-Caveat Lector-

>From http://condor.stcloud.msus.edu/~jaz/altruism/fascism.html

Copyright ©1998 Dr. C. Jazwinski


Fascism was an authoritarian political movement that developed in Italy and
other European countries after 1919 as a reaction against the political and
social changes brought about by World War I and the spread of socialism and
communism. Its name was derived from the fasces, an ancient Roman symbol of
authority consisting of a bundle of rods and an ax.

Italian fascism was founded in Milan on Mar. 23, 1919, by Benito MUSSOLINI,
a former revolutionary socialist leader. His followers, mostly war
veterans, were organized along paramilitary lines and wore black shirts as
uniforms. The early Fascist program was a mixture of left-and right-wing
ideas that emphasized intense NATIONALISM, productivism, antisocialism,
elitism, and the need for a strong leader. Mussolini's oratorical skills,
the postwar economic crisis, a widespread lack of confidence in the
traditional political system, and a growing fear of socialism, all helped
the Fascist party to grow to 300,000 registered members by 1921. In that
year it elected 35 members to parliament. Mussolini became prime minister
in October 1922 following the "march on Rome" and 3 years of bloody
violence. In 1926 he seized total power as dictator and ruled Italy until
July 1943, when he was deposed. A puppet Fascist regime with Mussolini at
its head nominally controlled northern Italy under the Germans until
Mussolini's execution by partisans in 1945 (see ITALY, HISTORY OF). A
neo-Fascist party, the Italian Social Movement, was founded after World War
II, but its influence was small.

The Philosophy of Fascism

Fascist ideology, largely the work of the neoidealist philosopher Giovanni
GENTILE, emphasized the subordination of the individual to a "totalitarian"
state that was to control all aspects of national life. Violence as a
creative force was an important aspect of the Fascist philosophy. A special
feature of Italian fascism was the attempt to eliminate the class struggle
from history through nationalism and the corporate state. Mussolini
organized the economy and all "producers"--from peasants and factory
workers to intellectuals and industrialists--into 22 corporations as a
means of improving productivity and avoiding industrial disputes. Contrary
to the regime's propaganda claims, the totalitarian state functioned
poorly. Mussolini had to compromise with big business, the monarchy, and
the Roman Catholic church. The Italian economy experienced no appreciable
growth. The corporate state was never fully implemented, and the
expansionist, militaristic nature of fascism contributed to imperialist
adventures in Ethiopia and the Balkans and ultimately to World War II.

The intellectual roots of fascism can be traced back to voluntaristic
philosophers such as Arthur SCHOPENHAUER, Friedrich NIETZSCHE, and Henri
BERGSON and to SOCIAL DARWINISM with its emphasis on the survival of the
fittest. Its immediate roots, however, were in certain irrational,
socialist, and nationalist tendencies of the turn of the century that
combined in a protest against the liberal bourgeois ideas then holding sway
in Western Europe. Gabriele D'ANNUNZIO, Georges SOREL, and Maurice BARRES
were particularly influential.

European Fascism

Closely related to Italian fascism was German National Socialism, or
NAZISM, under Adolf HITLER. It won wide support among the unemployed, the
impoverished middle class, and industrialists who feared socialism and
communism. In Spain the Falange Espanola (Spanish Phalanx), inspired by
Mussolini's doctrines, was founded in 1933 by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera
(1903-36). During the SPANISH CIVIL WAR, the Falange was reorganized as the
Falange Espanola Tradicionalista by Gen. Francisco FRANCO, who made it the
official party of his regime. Of less importance were the Fascist movements
in France and the British Union of Fascists under Sir Oswald MOSLEY.
Fascist movements sprang up in many other European countries during the
1930s, including Romania (see IRON GUARD), Belgium, Austria, and the
Netherlands. Fascist groups rose to power in many of the countries under
German occupation during World War II. In France the VICHY GOVERNMENT of
Marshal Philippe Petain was strongly influenced by the ACTION FRANCAISE, a
movement that shared many ideas with fascism. The collaborationist Quisling
government in occupied Norway also espoused a fascistlike ideology. The
defeat of Italy and Germany in the war, however, spelled the end of fascism
as an effective, internationally appealing mass movement.

Reviewed by Philip Cannistraro

Bibliography: Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, rev. ed.
(1966); Blinkhorn, Martin, ed., Fascists and Conservatives (1990); Cassels,
Alan, Fascist Italy, 2d ed. (1985); De Felice, Renzo, Interpretations of
Fascism, trans. by Brenda Everett (1977); Gregor, James, Young Mussolini
and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (1979); Payne, Stanley G., Fascism:
A Comparative Approach toward a Definition (1980); Smith, Dennis M.,
Mussolini (1982); Snowden, Frank, Fascist Revolution in Tuscany (1990);
Sternhell, Zeev, et al., The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1994); Thurlow,
Richard, C., Fascism in Britain (1987).

Copyright 1995 by Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.


>From  http://www.publiceye.org/pra/eyes/whatfasc.html

What is Fascism?

Some General Ideological Features

by Matthew N. Lyons

I am skeptical of efforts to produce a "definition" of fascism. As a
dynamic historical current, fascism has taken many different forms, and has
evolved dramatically in some ways. To understand what fascism has
encompassed as a movement and a system of rule, we have to look at its
historical context and development--as a form of counter-revolutionary
politics that first arose in early twentieth-century Europe in response to
rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik
Revolution. The following paragraphs are intented as an initial, open-ended

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation
or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It
emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline
or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a "spiritual revolution"
against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and
seeks to purge "alien" forces and groups that threaten the organic
community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity,
and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes
racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion,
and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of
internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across
national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though
sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for
women of the privileged nation or race.

Fascism's approach to politics is both populist--in that it seeks to
activate "the people" as a whole against perceived oppressors or
enemies--and elitist--in that it treats the people's will as embodied in a
select group, or often one supreme leader, from whom authority proceeds
downward. Fascism seeks to organize a cadre-led mass movement in a drive to
seize state power. It seeks to forcibly subordinate all spheres of society
to its ideological vision of organic community, usually through a
totalitarian state. Both as a movement and a regime, fascism uses mass
organizations as a system of integration and control, and uses organized
violence to suppress opposition, although the scale of violence varies

Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, yet it borrows
concepts and practices from all three. Fascism rejects the principles of
class struggle and workers' internationalism as threats to national or
racial unity, yet it often exploits real grievances against capitalists and
landowners through ethnic scapegoating or radical-sounding conspiracy
theories. Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and
rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it
advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary
channels in its drive to power. Its vision of a "new order" clashes with
the conservative attachment to tradition-based institutions and
hierarchies, yet fascism often romanticizes the past as inspiration for
national rebirth.

Fascism has a complex relationship with established elites and the
non-fascist right. It is never a mere puppet of the ruling class, but an
autonomous movement with its own social base. In practice, fascism defends
capitalism against instability and the left, but also pursues an agenda
that sometimes clashes with capitalist interests in significant ways. There
has been much cooperation, competition, and interaction between fascism and
other sections of the right, producing various hybrid movements and
Matthew N. Lyons is an independent scholar and freelance writer who studies
reactionary and supremacist movements. His articles have appeared in the
Progressive and other periodicals. These paragraphs are adapted from Too
Close for Comfort: Right Wing Populism, Scapegoating, and Fascist
Potentials in US Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1996), which Lyons
co-authored with Chip Berlet. © 1995, Matthew N. Lyons.


Now, in the true spirit of researching my recollection for specificity of
information relating to "FASCISM", I naturally assumed that "National
Socialism (NS)" (a 20s/30s/40s term from central Europe) might have
something to do with 'fascism'.  So, I went looking.  And I found this site
(that may or may not be representative),


wherein is contained several many articles about "NS" from an apparent
modern-day perspective.  I choose not to produce examples therefrom as I'm
not gonna get into some long, drawn out, controversial, misconstrued
discussion of the merits of something that officially died some 54 years
ago along with its founders (unless they made a break for Argentina or
Paraguay).  Anyway, for those who are interested, there's the URL.


The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking
new landscapes but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust
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Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved
the absolute rejection of authority. -Thomas Huxley
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Forwarded as information only; no endorsement to be presumed
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In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material
is distributed without charge or profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information
for non-profit research and educational purposes only.

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