Fascism: Why Not Here?
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. No mention of Trump. Any number of actors could have taken the part. An unenlightened, uneducated, overly-religious and self-centered and lazy population with a short attention span have unwittingly succeeded in making the unthinkable come to fruition. An incredibly prophetic and well-reasoned book. A very thorough and engrossing analysis of the direction of American politics and anti-politics. I'm honestly not usually a fan of historical comparisons like this, but this is by the far the best book like this that I have read in a long time.
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Fogarty makes sure to show both the similarities and differences between the United States today and Germany in the lead up to the Nazi era. Interesting that although there are many similarities, the one striking difference that may save the U. No matter side of the political aisle you are on, a worthy read. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Based on common sense and a lot of detailed research. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. A Fascist Unaware, eh? Perhaps an updated edition is needed. Overall, this is a worthwhile addition to the literature on authoritarian politics in USA.
Fogarty builds a clear and cogent case against American exceptionalism on the dark side of the political equation. Though our cultural narrative promises a reliably bright future for the American experiment, it's difficult to maintain that self-assurance in the face of Fogarty's arguments.
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The clarity of the author's writing is particularly helpful in illuminating a topic fraught with emotional and intellectual pitfalls. An engaging, compelling read. Fogarty has said in a well written and researched work what many of us have feared for years, that American exceptionalism, pushed by a number of circumstances, might result in a turn to fascism. He brilliantly compares various cultural themes inherent to American and pre WWII German societies in a frightening yet clear and focused manner.
Definitions of fascism
Fogarty's attention to historical and sociological detail help make his comparison a warning we all need to heed. This is a must read for Americans of all political persuasions. See all 7 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. A Very Short Introduction. His definition is directly descended from the view put forth by Ernesto Laclau: 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.
All aspects of fascist policy are suffused with ultranationalism. Robert Paxton , a professor emeritus at Columbia University , defines fascism in his book The Anatomy of Fascism as:. A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Historian of fascism Stanley G. Payne created a lengthy list of characteristics to identify fascism in If the Fascist ideology cannot be described as a simple response to Marxism, its origins, on the other hand, were the direct result of very specific revision of Marxism. It was a revision of Marxism and not a variety of Marxism or a consequence of Marxism It was the French and Italian Sorelians, the theoreticians of revolutionary syndicalism who made this new and original revision of Marxism, and precisely this was their contribution to the birth of the Fascist ideology.
John Lukacs , Hungarian-American historian and Holocaust survivor, argues in the Hitler of History that there is no such thing as generic fascism, claiming that National Socialism and Italian Fascism were more different than similar and that, alongside communism, they were ultimately radical forms of populism. Marxists argue that fascism represents the last attempt of a ruling class specifically, the capitalist bourgeoisie to preserve its grip on power in the face of an imminent proletarian revolution. Fascist movements are not necessarily created by the ruling class, but they can only gain political power with the help of that class and with funding from big business.
Once in power, the fascists serve the interests of their benefactors not necessarily the interests of capitalism in general, but the interests of those specific capitalists who put them in power. An early study of fascism was written by Clara Zetkin for the Third Plenum in We can combat fascism only if we grasp that it rouses and sweeps along broad social masses who have lost the earlier security of their existence and with it, often, their belief in social order It will be much easier for us to defeat Fascism if we clearly and distinctly study its nature. Hitherto there have been extremely vague ideas upon this subject not only among the large masses of the workers, but even among the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat and the Communists The Fascist leaders are not a small and exclusive caste; they extend deeply into wide elements of the population.
Georgi Dimitrov , Bulgarian Communist , was a theorist of capitalism who expanded Lenin 's ideas and the work of Clara Zetkin. Delivering an official report to the 7th World Congress of the Communist Third International in August , Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov cited the definition of fascism formulated with the help of Clara Zetkin at the Third Plenum as "the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary , most chauvinistic , and most imperialist elements of finance capital ". It is not "the revolt of the petty bourgeoisie which has captured the machinery of the state," as the British Socialist Brailsford declares.
No, fascism is not a power standing above class, nor government of the petty bourgeoisie or the lumpen-proletariat over finance capital. Fascism is the power of finance capital itself. It is the organization of terrorist vengeance against the working class and the revolutionary section of the peasantry and intelligentsia. In foreign policy, fascism is jingoism in its most brutal form, fomenting bestial hatred of other nations The development of fascism, and the fascist dictatorship itself, assume different forms in different countries, according to historical, social and economic conditions and to the national peculiarities, and the international position of the given country.
In the posthumously published tract, Fascism: The Encyclopedia of Marxism defines fascism as "right-wing, fiercely nationalist, subjectivist in philosophy, and totalitarian in practice", and identifies it as "an extreme reactionary form of capitalist government. American statesman Franklin D. Roosevelt , who led the US into war with the fascist Axis powers, wrote about fascism:.
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.
That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. Anti-fascist author George Orwell describes fascism in a essay, " Shopkeepers At War ", in economic terms:. Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes It is a planned system geared to a definite purpose, world-conquest, and not allowing any private interest, either of capitalist or worker, to stand in its way.
Writing for the Tribune in , Orwell stated: It is not easy, for instance, to fit Germany and Japan into the same framework, and it is even harder with some of the small states which are describable as Fascist. It is usually assumed, for instance, that Fascism is inherently warlike, that it thrives in an atmosphere of war hysteria and can only solve its economic problems by means of war preparation or foreign conquests.
Definitions of fascism - Wikipedia
But clearly this is not true of, say, Portugal or the various South American dictatorships. Or again, antisemitism is supposed to be one of the distinguishing marks of Fascism; but some Fascist movements are not antisemitic. Learned controversies, reverberating for years on end in American magazines, have not even been able to determine whether or not Fascism is a form of capitalism.
Some have argued that the terms fascism and fascist have become hopelessly vague since the World War II period, and that today it is little more than a pejorative used by supporters of various political views to insult their opponents.
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The word fascist is sometimes used to denigrate people, institutions, or groups that would not describe themselves as ideologically fascist, and that may not fall within the formal definition of the word. As a political epithet, fascist has been used in an anti-authoritarian sense to emphasize the common ideology of governmental suppression of individual freedom.
In this sense, the word fascist is intended to mean oppressive , intolerant , chauvinist , genocidal , dictatorial , racist , or aggressive. George Orwell wrote in In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the Committee, the Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
The bulk of that bureaucracy will have had no experience with violence, either directly or indirectly, and it probably dreads the notion of a country in which violence is more prevalent. They are not used to thinking of criminals or foreign forces as an enemy in any kind of active, daily way, again unlike the police forces and soldiers. In short, as an audience, they are far less likely to embrace or even tolerate ideals of fascism.
You already may know that about 4. Personally, I do not consider Trump to be an appropriate stand-in for the concept of fascism, but the point is that a lot of these people did make that association, to varying degrees, and they voted accordingly. And since being elected, Trump has found that the traditional bureaucracy has been trying to thwart his will. The courts have ruled against his executive orders; a Republican Congress has not been a rubber stamp for his ideas on trade, immigration and health care reform; and agencies have been slow-walking the Trumpian ideas they do not like.
The Pentagon and even the State Department have re-exerted their traditional control over foreign policy. The Trump ad-ministration has found it does not have the ability to staff the federal government with Trump sympathizers, so there is a mix of radical understaffing and staffing with traditional Republican types. None of those developments is conducive to radical change in government, whether or not you think the Trump agenda ever was a fascistic one. The problem with Trumpian rule has been one of chaos much more than totalitarianism. Furthermore, the Trump associates who sometimes are considered the most fascistic largely have been forced out or lost influence, including Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon.
That makes it very hard for a potential fascistic revolution to get off the ground in America. You might think that someday American fascism will acquire a better-developed infrastructure in terms of ideas and personnel, but still a larger and more complex government raises the bar significantly on how much ideological infrastructure would be needed to effect real fascistic change.
There are reasons to doubt the strict veracity of German governmental economics statistics dating back at least as far as the s. Still, everything we know about that time period, including comparisons with other, economically similar countries, suggests that the overall size of government on the eve of the Nazi revolution was not massively large.
For instance, German government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product measures at about That is considerably smaller than what the German government would grow to after the de-Nazification following World War II, when government rose to 44 percent of GDP by and to much more later. Economists Vito Tanzi and Ludger Schuknecht offer an alternate estimate of We also should adjust our interpretation of these numbers by the reality that government regulation in those days was extremely underdeveloped, making the states of that time, relative to contemporary states, smaller yet.
The history of fascism more generally has been characterized by conflict between party and state, and extreme fascist victories typically have required the ascendancy of party and thus a relatively weak state. Hitler, for instance, used a variety of persuasion, force and terror to make the state do his bidding. In these situations, party militants typically wanted to try to take over the state altogether, as Lenin more or less managed to do in Russia, but the more successful fascist leaders, including Hitler, resisted this tendency and accommodated their programs to the demands of the bureaucracy to a considerable extent, so as to not alienate those bureaucracies.
In other words, the key parts of the German state had to be small enough, and easy enough to manage, to be taken over by a political party.