Fascism is a complex ideology. There are many definitions of fascism; Some people describe it as a series of political actions, a political philosophy, or a mass movement. Most definitions agree that fascism is authoritarian and promotes nationalism at all costs, but its basic characteristics are disputed.
Fascism is associated with Italian and German regimes that came to power after World War I, although other countries were also ruled by fascist regimes. Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, Francisco Franco in Spain, and Juan Perón in Argentina were the best-known fascist leaders of the 20th century. However, the core fascist ideologies and goals of Hitler and Mussolini are still present in populist organizations today and continue to shape fascist movements in countries around the world.
Mussolini coined the term “fascism” in 1919.The word “fascism” comes from the Italian “fascio”, which means pack or group and is a term for a militant brotherhood. The word “Fasces” means an ax tied to sticks, an image that has become a symbol of the fascist movement, according to the History Department of King’s College in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
How is fascism defined? Robert Paxton, a professor of social sciences at Columbia University in New York who is widely regarded as the father of fascism studies. that fascism is “a characteristic form of political practice of the 20th century, which arouses the enthusiasm of the population through sophisticated propaganda techniques.
According to Paxton, fascism uses such propaganda to promote:
• anti-liberalism, rejection of individual rights, civil liberties, free enterprise and democracy
• anti-socialism, rejection of economic principles based on socialist frameworks
• exclusion of certain groups, often through violence
• nationalism, the Expanding the Influence and Power of the Nation
Historically, fascists opposed modernization “when that term is liberalism, democracy, Marxism, individualism feminism,” said historian Chris Wright, Associate Professor at the City University of New York. Fascists, on the other hand, advocated modernization “when the term means technological and economic advancement, military superiority, efficiency, and the glorification of speed and machines,” Wright wrote in the article “Reflections on Fascism” published in ResearchGate.
Fascism also reflects an intrinsic belief in human inequality, said journalist Shane Burley, author of Why We Fight: Essays on Fascism, Resistance, and Surviving the Apocalypse (AK Press, 2021) and Fascism Today: What is it and how “to end it” (AK Press, 2017).
” The modern world is built under a mythology of human equality, even when equality is not achieved and even when the people involved do not intend to do so, it puts the underlying narrative in place. continues modern societies where people are equal, “Burley said.
Fascism, however, promotes the concept of innate inequality and inescapable social hierarchies between groups, Burley said. Hierarchy is the idea that a person’s rank in society is determined by Identifying aspects of identity that are beyond their control, such as ethnicity or gender, Burley explained.
Why is fascism so difficult to define?
It is fashionable and leads to very different regimes. For example, Paxton wrote in “The Five Stages of Fascism “suggests that” religion … would play a much more important role in authentic fascism in the United States “than in more secular Europe, and to make matters worse, non-fascist governments often imitated elements of fascist regimes to give the appearance of national strength and vitality said Paxton. Mass mobilizations of citizens in colored T-shirts, for example, mass mobilization of citizens in color full shirts are not automatically a fascist political practice, he said.
The popular spread of the word “fascism” also causes definitional problems. In recent years, the term has “been used more as a political insult than a historically sound analytical term,” according to The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank based in Sydney.
While all fascist movements are far-right, not all right-wing movements are fascist, Burley said.
Unlike most other political, social, or ethical philosophies such as communism, capitalism, conservatism, liberalism, or socialism, fascism has no philosophy. As Paxton wrote: “There was no ‘Fascist Manifesto’, no Fascist founding thinker.” Gilbert Allardyce, professor emeritus of history at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, described the term “fascism” as elusive and” an mulish concept “that even if historians continued to use it, it frustrated historians.” In short, we agreed to use the word without agreeing on the definition, ”Allardyce wrote in a 1979 article in The American Historical Review.
Although the definition of fascism is elusive, all fascist movements share some basic beliefs and acts of fascism.
Fascism requires some basic loyalties, such as the nation and a “master race” or group – what Paxton considered the only definition of morality for the Fascism defined – is to make the nation stronger, more powerful, bigger and more successful. Fascists see national strength as the only thing that makes a nation “good”, fascists will use all means necessary to increase the strength of the country.
Fascists aim to use the country’s fortune to increase the country’s strength, and in this fascism resembles Marxism – an anti-capita economic, philosophical and political framework of beliefs that foster a classless society, so the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University in California.
Guided by the principle of extreme nationalism, fascist regimes are prone to similar actions, although the details differ, writer George Orwell wrote in his essay “What is Fascism?”According to Paxton, who has written several books on the subject, including “The Anatomy of Fascism” (Vintage, 2005), these regimes use grand gestures such as parades and dramatic appearances by leaders.
Fascists also excel at propaganda, using it as a tool to scapegoat certain groups; however, these groups may differ from country to country. For example, the Nazi regime demonized Jews and other ethnic minorities like the Roma, while Mussolini’s Italian regime targeted the Bolsheviks: Marxist radicals. (Mussolini worked regularly with Jews, and his mistress, Margherita Sarfatti, was Jewish but later converted to Catholicism. Due to Mussolini’s alliance with Hitler, he eventually incorporated anti-Semitic components into his regime, and Sarfatti fled Italy in 1938. Mussolini began according to the Jewish Women’s Archives to enact anti-Semitic laws, but overall, Mussolini differed from Hitler on the issue of biological racism.
Paxton also said that fascism is based more on emotion than on philosophical ideas (which might explain why fascism can be difficult to define.) In his 1988 essay “The Five Stages of Fascism” published in the Journal of Modern History, he defined seven “mobilizing passions” for fascist regimes.
- The primacy of the group The support of the group feels more important than the safeguarding of individual rights
- The belief that the group itself is a victim This justifies any behavior towards the enemies of the group
- The belief that individualism and liberalism allow a dangerous decline and find themselves in the a negatively affect on group.
- Individual self-esteem is tied to the perceived size of the group. Paxton called this an “increased sense of identity and belonging.
- Extreme support for a” natural “leader who is typically masculine in a man who takes on the role of the national savior.
- Affinity for “the beauty of violence and will when dedicated to the group’s success in a Darwinian struggle,” wrote Paxton. The notion of a naturally superior group or, particularly in the case of Hitler, biological racism fits into a fascist interpretation.
Once in power, Paxton wrote, “Fascist dictatorships suppressed individual freedoms, imprisoned opponents, banned strikes, authorized unlimited police violence in the name of” national unity and resurrection, and committed military aggression.
“Expanded with social programs such as women’s suffrage and workers’ rights, power accumulation through alliances Conservatives and existing ruling factions. The success of fascism in Italy led to the emergence of fascist movements across Europe, such as the National Socialist Workers Party, the British Union of Fascists, the National Union of Portugal, the Yugoslav Radical Union in Yugoslavia and the Front of the Homeland of Austri.
According to the AHA, in 1922 in Italy, troop units known as the Black Shirt Militia and financed by industrialists fought against socialist peasant organizations, carried out raids on socialist newspapers and occupied socialist S. cities. 1922. The government tried to appease Mussolini by appointing him prime minister, but in 1925 he established himself as a dictator. What followed was the violent suppression of dissenting opinions; the deification of Mussolini; violent expansion in Ethiopia, Albania and other countries; and 1939 alliance with Nazi & participation in WW2.
Hitler learned many lessons from Mussolini, including the importance of propaganda and violence. In the 1920s, he publicized his NSDAP through dramatic speeches, grand appearances, and passionate rhetoric against Jews, Marxists, liberals, and internationalists who supported social and economic groups. Paul von Hindenburg made Hitler Chancellor in hopes of stopping the growing Communist Party. In the summer, Hitler’s government had turned into a dictatorship. Germany and began to conquer neighboring countries. With the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the Second World War and the Holocaust began.
European fascist ideas inspired regimes across Latin America, including Bolivia and Argentina. during the Depression, and the ordinary middle-class parties that operated parliamentary systems, in particular, failed, “Paxton said. Spain and Portugal were dictatorships until 1975, but these governments were a mix of conservative and fascist parties.
Economics of Fascism
The Economics and Freedom Library defined the economic practices of fascism as “socialism with a capitalist tinge,” but the economics of fascism is complicated. For fascist governments, according to The Library of Economics and Freedom, the desired goal is the self-sufficiency or national self-sufficiency class and revolutionary Marxism, which would dismantle many social institutions and persecute the bourgeoisie or upper class.
Decades before World War II in Germany and Italy, fascist cartels (commercial monopolies under state control) determined many aspects of trade, finance, agriculture, and production, and made decisions based on what encouraged state power; However, they also allowed the conservative business elite to retain ownership and increase their wealth. The cartels forcibly lowered wages and paid workers with national pride.
One element of fascism is collaboration with the capitalists and the conservative elite. With radical ideas they always work together to move forward toward protecting private property, Paxton said. However, this is an uncomfortable alliance, he said.
“Conservatives are basically people of order who want to use things like church and property to maintain an existing social order, while fascists are revolutionaries who will break social institutions if they believe this will bring national power or greatness or expansion “, he said.”In Nazi Germany, business people were not enthusiastic about Hitler because he had anti-capitalist ideas in the beginning.” Although conservative German businessmen later forged a brief alliance with the Hitler regime, “they often kicked each other,” said Paxton. On July 20, 1944, the Conservatives tried to assassinate Hitler.
“There is always tension between the two movements,” said Paxton.
How Fascism Works
Throughout the history of the 20th century, fascist regimes required the emergence of certain socio-cultural and political situations. It is also worth noting that in many countries, such as Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, fascist ideas grew in popularity without regimes coming to power or fascist parties becoming political protagonists.
First, the 20th century fascist regimes required extreme national crises to gain popularity and power. After the defeat in World War I, many in Germany and Italy worried about the future of their countries. In Germany, “citizens are faced with poor economic conditions, dizzying unemployment, political instability and profound social changes,” says the U. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Meanwhile, Italian citizens suffered from rising inflation, unemployment, strikes and “confusing and inappropriate” economic policies , according to the AHA.
Fascism also requires a widespread belief that established governing parties and institutions are incapable of improving the national situation. But for a fascist party to become powerful, the combination of strong national identity and disappointment with the government still needs a catalyst to convince the population to side with what often begins as small marginal movements. In Germany and partly in Italy, this catalyst was the Great Depression, said the historian Aristotle Kallis, professor at Keele University in England, in a lecture. about fascism, which he proclaimed in Amsterdam in 2015.
The global economic crisis and the First World War devastated the German economy. “It had caused inflation, and anyone with savings or a steady income, such as retirees, saw their money go on.” Paxton said. People felt desperate, ashamed and lost, he added.
In his essay “Five Stages” Paxton said that fascism can only arise when a society has political freedom and when democracy is so well established that people can become disillusioned with it. Italy, for example, had a number of weak governments and revolving doors. And Germany had no effective parliamentary majority for three years before Hitler was appointed Chancellor. Both countries faced two possible solutions to the problems of ineffective government, suffering people, and national humiliation: communism and fascism.
Watch out for the rise of communism, “Paxton said. In the 20th century, they were the two movements that suggested putting democracy aside and replacing it with something else in order to strengthen the country.
The political left, made up of Communists and socialists, gained ground. In Italy in particular, a socialist revolution seemed imminent. The existing government and conservative capitalist elites viewed communism and socialism negatively.
Paxton identified the fascist complacency of the conservatives at the beginning of the movement as another factor, who set the stage for a fascist regime. “The only way available to the fascists is through the conservative elites,” he wrote.
In Germany and Italy, the governments of the time decided to join the fascists. “The fascist parties have come into the public eye as the most violent and toughest opponents.” to socialism, “said Paxton. The heads of state of both countries offered the fascists the post of government because the other options, the traditional factions, had failed. Both fascism and communism proposed violent solutions and one would win.
The German and Italian governments, who had joined the fascists and feared a socialist revolution, refused to cooperate with the left, creating a political stalemate, another factor Paxton believes necessary for fascism.
Just after World War II, fascism, as defined by the Mussolini and Hitler regimes, went out of style in Europe and North America. Fascist political insult that leads to overuse and reduced importance, Paxton said. However, in the last few decades there have been growing fascist or proto-fascist movements in Europe and North America, he said.
Many wonder whether fascism is coming back. Paxton said he didn’t think fascism was on the rise in the United States and described the American populist movements as “a much more traditional conservatism,” he said. for everyone but [for] entrepreneurs. It supports the right of entrepreneurs to achieve maximum profit without regulatory standards.
“Yet, Paxton added, the small factions of the rich and powerful in America have recently gained popular support through rhetorical means akin to fascism.” The social and political driving forces behind European fascism in the mid-twentieth century science-fascist movements lack official representation by political parties or state power, “so they operate in a social movement framework rather than a political framework,” said Burley. Today’s fascist movements also use more nuanced language when describing their mission and goals, and often adopt the language of leftist movements.
“A good example of this is the language of white nationalism and law, especially in the way they explain racial politics.” with terms like “white separatism” and “white self-determination,” said Burley. Borrowing topics of conversation from the anti-imperialist and decolonization movements of the 1960s and 1970s, modern movements hide a fascist agenda in deceptively progressive terminology, Burley said.
People in general are against open imperialism, so instead they have to use codified rhetoric about white sovereignty: “For such movements, the broad definition of fascism still applies:” It’s just the external conditions and the way in which how people interact politically, what has changed. “said Burley.
Original article on Science Atom.