More fascism

Jukka Laari jlaari at kanto.cc.jyu.fi
Sun Jun 11 11:35:52 MDT 1995


Just some first instance thoughts...

1.

What about historical considerations, Jerry? You do imply it by saying=20
that hitlerism was kind of fascism, and that fascism is 20th century=20
phenomenon, but I'd like to have a bit clearer line between fascist and=20
(popular) right-wing governments/orders.=20

I mean, 1920's Italy wasn't 1930's Germany wasn't Francos Spain etc. I=20
think that there are some differences between several fascist political=20
orders, but I can't formulate any general reality-based (not only=20
theoretically constructed) difference.=20

2.

Someone once wrote that all (except Czechoslovakia and Finland; Soviet=20
Union is not included in this picture) eastern European states were more=20
or less fascist before second world war. It implies that they were not=20
parliamentarian democracies but either totalitarian one party systems or=20
dictatorships? I don't know if that is true. But there were strong=20
right-wing parties and popular movements=B4everywhere in eastern Europe,=20
all the way from Italy to Finland. And surely none of them was a=20
'democracy' in a common western sense. At least communist party was=20
illegal.=20

This leads me to second problem - on the level of movement: when=20
right-wing popular movement turns into fascistic movement?=20

There might be racist, nationalistic and totalitarian 'fasces' ideas in=20
the discourses and ideology of some popular right-wing movement and yet=20
you can't call that particular movement as fascist. But at some moment it=
=20
definitely is fascist. What has happened? In my opinion, something has=20
happened in the socio-cultural structures of that movement. What that=20
means is another question...

By the way, there might be clear, sometimes strong anti-capitalistic=20
slogans in the ideology of some fascist movement, especially in the=20
'fighting period', when it is fighting for political power and tries to=20
please workers as well as poor agrarian groups. But these slogans and=20
ideas regularly seem to disappear when the fascist order has emerged -=20
I'm not sure about that, how about peronism & Argentina?

3.

Lastly, is it enough to consider fascism as polical movement? I mean that=
=20
there is something more than plain politics in a proper sense: those=20
movements create new ways of imagining (and thinking), of this-and-that.=20
Those movements create new 'social realities' or something like that? Let=
=20
me explain: some popular right-wing movement (with clearly fascist=20
ideology) gets support, more and more people learn to trust in that=20
movement, more and more people learn new ways to act (in bars & cafes as=20
well as at home and at work place; in relation to their wives and=20
husbands and children as well as to their superiors &=20
whatever-is-the-opposite-to-superior, etc). And at one moment we simply=20
will realise that it is fascism proper, that this society or community=20
(some weird local fascism) is now fascist.=20

Like you mentioned, there are racist, nationalistic and other elements in=
=20
fascism. But the latter cannot be reduced to the former ones. There might=
=20
be some (more or less clearly) fascist society but it doesn't show any=20
signs of, say, anti-communism, totalitarianism and militarism. It could=20
be some sort of 'liberal fascism'? I mean, how could we know, in=20
advance, what forms our good, old beast will take tomorrow?=20

We have all these electronic media(s?) which are truly new=20
socio-cultural and therefore political element in our analyses. Even=20
radio wasn't very commonplace phenomenon before the big war. What if we=20
are living in a new 'liberal fascist' world? What if the difference=20
between liberal democracy and liberal fascism is just a point of view of=20
observer? What if 'radical fascism' of Hitler and Mussolini was just a=20
minor step in the development of modern fascism?

Or is this too pessimistic? I don't know, perhaps... In any case,=20
something has happened; in the way we are structured as subjects, in the=20
areas or spheres of our Lebenswelt/life-world, in the role technology=20
(high tech, as they say) plays in our lives, in the moral codes (since=20
the WW2 and camps), and in our 'totalities' of social relations.=20

Yours, Jukka Laari


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