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Fascism-The Second Coming

- Abstract

WHAT is fascism, and have we seen the last of it?

On the precise character of fascism there is no agreement to this day. One might define it as a mass movement, headed by a leader whose command is absolute, which later turns into a state party, strictly hierarchical and elitist, ruling through terror and propaganda and the monopoly of political power, on the basis of an anti-liberal, anti-democratic, rabidly nationalistic and militaristic spirit and an ideology compounded of conservative-reactionary and radical, quasi-socialist elements. Yet no two fascisms have been quite alike; some have combined religious-mystical elements, while others, by contrast, have been sharply anti-clerical. At times racism has been a central factor, in other cases it has been marginal or non-existent. Some fascist movements are barely distinguishable from old-fashioned right-wing parties, others are radical in doctrine and practice. If one takes Nazi Germany as the norm, then Italy under Mussolini was just a half-way house and Spain and Portugal were not fascist at all. If, on the other hand, Italy serves as the yardstick, Nazi Germany was an aberration, its excesses and radicalism typically German rather than fascist.

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