To paraphrase Marx: ‘History repeats itself: first as Hitler, then as Trump’ (Eighteenth Brumaire). There’s no doubting that the circumstances behind the rise of ‘the Donald’ and of certain European right-wing mavericks today do bear an uncanny resemblance to those of the 1930s: economic depression, feelings of national humiliation, anger, ethnic scapegoating, widespread dissatisfaction with establishment politics, ‘threats’ to the propertied from the Left – and so on. Trump, Farage, le Pen, Akesson and the rest of them look like clowns to most outsiders at present, but then so did Adolf before he rose to power. I doubt whether Trump could ever become a Hitler; any American brand of fascism is bound to be very different – I imagine more soft-ball – than the pre-war German kind. But we can’t be complacent. Let’s just hope, if the democratic socialists can’t get their acts together, and we do lurch Right-wards, that the end result will be – in Marx’s original version – more ‘farcical’ than ‘tragic’. But I wouldn’t bet on it.