What is fascism?
Fascism is a political ideology that is radical, authoritarian, and nationalist. Fascists seek to elevate their nation through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilisation of a nation through discipline, indoctrination, physical training, and eugenics. Based on a commitment to an organic national community in which its individuals are united together as one people in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry and culture.
The term fascism is derived from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods tied around an ax, was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. His lictors carried them and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.
Fascism also refers to political organisations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates.
The symbolism of the fasces suggests strength through unity; a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Different fascist movements developed similar symbols.
Fascism is a period of violence, struggle, injustice, dominance, and war that experiences several ups and downs in economic structure and social transformation. Still, above all these incidents, it’s a unification that is marked as the sound characteristics of Fascism.
This form of government is often characterised by dictatorial power, with all powers centred on the leader(dictator). It is also characterised by the elite’s dominance over the general population.
Fascism is a form of authoritarian, populist, radical right-wing, and ultranationalism that opposes parliamentary liberalism, Marxism, and communism.
Fascism emerged in Europe by the early 20th century and spread all over Europe, but as a starting point, the first fascist movement took place in Italy during World War I before spreading to other parts of Europe.
Mussolini was known as a strong leader among Italians in Italy for transforming or protecting the social and economic structure.
The rise of Fascism in Europe was the result of the mass destruction of the economic and social structure during the First World War, which was led by the liberal form of government.
This world war brought a massive change to war, society, the state, and technology. According to fascists, the advent of total war and mass mobilisation broke down the distinction between mass and armed militants, and each individual participated in this war in some manner.
As a result of war, the state is capable of mobilising millions of people and has been given unprecedented authority to intervene in people’s lives.
Fascism believes liberal democracy is obsolete and mass mobilisation of society is possible in a one-party state government and a prepared nation always for armed conflict and to resolve economic difficulties.
Fascism promotes a mixed economy with the primary goal of attaining autarky (National Economic Self-Sufficiency) through interventionist and protectionist economic policy.
To define fascism, several scholars, historians, and political scientists have long debated the exact nature of fascism, and each definition provides one unique element. These definitions are also criticised for being too broad or narrow.
The common definition of fascism focuses on three main concepts:
- The Way of Negotiations (Anti-liberalism, Anti-conservatism, and Anticommunism).
- Fascism’s national goal is to regulate economic structure and transform social relations within the country.
- Fascist society distinguished itself from others by using romantic symbolism to demonstrate strength through unity, a positive view of violence, and the mobilisation of civil militants.
Scholars like Roger Griffin, Robert Paxton, and Stanley Payne have given their definitions differently.
How does Robert Paxton define fascism?
According to Robert Paxton, fascism is a kind of political behaviour marked by community decline, humiliation, and victimhood. As a result, it abandons democratic liberties. It pursues redemptive violence without legal restraints and its collaborative work with traditional elites as a mass-based party that commits itself to nationalist militants.
How does Roger Griffin define fascism?
Another prominent scholar in this field was Roger Griffin. He truly defines Fascism as a genus of political ideology and ideas centred on the Populist ultranationalism form of government with a mythic core.
Griffin describes ideology as having three core and major components:
- The Rebirth Myth
- Populist Ultra-Nationalism
- The Decadence Myth
Fascism is a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti liberalism, communism, and, in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism.
He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in the elite-led but Populist “armed party” politics, opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.