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Palingenetic ultranationalism

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Title: Palingenetic ultranationalism  
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Subject: Fascism, Neo-fascism, Fascism in North America, Economics of fascism, Crypto-fascism
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Palingenetic ultranationalism

Palingenetic ultranationalism is a theory concerning generic fascism formulated by British political theorist Roger Griffin.[1][2] The key elements are that fascism can be defined by its core myth, namely that of "national rebirth" — palingenesis.[1][2] Griffin argues that the unique synthesis of palingenesis and ultranationalism differentiates fascism from para-fascism and other authoritarian nationalist ideologies.[1][2] This is what he calls the "fascist minimum" without which there is no fascism.[1][2]

The idea was first put forth in the 1991 book The Nature of Fascism,[1] and has been expanded in a paper titled Staging The Nation's Rebirth: The Politics and Aesthetics of Performance in the Context of Fascist Studies in the 1994 volume Fascism and Theatre: The Politics and Aesthetics in the Era of Fascism.[2]


Griffin argues that fascism uses the “palingenetic myth” to attract large masses of voters who have lost their faith in traditional politics by promising them a brighter future under fascist rule.[1][2] Fascists do not exclusively make this promise: other political ideologies also incorporate some palingenetic aspects in their party programs, since politicians almost always promise to improve the situation.[1][2] More radical movements often want to overthrow the old order, which has become decadent and alien to the common man.[1][2] This powerful and energetic demolition of the old ways may require some form of revolution or battle, but this is represented as glorious and necessary.[1][2] Such movements thus compare the (recent) past with the future, which is presented as a rebirth of society after a period of decay and misery.[1][2] The palingenetic myth can also possibly stand for a return to a golden age in the country’s history, so that the past can be a guidebook to a better tomorrow.[1][2] Fascism distinguishes itself by being the only ideology that focuses strongly on the revolution in its myth, or as Griffin puts it:

Through all this there will be one great leader who battles the representatives of the old system with help from the grassroots support.[1][2] They appear as one mass of people who have only one goal, which is to create their new future.[1][2] They have infinite faith in their mythical hero (it is improbable that this figure is female, because fascism is a largely male movement) as he stands for everything they believe in.[1][2] With him, the country will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of corruption and decadence.[1][2] Griffin later on criticises fascism with regard to this ongoing and never-ending revolution, because the promised society can never be attained.[1][2] The energy and dynamism that is propagated leads nowhere, the myth will never be realised and this is why any fascist society must eventually break down.[1][2]

Image showing a political campaign by the Chilean military dictatorship comparing the Chilean independence (1810) with the 1973 coup that bought them to power.

Contemporary examples

National-Anarchism has been argued to be a syncretic political ideology that was developed in the 1990s by former Third Positionists to promote a stateless palingenetic ultranationalism.[3]

Some political analysts have described the Tea Party movement as "fascist," particularly with respect to Griffin's emphasis on palingenesis.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Griffin, Roger (1991).  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q  
  3. ^ Sunshine, Spencer (Winter 2008). "Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists". Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  4. ^ Berlet, Chip (2011-01-01). "Taking Tea Parties Seriously: Corporate Globalization, Populism, and Resentment". Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 10 (1): 11–29. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  5. ^ Patrick Dunleavy (1 Apr 2011). "The Backlash against the State". Political Insight 2 (1): 4–6. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 

External links

  • Modernity, modernism, and fascism. A "mazeway resynthesis"
  • (pdf version)Staging the Nation's Rebirth
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