Turning Point Action’s “AmericaFest 2023,” which is taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, as of this writing, is a further confirmation of the ongoing transformation of the Republican Party into a fascist political organization.
The organizers of the conference, Turning Point Action and Turning Point USA, are two far-right student-oriented groups that operate on college campuses. Both organizations are supported lavishly by right-wing multimillionaires and Republican “dark money” networks. They are currently run by Charlie Kirk, a Republican operative and supporter of ex-President Donald Trump. In furtherance of Trump’s failed coup, Kirk, through Turning Point, bussed hundreds of people to the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, which preceded the fascist attack on Congress.
While Trump is not slated to speak at this year’s event, several of his top advisers, former administration officials and congressional allies have made their appearance.
A few of the dozens of speakers at the conference included Donald Trump Jr., Roger Stone, Stephen K. Bannon, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) Rep. Matt Gaetz (Florida), Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, and the former Immigration and Customs Enforcement director under Trump, Tom Homan.
After speaking in defense of the “January 6 hostages” at the conference on Sunday, Greene posted a smiling photo of herself on Twitter/X with Jake Chansley, more commonly known as the “QAnon Shaman,” on Monday. Chansley, who was videotaped giving a fascist prayer inside the Senate chamber on January 6, pled guilty to obstructing an official proceeding. He was released early from prison this year after serving 27 months out of a 41-month sentence.
Greene gushed that she was “honored” to meet Chansley, saying the “Biden regime’s DOJ wrongfully prosecuted him for innocently and nonviolent walking through the Capital (sic).” Greene added that she was “angry and frustrated with my own GOP conference that most Republicans in Washington refuse to do anything to help the J6’ers” and called for “J6’ers” to walk free.
This year’s conference coincided with the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza, which has provoked massive opposition in the United States and around the world. In the face of right-wing attacks by Zionists, police and politicians, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in daily anti-war protests against the slaughter.
In defiance of slanders that opposition to the Zionist war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Gaza and the occupied West Bank is synonymous with antisemitism, anti-genocide protests have continued for over two months at schools, on public streets and outside the offices of indifferent and complicit war profiteers and capitalist politicians.
While there is mass opposition to genocide among broad layers of workers and youth, this finds no reflection in either of the two American big business parties. Rejecting the thousands of protests demanding a ceasefire, the Biden administration has provided billions of dollars in military equipment and bombs to the IDF, used to slaughter over 20,000 Palestinians, including some 10,000 children, since October 7.
Far from imposing “red lines” on the Israel Defense Forces military campaign, President Joe Biden and the Democrats have ignored Israeli war crimes while at the same time joining their Republican partners in slandering many of their voters, including thousands of Jewish people who oppose the killing, as antisemitic and supporters of “Hamas.”
Unsurprisingly, among the few thousand upper middle class aspiring Republican Party activists, Trump coup accomplices, Christian nationalists, and far-right politicians who attended AmericaFest 2023, there was broad support for the genocide in Gaza.
Speaking with Charlie Kirk on his program from the conference, former Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, a Christian fundamentalist who was briefly a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, justified and advocated for the mass extermination of every single resident of Gaza.
Kirk set the stage for Bachmann to begin her genocidal rant with an open declaration of the fascist “Great Replacement Theory” (GRT). Kirk told Bachmann, “Minneapolis used to be one of the greatest cities in America, and it is one of the perfect examples of the Great Replacement, a city that was safe and peaceful, and then you bring in a bunch of third worlders that don’t share our values with tolerance, and it gets destroyed.”
Kirk continued, “The people who should be the most against this importation of Muslims into our country are Jews. And I think that is starting to happen, wouldn’t you agree, Michele? More and more people in the Jewish community say, ‘We don’t want them here, we don’t want these people in our country.’ You were just in Israel, tell us about it.”
Bachmann replied, “Yes ... the Jewish people are extremely tolerant people, they have the ‘Museum of Tolerance,’ and so they bend over backwards to try and help and accommodate ... and the people they advocated for [in Gaza] came over, slit their throats, killed their children, stole everything, raped the women, it’s more egregious than anyone can imagine.”
Bachmann added that the “first wave” on October 7 was “3,000 to 4,000 terrorists,” but “what the people don’t know is that the people of Gaza, the so-called ‘innocent Palestinians,’ came, thousands of them, waves.”
After slandering “the people of Gaza” as “hired mercenaries” for Iran, whose “industry” was “terrorism,” Bachmann said, “It’s time that Gaza ends.”
Continuing her rant, Bachmann said, “The two million who live there, they are clever assassins. They need to be removed from that land, that land needs to be turned into a national park.”
Satisfied, Kirk concluded the segment, “Michele Bachmann, she does a great job, everybody,” and that he wants the “Israeli immigration policy. Big walls, lots of deportations and no people that hate us.”
“Yes! Yes!” Bachmann replied.
In another interview promoting GRT with Trump’s former ICE director Tom Homan, Kirk presented a table of passports that he said were dropped on the US-Mexico border by illegal immigrants. He claimed the passports and identification cards allegedly came from China, Nepal, India and Russia.
“A Chinese national, another one,” Kirk said to Homan, adding, “These are fighting age males, Tom.”
Homan replied, “They drop the passport before they enter the United States because they don’t want us to know who they are.”
Homan claimed that “almost nine million” immigrants had come into the country since Biden was elected, and that what was “happening on the border” was “the biggest security failure since 9/11.
“These people might be rapists, they might be murderers ... Do you think the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is sending them over?” Kirk asked Homan.
“Absolutely,” the former ICE director said. “Absolutely, they are poisoning our country with fentanyl, right. They are sending military-aged males over. The Biden administration hasn’t done anything about it.”
Kirk then held up several alleged identification cards, including one that he said was a “baby from India.”
“This is the Great Replacement in real time, they are replacing us, that is what they are doing. Anybody who says they aren’t isn’t looking at the facts. Tom, I’m so glad you are here…”
In addition to the Republican politicians, independent watchdog Arizona Right Watch, noted that among the attendees was a “local Oath Keeper offshoot group called Lions of Liberty.” The “Lions of Liberty” is one of 150 sponsors at the conference who paid for a booth.
Lions of Liberty, which is led by the former vice president of Arizona’s Oath Keeper chapter, Jim Arroyo, is one of several far-right militia groups that answered Trump’s call to intimidate voters by monitoring drop boxes during the 2022 midterm elections.
Arizona Right Watch also spotted at least one member of “the violent fascist gang, the Proud Boys, in colors and representing a ‘Black River Proud Boys’ chapter.”
Speaking the language of civil war to the fascists in attendance, former Trump White House adviser and one the architects of Trump’s coup, Steve Bannon, screamed, “We are at war!” After railing against the “phony vaccine,” “January 6,” “Judas Pence” and “Viper Nikki Haley,” Bannon bellowed, “The war is coming; are you going to let them take your country?! The election was stolen by the deep state and globalists.
“We won in 2020 and they stole it.”
Borrowing from Trump/Hitler, Bannon denounced the Washington Post as “... scum. Wait let me change that, vermin.”
Echoing previous pledges by other anti-immigrant speakers, Bannon pledged that under a Trump White House, “Our first priority is not simply sealing the border, but to send them home. I don’t mean just criminals and the people in the mental institutions, I mean every single nine million of them got to go.”
The AmericaFest 2023 conference in Phoenix illustrates that the fascist rot is not contained within Trump’s innermost clique but has metastasized throughout the Republican Party and large sections of the financial oligarchy.