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This is silly. There is an entire academic sub-discipline which works on nothing but the definition of fascism, the "fascist minimum" (a number of things which have to be fullfiled for a regime or movement to qualify for fascism, see Griffin et al.).

A fascist is not just some right-wing authoritarian guy you don't like. This use of the word is a Soviet hold-over, as the Stalinists hardly could call the Nazis National Socialists (uh-oh) so instead they called them Fascists. They still do that in Russia.

Anyway, after the war many European hard left parties were more or less remote-controlled from Moscow, and their exposure to Soviet propaganda influenced the words they used. Nazis became fascists, missiles became rockets, and atomic never changed into nuclear. Hence you could hear people in the so-called peace movement of the 80's protesting against the deployment of "atomic rockets".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 04:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This casts a very interesting light on Sara Palin's name. (From the Griffin link):

Palingenetic ultranationalism is a theory concerning generic fascism formulated by British political theorist Roger Griffin.[1][2] The key elements are that fascism can be defined by its core myth, namely that of "national rebirth" -- palingenesis.[1][2] Griffin argues that the unique synthesis of palingenesis and ultranationalism differentiates fascism from para-fascism and other authoritarian nationalist ideologies.

For me the more generic aspect of fascism is the state's appropriation of the right to define everything to its satisfaction and use force to insure compliance. It is sort of an abstraction from Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism as remembered from my grad school days. One of Mig's sig lines highlights this in terms of the operational attitude of most police organizations.

I will have to more carefully read Griffin before I can say whether his definition is more intended to demonstrate who is vs. who is not a fascist. (I.E. 'Not us, certainly!')

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean this one?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:23:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me the more generic aspect of fascism is the state's appropriation of the right to define everything to its satisfaction and use force to insure compliance.

Using this definition, even communism becomes fascism. This might be useful in some ways (like when you want to say that you don't like commies ("they're fascists!" (thus ironically using a Soviet-communist nomenclatura...)), but it's certainly not very stringent.

Your definition of fascism is pretty close to what I would just call "totalitarianism". Fascism is totalitarian, but not all totalitarianism is fascism.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The term 'fascism' comes from the fascies, or bindings, that held together the bundle of rods around the headmans's axe that the fascista carried. Those bindings also symbolized those that bound together the community in a common morality. But the modern useage more commonly gives priority to corporatism as the guiding principle - what ever the corporatists want. But, historically, the fascist government gets away from the control of the corporatists even as it continues to serve their interests, at least in the view of the state.

A more polite description is that the USA is run by a commercial oligarchy, per Lewis Lapham:

As was true in the early years of the Republic the country is governed by a commercial oligarchy. And a citizen who cannot afford the luxury of a contrary opinion learns of necessity to dance the beggars waltz.

What has changed is that significant elements of that oligarchy, through their financial support of the electoral process, have come to be self consciously above the reach of laws that should affect how the operate their businesses. The government has come to be the instrument through which they control the country to their benefit and that government has developed practical omniscience concerning the activities of the citizens which is turned against those citizens who challenge their actions, even when those challenges are of the nature of a conscientious objection. The Bradley Mannings and Aaron Schwartz's of the contemporary scene have the full power of the state turned against them with massively disproportionate charges being filed as an example to others.  
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 08:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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