What is Fascism?

Down in the Pit, I am cruising for a bruising by maintaining that modern Islamic political thought is Fascist. I have long held that Fascism is the idea that the 'race," “community,” or “society” has rights it may impose on the individual.

Or I might be wrong. **What is Fascism? What is the best existent example of it in action? **

Well, the definition I remember is that fascism is an authoritative (totalitarian and sometimes coupled with a dictatorship, though not always) hierarchical government that advocates nationalism over individual rights.

FWIW, here is what Wiki has to say:

I would say the best example of fascism would be Italy under the mouse man, though I guess the most famous example is Nazi Germany.

(this was more on the order of a bump, since anyone could look up the wiki definition)


I go for the definition in the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:

As for current examples, I have to say this remains a very controversial subject, even at best one could only be half right by applying Fascism to Islamic political thought or current nations.

Yea, I don’t really see it. Even very extreme followers of Islam don’t appear to be particularly nationalistic or racist. Rather the opposite in fact, they tend to emphasize the trans-national character of Islam. So you have the same jyhadists happily traveling to fight in Somalia, Pakistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Albania. So long as one side is Muslim, they don’t seem to much mind what nation they’re part of or ethnic group they belong to.

And even in the most theocratic or authoritarian Islamic countries, the governments don’t seem to put the same emphasis on rigid heirarchies that Facist countries did. Its hard to see Hitler or Mussolini putting up with the various competing and opaque power-structures of religious councils and secular assemblies the Supreme Leader puts up with in Iran.

The closest thing to a facist country in the Muslim world was the relatively secular Iraqi gov’t under Saddam.

Fascism: A History, by Roger Eatwell, is a good place to start. Or, this review of it.

Or, this: “Which Civilisation?” by Michael Lind, Prospect, 10/25/01:

In these terms, “Islamofascism” is an oxymoron because radical Islam derives from a very different, and older, tradition from fascism.

Islamism in terms of structure has much more similarities with Communist International than Facists.

My first thought is that if Fascism is both anti-Liberal and anti-Conservative, then modern radical Islamic thought would not count. At first it seems that OBl et. al. are quite conservative. But is that really so?

After all, they hark back to a mythical past. They are looking to overthrow the present to reestablish a past that never was.

While it is true Islamofascism springs from a different seed than euro-Fascism, it seems like much the same bloom.

“To reestablish a past that never was” is no goal of fascism and never was; it’s all about the New Order.

N.B.: Franco was no fascist (though he had fascists – Falangists – among his supporters). He was all about the past. “A cop, not an artist.”

Forgive me, but did not Mussolini want a New Roman Empire? Did not Hitler call for the restoration of some sort of racial Valhalla? White Nationalists in the same way. It would seem the desire for a Cloud Coo-Cooland is a common trait of Fascists.

OBL does not want to return to some time in the past. He desires a fantasy version of that past.

Puritanism (not Fascism) is the first ideology tht pops into my mind when I think of modern Islamic political thought. I don’t know why people don’t draw that easy parallel, it practically draws itself.

Phrases. Fascism invokes the past, sometimes, in service to its element of nationalism and the enduring-through-the-centuries “race-soul,” but it is a 20th-Century phenomenon, intoxicated with the potential of “science” and technology and the Art Deco esthetic (or more so – see Raygun Gothic), and it is really all about seizing hold of The Future by the throat.

“Cloud Cuckooland” is not a name for the Golden Age of the Past; it carries rather the reverse connotation.

What he wants is a united Islamic Caliphate, like in the Middle Ages. The Islamic narrative of history is rather different from the Western. But, the point of that is for Dar-al-Islam to become the modern world’s newest superpower.

Dangnabit, I was just talking about this with some Leftist friends over dinner. One insisted that Fascism in a modernizing mass movement. Now your telling me OBL wants to modernize. (But of course he does not seem to advocate a Maoist “party of the masses,” preferring Lenin’s “party of the vanguard” model. )

Slight hijack: BrainGlutton that link was quite good, it’s a good view to acertain that Islamists may very well be looking for another modern day Byzantine to bring down.

No, they’re more like late nineteenth early twentieth centuries anarchists.

Yea, I think thats the best historical analog for Al-Queda type islamic terrorists. Loosely allied multinational group unified by an ideology, trying to advance their agenda by isolated violent acts that do impressive amounts of damage, but don’t seem to do much to actually advance their cause.

Also, like the anarchists, its kinda hard to articulate what exactly Al-Queda wants and how blowing up random buildings or assasinating random politicians are actually going to advance their goals. I think both groups attract people that want some reason for big, flashy acts of violence against gov’ts, without being super-concerned with what that reason is.

Yep, because the Muslim brotherhood is exactly like that.

Can we at least dispense with the notion that fascism if left-wing in that it’s all about government control of business?

Actually, in fascism, that’s incidental – government will control business exactly to the extent it calculates is necessary for government’s purposes, but control of any sector is not a matter of ideological commitment. Hitler’s economic views were not essentially socialist:

Thank you all. I still think the term has some validity.