Fascism

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Nationalistic, authoritarian, anti-communist political concept, the enemy of liberal democracy. Takes its name from the Roman allegory of state authority: a bundle of rods bound around an ax (fascio). This political ideology and organization were created in Italy in 1919 by Benito Mussolini. It claimed to be neither capitalist nor socialist, but advocated a corporativist State. It was the model for Germany (Nazism), Spain (Falangism) and Japan in that period. The British Fascist Union was founded in the United Kingdom, and the Croix de Feu in France. Together with national socialism, f. constitutes the most radical anti-humanist movement. F. denies human rights and leads to the degradation of the personality. F. aspired to establish a new order – the millennial fascist State – through war, and in this endeavor it was principally responsible for unleashing the Second World War, which by official count cost more than fifty million human lives. The fascist regime is tyrannical, dictatorial and rigidly hierarchical. Its principle is “the leader is always right,” and the duty of each person is unconditional obedience to the leader. It is a totalitarian regime, which rejects democracy and establishes the monopoly of the fascist party, concentrating in its hands all economic, political and ideological power. The fascist system is militaristic par excellence and converts all inhabitants of a country into soldiers who carry out the will of the leader. For f., the nation state stands above everything. It is a repressive regime that allows no opposition, no dissent. The fascist ideology is eclectic and contradictory. It groups together mutually exclusive ideas, mixing elements of socialism, nationalism, paganism, elitism, egalitarianism and militarism. It posits violence as the absolute method for social and political control. F. promoted the model of rapid social mobilization to carry out a "national objective.” Since f. utilized subversion and violence as its principal methods of political action, in addition to clandestine forms of organization, its parties have been declared illegal since the Second World War. This has obliged fascists to create neo-fascist organizations, which deny their fascist origins while using fascist methods and ideas, modernizing and disguising them in the form of xenophobic nationalist movements. These groups have gained strength especially in Italy, Germany, France and Austria. N.H. considers that the threat of fascism demands the urgent implementation of reforms to resolve the problems of unemployed youth, bankrupt small businesses, jobless professionals and public employees, impoverished retired workers, and other marginal groups. In order to avoid the rise of inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in the current process of European and American regional integration, it is necessary to bear in mind the problem of national identity and of ethnic and cultural minorities; it is important to provide economic and social assistance to less developed countries in order to lessen the stimulus for migrations toward more developed areas. These measures can reduce the social base of neofascist movements and extend the reach of democracy.