Fascism's relationship with other political and economic ideologies

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Fascism's relationship with other political and economic ideologies of its day was complex, often at once adversarial and focused on co-opting their more popular aspects. Fascism supported private property rights – except for the groups it persecuted – and the profit motive of capitalism, but sought to eliminate the autonomy of large-scale capitalism by bolstering private power with the state. They shared many of the goals of the conservatives of their day and often allied themselves with them by drawing recruits from disaffected conservative ranks, but presented themselves as holding a more modern ideology, with less focus on things like traditional religion. Fascism opposed the egalitarian and international character of mainstream socialism, but sometimes sought to establish itself as an alternative "national" socialism. It strongly opposed liberalism, communism, anarchism, and democratic socialism.

Quotes[edit]

  • During the winter and spring of 1933, the Nazis made a strenuous effort to present themselves as in harmony with conservative German and Prussian traditions, or even as the natural result and outgrowth of these traditions. The nazis made the conservative Prussian past serviceable to their need for political legitimation to an extent hitherto unprecedented. Long before the Second World War, Prussian values became National Socialist values, judged to epitomize the German character, and help up as models to emulate: austerity, thrift, tenacity in the pursuit of one's goals, a preparedness for personal sacrifice, and a willingness to lay down one's life in the service of a higher cause that would win out in the en, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Above all, there was the concept of duty; it was imperative to "fulfill" one's duty of the Volk and the Fatherland. Among other things, Nazi propaganda made the Prussian past and the values it imputed to it palpable in the form of Grand historic films that enjoyed mass audiences. It was already during the period of the seizure of power that conservatives lost the Deutungshoheit, that is, the prerogative to interpret the great traditions and historical figures of the past, to the Nazis. From 1933 onwards, the Nazis acted as self-appointed guardians of the national heritage. And they did this with greater aplomb, audacity, and-in many instances-more skill than conservative propagandists during the Weimar Republic before them.
  • For those seeking a more rigorous understanding of 'fascism', confusion reigned, since the differences among a whole host of rightist movements and parties, and an increasing number of rightist regimes, tended to be subtly nuanced and constantly shifting. On the basis of what has been examined so far, it is clearly reasonable to confirm the existence of a distinction, at the level of ideas and movements, between the radical or 'fascist' right and the conservative right, even when the latter gave birth to authoritarian movements of its own. However, for the reasons just discussed, not merely was a boundary between fascists and authoritarian conservatives never drawn with total clarity, but it became more blurred with every year that passed. Matters become more difficult still, however, when we come to examine the fascist-conservative relationship in the context of those regimes to which fascist or national socialist movement made a major contribution or, indeed, which they actually created.
  • In April 1937 Franco, as effective head of state of Nationalist Spain, fused the Falange with the Carlists, monarchists and the rest of the right to form the single party of his regime: a process, though differently conducted, somewhat similar to Italian fascism's fusion with Nationalism and Clerico-Fascism after 1922. The product, like the Italian Fascist regime, was a compromise between radical fascism and conservative authoritarianism, in this case with unambiguous military and Church support. [...] The vital feature of all these and other regimes, whatever their provenance and outward characteristics, is that in all of them conservative interests and value-systems proved either dominant or capable of coexisting with an official 'fascism'. This is not suggest that in italy during the 1930s or Spain during the early 1940s, conservatives, whether driven by monarchism, Catholicism, or material interest, were not often irked by fascist display, vulgarity and office-holding or, indeed, anxious lest full-scale 'fascist revolution' might yet be unleashed. The fact remains that no serious conservative attempt to overthrow Mussolini occurred until wartime defeat transformed political realities, while monarchist machinations against Franco regime were both unsuccessful and dictated more by self-interest than ideology or principle.
  • It cannot seriously be denied that as movements, parties and political ideologies, conservatism and fascism occupied very different positions within the early and mid-twentieth century European right, converging at some points and conflicting at others. In certain circumstances, especially characteristic of the 1919–45 period, convergence outweighed conflict, and the uneasy coupling of fascism and conservatism spawned a new kind of political regime. With fascists often showing a tendency to succumb to a cosy conservatism, and conservatives sometimes embracing the rhetoric (or more) of fascism, such regimes exhibited a kaleidoscopic variety of tendencies of which the rarest was what might be termed 'pure' fascism. In many cases, genuine—that is so say self-consciously radical—fascists were a negligible force and any 'fascist' elements at most merely cosmetic. Elsewhere, notably in Spain, assorted conservatives proved capable of displacing radical fascism. In fascist Italy, surely the paradigmatic fascist regime, conservatives co-existed with fascists, survived largely unscathed, and when given the opportunity overthrew the Fascist regime. Only in Germany did the conservative right come close to being devoured by the tiger it had chosen to ride.
  • Subjective perceptions, whether favourable or unfavourable, help us to understand the nature of the political debate bun not necessarily the nature of fascism or, least of all, any possible connections with conservatism. Discussion of their relationship is complicated by the fact that neither is easy to define. The common tendency to use the term 'fascist' as a political epithet and 'conservative' as a synonym for retrograde or reactionary does not help. But scholars who usually avoid such loose language also find it difficult to come up with generally acceptable definitions, probably because fascism lacks a clearly recognizable fountainhead in the world of ideas and conservatism encompasses attitudes and phenomena that go beyond ideology and politics.
  • Between the misdeeds of Hitler and those of Stalin, in my opinion, there exists only a quantitative difference... I don't know if the Communist idea, if its theory, already contained a basic fault or if only the Soviet practice under Stalin betrayed the original idea and established in the Soviet Union a kind of Fascism.
    • Margarete Buber-Neumann, Under Two Dictators: Prisoner of Stalin and Hitler, London: UK, Pimlico, (2008), p. 300. First published in 1949.
  • The American people know that the principal difference between Mr. Hitler and Mr. Stalin is the size of their respective mustaches.
    • The Wall Street Journal, June 25, 1941
  • To understand this relationship we may start with what has become an accepted observation: Stalinized Bolshevism and National Socialism constitute the two examples of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes. Not only were they comparable, but they form a political category of their own, which has become established since Hannah Arendt.
    • François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) p. 180
  • By the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, Stalin had created a regime that had abandoned every principle that had presumably typified left-wing aspirations and had given himself over to notions of ‘socialism in one country’ — with all the attendant attributes: nationalism, the leadership principle, anti-liberalism, anti-individualism, communitarianism, hierarchical rule, missionary zeal, the employment of violence to assure national purpose, and anti-Semitism — making the Soviet Union unmistakenly ‘a cousin to the German National Socialism.’
    • A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century, New Haven: Connecticut, Yale University Press (2000) pp. 4-5
  • The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.
  • In this respect, the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Russia, a war between two essentially identical systems which were clearly growing constantly more alike in the exterior forms of rule,…
    • Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, NY, Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1951, p. 429
  • Stalinism and fascism, in spite of a deep difference in social foundations, are symmetrical phenomena. In many of their features they show a deadly similarity.
    • Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going? Labor Publications, Inc., Detroit, MI (1991) pp. 237–238., Chap. 11, “Whither the Soviet Union.” First published 1937. Translated by Max Eastman.
  • It was in Nazi Germany that Bolshevism was perfected; there, political power truly absorbed all spheres of existence, from the economy to religion, from technology to the soul. The irony, the tragedy, of history was that both totalitarian regimes, identical in their aim for absolute power over dehumanized beings, presented themselves as protection from the danger presented by the other.
    • François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) pp. 205-06
  • In Fascism, as in Communism, the idea of the future was based on a critique of bourgeois modernity… It rose from a variety of currents and from authors of very different origins, all of whom demonized the bourgeoisie. The doctrine was cast as post-Marxist, not as pre-liberal.
    • François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) p. 175
  • We National Socialists see in private property a higher level of human economic development that according to the differences in performance controls the management of what has been accomplished enabling and guaranteeing the advantage of a higher standard of living for everyone. Bolshevism destroys not only private property but also private initiative and the readiness to shoulder responsibility.
  • During the 1930s Romanian fascism was highly complex: it consisted of several movements and layers which varied in intensity from proto-fascism to the genuine article. By far the most important, however, was the Legion and Iron Guard, Codreanu providing the sort of charismatic leadership which was more commonly associated with Hitler and Mussolini. His ideas also had much in common with Nazism. [...] Most of this cut little ice with those in power: the monarchy, the army officers and traditionalist politicians. They were less concerned about mobilization of opinion that about the accumulation of power and about dealing with opponents; increasingly, Condreanu came to be seen as dangerous radical who would destabilize the regime. Although some observers claim that Carol was a 'monarcho-fascist', this term is not particularly appropriate. Carol was never inclined to any systematic ideology and remained traditional and conservative in his policies. This also applied to Michael and the Conducator, Antonescu. Yet, when the latter did finally succeeded in destroying the Legion, he ruled, in Payne's words as 'a right radical nationalist dictator with the support of the military'. Strangely, this was preferred by Hitler since Antonescu offered more security as a Romanian satellite. This was understandable because Hitler's main concern in 1941 was the military use of Romania rather than its complete ideological conversion. Hence, a conservative regime which had been radicalized by its contact with fascism was an ideal balance. In any case this radicalized conservationism proved to be one of the most extreme of all the European states in its policies toward the Jews.
  • The ‘totalitarian’ label is part of ideological warfare in another way as well – in so far as it covers both Communist and Fascist regimes, and is thereby intended to suggest that they are very similar systems. More specifically, the suggestion is that Communism and Nazism are more or less identical. This may be good propaganda but it is very poor political analysis. There were similarities between Stalinism and Nazism in the use of mass terror and mass murder. But there were also enormous differences between them. Stalinism was a ‘revolution from above’, which was intended to modernise Russia from top to bottom, on the basis of the state ownership of the means of production (most of those ‘means of production’ being themselves produced as part of the ‘revolution from above’); and Russia was indeed transformed, at immense cost. Nazism, on the other hand, was, for all its transformative rhetoric, a counter-revolutionary movement and regime, which consolidated capitalist ownership and the economic and social structures which Hitler had inherited from Weimar. As has often been observed, twelve years of absolute Nazi rule did not fundamentally change, and never sought to change fundamentally, the social system which had existed when Hitler came to power. To assimilate Nazism and Stalinism, and equate them as similarly ‘totalitarian’ movements and regimes of the extreme right and the extreme left is to render impossible a proper understanding of their nature, content and purpose.
  • The division between left and right in history is both evident and real. For example, the few detailed histories of specific anti-fascism that exist describe a conflict unrecognisable beside the subtle arguments of these liberal historians. The struggles between fascists and anti-fascists have been violent, lethal and real. The study of them makes it clear that the liberal historians have ignored the decisive importance of anti-socialism to the fascists. They have also overlooked the facists that in every country, socialists and communists have proven to be fascism's staunchest enemies, and that the political left has always been the first victim of fascist rule.
  • The alleged symmetry of fascist and socialist thought rarely amounts to anything more than a recognition that both groups have sought to change society and used political parties to affect this change. The fact that fascism and socialism differ in terms of ideas and traditions, have distinct sources of support and radically different relationships to the capitalist status quo, all seem to be neglected. The historians also glide gently over the obvious fact that fascism acquires its allies from the right and not the left.
  • The great problem with understanding fascism simply as an ideology is that many of the ideas that characterise fascism are not in themselves distinctive. Some of these ideas are purely nationalistic, and there have been many nationalists who were not fascists. Similarly, many conventional conservative parties have had racist supporters.
  • In the course of its life, fascism shuffles together every myth and lie that rotten history of capitalism has ever produced like a pack of greasy cards and then deals them out to whoever it thinks they will win. What is important is not the ideas themselves, but the context in which they operate. Many of the ideas of fascism are the commonplaces of all reactionaries, but they are used in a different way. Fascism offers from the traditional right-wing parties like the Conservative Party no so much in its ideas but in that it is an extra-parliamentary mass movement which seeks the road to power through armed attacks on its opponents.
  • Hitler had a red flag. And Stalin had a red flag. Hitler ruled in the name of the workers’ class, his party was called the workers’ party. Stalin also ruled in the name of the workers’ class; his power system officially bore the title of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’ Hitler hated democracy and struggled against it. Stalin hated democracy and struggled against it. Hitler was building socialism. And Stalin was building socialism. Under the title of socialism Hitler saw a classless society. And Stalin, under the title of socialism, saw a classless society. In the midst of the classless society built by Hitler, and in that built by Stalin, flourished slavery in the truest sense of the word.
    • Viktor Suvorov, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II, Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press (2008) p. ix
  • Hitler never intended to defend ‘the West’ against Bolshevism but always remained ready to join ‘the Reds’ for the destruction of the West, even in the middle of the struggle against Soviet Russia.
    • Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism: Part Three of the Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, NY, A Harvest Book, 1985, p. 7
  • The only man for whom Hitler had ‘unqualified respect’ was Stalin the genius’, and while in the case of Stalin and the Russian regime we do not… have the rich documentary material that is available for Germany, we nevertheless know since Khrushchev’s speech before the Twentieth Party Congress that Stalin trusted only one man and that was Hitler.
    • Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism: Part Three of the Origins of Totalitarianism, A Harvest Book, 1985, pp. 7-8
  • By the time of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Marxist theoreticians had begun to evaluate fascism in a totally unanticipated fashion . . . More than that, as Marxist theorists were compelled to reinterpret fascism in the light of empirical evidence and political circumstances, the fundamental affinities shared by Marxist and fascist regimes became apparent.
    • A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century, Yale University Press (2000) p. 13
  • Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism have in common that they offered the atomized individual a new refuge and security. These systems are the culmination of alienation. The individual is made to feel powerless and insignificant, but taught to project all of his human powers into the figure of the leader, the state, the ‘fatherland,’ to whom he has to submit and whom he has to worship. He escapes from freedom and into a new idolatry. All the achievements of individuality and reason, from the late Middle Ages to the nineteenth century are sacrificed on the altars of the new idols. ...built on the most flagrant lies, both with regard to their programs and to their leaders.
    • Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, New York, NY, Rinehart & Company, (1955), p. 208
  • Russia was the example for fascism... Whether party ‘communists’ like it or not, the fact remains that the state order and rule in Russia are indistinguishable from those in Italy and Germany. Essentially they are alike. One may speak of a red, black, or brown ‘soviet state’, as well as of red, black or brown fascism.
    • Otto Rühle, “The Struggle Against Fascism Begins with the Struggle Against Bolshevism” essay, American Councillist journal Living Marxism (Vol. 4, No. 8, 1939)
  • [T]he totalitarian states, whether of the fascist or the communist persuasion, are more than superficially alike as dictatorships, in the suppression of dissent, and in operating planned and directed economies. They are profoundly alike.
    • Walter Lippman, The Good Society, News Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publications (2005) p. 89. First published in 1937.
  • Born of war, both Bolshevism and Fascism drew their basic education from war. They transferred to politics the lessons of the trenches: familiarity with violence, the simplicity of extreme passions, the submission of the individual to the collectivity, and finally the bitterness of futile or betrayed sacrifices.
    • François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) p. 163
  • What characteristic distinguished Germany and Italy, where fascism took power, from countries like France and Britain, where fascist movements were highly visible but remained far from power? We need to recall that fascism has never so far taken power by coup d'état, deploying the weight of its militants in the street. Fascist power by coup is hardly conceivable in a modern state. Fascism can not appeal to the street without risking a confrontation with future allies —- the army and the police —- without whom it will not be able to pursue its expansionist goals. Indeed fascist coup attempts have commonly led to military dictatorship, rather than to fascist power (as in Romania in December 1941). Resorting to direct mass action also risks conceding advantages to fascism's principal enemy, the Left, still powerful in the street and workplace in interwar Europe. The only route to power available to fascists passes through cooperation with conservative elites. The most important variables, therefore, are the conservative elites' willingness to work with the fascist, along with a reciprocal flexibility on the fascist leaders' part, and the depth of the crisis which induces them to cooperate.
  • Neither Hitler nor Mussolini took the helm by force, even if they used force earlier to destabilise the liberal regime, and later to transform their governments into dictatorships. They were invited to take office as head of government by a head of state in the legitimate exercise of his official functions, on the advice of his conservative counsellors,under quite precise circumstances: a deadlock of constitutional government (produced in part by the polarisation that the fascists abetted); conservative leaders who felt threatened by the loss of their capacity to keep the population under control, often at a moment of massive popular mobilisation; an advancing Left; conservative leaders who refused to work with that Left, and who felt unable to continue to govern against the Left without further reinforcement.
  • What the Nazis have introduced in Germany is a form of graduated Bolshevism, directing their first attack not against the capitalist class as a whole, but against Jewish capitalists, excoriated on racial rather than economic grounds…Nor is there reason to expect that the Nazis will stop at this point.
    • Vera Micheles Dean, Europe in Retreat, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York (1939 revised edition), p. 207
  • The modern State claims all of these powers, and, in the matter of theory, there is no real difference in the size of the claim between communists, fascists, and democrats.
    • Walter Lippman, A Preface to Morals, News Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publishers (1982) p. 80. First published in 1929.
  • Despite the relative breadth of their appeal, the Nazis, with 37 per cent of the vote in July 1932, didn't have enough seats in parliament to govern. In a new election in November, they lost two million votes. Moreover, although conservative politicians, like the business, military, and land-owning elites, were hostile to the Republic, they distrusted the Nazis as 'brown Bolsheviks', and preferred an authoritarian government run by themselves. The problem was that the elites, rightly or wrongly, felt that no government could survive without mass support. This conviction testified to the extent to which 'democratic' assumptions had penetrated even the reactionary right. It also reflected the army's fear that it couldn't maintain order against both Communists and Nazis. For want of alternatives, the conservatives made Hitler chancellor on 30 January 1933. Like Mussolini, Hitler alone bridged the gap between parliamentary and street politics.
  • How many individuals, movements, and regimes we categorize as 'fascist' depends on definition. If we define fascism simply as a desire to manipulate the mass, or a dictatorship, then a great many would qualify. If we add the criteria of racism and/or antisemitism, a different set would be included. The impossibility of agreeing on a definition means that attempts to identify 'true fascism' can never be decisive. However, this difficulty does not prevent us from examining similarities and differences between various movements or actual interactions and borrowings—'entanglements', as scholar call them. I shall ask how and for what purposes the terms 'fascist' and 'national socialist' were used. Tracing entanglements allows us to see that relation of fascists were strongest with conservative groups, dictatorial or parliamentarian.
  • What Fascism does not countenance is the collectivistic solution proposed by the Socialists. The chief defect of the socialistic method has been clearly demonstrated by the experience of the last few years. It does not take into account human nature, it is therefore outside of reality, in that it will not recognize that the most powerful spring of human activities lies in individual self interest and that therefore the elimination from the economic field of this interest results in complete paralysis.
    • Alfred Rocco, "The Political Doctrine of Fascism", (1925), Cited in Jeffrey Thompson Schnapp, Olivia E. Sears, Maria G. Stampino A Primer of Italian Fascism, University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
  • Marxism has led to Fascism and National-Socialism, because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.
  • The Mussolini regime's inability to overcome its rightist compromises, together with its doctrine and origins dissimilar from those of the Nazis, precluded any full convergence between the Mussolini and Hitler regimes. In turn the Hitler regime, in its rejection of Marxism and materialism and the formal principle of bureaucratic totalitarianism, did not take the same form as Russian communism. in spite of theories by critics about a supposed common totalitarianism. Some of the similarities and parallels include: Frequent recognition by Hitler and various Nazi leaders (and also Mussolini) that their only revolutionary and ideological counterparts were to be found in the Soviet Union.
    • Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press (1995) pp. 210-211
  • From the point of view of fundamental human liberties there is little to choose between communism, socialism, and national socialism. They all are examples of the collectivist or totalitarian state … in its essentials not only is completed socialism the same as communism but it hardly differs from fascism.
  • [F]ascism and communism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory—both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is the rightless slave of the state.
    • Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, New York: NY, Signet Book from the New American Library (1967) p. 180
  • Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism . . . As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction.
    • Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume 1, The Gathering Storm, Mariner Books (1985) pp. 13-14. First published in 1948.
  • As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. (...) Fascism embodied corporatism, in which political representation was based on trade and industry rather than on geography. In this, fascism revealed its roots in syndicalism, a form of socialism originating on the left.
  • From the point of view of fundamental human liberties there is little to choose between communism, socialism, and national socialism. They all are examples of the collectivist or totalitarian state … in its essentials not only is completed socialism the same as communism but it hardly differs from fascism.
  • Fascism has no long pedigree of theory, like Socialism, Liberalism, Communism and other products of the intellectual laboratory. Fascism is real insurrection, — an Insurrection of feeling, — a mutiny of men against the conditions of the modern world.
    • "James Drennan", William Edward David Allen, BUF: Oswald Mosley and British Fascism, John Murray, (1934) Also quoted in World Wide Magazine,, Volume 34, J.R. Dougall, F.E. Dougall., 1934
  • The line between fascism and Fabian socialism is very thin. Fabian socialism is the dream. Fascism is Fabian socialism plus the inevitable dictator.
    • John T. Flynn, The Road Ahead: America's Creeping Revolution, The Devin-Adair Company (1949) p. 149
  • [Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.
  • Fascist social welfare legislation compared favorably with the more advanced European nations and in some respect was more progressive.
    • A. James Gregor, Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press (1979) p. 263.
  • Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the ‘national interest’—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it.
    • The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, David R. Henderson, editor, “Fascism”, Sheldon Richman, 2nd edition, 2008 [1]
  • What is Fascism? It is socialism emancipated from democracy.
  • America made a god of unregulated anarchy in private enterprise. This, she falsely believed, was the only alternative to Socialism. Both in her success and in her failure, in her dizzy prosperity and in her cataclysmic depression, there is an instructive lesson. Throughout the boom she achieved, on a basis purely temporary, what organised planning and Corporate institutions can set on a permanent footing. The very energy of American libertarianism is the best argument for Fascist institutions.
  • Standing by me and helping my work as newspaper man were the Fascisti. They were composed of revolutionary spirits who believed in intervention. They were youths—the students of the universities, the socialist syndicalists—destroying faith in Karl Marx by their ideals.
    • Benito Mussolini, My Autobiography, New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1928. Reprinted in Benito Mussolini, My Rise And Fall, Volumes 1-2 Da Capo Press, 1998 (p.40).
  • My conception always was that Fascism must assume the characteristics of being anti-party. It was not to be tied to old or new schools of any kind. The name "Italian Fighting Fascisti" was lucky. It was most appropriate to a political action that had to face all the old parasites and programmes that had tried to deprave Italy. I felt that it was not only the anti-socialist battle we had to fight; this was only a battle on the way. ... It was therefore not sufficient to create—as some have said superficially—an anti-altar to the altar of socialism. It was necessary to imagine a wholly new political conception, adequate to the living reality of the twentieth century, overcoming at the same time the ideological worship of liberalism, the limited horizons of various spent and exhausted democracies, and finally the violently Utopian spirit of Bolshevism.
    • Benito Mussolini, My Autobiography, New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1928. Reprinted in Benito Mussolini, My Rise And Fall, Volumes 1-2 Da Capo Press, 1998 (p. 68-9)
  • Three-fourths of the Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state. And if I dare to introduce to Italy state capitalism or state socialism, which is the reverse side of the medal, I will have the necessary subjective and objective conditions to do it.
    • Benito Mussolini, quoted in The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy Since Unification, by Gianni Toniolo, editor, Oxford University Press (2013) p. 59. Mussolini’s speech to the Chamber of Deputies on May 26, 1934.
  • A party governing a nation “totalitarianly" is a new departure in history. There are no points of reference nor of comparison. From beneath the ruins of liberal, socialist, and democratic doctrines, Fascism extracts those elements which are still vital. It preserves what may be described as "the acquired facts" of history; it rejects all else. That is to say, it rejects the idea of a doctrine suited to all times and to all people. Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the " right ", a Fascist century. If the XIXth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the State.
  • When brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.
    • Benito Mussolini, "The Doctrine of Fascism" ("La dottrina del fascismo"). The 1935 edition from Vallecchi: Editore Firenze, p.15
  • Fascism recognizes the social utility of private property, which involves both a right and a duty. ... The National Fascist Party is in favour of a regime that encourages the growth of national wealth by spurring individual initiative and energy ... and it absolutely repudiates the motley, costly, and uneconomic machinery of state control, socialism, and municipalization.
    • National Fascist Party, programme, adopted by the Third Congress, Rome, 1921. Quoted in Charles Floyd Delzell, Mediterranean Fascism, 1919-45 Springer, 2 Jul 1971 (p.33). Also in Martin Blinkhorn, Fascism and the right in Europe, 1919-1945 New York : Longman, 2000. (p. 129)
  • Despite the fact that only the Nazi included into the title of their party designation ‘National Socialist’, fascism generally presented itself as socialist.
    • Mark Neocleous, Fascism, University of Minnesota Press (1997), p. 39
  • Spend most of the day reading fascisti leaflets. They certainly have turned the whole country into an army. From cradle to grave one is cast in the mould of fascismo and there can be no escape … It is certainly a socialist experiment in that it destroys individuality. It destroys liberty.
    • Harold Nicolson in his diary (6 January 1932), published in The Harold Nicolson Diaries : 1919-1964 (2004), pp. 87-8
  • Fascism in Italy was the work of the revolutionary Socialists, who, after opposing the war, were converted to its support as an extreme Radical movement, actually favourable to the cause of Socialism.
  • The British ruling class were not altogether wrong in thinking that Fascism was on their side. It is a fact that any rich man, unless he is a Jew, has less to fear from Fascism than from either Communism or democratic Socialism. One ought never to forget this, for nearly the whole of German and Italian propaganda is designed to cover it up.
    • George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn (1941), Part I : England Your England, §IV
  • Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes. Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state. Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and — this is the important point, and the real reason why rich men all over the world tend to sympathize with Fascism — generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution. But at the same time the State, which is simply the Nazi Party, is in control of everything. It controls investment, raw materials, rates of interest, working hours, wages. The factory owner still owns his factory, but he is for practical purposes reduced to the status of a manager. Everyone is in effect a State employee, though the salaries vary very greatly. The mere efficiency of such a system, the elimination of waste and obstruction, is obvious. In seven years it has built up the most powerful war machine the world has ever seen.
    But the idea underlying Fascism is irreconcilably different from that which underlies Socialism. Socialism aims, ultimately, at a world-state of free and equal human beings. It takes the equality of human rights for granted. Nazism assumes just the opposite. The driving force behind the Nazi movement is the belief in human inequality, the superiority of Germans to all other races, the right of Germany to rule the world. Outside the German Reich it does not recognize any obligations.
    • George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn (1941), Part II : Shopkeepers At War, §I
  • It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.
    Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
    But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.
  • The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable". The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning.Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
  • Given the opportunity, Mussolini would have been glad as late as 1920-21 to take under his wing the Italian Communists, for whom he felt great affinities: greater, certainly, than for democratic socialists, liberals and conservatives. Genetically, Fascism issued from the 'Bolshevik' wing of Italian socialism, not from any conservative ideology or movement.
    • Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books (1995) p. 253
  • Fascism was created by the nationalization of certain sectors of the revolutionary left, and the central role in its conceptual orientation was played by revolutionary syndicalists who embraced extreme nationalism. Revolutionary syndicalists, especially in Italy, were frequently intellectuals or theorists who had come out of the Marxist and Socialist party matrix but had struggled to transcend limitations or errors that they believed they found in orthodox Marxism.
    • Stanley G. Payne, Fascism: Comparison and Definition, University of Wisconsin Press (1980) p. 42
  • Bolshevism and Fascism were heresies of socialism.
    • Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books/Random House (1985) p. 253.
  • It is true that the welfare-statists are not socialists, that they never advocated or intended the socialization of private property, that they want to 'preserve' private property-with government control of its use and disposal. But that is the fundamental characteristic of fascism.
    • Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, chap. 20: “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus,” New York: NY, Signet Book/New American Library (1967) p. 211
  • Fascism grew out of the conservatism of the Social Democrats on the one hand and the narrow-mindedness and senility of the capitalists on the other hand. It did not embody those ideals that had been advocated by its predecessors in a practical way, but solely in an ideological way (and this was the only thing that mattered to the masses of people whose psychic structures were ridden with illusions). It included the most brutal political reaction, the same political reaction that had devastated human life and property in the middle Ages. It paid tribute to so-called native tradition in a mystical and brutal way, which had nothing to do with a genuine feeling for one’s native country and attachment to the soil. By calling itself’ socialist’ and ‘revolutionary’, it took over the unfulfilled functions of the socialists. By dominating industrial magnates, it took over capitalism. From now on, the achievement of ‘socialism’ was entrusted to an all-powerful fuhrer who had been sent by God. The powerlessness and helplessness of the masses of people gave impetus to this fuhrer ideology, which had been implanted in man’s structure by the authoritarian school and nourished by the church and compulsive family. The ‘salvation of the nation’ by an all-powerful fuhrer who had been sent by God was in complete accord with the intense desire of the masses for salvation. Incapable of conceiving of themselves as having a different nature, their subservient structure eagerly imbibed the idea of man’s immutability and of the ‘natural division of humanity into the few who lead and the many who are led’. Now the responsibility rested in the hands of a strong man. In fascism or wherever else it is encountered, this fascist fuhrer ideology rests upon the mystical hereditary idea of man’s immutable nature, upon the helplessness, craving for authority, and incapacity for freedom of the masses of people. Admitted that the formula, ‘Man requires leadership and discipline’, ‘authority and order’, can be justified in terms of man’s present anti-social structure, the attempt to eternalize this structure and to hold it to be immutable is reactionary. The fascist ideology had the best of intentions. Those who did not recognize this subjective honesty failed altogether to comprehend fascism and its attraction for the masses. Since the problem of the human structure was never brought up or discussed, let alone mastered, the idea of a non authoritarian, self-regulatory society was looked upon as chimerical and Utopian.
  • Fascism began as a rejection of the idea that reason could be used to understand society and resulted, Sternhell argues, in the formation of a ‘new generation of intellectuals [which] rose violently against the rationalist individuals of liberal society’. These intellectuals absorbed the synthesised socialism and nationalism and thus created a new ideology, ‘a socialism without the proletariat’, which duly became fascism. This ideology Sternhell describes as being ‘a synthesis of organic nationalism and anti-Marxist socialism,…’
    • David Renton, Fascism: Theory and Practice, London: UK, Pluto Press (1999) p. 20
  • Fascism is used by the bourgeoisie when the latter consider itself no longer able to fight off the peril of a socialist revolution. Fascism is, therefore, organic to the logics of capitalism and represents a more authoritarian handling that bosses temporary use, when necessary, in order to maintain their rule.
  • Marxists could be converted to national socialism, as indeed quite a number of them were, similarly, national socialism could sign treaties with Communist, exchange ambassadors, and coexist with the, if only temporarily. Nothing like this, however, applied to the Jews.
    • Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press (1994) p. 5
  • [Fascist ideology was] a variety of socialism which, while rejecting Marxism, remained revolutionary. This form of socialism was also, by definition, anti-liberal and anti-bourgeois, and its opposition to historical materialism made it the natural ally of radical nationalism.
    • Zeev Sternhell, Neither Left nor Right: Fascist Ideology in France, Princeton University Press (1996) p. 268
  • Fascism presented itself not only as an alternative, but also as the heir to socialism.
    • J.L. Talmon, The Myth of the Nation and the Vision of Revolution, University of California Press, 1981, p. 501
  • The movement in Germany is analogous mostly to the Italian. It is a mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement. The genuine basis (for fascism) is the petty bourgeoisie. In Italy, it has a very large base — the petty bourgeoisie of the towns and cities, and the peasantry. In Germany, likewise, there is a large base for fascism.
  • Marxism has led to Fascism and National-Socialism, because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.
  • If there is one thing all Fascists and National Socialists agreed on, it was their hostility to capitalism.
    • Eugen Weber, Varieties of Fascism: Doctrine of Revolution in the Twentieth Century, Princeton, NJ, D. Van Nostrand, 1964, p. 47
  • Fascism appears in the world precisely after the October Revolution; fascism appears in the world as a tool against Marxism-Leninism. Capitalist and imperialist countries created the conditions for the rise of fascism in the world; and the whole fascist campaign, since its first appearance in Europe, was based on anti-communism, on communists' slaughter and on the destruction of the Soviet Union.
  • And in their common hostility to democratic parliamentary government, the Fascists and Communists often found themselves appealing to the same kinds of alienated people. A good many Fascists (beginning with Mussolini himself) came from the ranks of left-wing Marxism and syndicalism, and when the Fascist regime was overthrown in 1943-45 it was not hard for a certain number of ex-Blackshirts to swing to left-wing political extremism.
    • Charles F. Delzell, edit., Mediterranean Fascism 1919-1945, New York, NY, Walker and Company, 1971, p. xiii
  • Neither Stalinism nor Fascist totalitarianism would have been possible without the transmogrified Marxism, that infilled both.
    • A. James Gregor, Marxism, Fascism & Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism, Stanford University Press, 2009, p. 293
  • [Italian] Fascism was a variant of classical Marxism, a belief system that pressed some themes argued by both Marx and Engels until they found expression in the form of ‘national syndicalism’ that was to animate the first Fascism.
    • A. James Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (1979) p. xi
  • Fascism's most direct ideological inspiration came from the collateral influence of Italy's most radical 'subversives' — the Marxists of revolutionary syndicalism.
    • A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, (2000), p. 130
  • Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.
  • The first Fascists were almost all Marxists—serious theorists who had long been identified with Italy’s intelligentsia of the Left.
    • A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century, New Haven: Connecticut, Yale University Press (2000) p. 20.
  • Fascism cannot be comprehensively understood without an understanding of Marxism.
    • Robert Michels, as quoted in Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism, A. James Gregor, Berkeley: CA, The University of California Press (1979) p. 1
  • The initial press commentary in Moscow on the formation of the first Mussolini government was not overwhelmingly anti-Fascist, despite the Duce’s talk of a ‘revolutionary rivalry’ with Lenin. Fascism was sometimes perceived not inaccurately as more of a heresy from, rather than a moral challenge to, revolutionary Marxism.
    • Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, p. 126
  • Russia was the example for fascism. ... Whether party ‘communists’ like it or not, the fact remains that the state order and rule in Russia are indistinguishable from those in Italy and Germany. Essentially they are alike. One may speak of a red, black, or brown ‘soviet state’, as well as of red, black or brown fascism.
  • Fascism is merely a copy of bolshevism.
    • Otto Rühle, “The Struggle Against Fascism Begins with the Struggle Against Bolshevism,” the American Councillist journal Living Marxism, (1939) Vol. 4, No. 8.
  • In the form that it emerged at the turn of the century and developed in the 1920s and 1930s, the fascist ideology represented a synthesis of organic nationalism with the antimaterialist revision of Marxism.
    • Zeev Sternhell, with Mario Sznajder and Maia Asheri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press (1994) p. 6
  • Fascism began as a revision of Marxism by Marxists,…
  • Social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.... These organisations (ie Fascism and social democracy) are not antipodes, they are twins.
    • Joseph Stalin, “Concerning the International Situation,” Works, Vol. 6, January-November, 1924, pp. 293-314.
  • If the Fascist ideology cannot be described as a simple response to Marxism, its origins, on the other hand, were the direct result of very specific revision of Marxism. It was a revision of Marxism and not a variety of Marxism or a consequence of Marxism...It was the French and Italian Sorelians, the theoreticians of revolutionary syndicalism who made this new and original revision of Marxism, and precisely this was their contribution to the birth of the Fascist ideology.
    • Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution with Mario Sznajder, Maia Asheri, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press (1995) p. 5
  • In Fascism, as in Communism, the idea of the future was based on a critique of bourgeois modernity… It rose from a variety of currents and from authors of very different origins, all of whom demonized the bourgeoisie. The doctrine was cast as post-Marxist, not as pre-liberal.
    • François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) p. 175
  • It is well known that Sorellian Syndicalism, out of which the thought and the political method of Fascism emerged—conceived itself the genuine interpretation of Marxist communism.
    • Giovanni Gentile, Che cosa è il fascismo: Discorsi e polemiche , (“What is Fascism?”), Florence: Vallecchi, (1925), Origins and Doctrine of Fascism , A. James Gregor, translator and editor, Transaction Publishers (2003) p. 59
  • Thus, by 1925, both Leninism and Fascism, variants of Marxism, had created political and economic systems that shared singular properties . . . Both sought order and disciple of entire populations in the service of an exclusivistic party and an ideology that found its origins in classical Marxism ... Both created a kind of ‘state capitalism,’ informed by a unitary party, and responsible to a ‘charismatic’ leader.
    • A. James Gregor, Marxism, Fascism & Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism, Stanford University Press, 2009, p. 293
  • The intellectual origins of Fascism share central tenets with the Non-Marxist Left.
    • Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War, Oxford, England, UK: Oxford University Press (2011) p. 253
  • Where mass-mobilizing ‘revolutionary Marxists’ have come to power, and remained in power sufficiently long to create a viable political system, what they have generally succeeded in creating is a reasonable analogue of the Fascist state.
    • A. James Gregor, The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press (1974) p. 134

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