Fascism is a term heard and used very often all over the world.. Perhaps the people using this term are themselves not aware what fascism means.
Origin of Fascism
The word fascism originated in Italy during the early twenties of the last century and was derived from ancient Roman word fasces. This word represented ancient Roman symbols that denoted the power of the state. Fascism in real terms represents authoritarism.
Fascism is a radical concept that credence at the turn of the twentieth century. It was a political ideology that was adopted by Benito Mussolini in the 1920s. However the
Philosophy of Fascism
It is a distinct philosophy that believes in the supremacy of the state and the nation. It advocates a single party form of government and the marshalling of all forces of the state and the people to attain a strong nation. Fascism believes in violence and war as a means to an end. However as a philosophy it steers clear of Communist and Marxist dogma as well as capitalism represented by free enterprise. It is fashionable to represent it as right wing ideology. Marxism is the enemy of Fascism and that great Marxist thinker Leon Trotsky commented that “fascism is nothing but capitalistic reaction”.
May be Trotsky was correct because the concept of white supremacy so prevalent in the United States with organizations like the Ka Klux Klan represented Fascist thought; though the Americans are loathe to agree with this observation.
The basic tenets of Fascism were adopted by Hitler and Mussolini. It will not be wrong to credit the development of Fascist thought to Mussolini. His concept of Fascism was anti-communist and anti-capitalist as well as anti democracy. Fascism believes in denying the basic rights of citizens. It also believes in mass regimentation of society through military drills and physical culture. Thus the Nazi rallies at Nuremburg and Mussolini’s Brown Shirts marching in Rome give us a vivid picture of the concept of mass mobilization as envisaged by Mussolini and Giovanni. These rallies created a military atmosphere and also enthused the masses.
One of the pillars of Fascism is racism. Thus in the USA the concept of white supremacy as exemplified by the KKK( Ka Klux Klan) who in the name of purity of the white race executed negroes. Hitler’s final solution of the Jews was the result of adapting Fascism as a state concept. Here he made it a state policy to execute Jews who he considered as sub-human and this led to over 6 million executions. If one has to summarize the 3 pillars of Fascism are Racism, Militarism and dictatorship.
Fascism and Society
One other aspect of Fascism is to keep society in perpetual ferment with agitations and movements that appeal to the masses. Thus the Red Brigade and Peoples cultural revolution unleashed by Mao tse Tung is another facet of Fascism. The period of the cultural revolution led to at least 20 million deaths in China. The deaths engineered by Hitler pale into insignificance at the magnitude of the deaths and executions in China .
Fascism certainly does have some appeal. It does bring in order from Chaos and with a greater state control brings in benefits that accrue to the people. Thus when Mussolini took over in Italy for the first time the trains began to run on time and the anarchy of the previous years was replaced by order and discipline. But the defect or limitation in Fascist though is the complete negation of human values where the dictator becomes omnipotent as brought out by George Orwell in his books.
As far as the founder of fascism is concerned he was shot dead in 1944 by anti fascist protesters led by one Bruno Fanciullacci in Florence. Till the last Giovanni Gentile remained loyal to Mussolini
Where do we stand as far as fascism is concerned now? To deny its existence is a travesty of fact and fascist regimes still rule in North Korea and some Islamic states like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has all the trappings of a fascist state with the cover of Islam. and it will appear in some form or another as long as instability and chaos rules and there is fear of instability. In India also with rampant corruption being the order of the day Fascism in some form may rear its head. A disgusted people are the breeding ground of Fascism.