Fascism and fascisms… July 6, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Fascinating Slate.com podcast, part of its Trumpcasts – examining the nature of the Trump phenomenon. An interview with University of Wisconin professor Stanley Payne delivered the verdict that, no, Donald Trump was not a fascist. Some useful detail squirrelled away in the piece – not least the cleavage between Italian fascism and national socialism (I have to admit to tending to viewing them as very similar but ideologically distinct). And in relation to the former the comment that anti-semitism wasn’t necessarily crucial to fascism, that indeed until 1938 the Italian fascist movement had contained a fair number of Jewish members. Wiki suggests that they had their own paper – La Nostra Bandiera. It’s important to note that various anti-semitic measures came in that year and there was a realignment with National Socialist attitudes and actions in relation to that.
Christopher Duggan’s “Fascist Voices An Intimate history of Mussolini’s Italy” deals with some of this history. It’s a book I’d strongly recommend to anyone curious about how Italian fascism worked. Reading it my own sense was that while overt anti-semitism wasn’t initially intrinsic, the nature of this variant of fascism meant that if triggered conceptually there was sufficient latent anti-other hostility to shift into over anti-semitism. There’s lessons there, surely?
Perhaps it is a relief to hear Payne’s opinion that fascism as such was, in his view, a historically distinct movement unlikely to reoccur in its original format. Which, of course, raises the question what would it be like today, or tomorrow?