Friday, May 26, 2023

In This “Global Fascist Moment,” a Message to the Target Corporation: Giving In to Fascism Doesn’t Prevent Violence. It Emboldens It

Earlier today I heard Jeff Sharlet being interviewd on MPR Radio. You may recall I spotlighted Sharlet recently at The Wild Reed by sharing excerpts from his April 5 appearance on Democracy Now!

Sharlet’s the author of the recently-released The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, in which he documents how the language of “civil war” has become central to right-wing rhetoric and mainstreamed by former President Donald Trump, Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene, and other Republicans. Sharlet also observes that what’s happening in the United States is part of a “global fascist moment.”

Here in the U.S. we see evidence of this “moment” in all kinds of ways, with fascist elements within the Republican party working to (and in some places actually succeeding in) banning books, enacting voter suppression laws, criminalizing drag shows, banning healthcare services to trans people, and implementling harsh abortion bans.

Corporations that label themselves “LGBTQI-friendly” have also come under fire from these same elements. Here in Minnesota, for instance, it’s been reported that the Target retail corporation “is removing some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after facing a backlash against the products, including threats against the safety of its workers.”

In a statement on its website, Target management said:

For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month. Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work. Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior. Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.

The Associated Press reported that “conservative activists and media” have recently criticized Target for selling “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow some trans women to hide their genitalia.

In response to all of this, a Facebook friend of mine posted the following.

Dear Target,

One of the ways that fascists win is when those with the power to resist voluntarily acquiesce to their violence. I know that you are doing this in an attempt to protect your business and your employees, which is understandable, but the message you are sending to the LGBT community and its allies is that your support of our community is merely as shallow as the money we spend in your stores. Real support is using your power to push back against the fascism that is a direct threat to your LGBT employees and the larger community. Disney is a good example to follow if you are looking for a corporation to emulate.

Giving in to fascism doesn’t prevent violence. It only emboldens the fascists and makes the violence you are trying to prevent more likely.

Please do better.


A loyal customer.

And finally, here’s some additional food-for-thought from trans journalist Erin Reed.

Related Off-site Links:
Target Removes Some Pride Month Products After Threats Against Employees – Joe Hernandez (MPR News, May 24, 2023).
Gavin Newsom Blasts Target CEO For “Selling Out” LGBTQ Community After Retailer Pulls Trans-Themed Merchandise – Hank Berrien (Daily Wire, May 24, 2023).
“I See This as a Global Fascist Moment”: Author Jeff Sharlet on Interviewing Far-right Americans – Ann Neumann (The Guardian, March 30, 2023).
We’re Reaching Fascism’s “Inflection Point” – Again – James Roosevelt, Jr, et al (The Hill, February 8, 2023).
Sociologist Says the U.S. Is Still on the Path to Becoming a “Fascist Country” – Cheryl Teh (Business Insider, November 25, 2022).
Who Is Fighting the Rise of Fascism in the U.S.? – Brynn Tannehill (Dame, March 9, 2023).
Understanding the Threat of White Christian Nationalism – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, September 7, 2022).
Trans Journalist Erin Reed on Fighting Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate and Working at the Coalface of Transphobia – Amelia Hansford (Pink News, May 9, 2023).

UPDATE: They Never Supported Us: Target and Bud Light Show Hypocrisy of “Corporate Pride” – Erin Reed (Minnesota Reformer, May 26, 2023).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Jeff Sharlet on the Fascist Ideology of Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene
Robert Reich: Quote of the Day – April 11, 2023
Chauncey Devega on the Ongoing Danger of the Trump Cult
Historian Nancy MacLean: The Threat to American Democracy Is at “Red-Alert”
Ruth Ben-Ghiat on the Return of Fascism in Italy
Judith Butler on the Reactionary Movement and Fascist Trend Opposed to Diverse Ideas About Gender
Jelani Cobb: Quote of the Day – September 4, 2022
“Come for the Racism, Stay for the Autocracy”
William D. Lindsey: Quote of the Day – August 12, 2022
“How Can One Overreact to a Mortal Threat to American Democracy?”
A Deeper Perspective on What’s Really Attacking Democracy
“The Coup Attempt on Jan. 6th Was a Warning for What’s to Come If We Don’t Act”
“My Biggest Worry Is for My Country”
Republicans Pose an “Existential Threat” to American Democracy
The Big Switch
The Republican Party in a Nutshell
Republicans Don’t Care About American Democracy
“The Republican Party Has Now Made It Official: They Are a Cult”
Insurrection at the United States Capitol
Fascism Is Upon Us
Saying “No” to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Trump’s Playbook
Raquel Willis: Quote of the Day – May 31, 2019
What We Are Hoping and Fighting For
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride
Making the Connections
A Lose/Lose Situation
Hannah Kapp-Klote: Quote of the Day – May 4, 2013

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I've been thinking about this for two days now. I feel for the workers but also agree with the person's letter to Target. When do we say, "I will not cave."