Another one from Johann Hari. I'm not too sure about this one, but I have to say it takes real balls for a young, left-leaning gay journalist to write in a gay magazine that
It’s time to admit something. Fascism isn’t something that happens out there, a nasty habit acquired by the straight boys. It’s a gay thing, baby, and it’s time for non-fascist gay people to wake up and face the marching music.
Hari stacks the deck somewhat in favor of this daring thesis. Surveying European fascist leaders in the past thirty years, he includes in his count of fascists right-wing populists such as the late Pim Fortuyn and Joerg Haider. I don't care much for their anti-immigration platforms but considering them fascists is a bit over the top. Not that I'd be able to argue it, because the term "fascist" is treated as if everyone agrees what it means anyway. Strangely, Hari does not mention Filip Dewinter, Belgium's very succesful far-right leader (who does look a bit swish to me, but let's not go there), and refers to France's Jean-Marie LePen only as an "exception". That's a big exception!
Hari is on safer ground, though, when he discusses the British National Party, and seems to have done his research well when he looks at gay fascists in history. You know, the guys with the cool uniforms:
And this Gaystapo has an icon to revere, an alternative Fuhrer to worship: the lost gay fascist leader Ernst Rohm. Along with Adolf Hitler, Rohm was the founding father of Nazism. Born to conservative Bavarian civil servants in 1887, Ernst Rohm’s life began – in his view – in the “heroic” trenches of the First World War. Like so many of the generation who formed the Nazi Party, he was nurtured by and obsessed with the homoerotic myth of the trenches – heroic, beautiful boys prepared to die for their brothers and their country.
Rohm’s blatant, out homosexuality seems bizarre now, given the gay genocide that was to follow. He talked openly about his fondness for gay bars and Turkish baths, and was known for his virility. He believed that gay people were superior to straights, and saw homosexuality as a key principle of his proposed Brave New Fascist Order. ...[The SA] promoted an aggressive, hypermasculine form of homosexuality, condemning “hysterical women of both sexes”, in reference to feminine gay men.
This belief in the superiority of homosexuality had a strong German tradition that grew up at the turn of the twentieth century around Adolf Brand, publisher of the country’s first gay magazine. You could call it ‘Queer as Volk’: they preached that gay men were the foundation of all nation-states and represented an elite, warrior caste that should rule.
Hari then goes on to look at the historical links between Rohm and the modern Neo-Nazi movement, and the psychology of hypermasculinity underlying it. Fascinating. Read the whole thing. I hope he posts it on Harry's Place soon so we can enjoy a vigorous discussion of this.
Update: He has. And one of the first comments denounces it as a real stinker and makes similar points about Fortuyn to the one I made. Pass the popcorn!