Sociology Index

FASCISM

Dictatorship, Democracy, Military Dictatorship, Communist State, Stratocracy, Totalitarianism

Fascism is  political doctrine opposed to democracy and demanding submission to political leadership and authority. A key principle of fascism is the belief that the whole society has a shared destiny and purpose which can only be achieved by iron discipline, obedience to leadership and an all-powerful state.

Fascism first developed in Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Italy influenced the development of German fascism in the Nazi movement led by Adolf Hitler. Fascism increases the power and role of the state in society and suppresses free trade unions and political opposition. Fascism preserves private ownership and private property.

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. Fascism emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction.

To this end, fascism calls for a "spiritual revolution" against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge "alien" forces and groups that threaten the organic community.

Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, fascism promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. Fascism may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries.

Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes fascism may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.

Fascism's approach to politics is both populist, in that it seeks to activate "the people" as a whole against perceived oppressors or enemies, and elitist, in that fascism treats the people's will as embodied in a select group, or often one supreme leader, from whom authority proceeds downward.

Fascism seeks to organize a cadre-led mass movement in a drive to seize state power. - Matthew N. Lyons (Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort).

Fascists particularly loathed the social theories of the French Revolution and its slogan: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

Equality in the sense of civic equality, egalitarianism, the notion that while people differ, they all should stand equal in the eyes of the law.

This is what fascism as an ideology was reacting against and its support came primarily from desperate people anxious and angry over their perception that their social and economic position was sinking and frustrated with the constant risk of chaos, uncertainty and inefficiency implicit in a modern democracy based on these principles. Fascism is the antithesis of democracy.