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Definitions of fascism

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Definitions of fascism

What constitutes a definition of fascism and fascist governments is a highly disputed subject that has proved complicated and contentious. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets.

Most scholars agree that a "fascist regime" is foremost an authoritarian form of government, although not all authoritarian regimes are fascist. Authoritarianism is thus a defining characteristic, but most scholars will say that more distinguishing traits are needed to make an authoritarian regime fascist.

Similarly, fascism as an ideology is also hard to define. Originally, "fascism" referred to a political movement that was linked with corporatism and existed in Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Most scholars prefer to use the word "fascism" in a more general sense, to refer to an ideology (or group of ideologies) that was influential in many countries at many different times. For this purpose, they have sought to identify a "fascist minimum" - that is, the minimum conditions that a certain political group must meet in order to be considered fascist. Several scholars have inspected the apocalyptic, millennial and millenarian aspects of fascism.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] According to most scholars of fascism, there are both left and right influences on fascism as a social movement, and fascism, especially once in power, has historically attacked communism, conservatism and liberalism, attracting support primarily from what in a classical sense is called the "far right" or "extreme right." However this does not generally mean that a fascist faction is for classical property rights. On the contrary, fascist are generally strongly anti-capitalist.[8]

Contents

  • Georgi Dimitrov 1
  • Umberto Eco 2
  • John T. Flynn 3
  • Emilio Gentile 4
  • Roger Griffin 5
  • F.A. Hayek 6
  • Dimitri Kitsikis 7
  • Charles Maurras 8
  • Benito Mussolini 9
  • Ernst Nolte 10
  • Sergio Panunzio 11
  • Kevin Passmore 12
  • Robert Paxton 13
  • Stanley G. Payne 14
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt 15
  • John Weiss 16
  • Marxist definitions 17
  • Linda & Morris Tannehill 18
  • George Orwell 19
  • Fascist as insult 20
  • See also 21
  • Notes 22
  • References 23
  • External links 24

Georgi Dimitrov

Georgi Dimitrov, Bulgarian communist, was a theorist of capitalism who expanded Lenin's ideas by arguing that fascism was the dictatorship of the most reactionary elements of financial capitalism.

"Fascism is an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of the financial capital... Fascism is neither the government beyond classes nor the government of the petty bourgeois or the lumpen-proletariat over the financial capital. Fascism is the government of the financial capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the revolutionary slice of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against other peoples."[9]

Umberto Eco

In his 1995 essay "Eternal Fascism", Ur-fascism" as a generic description of different historical forms of fascism. Eleven of the 14 properties are as follows:

  • "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism.
  • "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
  • "Disagreement Is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
  • "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
  • "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
  • "Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat; This often involves an appeal to xenophobia (such as the German elite's 'fear'of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings, see also anti-Semitism) with an identification of their being an internal security threat: He also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
  • "Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
  • "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero; for example: the 1930s Germans, especially Hitler labeled Jews inferior humans thus weak as well as the physically disabled, the mentally retarded and mentally ill as weak—thus these "weak" or unwanteds were eliminated (executed) or "exterminated" (the Jews, or even Germans with disabilities).
  • "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but directed by a dictator; This casts doubt upon a democratic institution, because the leader and government "no longer represent the Voice of the People".
  • "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
  • "Non-truths & Lying/Spread of Propaganda" - Umberto Eco wrote from a modern-day standpoint about Fascism; He did not study the Fascism of Spain, Italy or Germany where this style of governing evolved in the 1930s prior to World War II: Those involved were Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and more can be learned about fascism by reading on these people.

John T. Flynn

In 1944, American right-winger John T. Flynn wrote a polemical work, As we go marching,[11] aimed against socialist and social democratic tendencies that he saw beginning to subvert capitalism. He characterizes fascism based on an analysis of Mussolini's Italy:

  1. Anti-capitalist, but with capitalist features;
  2. Economic demand management...
  3. ...through budget deficits
  4. Direct economic planning, reconciled with partial economic autonomy through corporatism;
  5. Militarism and imperialism;
  6. Suspension of rule of law.

Emilio Gentile

Emilio Gentile describes fascism as the "sacralization of politics" through totalitarian methods[12] and argues that it has ten constituent elements:[13]

  1. a mass movement with multiclass membership in which prevail, among the leaders and the militants, the middle sectors, in large part new to political activity, organized as a party militia, that bases its identity not on social hierarchy or class origin but on a sense of comradeship, believes itself invested with a mission of national regeneration, considers itself in a state of war against political adversaries and aims at conquering a monopoly of political power by using terror, parliamentary politics, and deals with leading groups, to create a new regime that destroys parliamentary democracy;
  2. an 'anti-ideological' and pragmatic ideology that proclaims itself antimaterialist, anti-individualist, antiliberal, antidemocratic, anti-Marxist, is populist and anticapitalist in tendency, expresses itself aesthetically more than theoretically by means of a new political style and by myths, rites, and symbols as a lay religion designed to acculturate, socialize, and integrate the faith of the masses with the goal of creating a 'new man';
  3. a culture founded on mystical thought and the tragic and activist sense of life conceived of as the manifestation of the will to power, on the myth of youth as artificer of history, and on the exaltation of the militarization of politics as the model of life and collective activity;
  4. a totalitarian conception of the primacy of politics, conceived of as an integrating experience to carry out the fusion of the individual and the masses in the organic and mystical unity of the nation as an ethnic and moral community, adopting measures of discrimination and persecution against those considered to be outside this community either as enemies of the regime or members of races considered to be inferior or otherwise dangerous for the integrity of the nation;
  5. a civil ethic founded on total dedication to the national community, on discipline, virility, comradeship, and the warrior spirit;
  6. a single state party that has the task of providing for the armed defense of the regime, selecting its directing cadres, and organizing the masses within the state in a process of permanent mobilization of emotion and faith;
  7. a police apparatus that prevents, controls, and represses dissidence and opposition, even by using organized terror;
  8. a political system organized by hierarchy of functions named from the top and crowned by the figure of the 'leader,' invested with a sacred charisma, who commands, directs, and coordinates the activities of the party and the regime;
  9. corporative organization of the economy that suppresses trade union liberty, broadens the sphere of state intervention, and seeks to achieve, by principles of technocracy and solidarity, the collaboration of the 'productive sectors' under control of the regime, to achieve its goals of power, yet preserving private property and class divisions;
  10. a foreign policy inspired by the myth of national power and greatness, with the goal of imperialist expansion.[14]

Roger Griffin

Roger Griffin's definition of fascism focuses on the populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[15] According to Griffin

[F]ascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence[16]

Griffin writes that a broad scholarly consensus developed in English-speaking social sciences during the 1990s, around the following definition of fascism:

[Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.[17]

Griffin argues that the above definition can be condensed into one sentence: "Fascism is a political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism."[18] The word "palingenetic" in this case refers to notions of national rebirth.

F.A. Hayek

F.A. Hayek, in his book The Road to Serfdom, argued that socialism and national socialism had similar roots. In this he means intellectual roots. He points out that national socialist intellectuals such as Ficht, Rodbertus and Lasalle were also acknowledged socialists. Professor Werner Sombart in particular was hailed as a Marxist and was persecuted for his beliefs but later rejected internationalism and pacifism in favor of German militarism and nationalism. He became an intellectual force for national socialism early on. Professor Johann Plenge, another early national socialist intellectual, saw national socialism as a German adaptation of socialism. Paul Lensch was a socialist politician in the Reichstag who argued for central control of the economy and for militarism that became features of national socialism. Western or English liberalism, which includes the ideas of freedom, community, and equality and rule by parliamentary democracy, is anathema in a true Germany, he wrote, where power should belong to the whole, everyone is given his place, and one either obeys or commands. Oswald Spengler in his early writings advocated many of the ideas shared by German socialists at this time. Moeller van den Bruck, patron saint of national socialism, as Hayek calls him, claimed that World War I was a war between liberalism and socialism and that socialism lost. Like Plenge and Lensch, he saw national socialism as socialism adapted to the German character and undefiled by Western ideas of liberalism.[19]

Dimitri Kitsikis

Dimitri Kitsikis proposed a model of fascism featuring 13 categories by which fascist ideologies, movements and establishments can be analyzed and contrasted with others:[20]

  1. The idea of Social Class and the importance of agrarianism
  2. Private ownership, the circulation of money, the regulation of the economy by the state, the idea of ethnic bourgeois class, economic self-sufficiency
  3. The nation and the difference between nation and state
  4. The attitude towards democracy and political parties
  5. The importance of political heroes, i.e. the charismatic leader
  6. The attitude towards Tradition
  7. The attitude towards the individual and society
  8. The attitude towards equality and hierarchy
  9. The attitude towards women
  10. The attitude towards religion
  11. The attitude towards rationalism
  12. The attitude towards intellectualism and elitism
  13. The attitude towards the Third World

Using this model, Kitsikis argued that Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher and father of the French Revolution, laid the foundations of French Fascism.[21] Kitsikis also applied the model to the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), a Peruvian communist party which claims to follow Maoism.[22] The results of his analysis showed that the party's ideology satisfies all the criteria of nine categories (nine points), some of the criteria of three categories (1.5 points) and none of the criteria of one category (0 points). A total score of 10.5 out of a possible 13 shows that Shining Path actually follows a fascist ideology.

Charles Maurras

Charles Maurras, leader of Action Française, a far-right political movement, praised Italian Fascism, although he argued that it was an incomplete form of his ideal integral nationalism.[23]

What in fact is Fascism? A socialism emancipated from democracy. A trade unionism free of the chains of the class struggle had imposed on Italian labour. A methodical and successful will to bring together in a same fascio all the human factors of national production ... A determination to approach, to threat, to resolve the worker question in itself ... and to unite unions in corporations, to coordinate them, to incorporate the proletariat into the hereditary and traditional activities of the historical State of the Fatherland.[23]

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini described fascism in Doctrine of Fascism as follows:[24]

Ernst Nolte

Hegelian philosopher, defined fascism as a reaction against other political movements, especially Marxism: "Fascism is anti-Marxism which seeks to destroy the enemy by the evolvement of a radically opposed and yet related ideology and by the use of almost identical and yet typically modified methods, always, however, within the unyielding framework of national self-assertion and autonomy."[25]

Sergio Panunzio

Sergio Panunzio, a former syndicalist who was associated with Benito Mussolini, and who later became a leading fascist theorist, stated that the spirit of fascism was National Syndicalism as formulated by Mussolini before the battle of Vittorio Veneto.[26]

Kevin Passmore

Kevin Passmore, a History lecturer at Cardiff University, defines fascism in his book Fascism: A Very Short Introduction. His definition is directly descended from the view put forth by Ernesto Laclau:[27]

Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community. Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails
  • The Origins of Fascism: Islamic Fascism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism Walter Laqueur, 25 October 2006

External links

  • Eatwell, Roger. 1996. Fascism: A History. New York: Allen Lane.
  • Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505780-5
  • Griffin, Roger. 2000. "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," chapter in David Parker (ed.) Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991, Routledge, London.
  • Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Kitsikis, Dimitri. 2005. Pour une Etude scientifique du fascisme – Nantes, Ars Magna Editions, (Les Documents).
  • Kitsikis, Dimitri. 1998. Ἡ τρίτη ἰδεολογία καὶ ἡ Ὀρθοδοξία, Athens, Hestia Books.
  • Kitsikis, Dimitri. 2006. Jean-Jacques Rousseau et les origines françaises du fascisme – Nantes, Ars Magna Editions, (Les Documents).
  • Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism. London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press.
  • Laqueur, Walter. 1966. Fascism: Past, Present, Future, New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism, 1914-45. Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 0-299-14874-2
  • Reich, Wilhelm. 1970. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  • Weber, Eugen. [1964] 1982. Varieties of Fascism: Doctrines of Revolution in the Twentieth Century, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, (Contains chapters on fascist movements in different countries.)

References

  1. ^ D. Redles, Hitler’s Millennial Reich: Apocalyptic Belief and the Search for Salvation, New York Univ. Press, 2005;
  2. ^ Klaus Vondung, The Apocalypse in Germany, Columbia and London: Univ. of Missouri Press, 2000;
  3. ^ R. Ellwood, “Nazism as a Millennialist Movement,” in Wessinger (ed.) Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases;
  4. ^ J.M. Rhodes, The Hitler Movement: A Modern Millenarian Revolution, Stanford, Calif: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 1980;
  5. ^ R. Wistrich, Hitler’s Apocalypse: Jews and the Nazi Legacy, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985;
  6. ^ Nicholas Goodrick–Clarke: The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology, reprint with new preface, New York Univ. Press [1985] 2004;
  7. ^ N. Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, revised and expanded, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, [1957] 1970.
  8. ^ Laqueuer, 1996 p. 223; Eatwell, 1996, p. 39; Griffin, 1991, 2000, pp. 185-201; Weber, [1964] 1982, p. 8; Payne (1995), Fritzsche (1990), Laclau (1977), and Reich (1970).
  9. ^ Georgi Dimitrov: The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism: Main Report delivered at the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International - The class character of fascism
  10. ^ , June 22, 1995The New York Review of BooksUmberto Eco: Eternal Fascism, , archive
  11. ^ https://www.mises.org/books/aswegomarching.pdf
  12. ^ Emilio Gentile, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, translated by Keith Botsford (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996).
  13. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1995). A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 5–6.  
  14. ^ Gentile, Emilio in Payne, Stanley A History of Fascism, 1914–1945 (1995), pp. 5-6
  15. ^ doi:10.4135/9781452234168.n104
  16. ^ Roger Griffin, Nature of Fascism, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991, p. xi
  17. ^ Roger Griffin, The palingenetic core of generic fascist ideology, Chapter published in Alessandro Campi (ed.), Che cos'è il fascismo? Interpretazioni e prospettive di ricerche, Ideazione editrice, Roma, 2003, pp. 97-122.
  18. ^ Roger Griffin, The palingenetic core of generic fascist ideology
  19. ^ Hayek, FA. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents, Bruce Caldwell, ed., New York 2008, Taylor and Francis, pp 181-192.
  20. ^ Kitsikis, Dimitri, Ἡ τρίτη ἰδεολογία καὶ ἡ Ὀρθοδοξία, (Athens, Hestia Books, 1998)
  21. ^ Kitsikis, Dimitri, Jean-Jacques Rousseau et les origines françaises du fascisme (Nantes, Ars Magna Editions, (Les Documents), 2006)
  22. ^ Kitsikis, Dimitri, Ἡ τρίτη ἰδεολογία καὶ ἡ Ὀρθοδοξία, (Athens, Hestia Books, 1998), pp. 252-253
  23. ^ a b David Carroll. French Literary Fascism: Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and the Ideology of Culture. (Princeton University Press, 1998) p. 90.
  24. ^ http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm
  25. ^  
  26. ^ Sergio Panunzio (22 June 1924). "La méta del Fascismo".   Quote: "L'anima del Fascismo è, ricordiamolo sempre, il Sindacalismo Nazionale, la cui formula Mussolini lanciò prima del 1918, prima di Vittorio Veneto "
  27. ^ Passmore, Kevin,Fascism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 31.
  28. ^ Paxton, Robert O., The Anatomy of Fascism (Knopf, 2004), p. 218.
  29. ^ Payne, Stanley (1980). Fascism: Comparison and Definition. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 7. 
  30. ^ a b Stanley G. Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. p. 7.
  31. ^ Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies. The American Presidency Project.
  32. ^ Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Appendix A: Message from the President of the United States Transmitting Recommendations Relative to the Strengthening and Enforcement of Anti-trust Laws",The American Economic Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, Part 2, Supplement, Papers Relating to the Temporary National Economic Committee (Jun., 1942), pp. 119-128.[2]
  33. ^ "Anti-Monopoly". May 9, 1938. Time magazine.
  34. ^ Message to Congress on the Concentration of Economic Power.
  35. ^ John Weiss, "The Fascist Tradition: Radical Right-Wing Extremism in Modern Europe", Harper & Row, 1967.
  36. ^ Fascism: What it is and how to fight it
  37. ^ Eclipse & Re-emergence
  38. ^ a b Fascism entry in the Encyclopedia of Marxism
  39. ^ https://www.mises.org/daily/2220
  40. ^ George Orwell: ‘What is Fascism?’

Notes

See also

...the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else ... Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.[40]

Some have argued that the terms fascism and fascist have become hopelessly vague since the George Orwell wrote in 1944:

Fascist as insult

Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes... It is a planned system geared to a definite purpose, world-conquest, and not allowing any private interest, either of capitalist or worker, to stand in its way.

Why I Write in economic terms:

George Orwell

The Market for Liberty

"Fascism is a system in which the government leaves nominal ownership of the means of production in the hands of private individuals but exercises control by means of regulatory legislation and reaps most of the profit by means of heavy taxation. In effect, fascism is simply a more subtle form of government ownership than is socialism. ”[39]

Linda & Morris Tannehill

  1. Right Wing: Fascists are fervently against: Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Communism, Environmentalism; etc – in essence, they are against the progressive left in total, including moderate lefts (social democrats, etc). Fascism is an extreme right wing ideology, though it can be opportunistic.
  2. Nationalism: Fascism places a very strong emphasis on patriotism and nationalism. Criticism of the nation's main ideals, especially war, is lambasted as unpatriotic at best, and treason at worst. State propaganda consistently broadcasts threats of attack, while justifying pre-emptive war. Fascism invariably seeks to instill in its people the warrior mentality: to always be vigilant, wary of strangers and suspicious of foreigners.
  3. Hierarchy: Fascist society is ruled by a righteous leader, who is supported by an elite secret vanguard of capitalists. Hierarchy is prevalent throughout all aspects of society – every street, every workplace, every school, will have its local Hitler, part police-informer, part bureaucrat – and society is prepared for war at all times. The absolute power of the social hierarchy prevails over everything, and thus a totalitarian society is formed. Representative government is acceptable only if it can be controlled and regulated, direct democracy (e.g. Communism) is the greatest of all crimes. Any who oppose the social hierarchy of fascism will be imprisoned or executed.
  4. Anti-equality: Fascism loathes the principles of economic equality and disdains equality between immigrant and citizen. Some forms of fascism extend the fight against equality into other areas: gender, sexual, minority or religious rights, for example.
  5. Religious: Fascism contains a strong amount of reactionary religious beliefs, harking back to times when religion was strict, potent, and pure. Nearly all Fascist societies are Christian, and are supported by Catholic and Protestant churches.
  6. Capitalist: Fascism does not require revolution to exist in capitalist society: fascists can be elected into office (though their disdain for elections usually means manipulation of the electoral system). They view parliamentary and congressional systems of government to be inefficient and weak, and will do their best to minimize its power over their policy agenda. Fascism exhibits the worst kind of capitalism where corporate power is absolute, and all vestiges of workers' rights are destroyed.
  7. War: Fascism is capitalism at the stage of impotent imperialism. War can create markets that would not otherwise exist by wreaking massive devastation on a society, which then requires reconstruction! Fascism can thus "liberate" the survivors, provide huge loans to that society so fascist corporations can begin the process of rebuilding.
  8. Voluntarist Ideology: Fascism adopts a certain kind of “voluntarism;” they believe that an act of will, if sufficiently powerful, can make something true. Thus all sorts of ideas about racial inferiority, historical destiny, even physical science, are supported by means of violence, in the belief that they can be made true. It is this sense that Fascism is subjectivist.
  9. [38]

The Encyclopedia of Marxism defines fascism as "right-wing, fiercely nationalist, subjectivist in philosophy, and totalitarian in practice", and identifies it as "an extreme reactionary form of capitalist government."[38] It lists nine fundamental characteristics of fascism:

The [36] Amadeo Bordiga argued that fascism is merely another form of bourgeois rule, on the same level as bourgeois democracy or traditional monarchy, and that it is not particularly reactionary or otherwise exceptional.[37]

Marxists argue that fascism represents the last attempt of a ruling class (specifically, the capitalist bourgeoisie) to preserve its grip on power in the face of an imminent proletarian revolution. Fascist movements are not necessarily created by the ruling class, but they can only gain political power with the help of that class and with funding from big business. Once in power, the fascists serve the interests of their benefactors (not necessarily the interests of capitalism in general, but the interests of those specific capitalists who put them in power).

Marxist definitions

John Weiss, a idealism, idealization of "manly" (usually peasant or village) virtues, resentment of mass democracy, elitist conceptions of political and social leadership, racism (and usually anti-Semitism), militarism and Imperialism.[35]

John Weiss

Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote about fascism: "The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power"[31][32][33][34]

Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • A. Ideology and Goals:
    • Espousal of an idealist, vitalist, and voluntaristic philosophy, normally involving the attempt to realize a new modern, self-determined, and secular culture
    • Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state not based on traditional principles or models
    • Organization of a new highly regulated, multiclass, integrated national economic structure, whether called national corporatist, national socialist, or national syndicalist
    • Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use violence and war
    • The goal of empire, expansion, or a radical change in the nation's relationship with other powers
  • B. The Fascist Negations:
    • Antiliberalism
    • Anticommunism
    • Anticonservatism (though with the understanding that fascist groups were willing to undertake temporary alliances with other sectors, more commonly with the right)
  • C. Style and Organization:
    • Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political relationships and style and with the goal of a mass single party militia
    • Emphasis on aesthetic structure of meetings, symbols, and political liturgy, stressing emotional and mystical aspects
    • Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance, while espousing a strongly organic view of society
    • Exaltation of youth above other phases of life, emphasizing the conflict of the generations, at least in effecting the initial political transformation
    • Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whether or not the command is to some degree initially elective[30]

Stanley G. Payne created a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism:[29][30]

Stanley G. Payne

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.[28]

Robert Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, defines fascism in his book The Anatomy of Fascism as:

Robert Paxton
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