There has been a huge controversy surrounding the controversial speech by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, the new poster woman of the Indian liberal circuit.
Mahua Moitra in her speech in the parliament said, “In 2017, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum put up a poster in its main lobby and it contained a list of all the signs of early fascism…”. There are a few factually incorrect and a few misleading things about this asserive statement of hers.
A 2017 fact-check by American website Snopes had found that the poster was not on display at the museum but was available in a souvenir shop. The report claims that the poster was not an exhibit but instead was at one point available in the gift shop of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As of 2019, it is unclear whether the poster is still available for sale at the gift shop.
The poster was not put up in the ‘main lobby’ as said by Mahua.
Moreover, the list was originally created by Laurence Britt in 2003, for an article published by Free Inquiry magazine. Britt had created this list during George W. Bush’s tenure as president of the United States with highlighting “Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism”.
Subsequently, the poster was designed on the basis of Britt’s article, which later inspired Martin Longman, who himself wrote a propaganda article in Washington Monthly targetting United States President Donald Trump. In fact, Longman also misleads his readers by claiming that “If you go to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, you can see a sign hanging there that tells you what to look for if you’re worried that your country may be slipping into fascism.”
Longman, too, did not specify in his article that the poster was based on Britt’s article and that it was available at the Museum’s gift shop and that it is not a ‘sign’ that is hanging at the museum.
Mahua Moitra, who seems to be inspired by this gift shop poster, lifted seven out of the fourteen listed characteristics and tried to co-opt the same narrative into India scenario.