What were the key features of fascist ideology?

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  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 27-05-18 13:25
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  • What were the key features of fascist ideology?
    • One of the vaguest political terms of C20th
      • According to Payne
      • Term contains no explicit political reference
    • Payne
      • Very few political movements who were fascists would have identified as such
      • Any definition of common characteristics of fascist movements must be used with great care
        • fascist movements differed from each other as significantly as they held notable new features in common
      • Distinctive characteristics useful
        • not as full and complete definition of such movements in and of themsevles
        • only as an indication of chief characteristics they shared with distinguish them (in most respects but not absolutely) from other kinds of political forces
    • Ernst Nolte's characteristics of fascism
      • Six-point 'fascist minimum'
      • Set of negatives
      • central organisational feature
      • Doctrine of leadership
      • Basic structural goal
      • Expressed as follows:
        • Anti-Marxism
        • Antiliberalism
        • Anticonservatism
        • Leadership principle
        • Party army
        • Aim of totalitarianism
      • Payne's critique
        • example of problems in reaching inductive set of characteristics of fascism
        • Typology is helpful as far as it goes and correctly state fascist negations
        • does not describe positive content of fascist philosophy and values
        • Makes no concrete reference to economic goals
    • Roger Griffin
      • Definition of fascism
        • 'a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-national'
        • Payne's critique
          • definition is accurate and useful
            • refers to cross-class populist appeal of fascist politics and grounding in ultranationalism
          • fascist ideology certainly 'palingenetic'
            • emphasised above all - rebirth of national spirit, culture and society
            • Arguably leftist, moderate, conservative, and extreme right-wing nationalisms are palingenetic
            • Examples of nonfascist populist revolutionary forms of nationalism
              • e.g. MNR in Bolivia in 1952
                • this was palingenetic, so qualification of 'populist' does not serve adequately to restrict and specify
          • Definition cannot describe certain of central characteristics fundamental to capitalism
    • Emilio Gentile
      • Presents "constituent elements for an orientative definition of fascism"
      • common characteristics of fascist movements were grounded in specific philosophical and moral beliefs
        • new orientation in political culture and ideology
        • generally common political goals
        • a distinctive set of negations
        • common aspects of style
        • somewhat novel modes of organisation
      • e..g. (does not distinguish between differing fascist movements)
        • Ideology and Goals
          • espousal of an idealist, vitalist and voluntaristic philosophy, normally involving attempt to realise new modern, self-determine and secular culture
          • Creation of new nationalist authoritarian state not based on traditional principles or models
          • Organisation of new nationalist authoritarian state not based on traditional principles or models
          • Organisation of new highly regulated, multiclass, integrated national economic structure, whether called national corporist, national socialist, or nation syndicalist
          • Positive evaluation and use of, or willingness to use violence and war
          • The goal of empire, expansion, or a radical change in nation's relationship with other powers
        • The Fascist Negations
          • Antiliberalism
          • Anticommunism
          • Anticonservatism
            • though with understand that fascist groups were willing to undertake temporary alliances with other sectors, most commonly with right
        • Style and Organisation
          • Attempted mass mobilisation with militarisation of political relationships and style and with goal of mass party militia
          • Emphasis on aesthetic structure of meetings, symbols and political liturgy, stressing emotional and mystical aspects
          • Extreme stress on masculine principle and male dominance, while espousing strongly organic view of society
          • Exaltation of youth above other phases of life, emphasising conflict of generations, at least in effecting initial political transformation
          • Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal style of command, whether or not the command is to some degree initially elective
    • Payne's other views
      • Term fascist used not merely for sake of convention
        • but because Italian movement was first significant force to exhibit those characteristics as a new type and was for a long time most influential
          • constituted type whose ideas and goals wre most readily generalised, particularly when contrasted with racial National Socialism
    • Some historians argue fascism has no coherent doctrine or ideology
      • since there was no single canonical or seminal source and since major aspect of fascist ideas were contradictory and nonrationalist
      • Roger Eatwell
        • Argues against idea fascism had no coherent doctrine or ideology
        • Suggests fascist movements did possess basic philosophies that were eclectic in character and represented a kind of synthesis of concepts from various sources
      • Griffin
        • reminds us that all ideology contains basic contradictions and nonrational or irrational elements, usually tending toward utopias that cannot ever be realised in practice
      • Fascist ideology was more eclectic and nonrational than some others, but these qualities did not prevent its birth and limited development
    • Thompson
      • Militias
        • Fascist organisations, wherever they could, established private militias, usually wearing a coloured shirts
        • Could argue other political parties and formations in particular countries did the same but militias more central to fascists
      • Fascism was populist,
        • Unlike authoritarian-conservationism  wanted to appeal to both elite and masses

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