What is Fascism - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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What is Fascism?

Anti-Socialist Bulwork to protect capitalism
Institutional totalitarian
No votes
Other (please elaborate)
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By The Immortal Goon
There has been debate as to late as to what exactly this is. Some accuse the US of being fascist, the US actually openly calls many middle-eastern people "Fascist."

I would deny either accusation.

What is fascism? Please, choose the best answer - as I know that for most people several of these definitions would kind of bleed together.
1. An anti-socialist bulwork to protect capitalism. Ie, most Marxist's definition of the term.

2. Institutional totalitarian. A government, regardless of ideology, that has a lot of power.

3. Fanaticism. A group of people hell bent on an ideology.

4. Mercantilism. A modern form of mercantilism, that is, a relativly unsophisticated form of capitalism

5. Socialism. Fascism is the left at work.

6. Dictatorship. There is no substantial difference between fascism and dictatorship. When the power is invested largely in to a single leader, it is fascism.

That's all I can really think of, especially as I'm rather committed to the (very broadly stated) first option.

-TIG :rockon:
Last edited by The Immortal Goon on 05 Sep 2006 15:38, edited 1 time in total.
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By London Calling
Fascism is a matter of taste.
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By Goranhammer
Mercantilism is a form of fascism, but fascism is not a form of mercantilism. If I had more time, I'd go into that deeper. For that reason, I couldn't vote for it.
By Beal
Fascism was exactly what it was called: national socialism. Too many people try to define "fascism" by the characterisitcs of just about any standard dictatorship.

Originally, the fascists embraced a liberal/socialist agenda in order to attract the lower/middle class away from the communists. The idea that fascism was "corporatism" is a ridiculous misunderstanding, encouraged by modern liberals' dislike of modern corporations and their desire to distance themselves from Fascism while associating it with their political opponents. (I am speaking from a US perspective, acknowledging that right and left are different in Europe) Fascist governments evolved in to dictatorial regimes and many of the characteristics people mistakenly assign to fascists are just the standard characterizations of dictatorships.

Hitler's 25 points, 1920:

At least by US standards, some less-than-right-wing goals of the early fascists from Hitler's 25 points:
-All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
-Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of rent-slavery.
-In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
-We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
-We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
-We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
-We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
-We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, Schieber and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race. (mostly directed at the Jews but its important to note that much of the attack on them was based on the idea that they were a bunch of rich bankers and part of the conspiracy that led Germany to accept defeat in WWI when the population thought it was "winning")
-The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbuergerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
-The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

And from Il Duce, the Fascist Manifesto:

-Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women
-Voting for women (which was opposed by most other European nations)
-The quick enactment of a law of the State that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers
-A minimum wage
-The participation of workers' representatives in the functions of industry commissions
-Reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55
-Armaments factories are to be nationalised
-A strong progressive tax on capital (envisaging a “partial expropriation” of concentrated wealth)
-Revision of all contracts for military provisions
-The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein
By BleedingHeartNorwegian
But one may ask which is most important, what they claimed they wanted to do, or what they actually did. When it comes to the "socialist" part of the nazi program like old age pension, those were to a large part already implemented when the nazis took power.

What facsism lack is the commitment to economic egalitarianism. The divide between left and right is not about freedom, but economic egalitarianism. That is the reason why communists and anarchist have tried to cooperate on several occations.

Another point is that classical liberalism was on the vain during this time in history. There would therefore be impossible to win elections on a classical liberal program. It may well be that socialdarwinists and other evil psychopaths searched for another way to implement their interests, and facsism fitted the bill. It is worth mentioning that the early "socialist" programmes hardly fooled anyone. Neither Mussolini nor Hitler never managed to win a strong working class power base.
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By Red Star
Fascism, for me, is a holistic, palengenetic, nationalist and populist ideology which aims to create a third social and economic way to laissez faire capitalism and socialism, emphasizing social rebirth and aiming to seize all political power in order to achieve its goals.

This is my view, based on Roger Griffin's and Roger Euwell's descriptions of the ideology in a historic context. However, it is too hard to define. It builds itself by comparing itself to others - it is a theory of negations: anti-communist and anti-liberal. It also depends on national and social character - Hitler's fascism differs sharply from Mussolini's or Franco's pseudo-fascism (as R.A.H. Robinson points out). It is not a coherent ideology as it lacks a central manifesto or theoretical core - communism has Marx and Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, Mattick and Pannekoek etc etc; capitalism has a whole range of economists from Smith to von Hayek...fascism, despite Mussolini's minister's (his name escapes me) attempts at creating an ideology, is more of an emotional and improvised set of politics.
By Kon
Other, dictatorial and highly nationalistic state with semi capitalistic economic views (corpratism).
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By Thunderhawk

Populist, nationalist, socialist and very authoritarian.

Ixa's "Right-wing Socialism" fits, if vague.
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By Truth-a-naut
Ahaha I love how charged the first option is. Such a totally balanced and non-biased option.

I agree with Red Star's definition.
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By Attila The Nun
The first one is nonsense, mercantilist theory goes way before the invention of fascism, it is hardly socialism as it is supremely anti-equality, and fanaticism can fall into any ideology.

It's totalitarianism, but not all totalitarianism is fascism.
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By The Immortal Goon
Bascially, I was wondering how many people were going to place it as "Fanaticism." Thus, the rather shabbily put together other options.

Sometimes I need to make sure most people are sane. Sane as in not thinking that Islamic fundementalism is a form of fascism.

One insane person so far is all.

-TIG :rockon:
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By C-Kokos

Although I agree that fascism acts as anti socialist bulwork to protect capitalism, I find that this definition ignores the root and cause of fascism. To say that it is just this bulwork would imply that fascism was somehow consciously created by the ruling class to protect itself and it is here that I disagree.

Fascism is a political movement of the petty bourgeoisie, which, terrified by the titanic struggle of the proletarian against the bourgeois creates an ideology/political system that will protect its existence from both the onslaught of the Capital which, if successful will wipe their small business off the face of the earth and the Proletarian Revolution that will do away with private property and wage labour.
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By Far-Right Sage
Fascism is not capitalism. Fascism is mercantilistic foreign policy to enhance and embolden corporatism within the country.
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By serena
IMO, their are four pillars of fascism

Intense, raging nationalism

Warmongering militarism or supremacy of the military

Hardcore authoritarianism which may include state spying-on-you Big Brother, "1984" type servaillence

Preserved class hierarchy: This is where it gets confusing as to whether or not fascism is capitalist or not. It can be, e.g I consider Pinochet to be a fascist. But fascism, while it may or may not be capitalist (an economic system based on acquisition of capital) it is not free market... it is a state- or corporate-controlled economy, that, unlike socialism with its aim to create an egalitarian society, creates a fixed class hierarchy with no social mobility.
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By Far-Right Sage
That is why I don't consider Pinochet to be a fascist at all.

Let's see:

Nationalism? No

Militarism? Yes

Authoritarianism? Yes

Class hierarchy? No
User avatar
By Abood
Nationalism? No

Militarism? Yes

Authoritarianism? Yes

Class hierarchy? No
How can he ultra-capitalist and against class heirarchy? paradox.
User avatar
By Beren
I voted for the first option.

Fascism was created against socialism/socialists and for protecting capitalism by authoritarian far-right governance supported by plutocracy. However, they can call themselves either national-socialists or friedmanist authoritarians, they're all the same.
Last edited by Beren on 04 Jan 2007 22:36, edited 1 time in total.
By Alfsigr
But one may ask which is most important, what they claimed they wanted to do, or what they actually did. When it comes to the "socialist" part of the nazi program like old age pension, those were to a large part already implemented when the nazis took power.

This is true of all ideologies, however. Most communists would reject the Soviet Union as being communist because it deviated from marxist doctrine, and the American Constitution is a far cry from the declaration of independence and the articles of confederation. If fascism must be judged on what states calling themselves fascist actually did, so should liberalism and communism.
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By Far-Right Sage
How can he ultra-capitalist and against class heirarchy? paradox.

Not at all. There is a grave difference between a class hierarchy that can be formed in a capitalistic country, and an established class system that the government mandates, such as in Nazi Germany where Jews and many other minorities were considered "Untermensch", or subhuman.
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