Fascism is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy. Fascism was originally founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined extreme Sorelian syndicalist political views along with nationalism. Though normally described as being on the far right by non-fascists and far-left by fascists, there is a scholarly consensus that fascism was influenced by both the left and the right.
Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. They claim that culture is created by the collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus they reject individualism. Viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, they see pluralism as a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as a means to represent the nation in its entirety.
They advocate the creation of a single-party state. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the fascist state and the fascist movement. They identify violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.
Fascism rejects the concepts of egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism in favor of action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit, and will. They oppose liberalism (as a bourgeois movement) and Marxism (as a proletarian movement) for being exclusive economic class-based movements. Fascists present their ideology as that of an economically trans-class movement that promotes ending economic class conflict to secure national solidarity. They believe that economic classes are not capable of properly governing a nation, and that a merit-based elite of experienced military persons must rule through regimenting a nation's forces of production and securing the nation's independence. Fascism perceives conservatism as partly valuable for its support of order in society but disagrees with its typical opposition to change and modernization. Fascism presents itself as a solution to the perceived benefits and disadvantages of conservatism by advocating state-controlled modernization that promotes orderly change while resisting the dangers to order in society of pluralism and independent initiative.
The Class Character of Fascism
Georgi Dimitrov,one of the most important marxist thinker of the 20th century, defined fascism "as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital. This well-known sentence was part of bigger presentation on the VII. World Congress of the Communist Third International in the year of 1935, on which antifascist strategies were discussed by the revolutionary workers movement. These topics were discussed due to the recent establishment of fascist dictatorships in Germany and in Austria.
Fascists tend to support a "third position" in economic policy, which they believe superior to both the rampant individualism of laissez-faire capitalism and the severe control of state socialism. Italian Fascism and most other fascist movements promote a corporatist economy whereby, in theory, representatives of capital and labour interest groups work together within sectoral corporations to create both harmonious labour relations and maximization of production that would serve the national interest. However, other fascist movements and ideologies, such as Nazism, did not use this form of economy.
- Girvin, Brian. The Right in the Twentieth Century. Pinter, 1994. p. 83. Describes fascism as an "anti-liberal radical authoritarian nationalist movement".
- Turner, Henry Ashby. Reappraisals of Fascism. New Viewpoints, 1975. p. 162. States fascism's "goals of radical and authoritarian nationalism".
- Payne, Stanley. Fascism in Spain, 1923–1977. University of Wisconsin Press, 1992. p. 43. Payne describes Spanish fascist José Antonio Primo de Rivera's objectives, saying "Young José Antonio's primary political passion was and would long remain the vindication of his father's work, which he was now trying to conceptualize in a radical, authoritarian nationalist form."
- Larsen, Stein Ugelvik; Hagtvet, Bernt; Myklebust, Jan Petter. Who were the Fascists Fascists: social roots of European Fascism. p. 424. This reference calls fascism an "organized form of integrative radical nationalist authoritarianism"
- Wiarda, Howard J. Corporatism and comparative politics. M.E. Sharpe, 1996. p. 12.
- E.G. Noel O'Sullivan's five major themes of fascism are: corporatism, revolution, the leader principle, messianic faith, and autarky. The Fascism Reader by Aristotle A. Kallis says, "1. Corporatism. The most important claim made by fascism was that it alone could offer the creative prospect of a 'third way' between capitalism and socialism. Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf, spoke enthusiastically about the 'National Socialist corporative idea' as one which would eventually 'take the place of ruinous class warfare'; whilst Benito Mussolini, in typically extravagant fashion, declared that 'the Corporative System is destined to become the civilization of the twentieth century.'"
- Benito Mussolini's Doctrine of Fascism regards fascism as right-wing and collectivist, but it also declares that fascism is sympathetic to ameliorating the conditions that brought about the rise of left-wing political movements, such as class conflict socialism and liberal democracy, while simultaneously opposing the egalitarianism associated with the left. "We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century." ... "We are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and thus the century of the state. It is eminently reasonable for a new doctrine to make use of still-vital elements from other doctrines," ... "Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people." (p. 14) "The Fascist negation of socialism, democracy, liberalism, should not, however, be interpreted as implying a desire to drive the world backwards to positions occupied prior to 1789, a year commonly referred to as that which opened the demo-liberal century. History does not travel backwards. The Fascist doctrine has not taken De Maistre as its prophet. Monarchical absolutism is of the past, and so is ecclesiolatry. Dead and done for are feudal privileges and the division of society into closed, uncommunicating castes. Neither has the Fascist conception of authority anything in common with that of a police ridden State." ... "Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognises the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade-unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonised in the unity of the State." (p.15) "In rejecting democracy Fascism rejects the absurd conventional lie of political equalitarianism, the habit of collective irresponsibility, the myth of felicity and indefinite progress." ... "Fascism denies that numbers, as such, can be the determining factor in human society; it denies the right of numbers to govern by means of periodical consultations; it asserts the irremediable and fertile and beneficent inequality of men who cannot be leveled by any such mechanical and extrinsic device as universal suffrage." Doctrine of Fascism.
- Sternhell, Zeev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia; Massel, David (translation). The birth of fascist ideology: from cultural rebellion to political revolution. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press: 1994. pp. 189–190.
- Payne, Stanley G. A history of fascism, 1914–1945. Oxon: The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 2005 (digital edition). p. 112.
- Stackleberg, Rodney Hitler's Germany, Routeledge, 1999, p. 3
- Eatwell, Roger: "A 'Spectral-Syncretic Approach to Fascism', The Fascism Reader, Routledge, 2003 pp 71–80 Books.google.com
- Lipset, Seymour: "Fascism as Extremism of the Middle Class", The Fascism Reader, Routledge, 2003, pp. 112–116
- Grčić, Joseph. Ethics and political theory. Lanham, Maryland, USA: University of America, Inc, 2000. p. 120
- Mussolini, Benito. 1935. Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions. Rome: Ardita Publishers. p 14. "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 potentiates the whole life of a people."
- Griffen, Roger (ed). 1995. "The Legal Basis of the Total State" – by Carl Schmitt. Fascism. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 72."Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt described the Nazi intention to form a "strong state which guarantees a totality of political unity transcending all diversity" in order to avoid a "disasterous pluralism tearing the German people apart."
- De Grand, Alexander. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: the "fascist" style of rule. Routledge, 2004. p. 28.
- Kent, Allen; Lancour, Harold; Nasri, William Z. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science: Volume 62 – Supplement 25 – Automated Discourse Generation to the User-Centered Revolution: 1970–1995. CRC Press, 1998. ISBN 9780824720629. p. 69.
- Griffin, Roger (ed.); Feldman, Matthew (ed.). Fascism: Fascism and culture. London, UK; New York, USA: Routledge, 2004. p. 185.
- Frank Bealey, Allan G. Johnson. The Blackwell dictionary of political science: a user's guide to its terms. 2nd edition. Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. p. 129.
- Walter Laqueur, Walter. Fascism: A Readers' Guide : Analysis, Interpretations, Bibliography. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, USA: University of California Press, 1976 (first edition, 1978 (paperback edition). p. 338.
- Griffin, Roger. The Nature of Fascism. New York, New York, USA: St. Martins Press, 1991. pp. 222–223.
- Gregor, Anthony James. Mussolini's intellectuals: fascist social and political thought. Princeton University Press, 2004. p. 172.
- Roland Sarti. "Italian fascism: radical politics and conservative goals". Fascists and Conservatives. Ed. Martin Blinkhorn. 2nd edition. Oxon, England, UK: Routledge, 2001 p. 21.
- Dimitroff, Georgi: The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism"
- Peter Davies, Derek Lynch. The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right. Routledge, 2002. p. 146
- Heywood, Andrew. Key Concepts in Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. p. 78
- Cyprian Blamires, Paul Jackson. World fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. p. 150.