What’s fascism?

hitler_mussolini.jpgDefining exactly what fascism is has been a contentious issue for some decades and this has not been helped by the fact that the term ‘fascist’ is frequently used an insult.

 The term was originally devised by the Italian dictator Mussolini from the Italian word ‘fascio’ meaning bundle or union, which represented strength. This isn’t a useful definition though.

 While coming up with an exact definition of fascism has proved to be a problem there is widespread agreement of the common features of fascism as a political philosophy,  regime, movement or a political party.

 These features include:

  • Nationalism and the creation of national unity based on ethnicity or culture as fascist groups are feverently patriotic and nationalist.
  • Fear of and hostility towards things which are different. These can be as varied as socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, members of other religions and homosexuals. These groups are frequently held to be responsible for the nations problems.
  • Anti-communism as fascism has traditionally seen itself as the opposite of communism and tends to label a wide range of opponents as communists.
  • The creation of an authoritarian, powerful state which aims to be totalitarian as the state is seen to be superior the individual.
  • Corporatist economics as the economy is subordinated to the state.
  • Obsession with enemies and threats to the nation which are often exaggerated out of all proportion.
  • A preoccupation with the idea of the nation in decline or has been humiliated so rebirth and renewal is needed.
  • Militarism, the glorification of the military and war.
  • The crushing of independent working-class organisations such as trade unions.

 This isn’t a complete list and there are disagreements about what should and shouldn’t be included but as a summary of a heated academic debate that’s gone on for decades we don’t think it’s a bad attempt at describing fascism.

So, is the BNP fascist then?

%d bloggers like this: