In a piece in openDemocracy, Stuart Wilson has weighed in on the rise of authoritarianism in the United States of America. He suggests that there are some important lessons to be learned from South Africa's struggle against apartheid, and draws a comparison between the USA in 2016/2017 and South Africa in 1948, suggesting that only concerted action will ensure that, in 50 years’ time, “the United States in 2016” isn’t just another grim historical metaphor.

According to Wilson:

"South Africans know a tyrant when we see one. The race-hate. The sexism. The contempt for human rights and the rule of law. The construction of the white male as the only authentic citizen. The attacks on the press. The disdain for international opprobrium, or any reasoned criticism at all. These were standard fare under apartheid.

A few well-worn historical patterns are being played out in the United States. A racist, intolerant demagoguery has captured the state. It was elected by a minority of those who voted. It does not play by the usual rules of political engagement, and it has no patience for constitutional niceties. It abhors professional, independent journalism. It ignores court orders and berates the judiciary. Facts it doesn’t like are “fake”. Voters who did not support it are “frauds”.

  • Read the full piece here.