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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

May 22, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsIn Other News

Global thought is moving right

If it was not clear enough already, there is a shift from what we consider to be democratic governments toward authoritarian and fascist undertones. This shift — weeds — grows from systemic issues that were never uprooted from countries’ turbulent histories.

In the United States, the election of President Donald Trump brought back to the surface racial tensions and class issues as old as the foundation of this country, but we all knew that already. Whatever seems to be happening in the U.S. sets the stage — and in this case, sets the precedent for leeway for dangerously nationalistic attitudes and maybe even policies — for other countries’ domestic policies. Trends catch on.

In China, the Communist Party announced that it would end the two-term limit on its presidency. The communist party has had a hold on the Chinese government and its presidency, for over 60 years, regardless of term limits. Removing limits on the presidency shouldn’t be that alarming; the same agenda has been pushed for six decades. But indefinitely allowing a president to stay in power brings back memories of the reason term limits were set in the first place: Mao Zedong’s dictatorship, which ended in 1976. Not to say that President Xi Jinping will turn into a ruthless dictator, but analysts say that since he has little to no checks and balances, he has power to do as he wishes, making fewer people willing to run against him and defy his policies.

In Italy, there has been a reemergence of the same issues that fueled the dangerous nationalism that led to the rise in Mussolini’s power. Extremist violence and xenophobia as a reaction to the county’s pending financial crisis and migration issues have re-lit the ashes of fascism, setting ablaze Italy’s election March 4. In the past month, fascist groups have opened fire on African immigrants while carrying a candle with the image of Mussolini. The neo-fascist party, CasaPound, is resurfacing grudges of those who do not understand the dangers of their history.

In Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has spent millions of dollars investing in media in exchange for the media’s blind eye toward his administration. Money that would be invested in the country’s evident infrastructure problems is being used to fuel a discreet propaganda machine that most of the country will never be aware of due to that same lack of education the government refuses to fund.

Political thought is taking determined — and far — steps to the right, and the left cannot continue to ignore that its happy-go-lucky mentality is failing to resonate with powerful pockets of society. Progress is officially hanging by a thread.

Isabella Grullón Paz can be reached at igrullon@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @isagp23