‘extreme’ is a comment on the shift to the right of the whole political spectrum during the neoliberal period.”