Critical Moments: Strength Through Unity

The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative. Individuals and groups are admissible in so far as they come within the State. Instead of directing the game and guiding the material and moral progress of the community, the liberal State restricts its activities to recording results. The Fascist State is wide awake and has a will of its own.

Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism” (1932)

One of the challenges in coherently defining fascism is that there’s never been a single platform or consistent ideology. In certain contexts it’s a definitively right-wing phenomenon, as in Hungary or Serbia today, while in others it doesn’t map neatly onto a left/right spectrum, as in Mussolini’s Italy. In France and Serbia, fascists use the social upheavals around gay rights to gain leverage by emphasizing homophobia; on the other hand, extreme right parties that focus more on Islamophobia and anti-immigrant populism may have active gay supporters, even leaders, such as the assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Many brands of fascism are anti-Semitic, while others focus on xenophobia or anti-black racism but have no particular qualm with Jews; for example, Mussolini only began repression against Italian Jews, many of whom had supported the early years of the fascist regime, when alliance with Hitler’s rabidly anti-Semitic Germany became centrally important.

In practice, fascism has been opportunistic, shifting according to different political circumstances. For instance, the focus on Islamophobia among European fascists today would have seemed irrelevant during the 1920s and 30s, but today offers a basis for right-wing populism among Europeans who feel threatened by the presence of large numbers of [Muslim] immigrants among them.

CrimethInc., The Ex-Worker #11: Never Forgive and Never Forget (2014)

You can’t have a Fascist government without the individual fascists supporting it. The people who not only accept it but embrace it as well. It’s the see-something-say-something-signs plastered all over the metros in every major city, the newly proposed “counter-extremism” agencies already working unofficially to encourage people to [surveil] and snitch on people in their own community, and one that also makes anyone who objects or speaks out against the state look like a terrorist. It’s Darren Wilson getting a Go-Fund-Me account filled with thousands of dollars from sympathizers after he murdered Michael Brown. It’s ICE raids in the middle of the night breaking apart families, snatching parents away from their children and sending them back to their countries of origin, or to be held in prisons for profit. It’s FBI investigations in mosques entrapping Muslim people just so that they can justify their funding. It’s transwomen getting killed in the streets for just trying to walk fucking home. Fascism is gentrification, and the class divide present in the streets, with the various colored shirts on private police patrolling the streets of Downtown Los Angeles on bicycles harassing houseless people, having been called upon by white business owners or loft dwellers to protect property in conjunction with their lobbyists in the Central City Association. Fascism looks like being stopped and frisked on the streets just for being Black or Brown, a system in which these very same people are funneled into a justice system where state and private officials either individually profit due to career advancement or financially through the investment of private prison industries. Fascism looks like prisons threatening to sue states that do not aid in filling up their prisons to capitalize on their forced housing and forced labor. And at the macro level what global Fascism is when private companies and governments come to work together, such as William Bratton being the Chief of Police in New York and yet works with fascist Israel in financing police surveillance and training along with marketing it for an international audience of governmental bodies. Where the body cams being worn by the police are not to insure that the police are abiding the law but to better [surveil] the citizenry.

Bobby London, “The New Hip Fascist State” (2015)

Redefining the Right Wing

Let me begin by agreeing that political conservatism is typically born in reaction and backlash...Postwar conservatism in America has certainly been defined by a series of reactions against rapid or large-scale social and political changes.