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The secret history of fascism

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William B Stoecker: We are told that there is a political spectrum extending from communism on the left to fascism on the right. Aside from a few brain-dead Marxists, most people understand that communism inevitably means tyranny. No communist state in history has ever evolved into the promised “classless society.” In North Korea, where an entire nation has been transformed into a giant concentration camp, communism has become a hereditary monarchy. Most people do understand that fascism (its German variety is Nazism) means tyranny. Fascist states are always militaristic and follow an aggressive foreign policy, and always have a powerful secret police apparatus and a controlled mass media. Dissidents are always imprisoned, and often tortured and murdered. But isn’t this all an absurdity, a contradiction in terms? By definition a spectrum goes from one extreme to another, from red to violet, from light to dark, or from freedom to tyranny. A spectrum with tyranny at both ends is, by definition, not a spectrum. So let me propose an alternative. On the left is fascism, the ultimate tyranny, whether it is called fascism, Nazism, communism, or Marxism. On the right is anarchy. In the middle is free republican government with a written constitution to limit the power of that government.

Fascism was established in Italy by Benito Mussolini. Far from being a “right winger,” he was, like his father, a lifelong socialist, but he went further and advocated revolutionary socialism…communism. After coming to power, he established a socialist economy with government control over large sectors of the economy, and massive public spending. And, of course, he controlled the media, imprisoned dissidents, and led Italy into a disastrous war.

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Well it is fitting that I should be the first to comment on this article beign that I created this new political scale (left to right) about two years ago. I have written about it on the internet in various places before.

Any scale must measure something. The academic myth that communism and socialism are to the far left and that fascism is to the far right measures nothing politically.

I had proposed that a political scale should measure 'indivdual liberty'. That the furhter to the right you go then the more individual liberty you have. The further to the left you go then the more state control and less individual liberty you have.

I started poposing this years ago and I had seen Glenn Beck pick up on it once and now of course this article as well.

In my opinion though anarchy is an illusion. It can never be maintained and can only happen naturally. So it is not a real political system. To the far right I would place libertarianism and then conservatism would follow after. Both political systems of capitalism.

Socialism and fascism are like brother and sister ideologies. Very similair in many ways. As the writer points out most socialist systems become fascist in practise throughout history. They seem to be more like two different methods of achieving the same thing (state control).

Here is something I wrote to a FRiend just a couple of days ago in regards to the economic fascist system and it's relation to America today:

One of the main points that needs to be understood in regards to economic fascism is that it emphasized a ‘third way’ in relation to socialism and capitalism.

Whereas the socialist endorsed complete government or collective ownership and control of economic activity, and the capitalist in contrast endorsed complete private or individual ownership and control of economic activity, the fascist endorsed a ‘third way’ whereas either method could be used as long as economic activity served the state.

The main ideological principle of fascism is for all activity (private sector or public sector) to serve the state.

That is why the symbol of the fasces is branches intertwined. The private sector and the public sector intertwined. All areas of life to serve the state. In practice fascism would have all business entities intertwined with government whereas instead of simply operating on free market principles, each business would operate by a combination of political principles (or agendas) and free market principles both.

This is what we have for the most part in the United States today. The housing market and the banking markets have not been operating on simply free market principles but have been heavily intertwined with political agendas. This is the same ideology that the progressive movement wants to bring to all industry under the banner of the greenie movement as well. All companies must intertwine the greenie political agenda with their free market strategies according to the plan that they set forth. The progressive movement seeks to do the same with healthcare (intertwine their political agendas and the free market) The progressive movement goal is to try to get everyone marching lockstep in every aspect of life.

The progressive movement is a fascist movement. Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” is a great book and helps expose a lot of this.

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I personally see the political "spectrum" as being circular. I originally came to that opinion based on the shifting political world we live in now ( I.E. the dreaded 'neocons' would have been liberals in the 60's). Since then however I do believe that extremists are cut from the same cloth. The philosophical extremes on the right and the left very closely mirror each other and it often is a matter of semantics more than anything else which separates them.

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Well it is fitting that I should be the first to comment on this article beign that I created this new political scale (left to right) about two years ago. I have written about it on the internet in various places before.

Any scale must measure something. The academic myth that communism and socialism are to the far left and that fascism is to the far right measures nothing politically.

I had proposed that a political scale should measure 'indivdual liberty'. That the furhter to the right you go then the more individual liberty you have. The further to the left you go then the more state control and less individual liberty you have.

I started poposing this years ago and I had seen Glenn Beck pick up on it once and now of course this article as well.

In my opinion though anarchy is an illusion. It can never be maintained and can only happen naturally. So it is not a real political system. To the far right I would place libertarianism and then conservatism would follow after. Both political systems of capitalism.

Socialism and fascism are like brother and sister ideologies. Very similair in many ways. As the writer points out most socialist systems become fascist in practise throughout history. They seem to be more like two different methods of achieving the same thing (state control).

Here is something I wrote to a FRiend just a couple of days ago in regards to the economic fascist system and it's relation to America today:

Interesting.

I think too that fascism and communism are so alike it’s hard to find a true difference between them. But one is extreme right, the other is extreme left. Why changing the existing affectionate names for political options, you're confusing simple people like me with that, just imagine that allegoric band that is marked like this:

Leftiest, leftier, left, slightly left, centre, slightly right, rightier, rightest

has its far left and far right ends meet, forming an anti-centre.

Taa-daa.

Speaking of individual liberty, every blood sucking construction will advertise itself with statements about enormous individual liberties it offers, but in reality, there’s a choice between liberty and security. One can’t have it both in the same time, simply because people – on average - are greedy, immoral b*******.

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one definition of liberty is the ability to choose. We are losing our ability to choose be it health care insurance or our freedom of speech. Choose your next words carefully for this is Sparta. America has become the new Sparta from the most powerful military to the discarding of unwanted babies by abortion. This was a good article Bill, keep up the good work.

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William B Stoecker: We are told that there is a political spectrum extending from communism on the left to fascism on the right. Aside from a few brain-dead Marxists, most people understand that communism inevitably means tyranny. No communist state in history has ever evolved into the promised “classless society.” In North Korea, where an entire nation has been transformed into a giant concentration camp, communism has become a hereditary monarchy. Most people do understand that fascism (its German variety is Nazism) means tyranny. Fascist states are always militaristic and follow an aggressive foreign policy, and always have a powerful secret police apparatus and a controlled mass media. Dissidents are always imprisoned, and often tortured and murdered. But isn’t this all an absurdity, a contradiction in terms? By definition a spectrum goes from one extreme to another, from red to violet, from light to dark, or from freedom to tyranny. A spectrum with tyranny at both ends is, by definition, not a spectrum. So let me propose an alternative. On the left is fascism, the ultimate tyranny, whether it is called fascism, Nazism, communism, or Marxism. On the right is anarchy. In the middle is free republican government with a written constitution to limit the power of that government.

Fascism was established in Italy by Benito Mussolini. Far from being a “right winger,” he was, like his father, a lifelong socialist, but he went further and advocated revolutionary socialism…communism. After coming to power, he established a socialist economy with government control over large sectors of the economy, and massive public spending. And, of course, he controlled the media, imprisoned dissidents, and led Italy into a disastrous war.

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Got to admit, i never knew that, and in my home of heritage. :ph34r:

Guess it's no surprise the masses hung upside down beating him & the mrs to death like a dusting a rug in the middle of vatican square, pity they never dusted some of them bandwagon two faced jumping church hierarchy as well.

He did fascist state a fact that *almost rings true today;

Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power. -Benito Mussolini

*more like, control of corporate power over government power.

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Trueyoutrueme

Does Imperialism merit a place in your L to R Scale?

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Trueyoutrueme

Does Imperialism merit a place in your L to R Scale?

Yes sure it does. The Soviet Union spread their imperialism from nation to nation through force. Hitler tried the same. There is nothing free about forcing other nations to be under your rule.

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Yes sure it does. The Soviet Union spread their imperialism from nation to nation through force. Hitler tried the same. There is nothing free about forcing other nations to be under your rule.

How about American Imperialism?

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How about American Imperialism?

I do not see America as an imperialistic nation though.

I do know that there is left-wing propaganda that claims such (I have read the arguments) but I disagree.

Edited by TRUEYOUTRUEME

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But where on the Scale is Imperialism? To the left, or to the right?

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But where on the Scale is Imperialism? To the left, or to the right?

By my definition it would be to the left as it denies a free market and forces one nations rule over another nation for no reason but to control their people and economic freedom. Imperialism is not a partnership between nations but a rule of one nation over another in everyway (not just for National Defense reasons). The Soviet Union and other left-wing countries have done this many times throughout history but the United States has not ever done that. The U.S. may act for National Defense reasons but never has been imperialistic.

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I suppose it's a back-door kind of imperialism. Help other countries, offer them trade and expertise, make them reliant on you. In return, they can host your military bases and you have a say in the running of their country. Slowly introduce your culture, and pretty soon those countries are well on the way to being Americanised

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I'm not here to jump for joy over communism and spread the good word, not by any means, but there are some problems in the OP. For instance, communism isn't an ideologically homogenous phenomena. Most anarchists are communist, at least outside the US they are, and they campaigned against Leninism and attempted to force power out of the nomenclature of Bolshevik party's hands...there reward was extermination (specifically, see the Kronstadt massacre). This is a pattern that is repeated throughout the history of communism (see the Spanish Revolution) and has a history prior to the Soviet Union.

It was Bakunin, an anarcho-collectivist (that is, a very leftwing anarchist), was the first person to extrapolate from Marx's theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat the "Red beaurocracy" of the machine that would come to be Soviet Russia. He and the anarchist faction lobbied to have Marx's ideological leadership of the communist movement rejected but for their pains they were expelled, breaking up the First International. During the Second International this was repeated when Kroptokin, Gustav Landauer (an anarchist, socialist and mystic) and Errico Malatesta and their supporters were physically ejected from meetings.

All of this is to say that actually existing socialism was based on extrapolations from Marx's political theories (and not his critique of capitalism which most economists agree is masterful). It was the developments of his theory by Lenin, and their further corruption by Stalin (a man who was actually insane), which eventually led to the Soviet brutality.

Communism predates and has alternate versions to those instantiated in Russia.

Again, I won't go further into this next point as its the information is easily available but Soviet Communism was never actually communist. The goal of communism is the superseding of capital but the Soviet Union did not achieve this, rather it consolidated capital under state control through its vicious programs of collectivisation (forced nationalisation). It also failed to achieve the classless society, as the OP points out, which means that it did not achieve the other stated goal of communism. If these are the two goals of the communist movement and neither was achieved it seems silly to call Russia communist at all.

Nonetheless, the Soviet Union was a far worse atrocity than Fascism as Fascism did only what it promised to do. The Soviet experiment was a spectacularly bloody failure. The difference here is that the idea of Fascism was achieved in Germany and Italy but the communist idea was not achieved in Russia. The idea remains sound.

The OP also includes a factual error in its claim that Mussolini was a communist. Mussolini had been a socialist, this much is true, but never a communist (the two are not identical and often bitterly opposed). Mussolini had in fact been a Syndicalist. Syndicalism already has Facism's fetishism of the state in its idea of One Big Union, so the jump was not hard to fathom but that itself does not explain it. Perhaps the fact that Mussolini's theoretical icon was Max Stirner does explain this to some extent. While Stirner rejected the state he was not a true anarchist, and certainly not a communist, as he believed that only the individual Ego had any importance and was the highest source of authority.

Wedding Stirnite egoism to Syndicalist Unionism allowed Mussolini to postulate that the Ego should control the Union...that is, one should have a dictatorship.

And to those claiming that socialism and fascism are 'sisters' or related by similarity a history lesson might be in order. It is well documented that Fascists despised the left wing but admired their organisational skills. Socialist organisation was adapted to fit Fascist ends. This is especially true of Nazism where communists were, before gypsys or Jews, the first group to be systematically oppressed and murdered.

Like I say, I'm not here to prolysthetise but the ready identification of communism and fascism is based on some pretty gross simplifications of both movements.

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I suppose it's a back-door kind of imperialism. Help other countries, offer them trade and expertise, make them reliant on you. In return, they can host your military bases and you have a say in the running of their country. Slowly introduce your culture, and pretty soon those countries are well on the way to being Americanised

Not even in a short time. It happened in Iraq and its already been happening in Haiti. In the case of Haiti, aid was made conditional and private companies (which may not be American Imperialism but it is certainly capitalist imperialism) have already targeted Haiti as a site for profiteering. Naomi Klein calls it the Shock Doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shock_Doctrine

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This idea-- that you can fold the political spectrum in the middle and place all of history's bad guys at one end and yourself at the other is one of the more dangerous inventions of the political Right in America in the late 20th and early 21st Century.

It ranks alongside "The Holocaust Never Happened"; "The Scientific Discoveries of the 1830's-1850's, like Evolution and Global Warming, are Hoaxes perpetrated recently for economic gain by contemporary Liberals"; "All Our problems can be blamed on the Mexicans and Moslems (and fixed by their destruction)". All of these concepts depend on the principle that you can totally reinvent history at will to support whatever Tomfool idea one is promoting and if you put it on the internet millions of people will think it is true.

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Sorry, Fascism is, and always has been, right wing. Stalinist Russia was not fascist, it was totalitarian.

And I don't know why there's such a big attempt to paint communism and fascism as the same thing. They are not. The history of Fascism is one of opposition to Communism. The thing that fueled the fascists in Germany and Spain was the threat of communist revolution.

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" The thing that fueled the fascists in Germany and Spain was the threat of communist revolution. "

Well exactly, Cradle of Fish. Fascism is also fundamentally Capitalist, advocating a powerful coalition of Industrialists in full partnership with the Government, as someone else pointed out. No room for Labor Unions, 40 hour week, 8 hour day, overtime, workplace safety rules, Employee Health, etc. Communism is fundamentally anti-Capitalist, idealizing a society where the workers owned the means of production. Fascists believed that the Military was the only necessary form of diplomacy, not unlike some people we hear today. The third key principle of Fascism was the absolute authority of State over the individual citizen, leading to the term "Authoritarian", or the "Leader Principle" as Hitler called it. Again that's diametrically opposite to the Marxist ideal where the need for government and government leaders would theoretically "wither away".

Much of the basis for the notion that Fascism and Marxist-Leninist Socialism are the "same thing" comes from the fact that in some cases they achieved similar results. Orwell attempted to make that point in "1984", but he never suggested they were "the same". Rather he pictured them as eternally at war. Critics like to point to examples of failure such as the former Soviet Union as representative of the Marxist State being "proven" unsuccessful. That analysis conveniently overlooks the fact that the Czarist Russian Empire was an utter economic and social failure when the 20th Century dawned. It also overlooks the fact that in the 21st Century Communist China has economic success that dwarfs anything seen by the titular Capitalist countries, and it is just now entering the steep portion of the growth curve. We see poor old Cuba limping along as an example of failure, overlooking the fact that they are in most ways better off than many non-Communist countries in Africa, the Pacific Rim and Central America. Then you have Viet Nam, still recovering from a century of insurgent warfare against colonial occupation, but with a respectable economy and standard of living. Arguing that "similar results"="the same thing" is childlike at best. By that reasoning one can argue that mining, manufacturing and agriculture are "the same thing" as chemical warfare because they have sometimes achieved the same results.

The failure of Soviet Communism can mainly be attributed mainly to human weakness and corruption. Orwell described that too, in "Animal Farm", noting that although theoretically "all pigs are created equal, some pigs are more equal than others". That points to a weakness Communism sought to deny, but one that is hardly unique to it. I've discussed this odd notion of Fascism and Communism being the "same thing" with people from Eastern Europe who lived under both systems. While most of them are staunchly anti-communist, they make no bones about their far greater hatred of the Fascists. What they will tell you if you listen to them is how the Communists brought rigid social regimentation and impossibly inept inefficient bureaucracy that stifled growth and innovation, while the Fascists rounded up and machinegunned whole villages and dumped the bodies in mass graves. This history is still too recent for them to accept a reinvented version no matter who is promoting it.

Edited by fatchance2005

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one definition of liberty is the ability to choose. We are losing our ability to choose be it health care insurance or our freedom of speech. Choose your next words carefully for this is Sparta. America has become the new Sparta from the most powerful military to the discarding of unwanted babies by abortion. This was a good article Bill, keep up the good work.

it's called positive liberty and it's opponent is negative liberty....first mentioned by the philsopher isiah berlin:

My link

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Apparently, the political scale has changed and modified for the current times we live in. To measure fascism and communism into one single left side of the spectrum indicates similar authoritarian and tyrannical methods (i.e. Hitler's Nazis and Stalin's USSR) and the right side emphasized liberty not basic anarchy, but more of an anti-authoritarian democratic system. Where does liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans now fit in the updated model? Glenn Beck's chalkboard segments on political history places the neo-conservatives and Libertarians on the "right" instead of anarchists he said are too "left" having radical or self-centric tendencies to become another form of totalitarianism.

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Apparently, the political scale has changed and modified for the current times we live in. To measure fascism and communism into one single left side of the spectrum indicates similar authoritarian and tyrannical methods (i.e. Hitler's Nazis and Stalin's USSR) and the right side emphasized liberty not basic anarchy, but more of an anti-authoritarian democratic system. Where does liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans now fit in the updated model? Glenn Beck's chalkboard segments on political history places the neo-conservatives and Libertarians on the "right" instead of anarchists he said are too "left" having radical or self-centric tendencies to become another form of totalitarianism.

There is no "updated model". Glenn Beck is a shameless self-promoter with no education. The Left and Right have had definitions for hundreds of years. They are based on the idea of mutually exclusive economic and social theories. The idea that the Baby Boomers can redefine them at will to support their own self-interested politics of the moment is fatuous even by their standards.

Edited by fatchance2005

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In response to the post above (fatchance): Baby-boomers or those born from 1943 to 61 and the generation born from 1961 to 75 (Glenn Beck) have different ideas of political morality and ethics based on their youth at the time (pre-WWII/ Cold War) than their parents or grandparents and including the children or grand-children. Their political views, opinions and beliefs are shaped by the era they grew up in and Beck stated he dreaded living through the 1970s as much I had felt as a teenager on "the 1990s sucked".

I happen to love an argument of how similar the "Tea Party"/neocon Republicans in 2007 to 2010 and the "New Left"/liberal Hippies in 1966 to 1969 are: Against "Big government", corporate elites and oppression of the under-represented: In the 1960's they were racial and sexual minorities such as African-Americans in urban ghettos, but in this time they are blue-collar rural whites with strong religious values who finds socialism to be inconsistent in American political life.

Also Glenn Beck and FOX News assumes they're acting in populist overtone in the same manner like Walter Cronkite and CBS News done in the '60s to challenge the so-called "Corporate-Industrial-Military complex" the term coined by president Lyndon B. Johnson for those not familiar with history. The comparisons of 1960's radicalism and 2000's reactionaries to ironically share the same side of the political spectrum on "Anarchism and Populism" away from the opposite side of "totalitarianism or authoritarianism" that Progressives were placed in, is a highly questionable proposition.

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The American Form of Government

from an old John Birch Society Film

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Here's the thing about the political spectrum.

It's a spectrum. It's a terrible model for any practical political state, and this kind of thing is the reason we have a political world run almost entirely by buzzwords and labels.

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