Letter: US is like Weimar Germany

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The Independent Online
To describe the right-wing militia groups that may have been behind the Atlanta bomb as "losers" and disaffected is understated ("Revenge of 'losers' in the American dream", 28 July). In any other country they would be depicted as nascent fascists. The United States is entering the world of Weimar Germany in the hostility felt by the right towards liberal democracy; the private militias, the hate campaigns, the propaganda of the Huegenberg press empire, and the rabble-rousing diatribes against the marginalised totems of a liberal society (so-called decadent groups and "scroungers"). Vast disparities of wealth and influence, leading to an emasculated democracy pursuing ideologically-inspired public spending cuts and tax reductions, were very evident in Weimar.

They are "losers" in the sense that democratic representation seems to have abandoned them in favour of salon politics favouring particular elites. Perhaps, like the Michael Douglas character in Falling Down, many of these people feel they did all the right things, but somehow the rules changed. It is better to recognise that these outrageous acts are inspired by alienation and frustration with the political process, but in their wake they bring a risk of increased fascist violence.

One of the features of our culture - from Dr Who to Star Wars - is the portrayal in fiction of technologically advanced societies combining medieval forms of social organisation with a sort of futuristic feudalism. It may be that many Western societies have made that vision reality or, to many, appear to have done so.

Fortunately, these groups are not yet as "professional" as the IRA or Eta, but is that not merely a question of practice?

Peter D Williamson

Baildon, West Yorkshire