What Is Fascism?

[Fascism] is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life. Our rising, here, has a Spanish meaning! What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?

- Francisco Franco, interview with Henri Massis (1938)

Podcast of the Day

The term 'fascist' features in much of the current commentary on political events in Europe and the United States.

Where did the term come from and what does it mean?

Just how useful is the concept in understanding what is happening in the world today?

Listen to the Rear Vision episode on Fascism

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Short Article of the Day

An analogy is haunting the United States – the analogy of fascism. It is virtually impossible (outside certain parts of the Right-wing itself) to try to understand the resurgent Right without hearing it described as – or compared with – 20th-century interwar fascism. Like fascism, the resurgent Right is irrational, close-minded, violent and racist. So goes the analogy, and there’s truth to it. But fascism did not become powerful simply by appealing to citizens’ darkest instincts. Fascism also, crucially, spoke to the social and psychological needs of citizens to be protected from the ravages of capitalism at a time when other political actors were offering little help.

The origins of fascism lay in a promise to protect people...

Continue reading Sheri Berman's article: It wasn't just hate. Fascism offered robust social welfare

Further Reading

Fascism is a term used to describe authoritarian nationalist political ideologies or mass movements that are concerned with notions of cultural decline or decadence and seek to achieve a millenarian national rebirth by exalting the nation or race, and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.

Fascists promote a type of national unity that is usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, national, racial, and/or religious attributes. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as among its integral parts: nationalism, militarism, anti-communism, totalitarianism, statism, dictatorship, economic planning (including corporatism and autarky), populism, collectivism, autocracy and opposition to classic political and economic liberalism...

Continue reading the New World Encyclopedia entry on Fascism

Related Topics

If you’re interested in fascism, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 Ideology | Nationalism | Political Philosophy | Populism | Power | Sociology

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