T Nation

"14 Common Features of Fascism"

Do you think those companies and their inheritors might have benefited somehow from the massive level of authority the Nazi state possessed?

My understanding of fascism began with a semester long class on WWII when I was a young student. I learned that a key characteristic of fascism was an authoritarian state with massive levels of power that both partners with and sets the priorities for quasi-private enterprises that profit by serving the interests of the state. I took this class the year after this list of yours was published, so perhaps the news hadn’t made its way to me yet. I realize I may have gotten bad and out-dated information.

I can agree that many uncannily profitable ventures have existed in well-connected companies in the United States when demand for their services is determined by the government. I’ll even agree that Republicans are no less complicit in this than Democrats.

I reject the idea that this sort of outcome is a result of conservative principles being applied. The economy should not be in orbit around government policy priorities that aren’t optional. Get out of the way, produce what’s in-demand and let the government stick to basic functions, up to and including fighting a world war if so needed. That’s how you win two wars at once on opposite ends of the globe while the communists spend lives like confetti to take their ground.

For the record, I’m still curious to hear someone’s explanation for why the Nazi party should be associated with conservatives.

Sure there are parallels.

Putin is a very rich man. Pretty much all the oligarchs in Russia were party members.

Right wing, not the American concept of conservatism.

You are going to need more substance than 8 words.

Eh…no. The majority of the oligarchs are Jewish, while the remaining belong to other minority groups that lived in the Soviet Empire (including Trump’s buddies Agalarov Sr and Jr).

The reason was the same as in the Middle Ages - ethnic Russians focused on careers in the Party and the security apparatus (KGB/GRU) and disdained any form of economic activity as beneath them. If you were high enough in the Party nomenklatura, the Soviet Union was expected to provide a comfortable lifestyle.

Minorities on the other hand were unofficially barred from climbing the ranks in the Party/military apparatus and therefore focused on semi-legal business endeavors. As a consequence they adjusted more quickly to the overnight collapse of communism and the chaotic early days of anarcho-capitalism in post Soviet Russia.

Only a decade later did the Siloviki emerge - ethnic Russian oligarchs who belatedly jumped into the biznyis game. Almost exclusively ex-KGB, their fortunes are measured in tens and hundreds of milliions, unlike the first oligarchs:





I shouldn’t but, fascism was a European creation so trying to understand it using American political concepts is wrong.

Fascism is an abominable hybrid of Left and Right - a socialist model of government, economy, and society seen as the best way to take care of a people (so it’s left wing) but it is offered only to the right kind of people and the “others” are not only ineligible because they aren’t part of the true “tradition” or “original pure family”, but they are also perceived as enemies who would undermine the beneficent paradise created for the right kind of people (so it’s right wing).

At bottom, it’s really a right wing phenomenon to its goals, not the tool used to reach the goal - the end is a paradise for the chosen people, socialism is just a means to achieve it.

A rose by any other name…

Seems the end progression of every system mentioned, plus hyper Capitalism - all lead to Totalitarianism. A select few form the “chosen”, with the craftiest one being the ultimate sovereign.

Incorrect. First off, when it was created, people had a clearer idea of what socialism and communism were and how one is supposed to eventually become the other. Second, the idea that the people should own the means of production, as if they know what’s best, goes against the Machiavellian idea that people will always choose what they believe will benefit them personally because people are essentially weak and easily influenced. Mussolini would not have looked at the nation of Italy, just over 50 years old, and said yes, these illiterate jackasses should be running things.

The only thing the fascist government did for the people was give them trains that ran on time.

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In fairness, this could also be said of Lenin, no?

Lenin may have believed that eventually, given the proper education, they would be ready for that.

Mussolini wanted a nation of heroes and you don’t get that by not having competition and winners and losers. He wanted men to try and distinguish themselves and show that they are superior and those are the ones who run things. Think of ancient Rome and how important military service was to becoming a politician. You had to show you had balls. Mussolini wanted a similar martial culture. Italians had become Etruscans; he wanted them to become Romans.

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That’s a fair theoretical distinction, It didn’t have much practical difference though.

Well, the USSR endured a lot longer than fascist Italy.

Mussolini spent money on public works projects, schools, hospitals, welfare, etc. (like even the USA does) but that isn’t socialism (or is the USA socialist?). He still believed in the benefits of private ownership in the business sector. He believed encouraging private ownership encouraged innovation (sound familiar?).

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Sure, but wasn’t one of the tenets of his corporatism that the state would ultimately have final say over corporate ownership?

Edit: To clarify, didn’t he tolerate corporate power with the proviso that he could crush it at any time if necessary?

No. Lenin’s hobby was flogging poaching peasants on his family estate. His published work is an epic hate fest directed at the “lazy, stupid Russian peasant” and communism was his revenge against Russia and Russian lower classes in particular.

That’s because he was the boss of bosses, not because of socialism. People try to paint Fascism using terms they are used to but Fascism can’t be defined using terms like socialism and conservatism. You can say it was right wing and anti-liberal (not what Americans call liberal today). Those who made the unification of Italy a reality believed in a republic yet were also against liberalism. It’s Italy; trying to explain Italian thought using American, or any other culture’s reasoning, won’t begin to explain things.

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Which would still make him different than Mussolini.

He was, however, for many years a socialist. To say socialism had no influence on his ideology seems to strain credulity to me.

Agreed.

Point taken.

I believe he was affected by WW1 in a similar way as Hitler and many Germans. The key difference being the Germans, that is, the people. The Italian people, who at that time could be called peoples since unification was still in its early stages, did not take WW1 as badly as Mussolini. Yes, Italy was on the winning side but it was not granted the things that the allies promised after the war was over. Mussolini took this as an affront against Italy that could only have happened because Italy lacked the power to do anything about it. But if you went to Sicily, for example, and asked them if they cared about it, they wouldn’t have cared since that was the kind of political crap that only Northerners and the wealthy worry about.

So Mussolini saw the Italian people as an obstacle to Italian greatness. There was an apathy that he found effeminate and ignoble. Long story short, I think he came to believe that socialism was not the cure to this problem. So in a sense, socialism did influence him. And fascism was a populist movement and required a revolution, though it was a lot less bloody than Russia’s. What people tend to do is ignore the actual words that fascists said because they are too lazy or whatever to do a little research. They would rather say, “this is what I think” or “this is how I define it,” when we know what they thought. Fascists saw fascism as an attitude more than an ideology. It was, or it described, an action more than a philosophy. This is why trying to define it using terms we find convenient is not going to be accurate. You need to take into account the history and events that influenced it. This isn’t Marx we’re talking about, who saw his ideas as scientific. Fascism came from the balls, not the brain. It was influenced by pride more than poverty.

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Ok, I always thought Fascism was where corporations and government combined and there was free enterprise, but the government existed just to make itself rich. My friend claims the Papacy is Fascist, Kings and Monarchs are Fascist. The Roman Empire was Fascist. True? False? Agree? Disagree?

Communism, on the other hand, was when the government controls every aspect of a person’s life (in practice, not according to Marx, whose Communism was more like a hippy commune, where everyone did equal work for free & got equal shares of everything, & all property was public) and is in charge of all businesses and not individuals.

If this is not true…then what is? And how come a great part of WWII was fought between the two very similar ideologies. What are their differences?

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