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Thread: Fascism, a Definition

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    Senior Member Renwein's Avatar
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    Fascism, a Definition

    A definition of Fascism by Kevin Passmore, set out in the Oxford 'brief introductions' book on the subject.

    Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community. Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails implacable hostility to socialism and feminism, for they are seen as prioritizing class or gender rather than nation. This is why fascism is a movement of the extreme right. Fascism is also a movement of the radical right because the defeat of socialism and feminism and the creation of the mobilized nation are held to depend upon the advent to power of a new elite acting in the name of the people, headed by a charismatic leader, and embodied in a mass, militarized party. Fascists are pushed towards conservatism by common hatred of socialism and feminism, but are prepared to override conservative interests - family, property, religion, the universities, the civil service - where the interests of the nation are considered to require it. Fascist radicalism also derives from a desire to assuage discontent by accepting specific demands of the labour and women's movements, so long as these demands accord with the national priority. Fascists seek to ensure the harmonization of workers' and women's interests with those of the nation by mobilizing them within special sections of the party and/or within a corporate system. Access to these organizations and to the benefits they confer upon members depends on the individual's national, political, and/or racial characteristics. All aspects of fascist policy are suffused with ultranationalism.
    What do you think of the above definition? is it accurate? what, if anything, do you think is wrong with it?
    (I'm not so interested in whether the use of 'left' and 'right' are correct - I don't regard them as worthwhile)

    What do you think of the politics described? do they appeal to you, or do only some small parts appeal to you? which parts do you disagree with?

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    Senior Member Patrioten's Avatar
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    Some of it appeals to me, mainly that which corresponds with a general Conservative/traditional outlook. The mass-mobilization and charismatic leader parts I'm not so thrilled about however. Modern mass-mobilization to me signals social engineering whereas I prefer to see the government as the upholder of order and defender of society (instead of as it is now, the destructor of it). The government should mostly deal with the undesirables and deviants of society, and not the citizenry at large to any great extent. The citizenry should be joined by family ties and blood ties in general to one another, as well as cultural and other such ties, but it needen't be orchestrated by and via the government.

    The charismatic leader is not bad per se, charismatic leaders can be of use, but to hinge the ideology on a messiah figure, upon whom the future of the nation will depend, seems risky. Risky in the sense of it ending up corrupting the person, and risky in the sense of there being no obvious replacement once the person is unable to fulfill his duty. A less charismatic leadership that is still able to reproduce itself and continue the work is to me preferable, and appears more practical, than the charismatic leader.

    Fascist radicalism also derives from a desire to assuage discontent by accepting specific demands of the labour and women's movements, so long as these demands accord with the national priority. Fascists seek to ensure the harmonization of workers' and women's interests with those of the nation
    This is something which I support as it strikes me as the sensible thing to do. Reform over revolution a la Bismarck. Consessions where consessions can be made from a pragmatic standpoint, but without yielding on issues and positions that are of greater principal or national importance.

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    Senior Member Alfadur's Avatar
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    I agree with most of it. I wouldn't call myself a fascist, but I do agree with the principle that the national community should be prioritized above everything else, and that other things like worker's rights could also be co-opted into this. Concessions can be made. I also think that typically "conservative" interests can and should be put down if they run contrary to the national community's well-being. Those are mainly the parts that I agree with.

    I'm not sure about the "all-powerful leader" part. One leader might be brilliant, but his successor might be a lunatic or a complete failure. Although dictatorships are seldom as dysfunctional as mass democracies, I'd rather not put the entire nation into the hands of one man. My ideal system is actually the tribal Germanic althing, but it would need huge modifications to work out in a modern world. Perhaps a meritocratic form of government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Renwein View Post
    What do you think of the above definition? is it accurate? what, if anything, do you think is wrong with it?
    Well, it's fairly accurate as a "textbook definition" of fascism. If you only need a loose familiarity with the fascist idea, I think it's good enough. Passmore basically sums up how fascism puts the national community above everything else, and this is how anti-traditional ideas like socialism are in conflict with it. Of course, the term "fascism" is utterly meaningless today. It's been used and abused to the point of death - the term has been applied to Hitler's Germany, to Pinochet's capitalist Chile, to Franco's junta in Spain (which destroyed the true fascists, the Falange), and everything in between.

    The dictionary definition you posted doesn't go any deeper, though. It has to be mentioned that fascism is basically an emotional ideology. The love of the nation is the most important aspect of the fascist worldview. Fascism, and its offshoot NS, is an emotion-based worldview that stands against the materialist ideologies of communism and capitalism (two sides of the same coin, that put material wealth above everything). In many ways, the fascist ideology is a complex rationalization of an emotional conviction.

    Mussolini himself puts it better than I do:

    Fascism is the complete opposite of Marxist Socialism, the materialist conception that the history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social classes, and by the change and development in the means of production. Fascism, now and always, believes in the nation and in heroism; that is to say, in honorable actions influenced by no economic motive. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied - the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be a positive force in the transformation of a society.

    After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole democratic ideology, and repudiates it both its theoretical premises and in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct a human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern successfully by means of periodical consultation.

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    Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community.
    Well, I guess I would agree. I see my own nation and people as more important to me than say, Somalia and the Somalis. The national community should always come before international interests.

    Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails implacable hostility to socialism and feminism, for they are seen as prioritizing class or gender rather than nation. This is why fascism is a movement of the extreme right.
    I only agree with this if the positive aspects of socialism and feminism, that should also be in the interest of the nation and people as a whole, are incorporated into the fascist state.

    Fascism is also a movement of the radical right because the defeat of socialism and feminism and the creation of the mobilized nation are held to depend upon the advent to power of a new elite acting in the name of the people, headed by a charismatic leader, and embodied in a mass, militarized party.
    This is the part that seems to be the catch and I find it hard to believe so much power at the top of the system could ever end well. It depends if the leader, the elites or the party really do work for the interests of the nation and people or for their own gains and interests.

    Fascists are pushed towards conservatism by common hatred of socialism and feminism, but are prepared to override conservative interests - family, property, religion, the universities, the civil service - where the interests of the nation are considered to require it.
    Forgive me if I am wrong, but does this not seem right that capitalism is being left out from the common hatreds?

    I have never quite figured out what conservatism is. But conserving institutions and things of cultural significance is a must for any nationalists. However these should continue to be adapted to continue to suit the present needs of the nation and to improve the way they work.

    Fascist radicalism also derives from a desire to assuage discontent by accepting specific demands of the labour and women's movements, so long as these demands accord with the national priority.
    Kind of like I said earlier about the positive aspects of socialism and feminism. The problem here is who is deciding what the national priorities are, and why?

    Fascists seek to ensure the harmonization of workers' and women's interests with those of the nation by mobilizing them within special sections of the party and/or within a corporate system.
    Can't answer as of now, I do not understand corporatism.

    Access to these organizations and to the benefits they confer upon members depends on the individual's national, political, and/or racial characteristics. All aspects of fascist policy are suffused with ultranationalism.
    Well yes. I would not want a diversity-fascist lets invite the world to move in state.

    As for this being a good definition, I guess it is, but I am to unread to really say.

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    Senior Member Hrogar's Avatar
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    Usually I hold the Oxford definitions in high regard. But here I almost fell of my chair laughing. Here are two consecutive sentences from the definition:

    "Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails implacable hostility to socialism and feminism, for they are seen as prioritizing class or gender rather than nation."
    and

    "This is why fascism is a movement of the extreme right."
    Now, the political right is defined by the idea that people should be free from rules and regulations to strive for wealth and prosperity, as in opposite to the leftist emphasis on the state regulation economic and social life.

    The fascist demand for a strong and military powerful state contradicts the essence of being right. Being far right doesn't change that.

    Also, in the first sentence, fascism is defined as the opposite of another ideology. It's utterly unscientific to define something as: it's not this, so it's the opposite. . This is a fallacy of the type Wrong Direction.

    There might be some sense in the idea of what fascism is, but this definition is garbage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hrogar View Post
    Now, the political right is defined by the idea that people should be free from rules and regulations to strive for wealth and prosperity, as in opposite to the leftist emphasis on the state regulation economic and social life.
    Actually that is more the left-right definition that arose of the Cold War division of socialism vs liberalism. Originally it was more defined by how one related themselves to the (liberal) French revolution and the radical enlightenment. If one viewed it favorably one was considered left wing. If not one was right wing. In light of this one could state that there is practically speaking no real right wing movement anymore in main stream politics. It is more far left vs normal left.
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    Senior Member Renwein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hrogar View Post
    UNow, the political right is defined by the idea that people should be free from rules and regulations to strive for wealth and prosperity, as in opposite to the leftist emphasis on the state regulation economic and social life.
    That's an extremely narrow view of what the 'political right' is, used by (usually american) free-market liberarian types who identify themselves positively as 'right wing' (in a contemporary american sense) and wish to bash their opponents as 'socialist', government policies they disagree with as 'socialist', while also relieving themselves of association with so-called 'right wing' politics such as Fascism by making a definition which conveinently allows them to classify that as a form of 'socialism' and hence a so called ''left wing'' movement as well.

    Aside from that (politically biased) definition there is a wider range of traits which are used by (political theoriests, etc) when labelling movements as 'right' or 'left', and I think the author was right within his academic field to call it 'right' for the reasons he did as it makes sense in the framework he uses, although it does nothing to help describe the movement and is a completely pointless exercise, besides definitions of 'right' and 'left' change in time and place making it a worse than useless definition, which is why I specifically said I wasn't interested in discussinon whether his use of 'right' or 'left' was correct in the original post, which you not only went ahead and did but made comments about 'falling out of your chair laughing' and 'garbage' because it didn't meet your own particular framework of what 'right wing' means, rather than whether the comments describing the actual positions of fascism were accurate or not.

    Also, in the first sentence, fascism is defined as the opposite of another ideology. It's utterly unscientific to define something as: it's not this, so it's the opposite. . This is a fallacy of the type Wrong Direction.
    the first sentance of the definition makes a positive statement about what Fascism is, that being
    "a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community"
    or, you were talking about the section you quoted re. opposition to socialism/feminism, but I don't see why this is a problem, since positive definitions were given elsewhere in the definition (and in the first sentance quoted above), and since describing Fascism also refers to a historical movement, it makes sense to describe which movements it acted against at the time. A definition of Capitalism wouldn't need to mention it was 'anti-Communism', but wouldn't become bad or wrong if it did.

    Quote Originally Posted by GroeneWolf View Post
    In light of this one could state that there is practically speaking no real right wing movement anymore in main stream politics. It is more far left vs normal left.
    Or that political taxonomies from the political situation in France 200 years ago aren't much use today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Renwein View Post
    That's an extremely narrow view of what the 'political right' is, used by (usually american) free-market liberarian types who identify themselves positively as 'right wing' (in a contemporary american sense) and wish to bash their opponents as 'socialist', government policies they disagree with as 'socialist', while also relieving themselves of association with so-called 'right wing' politics such as Fascism by making a definition which conveinently allows them to classify that as a form of 'socialism' and
    hence a so called ''left wing'' movement as well.
    Like you yourself say in your last sentence, the existing pol;itical taxonomies are indeed quite obsolete. Fascism tried, in it's own way, to break free from the boundaries of modernism, which is the basis of today's political dichotomy. And this dichotomy is the measure for all current ideologies, whether it fits the movements themselves or not.

    The most prominent characteristic of fascism is that it's definition has not only changed considerably in the past decades, it has also widened. This is due to the influence of traditional leftist anxieties and influences of marxism and also antifa. In order to exist, they need enemies, so they create them by steadily widening the definition.

    Personally, I've stepped off of the left-right discussion quite a few years ago. It's intellectually non-sense, politically restrictive and socially destructive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Renwein View Post
    or, you were talking about the section you quoted re.
    I was indeed talking about the first sentence I quoted.

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    Senior Member Neophyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renwein View Post
    What do you think of the above definition? is it accurate? what, if anything, do you think is wrong with it?
    (I'm not so interested in whether the use of 'left' and 'right' are correct - I don't regard them as worthwhile)

    What do you think of the politics described? do they appeal to you, or do only some small parts appeal to you? which parts do you disagree with?
    Overall I agree, the one part to which I take objection is: "Fascist radicalism also derives from a desire to assuage discontent by accepting specific demands of the labour and women's movements, so long as these demands accord with the national priority." It seems as if the author wished to portray the addressing of the legitimate concerns of a large and important part of the nation as some sort of cynical tactic, as if the only motivation behind those policies are to "fool" the working classes into something against their interests. Nationalism means the whole nation, not a few classes and groups here and there.

    The whole thing really boils down to how one answers the question about what ties men together the most and what is most important in the long run. Whether you answer money, blood or religion you will come up with different political ideologies based on that.

    And as far as corporatism is concerned I would prefer a tripartite model in which labour and employers come to a mutual understanding in matters that concern them with the government setting the rules, providing arbitration and courts when needed, and representing the interests of all legitimately concerned third parties.

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    Senior Member Hrogar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neophyte View Post
    It seems as if the author wished to portray the addressing of the legitimate concerns of a large and important part of the nation as some sort of cynical tactic, as if the only motivation behind those policies are to "fool" the working classes into something against their interests. Nationalism means the whole nation, not a few classes and groups here and there.
    We shouldn't forget that most definitions of fascism are drawn up by people who oppose it. And it's also in the interest of most of them to make that definition as wide as possible and as negative as possible.

    Rather than using definitions by opponents, a small group of its proponents should join forces and see if they can come up with their own definition.

    Honor and defend the northern people,
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