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I've seen a lot of people on social media trying to describe fascism. The interesting bit is that they NEVER consult the philosophy of fascism to describe it.

I thought I'd fix that:

Fascism is a form of democracy - a relatively authoritarian form, certainly. It can, in fact, be argued that all expressions of democracies are authoritarian to certain degrees. Fascism is nonetheless democratic in structure. Let me explain...

Fascism is a national syndicalist philosophy that views the elevation of and identification with the integral State as the primary moral good for the nation. It rejects forthwith egalitarianism, liberal democracy (characterized by a commitment to equality before the law, free speech, degrees of individualism, etc), internationalism and pacifism as well as Marxism and its variants.

Fascism agrees with the marxist interpretation of history but argues that class conflict can only be resolved by reinventing the national consciousness to unite the classes in a stratified syncretic organism - the State. Instead of international class collaboration the fascist argues for national class syncretism. A perpetual revolution organized through a vanguard party (paralleling the marxist-Leninist approach to social organization) and democratic centralism for the "elite" to be provided to the masses rather than participated in by the masses is the ONLY acceptable manner for redress of grievance.

The authoritarian form of democracy characterizing Fascism is an explictly corporatist (not corporate) approach by the elite interests of a given society to preempt and proscribe class-based collectivist ideologies within the nation by promoting integralism and an organic interpretation of, and service to, the State (this is, in point of fact, how fascism undermines the cultural marxism inherent in the grievance studies that proliferate Western Academics). In other words, what political sovereignty an individual enjoys within a fascist order MUST be utilized to celebrate the nation and the State - and to celebrate the reigning government administering the State to provide for the nation.

Fascists advocate an autarkic economic order and seek to criminalize any economic activity that posits individual or group interests above the interests of the State. Whatever market the fascist order tolerates is completely subordinated to the State. All activity - economic or individual - MUST be subordinated to the needs of the State.

A Fascist regime is typically personified by an autocratic ruler considered to be the most strong-willed, anti-hedonistic, and warrior-like of his competitors among the vanguard. Athough monarchs can be, and have been, preferred due to the syncretic integralism that Fascists use to hold the nation together, a hereditary "father or mother" of the nation is not necessary. Thus the leader of a fascist nation is expected to be the most capable member of society - the pinnacle of a truly meritocratic and technocratic order.

The whole premise of Fascist thought is to counter Marxist-Leninism. Where Marx laid bare the dialectical as an arbitrary codified doctrine of thought for the good communist revolutionary to conform to, Giovanni Gentile (the ideological father of Fascism), sought to establish Fascism as an ever organic process - a truly perpetual revolution. He wanted Fascism to grow and evolve and saw the repudiation of Marxism, and it's insistence that greivances arise from inequity, the way to ensure that. Gentile saw Fascism as a sort of organicism, or holism, in which the State was the pinnacle form of axiomatic expression for the individual - the State is all, no one exists outside the State. He, unlike Marx, saw the various private and public entities (be they syndicate or firm), as part of the whole of society. Society, according to Gentile, was the nation. The nation needed order and structure - from the State. And someone needed to administer the State to guard it (and, by extension, the nation and society) against distortion ans misuse - the Vanguard. Where a Marxist would have the private suppressed and absorbed into the public, Gentile believed that they were integral to the State, necessary even, but wholly within the State.

Much like good requires evil and day requires night, Gentile advocated a philosophy in which competing perspectives were integral to the whole of existence. Through this competition, the better and more appropriate perspective would arise with the time and culture that it represented. In this way, it is quite possible to conceive of a form Fascist regime that, although totalitarian, would have been relatively progressive, perhaps even relatively liberal, for the citizens therein (the contemporary United Kingdom springs to mind) depending on the circumstances of the times. This organic process, this integralist approach to national syndicalism, was the framework upon which Fascism was built.

It was this perspective that allowed Mussolini and Hitler to claim, not incorrectly, that their approach to governance was neither left nor right. It was syncretic. A union of the two. A third way, really.

IDW: what do you think of this description? Are there areas I can improve my explanation?

TitoWarren 4 Mar 18
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1

Ahhhh . . . . . . You have described the Federal Debt Plantation , very well . Since the understanding of citizenship has become so twisted and perverted by education and culture , there is no stopping this train wreck . The most effective form of slavery is that in which the slaves believe they are free .

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Hello everyone. English is not my mother tongue, so I can't use big words like you all guys do. XD
Anyway, I've ditched the general notion that fascism is a far-right ideology ages ago. But, I was wondering if fascism could develop from neoliberalism, i.e., an extreme form of free-market capitalism. Maggie Thatcher very much endorsed this idea. While fascism is very much talked about with a strong emphasis on "state dominance", would it be possible that in a neoliberal country, private corporations like giant tech companies can have so much power over what people can do or can't do and have so much say in decision-making by the government of that country that they could grow authoritarian and ultimately totalitarian to control the entire nation? In that case, it's not so much state dominance but free market dominance.

I think it can, yes.

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As a UK citizen, could you give me some concrete examples of why you think this way about the current state of the UK?

I might have to be on my guard! LOL

Well, there is the notorious example of Dankula being convicted of offensive joke telling. Folks that called Soubry a "fascist" are being rounded up by police. A feminist who "deadnamed" a transgender person on twitter was arrested.

Its clear that free speech is dying over there, needless to say.

Then there is the whole Brexit debacle. Whatever a persons personal thoughts on the results of the referendum, Parliament is hellbent on ignoring or nuetering the result of the referendum. They insist it is obvious Parliament would rather see the UK made a vassal of the EU than let the population determine their fates.

And lets not forget the new Porn license requirements. A government dictating moral behavior?

All of this (and more) combined makes the UK look more and more like a liberal democracy turning authoritarian.

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I just have to see the entry you’d put in the dictionary under the term. Seriously.

Seriously?

Fascism: a political philosophy wherein the State dominates society in every aspect.

@TitoWarren The State dominating Society in every aspect doesn’t sound like democracy, wherein the people dominate the Society which in turn dominates the State. Not to argue against all forms of Facism, just that I wouldn’t call any of them democratic regardless of how they thought of themselves.

@StrykerWolfe Honestly, i am inclined to agree with you but... can we disregard the ever accelerating encroachment of the State into common life for citizens of the United Kingdom so easily?

While thats, clearly, not an example of totalitarian democracy like Fascist Italy, it is certainly an example of liberal democracy tilting further and further towards authoritarianism.

Im not suggesting there is a... sort of "on/off switch" for the structure of democracy. Im trying to allow the concept of political sovereignty, and how it is distributed, to guide our interpretation of alternative governmental structures. There are clearly variations of democracy - federalist, centralist, consociationalist, majoritarian, etc etc. Is the concept of relatively more authoritarian democracies so alien?

@TitoWarren Ah, I think I see where the confusion between us lies. Authoritarianism in democracy is indeed essential to a certain degree, if for no other reason than to maintain some semblance of order at the voting booth. If you were to try and remove any semblance of authority from a democracy you get anarchy real quick. The difference is in where that authority is accountable to; in Facism, everything is accountable to the state. In Democracy, everything is accountable to the people. No society has ever been a perfect example of these concepts, but you can usually tell which one they’re aiming towards. Does that make sense?

@StrykerWolfe absolutely. I don't disagree at all, actually.

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I just wanted to throw in some things for consideration.

Orwell wrote in Politics and the English Language:

'The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable". The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. [...] Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.'

Note the phrase I bolded. For comparison, replace "defenders" with "attackers" and "a democracy" with "fascist".

Remember a list of characteristics of fascism that was circulating a few years ago and had supposedly been displayed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum? It was not officially displayed there, but at one time it was for sale in their store. It was a heavily modified version of an article in Free Inquiry magazine by Prof. Laurence Britt. Here's an interview with him. [findingfascism.com]. I post the url for this information only; it does not mean I endorse or approve anything else on that website.

Thank you.

Steven Pinker once said that any country with the word "democratic" in its name, probably isn't! Like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea!

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I dunno ...
In all of my years of studying things like this, Fascism has repeatedly come out as being as Left as Socialism and Communism.
The mechanism is slightly different but it leads to the same outcome.

Another thing, did you actually write this using your own words or did you borrow this?
Seriously I read research papers and similar materials a lot ... I’ve studied and read LOTS of philosophical commentaries but ... I had to shake myself awake three times and go get coffee before I got to the end of your piece.

When I was a kid and got into discussions that were over my head, I’d adopt the concept of; Blind them with Brilliance or Baffle them with Bullsh*t ...

I’m not precisely sure what you’ve got going on here but I can tell you that had Hitler, Lenin, Marx, Mussolini, Franco, Mao Tse EVER tried to “think” these things ... never mind “express” them, we would never have had to actually fight them.

I did write this, yes. Thank you for the feedback, as well. I do appreciate it.

And I'm not attempting to present fascism in a particular manner, really. From where I stand politically, it is obviously leftwing. But it is curious how Hitler and Mousilini could say it was neither left nor right.

@TitoWarren
Please understand that I am not trying to be snarky or sarcastic ...
I read what you wrote ... occasionally smacking myself upside the head to get my eyes to realign (ok joke) ... and there’s a lot there.
I don’t know if you desire to be “read” or not but I think you would do yourself a favor if you toned it down a notch or two.
I used to talk like that and found myself often looking at glassy eyeballs ... I might have been talking but I clearly wasn’t “communicating” ... my brother, a well respected physician, used to take a swig of his beer ... or martini ... and comment that I was “Mentally Masturbating ... Again ...” because whatever it was that I was doing, I was doing it by myself ... I had lost my “audience” ...
I used to write like that as well ...
I broke myself of the habit. Mostly because I really was trying to get something across to other people ...
Anyway, it’s just a suggestion ...

The only time I write like that any more is when I’m helping write a research paper ... I don’t actually know if it’s any better read but those people seem to be impressed ... of course, if I ask them anything about the paper they just read I get a shifting of the eyes and; “Ummmm...”

@Bay0Wulf constructive, great writing style, well done and very funny. You get an A+ and gold stars, lotsa gold stars

@Bay0Wulf seriously, thank you for the feedback.

I really do appreciate it.

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I had an interesting and somewhat frustrating discussion with a leftist when I told him that fascism is essentially a left leaning ideology. He nearly had a fit! I tried to explain in simple terms that, from an economical perspective, fascism championed private ownership of the means of production but that the state decided what was produced and how much - think Oscar Schindler's factory. In other words, state control of the means of production. Couple this with everything being in the interest of the state and a degree of ethno-nationalism and that's fascism.

Most if not all fascists began as communists/socialists - Mussolini, Gentile, Hitler.

When I also pointed out that the Nazis were of the "National Socialist and German Workers' Party" - he nearly exploded!

It was a sleight of hand by the post WW2 Soviets and the Western left leaning governments (Atlee in the UK and Truman in the US) that successfully re-branded fascism as right wing. This was possibly aided by the, by then, exiled members of the Frankfurt School who were embarked on their "long march through the institutions".

Oh the frankfurt school conspiracy, how nice to see you again.

The leftist you talked with was probably frustrated because you are parroting far right conspiracy theories and playing into the hands of fascists, hopefully unwittingly.

No one serious considers fascism left wing. Please consult an actual historian and not a right wing ideologue who, I can only imagine as a matter of conscience, feel the need to misrepresent fascism.

Some people abuse the term and apply it unfairly, but that doesn’t mean you should distort it completely.

@InternetDorkWeb Please do not assume that you know who or what source or sources I consulted! Also, you insult my intelligence by labelling my views as "parroting" as if I am unable to think for myself - not good.

Instead of being just patronising and dismissive, why don't you change my mind with facts, evidence and reason. Then we can have a meaningful discussion!

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“Fascism is a form of democracy - a relatively authoritarian form, certainly.“

Name one fascist state that was democratic.

The United Kingdom, for starters, is fast becoming an authoritarian democracy. Very fast.

Historically we have revolutionary France as described by Rouseau in "The Social Contract". Beyond that, we have Nazi Germany, which enjoyed substantial popular support, as well as the Soviet Union. Each were, like it or not, totalitarian democracies.

There are also contemporary examples of relatively less totalitarian (but far more authoritarian than liberal) democracies throughout the middle east, east asia, and africa. Syria? Turkey?

Fascism is a syncretic descriptor of a particular philosphy regarding the relationship between individual and State. Democracy describes the structure of governance by which the State is administered. Societies do, and have, existed in manners far more perplexing than what I describe above.

@TitoWarren The United Kingdom is not fascist. It is not authoritarian, it does not wage violence against its citizens, it doesn’t demand conformity with the group, it isn’t obsessed with national identity...

Revolutionary france predates fascism, so it can at best be called proto-fascist. The influence of the french revolution is far ranging and can be applied to the American revolution, the Russian revolution, fascism, liberalism...

Nazi Germany was fascist, well done. It wasn’t a democracy though.

The Soviet Union was not fascist by any stretch. It also wasn’t a democracy.

Syria is baathist. There is some debate whether baathism is a fascist ideology. However, Syria was not a democracy. Nor were any baathist states.

Turkey is not fascist either. Erdogan is an authoritarian and not a good guy. Turkey is also highly nationalistic, but that was present before erdogan. Society hasn’t been militarised either.

The philosophy of fascism is not compatible with a democratic state. Fascism is the rejection of liberalism (broad definition) and of communism/marxism.

It is not a synonym of the word authoritarian, although any fascist state is authoritarian by nature.

@InternetDorkWeb hmmm... i see that i need to be a bit clearer when speaking about this.

I was describing Fascism as authoritarian, totalitarian even, democracy. The other nations i have mentioned are also, to greater and lesser degrees, authoritarian democracies. I wasnt saying they are fascist. I was saying they have authortarian tendencies that ALSO can be found within fascist nations.

Democracy is merely a descriptor of a structure for how political sovereignty is dispersed throughout a given society.

Fascism is more than just a structure for political soveriegnty. Fascism is a cohesive - although repulsive - political philosophy, of which how political sovereignty is structured is but a part.

Just as there are multiple variations of democracy, there are also multiple variations of fascism. Liberalism is not necessarily a feature of democracy - we need only consider the Soviet Union to dispel this myth. The Soviet Union was totalitarian, but also democratic - it's just that the individual did not enjoy political sovereignty.

Does this make sense?

@TitoWarren The problem isn’t a lack of clarity:

“I was describing fascism as authoritarian, even totalitarian democracies”

This is not what fascism is. A democracy cannot be totalitarian by definition; there is a plurality. A democratic state can be authoritarian, but only because the person elected (or state institutions like the police) are authoritarian.

Once again, the Soviet Union was not democratic.

Stop playing with the definition of words. The meanings of all these terms is well established, there is no need to change them.

@InternetDorkWeb

I disagree. Please consider this link.

[en.m.wikipedia.org]

@TitoWarren This article is about “totalitarian democracy” which, whatever the merits of this person’s theory might be, is not the same as fascism.

My initial reaction to the article is that it seems questionable. It references only a few authors, who have written about it with long gaps... and no section featuring criticism. This suggests that its ideas are not widely discussed in political theory, and may have major issues.

However, I will read through it properly later on to be sure.

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Very interesting, how did you come to define it this way?

Was once called a fascist. No explanation was given. I just made the mistake of being skeptical of social justice claptrap. I realized I didn't know what I'd said that identified me as a fascist...so I read Mousilini, which led me to Gentile. A few hours down that rabbit hole and....

Turns out that im not a fascist and the term was just being used to insult me.

@TitoWarren Great subject matter and the smiley face is purely of the empathetic.

@TitoWarren I completely understand your angst. Back when I was active on FB I was labeled a Fascist and Commi in the same thread.

2

Too many people are not familiar with such definitions as history in public schools is not being properly taught, at least in alot of US schools anyway...

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