seminar on Fascism

g.maclennan at g.maclennan at
Sat Oct 21 20:29:07 MDT 1995

I am hot to trot (no pun intended) on this one. But Vann Woodward is not
so easily available here. Louis is keen to anchor the discussion in
political rather than abstract philosophical approacehes and I support
that.  However it might be a good idea to try and outline what exactly
are the potential areas of disagreement or controversy in terms of themes.
For example

1. Origins of Fascism
This has already been touched upon in an earlier post on Sternhell, I
think.  Surely not too contorversial but of some interest especially if it
touches upon the weird and contradictory and revolting ideas that fascists

2. The class composition of fascism.

Most controversial of all especially for those of us who want to retain a
notion of it as a movement of the radical petty bourgeoisie, Michael Mann
notwithstanding.  But we should "seek truth from facts" here.

I am also interested in something about the gender and sexuality of
Fascism.  I was very interested to read Mann's reference to the numbere
of women who took part in Fascist movements.  I also think it is crucial
that we deal with the sexuality issue. Some of the Nazis were homosexual
for instance and the glorious German Communist party it seems tried to use
this to discredit the Nazis.

3. Fighting fascism.

Also controversial.  Something needs to come in
here of G.Dimitrov's book and general line and of course the Popular
Front- truly Stalin's poisonous legacy to generation upon generation of
revolutionaries.  We need something about the
Trotskyist tradition which has Fascism as the greatest of all evils and
one that must be fought at all levels always. I am sympathetic to this
except I get pissed off at Pedantic Trotskyism which makes a fetish about
the "correct" use of the label "fascist", but they're probably correct.

4. How Fascism comes to Power.

Very important in terms of what we should get alarmed about.
Is a conservative-radical split in Fascism always necessary?  Do they
have to
pledge to the ruling class a purge of their radical wing as in the night
of the long knives?

5. Fascism in differing countries.

Are the differences critical?  All things in the USA fascinate me but we
should try and broaden the analysis to include other countries.



My final word on the MMM.  Rakesh has given us a brilliant analysis of
LF. He is making the assumption that this applies with equal force to the
MMM.  It is this linking that I dispute.  But this will all be resolved
by time.  I prefer to see LF as someone who is riding a wave when it gets
big enough the scum bag will get dumped.

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