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What is fascism?


Ken Estes
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Once again, looking past some of the little dogfight, some rather well made points.

Because Fascism was effects-first and ideology ex-post, it was inherently protean and difficult to pin down.  I don’t think it’s entirely reductive to limit the definition to Mussolini’s movement and ones directly based on it.

Historical contextualisation, I think, can help us understand and therefore define it.

1. Operationally, it builds on and innovates from 19th c. style (para)military coups and as such not socially revolutionary, typically a reaction to a state of disorder in the presence of a socially radical threat (such as communism).

2. It is nationalistic, authoritarian, militaristic, broadly post-monarchic and socially reactionary but ambiguous re. established religion.

I think the more populist as well as corporatist/syndicalist aspects, though very significant, reflect a broad trend in all advanced economies at that time (admittedly to varying degrees) and indeed those tendencies represented the “carrot” side of the competitive alternative they offered vs Marxism.

 

Regarding current conditions, I think the attraction of full-on Fascism in the richer, more established democracies is questionable.  In less mature representative systems there is more evidence of it.  Several successor states of the USSR display some characteristics of it, arguably.

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Just now, Ariete! said:

Once again, looking past some of the little dogfight, some rather well made points.

Because Fascism was effects-first and ideology ex-post, it was inherently protean and difficult to pin down.  I don’t think it’s entirely reductive to limit the definition to Mussolini’s movement and ones directly based on it.

Historical contextualisation, I think, can help us understand and therefore define it.

1. Operationally, it builds on and innovates from 19th c. style (para)military coups and as such not socially revolutionary, typically a reaction to a state of disorder in the presence of a socially radical threat (such as communism).

2. It is nationalistic, authoritarian, militaristic, broadly post-monarchic and socially reactionary but ambiguous re. established religion.

I think the more populist as well as corporatist/syndicalist aspects, though very significant, reflect a broad trend in all advanced economies at that time (admittedly to varying degrees) and indeed those tendencies represented the “carrot” side of the competitive alternative they offered vs Marxism.

 

Regarding current conditions, I think the attraction of full-on Fascism in the richer, more established democracies is questionable.  In less mature representative systems there is more evidence of it.  Several successor states of the USSR display some characteristics of it, arguably.

No.  Marx and Hegel, Georges Sorel were all strong influences in Fascism, in another side - i would not say opposite - you can add Futurism, the cult of war as a way to stop the corruption of daily life, machinery, technology . Fascism accepted and tamed from Marxism the class struggle replacing it with corporatism, the Marxist concept of classes, social progress, the hate/despise against bourgeois is all there.   Mussolini was a Socialist,  Alberto Beneduce, Niccola Bombacci and many others were all socialists. Giovanni Gentile was heavily influenced by the so called "ethical state" of Hegel.

PS: i agree this is FFZ.

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23 minutes ago, seahawk said:

Socialism is the only Fascism. Even Hitler led a socialist movement.

 

Above all, the Nazis were German white nationalists. What they stood for was the ascendancy of the “Aryan” race and the German nation, by any means necessary. Despite co-opting the name, some of the rhetoric, and even some of the precepts of socialism, Hitler and party did so with utter cynicism, and with vastly different goals. The claim that the Nazis actually were leftists or socialists in any generally accepted sense of those terms flies in the face of historical reality.

FACT CHECK: Were Nazis Socialists? (snopes.com)

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Perhaps what is not being emphasized is that what made and makes Nazis, Fascists, Socialists, etc. possible is the over reaching power of government. Said ideologies cannot exert their deadly power without their control of government. More specifically, a secular government. 

This was all accurately for told about three thousand years ago via The Bible in 1 Samuel 8: 4-18 

   Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah  and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”  But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.  And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.  According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.  Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

 Samuel's Warning Against Kings

    So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him.  He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.  And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.  He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.  He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.  And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
 

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3 hours ago, MiloMorai said:

Above all, the Nazis were German white nationalists. What they stood for was the ascendancy of the “Aryan” race and the German nation, by any means necessary. Despite co-opting the name, some of the rhetoric, and even some of the precepts of socialism, Hitler and party did so with utter cynicism, and with vastly different goals. The claim that the Nazis actually were leftists or socialists in any generally accepted sense of those terms flies in the face of historical reality.

FACT CHECK: Were Nazis Socialists? (snopes.com)

Nonsense, of course. Nazis were not white supremacists, they were Aryan supremacists, and considered those of Slav ancestry to be inferior, as those of Ashkenazi ancestry. American blacks living in France and Nazi Germany reported good treatment.

And its idiotic to conflate white supremacy with the right wing by implication; the history of the Progs in 20th century America being a looong list of left-wing atrocities against black Americans.

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4 hours ago, MiloMorai said:

The claim that the Nazis actually were leftists or socialists in any generally accepted sense of those terms flies in the face of historical reality.

 

Not really, their ideological foundation was Socialism, Goebbels studied the "social question" with Marxist authors, Gregor Strasser was anti-capitalist, and the whole Fascist ideal was built around a collective of the workers and the upper classes joined in a single national struggle. Where they weren't socialist at all was in the Internationalism that was spoused by the leading figures, but it should be noted the Russian Communists dumped this ideal with the Socialism in one Country, becoming increasingly nationalistic.

Of course, the reason for this was that Mussolini started out as a Socialists and that permeated all his activity after the war, and Italian fascism was the template for all other fascists movements.

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6 hours ago, MiloMorai said:

The claim that the Nazis actually were leftists or socialists in any generally accepted sense of those terms flies in the face of historical reality.

 

Adolf.jpg

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So lets look at the evidence.

WIlliam Shirer, whom was Berlin as a Journalist at the time, believed they were Fascists, and called them as such in 'The rise and fall of the Third Reich'.

The Soviets, whom lost something like 30 million to the Nazi's, called them Fascists.

The Jews, who lost 6 million, call them fascists.

We have the entire wartime history of everyone from Winston Churchill, to Roosevelt, to De Gaulle, calling them Fascists.

Germans on this grate site, whom I would guess are in a better position than most to know, called the Nazi's Fascists.

Mussolini, Franco, Horthy, all clearly assumed the Nazi's were Fascists, considering they allied with him in one way or another, and happily murdered Socialists by the dozen.

I always come from the position where if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and shits like a duck, most likely its a duck. Hitler talked like a fascist, acted like a fascist, and killed like a fascist. So its a wild stab in the dark, but...

Yes, I imagine it makes some European countries very uneasy to accept Hitler was a Fascist, because it implies they were part of the same political spectrum at one time or another. That is no reason to rewrite history. Hitler was very clever at flirting with the iconography of Socialism, using its title, some of its methods, even some of its imagery. OTOH, you could say some of the GDR borrowed iconography from Nazism, so that makes them Nazi's, which is frankly just as ridiculous.

Yes, there were Socialists in the Nazi party, its perfectly true. Its also perfectly true Hitler was not, and its also perfectly true that anyone remained true to their Socialist philosophy got purged. It was at that point not a Socialist Party, it was the Hitler Party. Hitler was a Fascist, his party became his vehicle and was thus fascist. They were all ultimately fascists or they ended up dead. This is not Werner von Braun rocket science.

How many times are we going to circle around this mulberry bush? And what the hell is it about the 21st Century where people prefer to settle for skin deep, soundbite answer without seriously bothering to live in reality? Christ sake people, go read a book and stop reading memes for your enlightenment.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

 

Mussolini, Franco, Horthy, all clearly assumed the Nazi's were Fascists, considering they allied with him in one way or another, and happily murdered Socialists by the dozen.

 

Follow Sunday's advice re reading the first page, and you will avoid falling into deep holes like the above, where you compare apples, oranges and mangoes with no context.

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So basically we should jettison what everyone at the time said about Hitler and Hitlerism, and just instantly accept memes that suggest the complete reverse?

This used to be a site that prided itself on facts, now its playing silly little games where historical fact is overturned because someone has a meme that proves it.

For Christ sake people, just stop. You are making this site into a laughing stock.

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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1 hour ago, Tim Sielbeck said:

 

Adolf.jpg

"90 percent of all historical quotes on the internet are made up." - Abraham Lincoln

Hitler never said that. Rather it's from Gregor Strasser, leader of the Nazi's actual socialist wing and Hitler's most serious competitor for power in the party, said in 1926. In 1930 he lost the struggle, and leading Strasserists quit with the public declaration "The Socialists Are Leaving the NSDAP". Strasser was eventually killed in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives. 

Hitler (and others like Goebbels, a one-time Strasser sympathizer) sporadically kept using the terms "socialism" and "capitalism" the way he always had; the former as a popular label of common good which to him however essentially meant "war economy" and an application of the Führer principle, whereby a leader ordained by destiny has ultimate authority to steer the nation, the latter as an anti-Semitic chiffre. There was a fine distinction between "hogging" (Jewish) and "generating" (true) capitalism in Nazi ideology. At any rate, in 1928 Hitler had an avowal of private property inserted into the party platform, not least to reassure his industrialist supporters against the rethoric of the Strasserists. 

If there is any confusion about the direction of National Socialism, it shouldn't be over whether their further development of the German welfare state created by Bismarck or stringent preparation for a war economy everyone else eventually ran in WW II amounted to socialism. Rather it would be if they were Left or Right in the previously-mentioned traditional meaning as it came into use in pre-revolutionary France, where those seeking change sat on the left of the speaker in the National Assembly, those resisting it on the right (itself based upon the seating of opposition and government parties in British Parliament).

The Nazis certainly saw themselves as revolutionaries, denounced opponents as reactionary, etc. Then again the aim of such paradoxical right-wing revolutionaries typically is to restore the nation to the alleged glory of the past rather than progressing to a future world of the unoppressed individual - the Roman Empire, pre-WW I Germany, etc. The same confusion applies to reformers trying to overcome orthodox communist systems: are they right-wingers for deviating from pure ideology, or left-wingers for seeking change? 

Edited by BansheeOne
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39 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

So basically we should jettison what everyone at the time said about Hitler and Hitlerism, and just instantly accept memes that suggest the complete reverse?

Apparently, at that time, Hitler said he was a socialist.  Am I to believe what he said about himself then or what others say about him now?  Is it a meme?  Or is it a quote from the subject of discussion that you just don't agree with.

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Above all, the Nazis were German white nationalists.

Ridiculous, why then they wanted to kill or enslave a big part of white population?

They were German Supremacists and racists with a Socialist bent against freedom of free market Capitalism. Their hate against Jews did not only came from Racial theories came also from Marxism.


 

Quote

 

So lets look at the evidence.

WIlliam Shirer, whom was Berlin as a Journalist at the time, believed they were Fascist

 

There is no racial doctrine in Fascism.

Only in late 30's when in a comparative decadence they attached themselves to Hitler that they adopted racial laws.

Even in war it was less dangerous for French Jews to be in Italian Fascist controlled France than in Vichy controlled areas.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

So lets look at the evidence.

WIlliam Shirer, whom was Berlin as a Journalist at the time, believed they were Fascists, and called them as such in 'The rise and fall of the Third Reich'.

The Soviets, whom lost something like 30 million to the Nazi's, called them Fascists.

The Jews, who lost 6 million, call them fascists.

 

Noone is saying the German and Italian Fascists aren't fascist. The question is to what ethos/order of government do they derive their origins from and what are they like. 

That they murdered millions of soviets doesn't work as an argument as soviets murdered hundreds of millions of soviets. 

Fascism is a derivative of socialism just as the current woke left cancel culture is a derivative of socialism. Even more so as the left's current push towards banning of books, cancelling of heterodox opinions and use of the corporate environs to do so rather than government regulation more points to the use of corporatism to accomplish this. Another example of evidence is how Gina Carano can't say conservative things without being fired from Disney but Disney thanks the regional government of China where it is accomplishing this century's first flirtation with the holocaust.

Sure, Fascism turns sharply off of the main tracks that socialism travel down. 

Nationalism vs Internationalism
Corporations as sheep to be tended and fleeced rather than goats to be sacrificed for the greater good
mass murder by race/ethnic group rather than by class/political reliability (Though both did this in spades, hanging mass murder based on race solely on the Fascists is foolish, the Soviets did this handily and the Chinese are doing this now). 

But it started at the same rail yard with much of the same rolling stock and more or less the same head end power.  It even traveled parallel down the same road bed until it diverged and then became adamantly opposed (diverging track that then crosses the main line with a large contested diamond?) or perhaps of a different gauge and then busted up the tracks behind them so there was no going back. 

Schwellenpflug+_rail_tracks_1.jpg


(I hope the resident anoraks are pleased with the railroad metaphor, hopefully moderator, et. al.,  do not see fit to merge this thread with the Rail Safety thread due to this metaphorical track bending ). 

Edited by rmgill
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That Hitler and his Party were or were not Socialists at a certain juncture or not at all is ignoring the fact that they said they WERE at the start and used all of those trappings and entreaties to make promises and gain power. And then when they had that power, they did what they wanted with that raw and nearly total power, regardless of what promises they made. That current iterations of socialists and past iterations of same, use and used the same entreaties to gain power is rather the point. 

In both cases, they obtain nearly total power and use that corrupting total power to do great evil to both their own people and others of other nations.

The arguments over the taxonomy of Socialists and Fascist seemingly ignores that both are voracious carnivores that subjugate their neighboring nations and consume humanity at a prodigious rate. It's rather like arguing if a Phorusrhacidae are lizards or not. They're apex predators, that they have feathers and aren't lizards but derive from them evolutionarily speaking, is merely academic. 

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A problem here is two-dimensional thinking.  We need 3-D.

The political spectrum is not linear but circuital:  if you go far enough tot he right or to the left, you meet the other side again.

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21 minutes ago, rmgill said:

That Hitler and his Party were or were not Socialists at a certain juncture or not at all is ignoring the fact that they said they WERE at the start and used all of those trappings and entreaties to make promises and gain power. And then when they had that power, they did what they wanted with that raw and nearly total power, regardless of what promises they made. That current iterations of socialists and past iterations of same, use and used the same entreaties to gain power is rather the point. 

Frankly that's a description of populist ideologies so general as to be pointless. The only way for any party to not possibly meet it is not attaining unchecked power, because you cannot say how they would use it.

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Just now, Steven P Allen said:

A problem here is two-dimensional thinking.  We need 3-D.

The political spectrum is not linear but circuital:  if you go far enough tot he right or to the left, you meet the other side again.

If it is circuital it is 2-D not 3-D   :)

Where do you put the the Extremism from the so called Centrists?  For simplification sake lets say these Centrists advocate World Government.

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1 hour ago, Steven P Allen said:

A problem here is two-dimensional thinking.  We need 3-D.

The political spectrum is not linear but circuital:  if you go far enough tot he right or to the left, you meet the other side again.

In the end it is a circle, and facism and socialism/communism are actually not polar opposites but very close the each other.

 

8JrCVzI.jpg

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