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Fascism: What It Is, What It Isn't, And How To Spot It

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posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:13 AM
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(This post is the first in what will be a long series of posts on this topic)

What is Fascism? What is its relevance to current events?

Many people seem to use the word "Fascist" as a generic term of abuse for people they disagree with politically. In fact, it is an articulated political philosophy that arose in the early part of the last century in response to the liberalizing trends of the first era of "Globalization."

As traditional monarchies were falling apart, European governments began to imitate the American Liberal-Democratic Republic model of political economics: the individual and his (and increasingly, her) rights were the basic unit of society. They had the right to own and sell property, the right to express themselves through speech, association, religious affiliation, and to select individuals to represent their views in government. The purpose of the government was to serve the interests of the citizens of the state. The economy was based on market principles, with the free exchange of goods and services determining wages and prices.

Another political philosophy that was gaining currency was Socialism. Socialism came in a variety of flavors, from small Utopian communes to vast authoritarian states. It's most powerful expression was Bolshevism, later called Marxist-Leninism. In this form of Socialism, there was no private property. The state controlled all resources and means of production. The economy was centrally planned. In theory, the state existed to provide for the needs of its citizens, the People. In order to do this, everyone must produce as much as possible and devote it to the collective good. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," was the popular summation of this economic philosophy. Individual rights and liberties were secondary to the collective good.

Historically, Fascism arose as a reaction to these two trends. Even now modern Fascists refer to their political philosophy as a "third way," rejecting both the evils of godless Communism and decadence of selfish Capitalism. (Of course, since the defeat of the Axis powers in the Second World War, Fascists seldom refer to themselves as Fascists any more. They go by a number of euphemisms which will be discussed in more detail later. This thread provides a preview.)

Briefly, Fascism is a political ideology in which the individual is entirely subordinate to the State. Unlike Communism, which also makes the individual subordinate to the needs of the Collective, Fascism allows private capital. In Fascism, the State sets the direction of the economy, which is then executed by private corporations. A useful comparison of the two systems can be found here.

Fascism in the words of its founder, Benito Mussolini:




Like all sound political conceptions, Fascism is action and it is thought; action in which doctrine is immanent, and doctrine arising from a given system of historical forces in which it is inserted, and working on them from within. It has therefore a form correlated to contingencies of time and space; but it has also an ideal content which makes it an expression of truth in the higher region of the history of thought. There is no way of exercising a spiritual influence in the world as a human will dominating the will of others, unless one has a conception both of the transient and the specific reality on which that action is to be exercised, and of the permanent and universal reality in which the transient dwells and has its being. To know men one must know man; and to know man one must be acquainted with reality and its laws. There can be no conception of the State which is not fundamentally a conception of life: philosophy or intuition, system of ideas evolving within the framework of logic or concentrated in a vision or a faith, but always, at least potentially, an organic conception of the world.


This word salad sets the tone of Fascist "thought." It hints at the Hegelian Historical Dialectic (by way of Marx) a whiff of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and an almost "New Age" reference to spirituality. Fascism differs from Communism in its embrace of spirituality. For the masses, it identifies with the predominant religion among the People, in Mussolini's case, the Catholic Church. On the other hand, for members of the inner circle, high ranking Party officials, there is usually some sort of occult philosophy to be found.

Most ATS readers are probably familiar with Nazi Germany's Thule Society, but Fascists in Italy, France and Russia also looked (and still look) to such "Hermetic" thinkers as Julius Evola, R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, and, now, Alexandr Dugin, with his "Third Rome Mysticism." The Western Occult tradition is elitist; it posits that some are capable of knowledge beyond that of ordinary mortals, and that such individuals deserve power in order to lead the uninitiated and unenlightened.

This statement concludes by pointing to the necessity of the State being "organic." Yes, these buzz words have a proud history. Note how often the Fascist quotes in future posts reference words like "natural" and organic. Nothing is more artificial than the absolutist State, hence the desperate need to brand it as "natural."


Thus many of the practical expressions of Fascism such as party organization, system of education, and discipline can only be understood when considered in relation to its general attitude toward life. A spiritual attitude. Fascism sees in the world not only those superficial, material aspects in which man appears as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure; it sees not only the individual but the nation and the country; individuals and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which suppressing the instinct for life closed in a brief circle of pleasure, builds up a higher life, founded on duty, a life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice, the renunciation of self-interest, by death itself, can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.

[Emphasis mine. --DJW001]

Note how the individual is demonized; without the benefit of a higher power, the individual is dominated by "selfish pleasure." In order to achieve his or her true spiritual potential, the individual is called upon to dedicate their life to self-sacrifice. And to what higher power must the individual sacrifice?

Continued:




posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:22 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Continued:


Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; The rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual (12). And if liberty is to he the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State - a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values - interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people.


[Emphasis mine--DJW001]

All of those human rights we decadent Westerners take for granted: freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship, and the other freedoms we have since grown to believe we are entitled to (freedom of sexual orientation, for example) count for nothing. In Fascism, it is the needs of the State that outweighs any "selfish" rights of the individual.

I will pause here to let readers ponder this lengthy post. Note the similarities of Mussolini's explicit philosophy with some of the assumptions implicit in certain contemporary political movements. Some parties seek a "third way." Others reject "decadent Liberal Democracy." Many have a quasi-mystical conception of "the People," that will be addressed in the next post.

Any comments for now? Any questions?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:30 AM
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Off to work, but this one caught me as I was about to run out the door. Very informative, a great read. Thank you for putting a point on my own vague conception. I intend to return with some questions after work.


+3 more 
posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

Fascism is not monolithic so it shouldn't be a rigid definition that is applied to complex circumstances. Overly rigid definitions can be a form of disinformation. I'm not implying that you are an operative, I'm simply stating a fact.

A more critical and interactive approach is to develop a general set of values that can be compared with complex situations. The second and necessary step is a subsequent evaluation of the similarity of current states with the values of Fascism.



14 Characteristics of Fascism by Dr. Lawrence Britt:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections




„Fascism is capitalism in decay.“
--Vladimir Lenin





„Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.“ --Benito Mussolini





“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group,”
--Franklin D. Roosevelt






Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.
-- Karl Marx




edit on 6-4-2015 by InverseLookingGlass because: (no reason given)

edit on 6-4-2015 by InverseLookingGlass because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 09:54 AM
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a reply to: InverseLookingGlass

I agree, there are many variations on the Fascist theme. Thus far I have quoted from Mussolini to highlight how seductive Fascism can be. Mussolini make Fascism into a spiritual quest, a rejection of decadent values. It is at once revolutionary and traditional. Contemporary Fascist groups echo these sentiments. They simultaneously look backwards to their People's Golden Age past by dredging up legendary folk heroes, reviving ancient religious practices, invoking the past with Gothick typefaces and medieval heraldry while while flying the red and black banners of Revolution as they march into the glorious future.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 10:10 AM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: InverseLookingGlass

I agree, there are many variations on the Fascist theme. Thus far I have quoted from Mussolini to highlight how seductive Fascism can be. Mussolini make Fascism into a spiritual quest, a rejection of decadent values. It is at once revolutionary and traditional. Contemporary Fascist groups echo these sentiments. They simultaneously look backwards to their People's Golden Age past by dredging up legendary folk heroes, reviving ancient religious practices, invoking the past with Gothick typefaces and medieval heraldry while while flying the red and black banners of Revolution as they march into the glorious future.


I see your expansion of the spiritual aspects of Fascism. IMO, this is an under-explored area. Maybe under explored because Judeo-Christian religions are right in the mix and that hits a nerve.

Keeping to the theme of general values, I think there are a number of past and current examples of "state religions" running more or less under the cover of popular "mythical" religions. I accept as fact that almost any religious meme can be adapted for Fascist purposes. Capturing the "popular imagination" is key to shutting off the critical mind and biasing for action.

You mentioned in the title, you would examine what "Fascism isn't". Maybe you could expand on that a bit?
edit on 6-4-2015 by InverseLookingGlass because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: InverseLookingGlass

Yes, in due time. It will take me a few days to present all the material I have been researching. For now, suffice to say that enforcing laws that protect the rights of citizens is not Fascism. The policeman writing you a speeding ticket may or may not, personally, hold Fascist beliefs; writing the speeding ticket is enforcing a reasonable public safety law, not Fascism.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

It was national syndicalism that defined "fascism".



With the outbreak of World War I, Sergio Panunzio noted the national solidarity within France and Germany that suddenly arose in response to the war and claimed that should Italy enter the war, the Italian nation would become united and would emerge from the war as a new nation in a "Fascio nazionale" (national union) that would be led by an aristocracy of warrior-producers that would unite Italians of all classes, factions, and regions into a disciplined socialism.

In November 1918, Mussolini defined national syndicalism as a doctrine that would unite economic classes into a program of national development and growth.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 12:07 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

Yes, Mussolini was once a Marxist, then a Syndaclist... eventually he parted ways, chiefly retaining the Syndacalist rationale for violence. This is a bit of an historical footnote. Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that a progression from Marxism to Fascism is typical in contemporary Fascists. I intend to go into that in more detail as I start to "name names."



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: DJW001

So what would a hidden oligharical group such as the world Finantial system, suspected of controlling the whole shebag ,be defined as?
Crypto Corpracracy?



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: cavtrooper7

Th financial industry is not a state, it is the "private sector." It may corruptly influence states, but Fascism explicitly places the needs of the State above all else. It is this primacy of the State that permits Fascists to pose as populists standing up against the evils of international banking. Fascists have no problem "gaming" the international banking system when it suits their needs. Hitler established a Reichsbank that was nominally supposed to be the instrument to make war reparations, but actually served to bankroll the Nazi Party and, eventually, to spirit Nazi funds overseas as the Reich collapsed.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: cavtrooper7

Double . Post.
edit on 6-4-2015 by DJW001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 01:57 PM
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Obamacare would be a good example of a law with fascist tendencies. It uses the private sector insurance businesses and the mechanics of the for profit health care system to carry out the dictates of the State when it comes to how our health care system will run.

Contrast it with the public school system in the US which is nearly 100% socialist.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Finally! Partisan sniping! I was waiting for that. The Affordable Care Act is not quite Fascist; it is the private sector using the Federal Government to make its services mandatory, rather than the central government dictating goals to the private sector. You have a better case for calling the educational system "socialist," in the sense that public education is a service provided to citizens by the government. Even Friedrich Hayek acknowledged that this was a public good.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 02:41 PM
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Where do mega-corporations fit in?

👣



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 02:45 PM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: ketsuko

Finally! Partisan sniping! I was waiting for that. The Affordable Care Act is not quite Fascist; it is the private sector using the Federal Government to make its services mandatory, rather than the central government dictating goals to the private sector. You have a better case for calling the educational system "socialist," in the sense that public education is a service provided to citizens by the government. Even Friedrich Hayek acknowledged that this was a public good.


No, I'm sorry, but when the overall bill dictates to the citizens what the policies must have to what degree, and has so many boards and panels to review how it must work through all facets including boards and panels to determine best treatments and practices and the government dictates that all citizens MUST be covered, none can be denied and through what mechanisms this must happen. It is, by your own definitions a fascist network.

The government set up the framework and tightly controls how it pans out and uses the private sector system already in place to make it happen.

It has little at all to do with partisanship. It was fascist in Massachusetts when Romney oversaw it's implementation and it's fascist on the national level, too.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 05:20 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko


No, I'm sorry, but when the overall bill dictates to the citizens what the policies must have to what degree, and has so many boards and panels to review how it must work through all facets including boards and panels to determine best treatments and practices and the government dictates that all citizens MUST be covered, none can be denied and through what mechanisms this must happen. It is, by your own definitions a fascist network.


Okay, fine. If you want to use the expression "fascist" to describe any law that makes requirements of citizens, then it's fascist. You are using the word incorrectly, however.



posted on Apr, 6 2015 @ 10:29 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko

originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: ketsuko

Finally! Partisan sniping! I was waiting for that. The Affordable Care Act is not quite Fascist; it is the private sector using the Federal Government to make its services mandatory, rather than the central government dictating goals to the private sector. You have a better case for calling the educational system "socialist," in the sense that public education is a service provided to citizens by the government. Even Friedrich Hayek acknowledged that this was a public good.


No, I'm sorry, but when the overall bill dictates to the citizens what the policies must have to what degree, and has so many boards and panels to review how it must work through all facets including boards and panels to determine best treatments and practices and the government dictates that all citizens MUST be covered, none can be denied and through what mechanisms this must happen. It is, by your own definitions a fascist network.

The government set up the framework and tightly controls how it pans out and uses the private sector system already in place to make it happen.

It has little at all to do with partisanship. It was fascist in Massachusetts when Romney oversaw it's implementation and it's fascist on the national level, too.


Wouldn't say that more communism.



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 05:53 AM
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a reply to: dragonridr

It's all socialist: communism, fascism, syndicalism, etc.

Planned economies vs. unplanned economies.

The flavor of socialism is only of interest to the special interests which are preferred under each.

Examples of the flaws of third way interventionism and its tendency to corruptly manipulate private production are not free market shortcomings.
edit on 7-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 7 2015 @ 06:32 AM
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a reply to: DJW001

I don't need a lecture on Fascism from a person who so often agrees with MSM and US government version of events.

Shaking my head big time



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