« on: February 25, 2007, 11:45:06 pm »
Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable."
- George Orwell, Politics and the English Language.
Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power
- Benito Mussolini
Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.
- Adolf Hitler
The word Fascism is bandied around a lot these days. é─˙Oh President Bush/my parents/teh librul medias/someone else I really don't like are fascistsé─¨. In fact, as Orwell noted as soon as the years immediately preceding WWII, the term Fascism, which had before the war meant a specific political ideology, had become nothing more than another political buzzword, rather in the way é─˙freedomé─¨ or é─˙securityé─¨ has become today.
Occasionally, somebody will use what looks like, on the surface, a more useful variation, to describe an authoritarian dictatorship. However, this is even more misleading. Its most common use is an invocation of é─˙Godwin's Lawé─¨, to justify modern military intervention. Saddam Hussein was not a Fascist. Neither were the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Both were totalitarian nightmares where dissent would likely put you in a dungeon, but that doesn't make the cut. Fascism is special and we should be fortunate there have been very few historical examples of it at all.
The problem is using a word that you do not know about will invariably mean that when someone who does know what it means challenges you, you end up looking like an idiot. Furthermore, knowing the peculiarities of the ideology will mean you are more capable at noting any further resurgence, which is entirely possible in the current political climate, albeit under modified circumstances. Note: for the purposes of this essay, I am treating Fascism and Nazism as the same, with the latter being an especially virulent version of the former. There are minor differences, but they are more related to the German feelings of grievance for the past 150 odd years and difference in emphasis on the state and people.
Lets start with the basics. A fascist state is always an industrial one. Always. Modern society is a prerequisite for the political conditions which can bring a Nazi party into power. Thats because the basic purpose of the movement is to bring meaning back to contemporary existence, which is often considered as empty or lacking due to lack of religious fervour, increasing globalization and growth of rational biased movements (Socialism, Liberalism etc).
To bring back meaning, the state is set up as a new deity. This is not uncommon among most dictatorships, usually accompanied with a cult of the personality, but in Fascism the state will have a specific meaning in historical, cultural and biological terms which will likely clash with its more legal definition. For the best example, Germany, the country é─˙Germanyé─¨ became linked to those who spoke German, had German culture and historical links with Germany. So, naturally, the Germans in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austrians were considered all to be part of the é─˙Greater Nationé─¨. Anyone who did not share this was not German. So Jews and Gypsies, not accepting the culture and 'biology' of Germans were not considered citizens and could not become one, in stark contrast to today where one can become British or American via a nationality test.
Hypernationalism will be the consequence of the stress placed on the historic importance and place of the nation. Almost always it will be considered exceptional for reasons in its history (the British Empire, the Roman Empire, American victory in the Cold War, German cultural influence etc) but has recently been robbed of this and things é─˙need to be set righté─¨. Focus will be placed on the military as the instrument of the state in claiming and keeping its special status.
Fascism is often called collectivist, which is broadly correct. However, since the term is usually a libertarian slur for anyone on the left who disagrees with them, I will extend this somewhat. Collectivist purely means a society where stress is placed on the community over the individual. Obviously, this has authoritarian undertones, but is not necessarily a trait of the left, as is often surmised by right wing supporters. In Communism, the collective is (at least in theory) organized from the bottom up. The workers take control of the means of production, no-one else. And in fact, as we can see in Soviet history, this has mostly been true. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would not locate factories thousands of miles away from both the raw materials and markets, or piss away their only foreign traded resource, for nearly nothing, in sweetheart deals to their allies.
Nazism, by contrast, is corporatist. That is to say, it is organized from the top down into a collective unit, by the state and its allies in industry. This is why corporations and fascism are so closely related, because the former is a microcosm of the latter. Its also a clever trick that often brings the working classes into bed with the Fascist party, as with Germany with Gregor Strasser or the BNP in the UK. It appears to be working to the benefit of the workers, as well as stressing nationalism, thus gaining widespread appeal. Sometimes this can degenerate into National Bolshevism, but more usually the higher ranks of the party will control or remove that faction.
Naturally, this left wing rhetoric will totally vanish when the party comes to power, usually by a combination of externally caused crisis, internal disorder and mass street violence. The crisis creates a need for exceptional solutions, which fascists preach. Internal disorder is often caused by groups allies with the party, along with general crime which may be exacerbated by the crisis. Mass street violence will end up intimidating both minor parties and mainstream ones on the local level, leading to a dangerous polarization in the politics of the nation. Only those brutal enough to use violence to enforce their will can have a say in the political process.
Along with the vanish in shamelessly fake left wing rhetoric will come a new found respect for the middle classes and in é─˙protecting themé─¨ against a whole host of imaginary hobgoblins the Nazis will have seized upon as threatening the nation. Be it Jews, Muslims or Atheists, they will be defined as incapable of existing alongside the people of the nation. Historically, biological reasons would be given, nowadays, culture is where the emphasis is usually placed, being as it is in the mouth of fascists, a code word meaning é─˙dirty foreignersé─¨.
However, the economic policies that are put in place by the new ruling party almost always destroy the middle class, as it is a possible area of resistance to the total control of the state. Once internal enemies are é─˙purgedé─¨, this economic configuration, along with emphasis on self-sufficiency will invariably result in territorial expansion. No doubt, the fascist economy needs expansionism to exist and will eventually fall into recession without it.
Religion is usually of secondary purpose to the party. Despite a close alliance in Spain, the relationship is usually collaborative with the largest groups either siding with the party or being harassed into exile. Religion will be interpreted to serve the interests of the state, though it will often be mistrusted by those in power as another possible rival for control.
Fascism is always racist, though the groups chosen will vary a lot based on context. Jews will always be targets for their streak of mystical individualism they introduced into Europe and for é─˙killing Jesusé─¨, whom Nazis tend to hold in high respect for some odd reason. In the current political climate, Muslims are another easy target, whereas more obvious anti-Semitism has been toned down, because it is partly recognized as an election loser and because of support for Israel against Muslims.
In summation, fascism is a radical and revolutionary right wing movement, which incorporates elements of the left as part of its cynical bid for power. Revolutionary, it wants nothing less than the total recreation and reorganization of society. Its basis is in violence, worship of the state, hypernationalist racism, militarism and expansion. The individual means nothing and the only truth is force. In short, it is the exaltation of the executioner by the executioner, torture by the torturer and sadism by the sadist.