fascism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Nov 7 07:33:59 MST 1995


On Mon, 6 Nov 1995, Tom Condit wrote:

> this context, movements based on nostalgia for some real or
> imagined "orderly" past found a ready ground--not merely fascism,
> but monarchism, etc., etc.
>
Louis: This is an aspect of the fascism of Franco and Mussolini, but
these fascisms and, to a greater degree, the fascism of Hitler
incorporates a powerful insurrectionary dynamic against "order". In
Trotsky's "Whither France" (an excellent work that somebody might want to
report on), he argues that workers and petty-bourgeoisie alike are driven
to "desperate" measures by economic collapse. The fascists appear more
revolutionary than the Popular Front CP and SP's and will become a pole of
attraction.

The way to defeat fascism, Trotsky argues, is not to be more responsible and
moderate, but to be more "extreme". Half-measures guarantee the success of
fascism in a pre-revolutionary period.

> In analyzing fascist movements outside the framework of Europe in
> the 1920s and 1930s, I think it's necessary to be very careful of
> drawing false parallels.  I don't have any trouble, for instance,
> calling the Shiv Sena "fascist", but from what I remember of the
> Indian National Army the term would be totally inappropriate as
> applied to them.
>
Louis: Is Shiv Sena the ultra-nationalist outfit that preaches Hindu
racial superiority and that has been burning mosques? What if this group
had been in competition with Ghandi during the struggle for national
independence and was burning Anglican churches and English businesses
instead of those belonging to Moslems? Is this so far different from the
Boxer rebellion or the Sepoy rebellion which was not class-based at all,
but an outburst of xenophobia directed against the colonists. What makes
Shiv Sena fascist? It's ideology? Or its social base and political
dynamic? Or a combination of both? If Shiv Sena is fascist, could we also
describe the pre-PLO Palestinian resistance as "fascist" as well. It
specialized in crude antisemitism, tried to forge alliances with Hitler,
but by the same token was a distorted voice of Palestinian nationalism.
Is Palestinian ultra-nationalism the same as right-wing Zionism?

Finally, on Bottomore. Can there be a "dictionary" of Marxist thought?
Has anybody ever looked at Bukharin and Preobrezhensky's "ABC's of
Communism"? Dreadful stuff. Perhaps one of the problems in discussing
issues such as populism, nationalism, fascism, etc. is that the
specificity of each occurrence defies easy categorization?


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