NAU profs label Trump a 'neo-fascist,' 'rapist in chief'
The Northern Arizona University Political Science department recently hosted a “Specter of Fascism” event at which professors repeatedly compared Donald Trump to Hitler and the Nazis.
“The Specter of Fascism” was a panel discussion featuring six NAU professors with specialties covering politics and international affairs, women and gender studies, and criminology.
Dr. Kimberly Curtis continually referred to the Trump administration as the “Trump regime”, at one point comparing the administration’s actions to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, and later referencing the book The Origins of Totalitarianism in an attempt to draw out the correlation further.
“What was unprecedented, and I’m going to pull up two major things, was one, ‘The aim to remake reality itself, essential to which was extinguishing spaces of debate and counter-speech,’” she quoted from the book, “‘The aim of totalitarianism was to make uniqueness of the human person superfluous. Whether in concentration camps in the terror units or in the highest levels of bureaucracy, both victims and executioners lived in a world in which who they were as distinctive beings had no place. In fact it was to guard an unforgivable reduction of the human person to living corpses.’”
“Someone should ponder on this now a lot today,” Curtis asserted, arguing that the Trump team relies on a “cocktail of fear, racist hate as an influence of normalization, [and] delegitimizing the press.”
“The material and psychological conditions that made it possible for the Nazis to mobilize masses around an ideologically constructed enemy are the very same conditions in which our politics is unfolding today,” she claimed, explaining that “these material conditions are a capitalist, economic, and bourgeois social world in which private gain...you know, ruthlessly competitive world is celebrated and where economic suffering combine with deep social isolation is the condition we live in.”
Criminology professor Ray Michalowski later called Trump the “rapist in chief” of our country while discussing modern uses of the word fascism, after which he concluded that Trump may well be a “neo-fascist” and prospective totalitarian dictator.
“First, to what extent does the current U.S. presidential administration, headed by the ‘rapist in chief,’ Donald Trump, display characteristics associated with classical fascism?” he asked attendees. “And second, to what extent do we say that Russia’s prediction that the United States was on a path to being governed by a new form of totalitarianism correct?”
Michalowski then read a list of characteristics common to a fascist government structure, including “a charismatic dictator, one party rule in which the fascist party displaces the historic state, government by decree rather than legislation, courts subservient to the party, demonization of ‘out-groups’ reported to pose existential threats to national life, culture and identity, establishment of the sovereign and sole source of truth, hyper-nationalism, and mobilization of mass support for national ideas.”
Conceding that “we’re far too early in the Trump presidency to have any way of knowing if the republic will survive his term in office or be replaced by a classically fascist state or some other form of totalitarianism,” he nonetheless suggested that “we can assess that the inclinations of the executive are to see how they just look against this,” referring to the chart displaying the characteristics of fascism.
“Do we have a charismatic dictator? We have a charismatic leader for sure. Someone who’s seen as charismatic by a significant portion of the power,” Michalowski elaborated. “He has a will to dictatorship. I think that’s thoroughly clear in his over-leaning kind of egomania. However, do we have a dictatorship? Has it be achieved? Probably not now, and I would say probably never.”
“At this point, I don’t see any more apparent will to create more of a single-party state than we already have,” he concludes, asserting that “there is only one party in the United States and that’s the capitalist party and it has two wings,” one of which he predicted “may achieve the goal of the current Republican majority unless there are changes in the electoral process to solve it.”
Moreover, while Michalowski stressed that he does not believe we have reached the point of “government by decree rather than legislation,” he did point out that “we clearly see a will to govern by decree, as displayed by [Trump’s] executive orders.”
Melissa Miller, a political science student and Campus Coordinator for Turning Point USA at NAU, told Campus Reform that she attended the event and left near the end, but returned to the room moments later to witness criminology and criminal justice professor Luis Fernandez calling her out by name, telling the audience that she is a paid employee for Turning Point, and was only there to film the event.
Miller claimed that Fernandez also discussed the TPUSA “Professor Watchlist,” a website documenting anti-conservative bias among faculty members, and blamed her for personally putting professors on the watchlist.
Campus Reform reached out to Fernandez for comment, but did not receive a response.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously attributed comments to Dr. Lori Poloni-Staudinger. It has been corrected to reflect that the words were actually spoken by Dr. Kimberly Curtis.