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Thread: A Definition of Fascism

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    I remember my AP economics teacher had a poster on her wall that describes multiple forms of government, and how they dealt with trading with cows. I remember it's description of fascism was " the government comes over, steals your cows, and then shoots you." My friends and I thought this was hilarious.

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    I'm sorry. I'm prone to using the term "liberal" in the classical sense, to describe people who believe in a limited government constituted to protect the citizens' individual rights. This describes the vast majority of American politics and includes Libertarians and fiscal Conservatives.

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    Fascism is a term for a style, generally relating to clothing, which is prevalent at any given time. For example, the cut in uniform of Hitler's SS was in keeping with the fascism of the day.

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    I strongly side with Korimyr concerning how to properly define Fascism and how it has been misperceived. As Mussolini put it Fascism is more than a system of government. It is a system of thought.

    Where I differ is the interpretation of such a system as positive or better for society. For one Fascism brings with it an emphasis on nationalism and militarism which automatically leads to this system being corrupted and losing a great deal of any democratic potential it has. Also the Fascist conception of the State is antithetical to the ideals of liberty and self-determination. The State serves as the arbiter of right and wrong and has absolute power over all the liberties of humanity. To use Mussolini's words:
    "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."

    In the Fascist state independent thought is subverted and directed towards the benefit of the State. This is the pinnacle of a society ruled by a False Consciousness, one where unity of thought is given precedence. Achieving unity of thought necessitates a State that engages in a systemic brainwashing of the masses and embraces the conception of superiority and inferiority as a crucial element of organizing the Fascist State. The masses thus serve only as cogs in a machine operated by the State for the cause which it has decided in the interest of the people. As the Fascist conception of the State rejects individuality within the State what results is a sort of living culture beyond anyone's control that only seeks to maintain its authority.

    George Orwell's most notable work 1984 portrays a good picture of the Fascist State. The authorities there have given up any perception of self seeing themselves as merely part of a greater immortal whole, the State, and beyond continuing its existence all other meaning is lost. Denying the individual, a key requirement for the efficient functioning of a Fascist state, will always spawn a corrupt and destructive mentality such as this.

    That said the Fascist critique of socialism has some legitimacy in that the class struggle is needlessly divisive. Its remedy for this problem is where the negative elements of the ideology come through.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    Quote Originally Posted by Demon of Light View Post
    George Orwell's most notable work 1984 portrays a good picture of the Fascist State. The authorities there have given up any perception of self seeing themselves as merely part of a greater immortal whole, the State, and beyond continuing its existence all other meaning is lost. Denying the individual, a key requirement for the efficient functioning of a Fascist state, will always spawn a corrupt and destructive mentality such as this.
    What you describe as a "corrupt and destructive mentality" is nothing more than the instinctual drive to live and grow expressed on a national level. Without this mentality, even the most high-minded and noble governments will crumble and fall into ruin.

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    What you describe as a "corrupt and destructive mentality" is nothing more than the instinctual drive to live and grow expressed on a national level.
    That is exactly the problem. Conceptualizing the State as though it were a singular organism causes this false consciousness to emerge, which only leads to a system that is destructive and corrupt.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
    - Khalil Gibran

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    What you describe as a "corrupt and destructive mentality" is nothing more than the instinctual drive to live and grow expressed on a national level. Without this mentality, even the most high-minded and noble governments will crumble and fall into ruin.

    Now here we come to a point that intrests me...

    As a democratic Republic, America has thus far proven capable of fighting wars as a matter of self-intrest. However, there has always been a certain resistance from the body-politic, particularly the anti-war left. In Vietnam, we did not lose militarily, we gave up and left because hippies and certain politicians sapped our will to fight. "When Walter Cronkite says the war is unwinnable, it's time to go home," many said. A buddy of mine who was in Vietnam says differently: Tet was a big show but it cost the VC such huge and heavy casualties that we could have finished them off within a year or two, if we'd retained the will to fight.

    Nowadays, it seems that the screaming from the left against ANY war (unless a leftist Prez starts it) is even louder, and our will to fight, to make sacrifices and suffer casualties, has badly eroded among the general population. So many young people seem to think the military is inherently evil instead of being our nation's sword and shield. It worries me, I feel that one of these days we're going to reach the point where America is no longer able to fight a war in our own self-intrest. From there it is all downhill, as nations more eager to use aggressive force will whittle away our power until we're an impotent giant.

    The militant nationalism of Fascism has a certain appeal, in that it is understood that we don't have to justify war, other than "this war is in the national intrest of our country because Y". No need for high-minded rhetoric or false causes, just admit "we're going to war because it will serve OUR intrests to do so."

    A lot of the criticism has been aimed at extreme versions of fascism, like the Nazi's. Perhaps a more moderate version is possible... I need to study on this. What are some relatively successful, relatively "moderate" versions of fascism in history? Franco's Spain for one I think.... others?

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    I've been doing some research into Franco's Fascist Spain. It's very intresting.


    Franco's rule:
    1939–1975



    Capital Madrid
    Language(s) Spanish (official)
    Prohibited: Catalan, Galician, Basque, others
    Religion Roman Catholicism
    Government Autocratic republic, Single-party state
    (before 1947)
    Interregnum, Absolute monarchy
    (after 1947)
    Regent¹
    - 1939–1975 Francisco Franco
    King
    - 1975–1978 Juan Carlos I
    President of the Government
    - 1939–1973 Francisco Franco
    - 1973 Luis Carrero Blanco



    The régime emerged from the victory in the Spanish Civil War of the rebel Nacionales coalition led by General Franco. ...referred to as Francoist Spain.

    After winning the Spanish Civil War, the Nacionales had established a single party authoritarian state under the undisputed leadership of Franco. ...With the death of Franco on 20 November 1975, Juan Carlos became the absolute King of Spain. He immediately began transitioning to democracy, ending with Spain becoming a constitutional monarchy articulated by a parliamentary democracy.

    [edit] Isolation (1945–1953)
    After the war, the Allies used Spain's ties to the Axis powers to keep it from joining the United Nations. ...After World War II, the Spanish economy was still in disarray. Rationing cards were still used as late as 1952. War and economic isolation prompted the regime to move towards autarky, a movement warmly welcomed by Falangists. The tenets of the economy were: reduction of imports, self-sufficiency, state-controlled production and commercialization of first order goods, state-funded industry and construction of infrastructure — heavily damaged during the Civil War — through the use of precarious means.



    [edit] The end of isolation (1953–1959)

    Spain's international ostracism was finally broken in 1953 when Spain and the United States signed the Pact of Madrid in a series of agreements under which Spain received some financial benefits in the form of grants and loans in return for hosting American military bases (such as Naval Station Rota, opened in 1955). The same year, the Spanish government signed the Concordat with the Vatican.

    In 1955, Spanish wealth approached the pre-Civil War levels of 1935, leaving behind the disasters of the war and the struggle of isolation.[4] Spain was admitted to the UN in 1955 and to the World Bank in 1958.[5] Other Western European countries, including Italy, were from that point eager to restore good contacts with Francoist Spain.


    The Desarrollo, the Spanish Miracle (1959–1973)

    The Spanish Miracle (Desarrollo) was the name given to the Spanish economic boom between 1959 and 1973. It is seen by some as the most remarkable positive legacy of the regime. During this period, Spain largely surpassed the per capita income that differentiates developed from underdeveloped countries and induced the development of a dominant middle class which was instrumental to the future establishment of democracy.

    The boom was bolstered by economic reforms promoted by the so-called "technocrats", appointed by Franco, who pushed for public investment in infrastructure development, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund. The technocrats were a new breed of economists who replaced the old, prone to isolationism, Falangist guard.

    The implementation of these policies took the form of development plans (planes de Desarrollo) and it was largely a success: Spain enjoyed the second highest growth rate in the world, just after Japan, and became the ninth largest economy in the world, just after Canada. Spain joined the industrialized world, leaving behind the poverty and endemic underdevelopment it had experienced since the loss of the Spanish Empire in the 19th century.

    Although the economic growth produced noticeable improvements in Spanish living standards and the development of a middle class, Spain remained less economically advanced relative to the rest of Western Europe (with the exception of Portugal, Greece and Ireland). At the heyday of the Miracle, 1974, Spanish income per capita peaked at 79 percent of the Western European average, only to be reached again 25 years later, in 1999.

    Franco's declining health ... Carlos Arias Navarro took over as President of the Spanish Government, and tried to introduce some reforms to the decaying regime, but he struggled between the two factions of the regime, the búnker (far-right) and the aperturists who promoted transition to Democracy.

    But there was no way back to the old regime: Spain was not the same as in post-Civil War times and the model for the now wealthy Spaniards was the prosperous Western Europe, not the impoverished post-war Falangist Spain. Wealthy West Germany became a role model with which Spaniards identified themselves[citation needed], as West Germans increasingly went on vacations to the Spanish beaches. Besides this, a considerable number of Spanish men had worked in Western Europe in the previous years as cheap labour forces, thereby encountering the economic growth and wealth of other western Europeans.

    Clearly Franco's Fascist rule wasn't all bad... it could be argued that after the chaos of the Spanish Civil War that an authoritarian gov't was necessary for a time. The economic boom was remarkable, but it is noted that Spain didn't reach the level of economic development many other Western Euro nations did around that point.

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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    More intresting stuff...

    [edit] Government

    The Organic law stipulated the government to be ultimately responsible for all legislation of the country[1], with the re-established Cortes Generales working purely as an advisory body. As head of government, Franco was constitutionally in charge of appointing his own ministers, thus being the one source of legislation. The law of referendums of 1945 approved for all "fundamental law" to be approved by a popular referendum, in which only the family heads could vote. Local municipal councils were appointed similarly by family heads and local corporations through elections, while the government exercised the right to appoint mayors. In 1947, a law passed through a referendum revived the Spanish monarchy with Franco as regent for life, with the right to appoint his successor.

    [edit] Francoism

    Franco in 1969.The consistent points in Francoism included above all authoritarianism, nationalism and anti-Freemasonry; some authors also quote integralism.[7] All in all, Francoism showed a frontal rejection of Communism, Socialism and Anarchism. Although Franco and Spain under his rule adopted some trappings of fascism, he, and Spain under his rule, are not generally considered to be fascist; among the distinctions, fascism entails a revolutionary aim to transform society, where Franco and Franco's Spain did not seek to do so, and, to the contrary, although authoritarian, were conservative and traditional.[8][9][10][11][12]

    [edit] Development


    Franco initially sought support from various groups, such as National syndicalism (nacionalsindicalismo) and the Roman Catholic Church (nacionalcatolicismo).
    Authoritarianism
    Unlike other ideological-based regimes' parties, such as the Italian National Fascist Party, German Nazi Party, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the FET-JONS were relatively heterogeneous instead of being an ideological monolith. Because of this, the Spanish State is generally considered to be authoritarian rather than fascist; among the distinctions, fascism entails a revolutionary aim to transform society, where Franco did not seek to do so, and, to the contrary, although authoritarian, were conservative and traditional.

    While it included fascist elements, the Spanish State was very authoritarian: non-government trade unions and all political opponents across the political spectrum were either suppressed or tightly controlled by all means, including violent police repression. Most country towns and rural areas were patrolled by pairs of Guardia Civil, a military police for civilians, which functioned as his chief means of social control. Larger cities, and capitals, were mostly under the heavily-armed Policía Armada, commonly called grises.

    Members of the oppressed ranged from trade unions to communist and anarchist organizations to liberal democrats and Catalan or Basque separatists. The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) trade-unions were outlawed, and replaced in 1940 by the corporatist Sindicato Vertical. The PSOE Socialist party and the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) were banned in 1939, while the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) went underground. University students seeking democracy revolted in the late '60s and early '70s, which was repressed by the grises. The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) went into exile, and in 1959, the ETA armed group was created to wage a low-intensity war against Franco. Franco, like others at the time[who?], evidenced a concern about a possible Masonic conspiracy against his regime. Some non-Spanish authors[who?] have described it as being an "obsession"[citation needed].

    Franco continued to personally sign all death warrants until just months before he died despite international campaigns requesting him to desist.

    Nationalism
    Franco's Spanish nationalism promoted a unitary national identity by repressing Spain's cultural diversity. Bullfighting and flamenco[16] were promoted as national traditions while those traditions not considered "Spanish" were suppressed. Franco's view of Spanish tradition was somewhat artificial and arbitrary: ... This cultural policy relaxed with time, most notably in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    Franco was reluctant to enact any form of administrative and legislative decentralization and kept a fully centralized form of government ...
    Franco dissolved the autonomy granted by the Spanish Republic to these two regions and to Galicia. Franco abolished the centuries-old fiscal privileges and autonomy (the fueros) in two of the three Basque provinces: Guipuzcoa and Biscay, but kept them for Alava. Among Franco's greatest area of support during the civil war was Navarre, also a Basque speaking region in its north half.
    Franco also used language politics in an attempt to establish national homogeneity. Despite Franco being Galician, in accordance with his nationalist principles, he abolished the official statute and recognition for the Basque, Galician, and Catalan languages that the Spanish Republic had granted for the first time in the history of Spain. He returned to Spanish as the only official language of the State and education, ...
    : all government, notarial, legal and commercial documents were still drawn up exclusively in Spanish and any written in other languages were deemed null and void.

    Conservatism
    Catholicism in its most conservative variant was made the official religion of the Spanish State, which enforced Catholic social mores. The remaining nomads of Spain (Gitanos and Mercheros like El Lute) were especially affected. The Spanish State enforced Catholic behavior mainly by using a law (the Ley de Vagos y Maleantes, Vagrancy Act) enacted by Azaña[17]. Civil servants had to be Catholic, and some official jobs even required a "good behavior" statement by a priest. .... Divorce, contraceptives and abortion were forbidden. From 1954 onwards, homosexuality, pedophilia, and prostitution were criminal offenses[18], although the enforcement of this was seldom consistent.

    Francoism professed a devotion to the traditional role of women in society, that is: loving child to her parents and brothers, faithful to her husband, residing with her family. Official propaganda confined her role to family care and motherhood. Most progressive laws passed by the Republic were made void, correspondingly. Women could not become judges, or testify in trial.[citation needed] They could not become university professors.[citation needed] In the 1960s and 1970s the situation became increasingly liberalized, finally reaching full liberalization after Franco's death.
    Last edited by Goshin; 05-29-10 at 12:57 PM.

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  10. #20
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    Re: A Definition of Fascism

    Like I said I believe Fascism does make some legitimate criticism of socialism and Western democracy, but one should not give the rest of it credence as a result. Mao Zedong Thought actually made a good effort towards resolving the problems with socialism identified in the Fascist critique. Maoism was not strictly focused on class warfare. The issue of economic management is actually quite reasonable. You look at China and they are very effective at managing their economy and that is partly because they do not take a growth-at-all-costs approach, which is the usual result of democratic economic management.

    There is thus appeal in the idea of a technocracy, but this would not necessarily mean Fascism.
    "For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
    - Khalil Gibran

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