From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascist
Fascism is a radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy. They advocate the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation and the creation of an ideal "new man" to form a governing elite through indoctrination, physical education, and family policy including eugenics. Fascists believe that a nation requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the state.
Fascism was founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined left-wing and right-wing political views, but it gravitated to the right in the early 1920s. Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right.
Fascists exalt violence, war, and militarism as providing positive transformation in society, in providing spiritual renovation, education, instilling of a will to dominate in people's character, and creating national comradeship through the military service. Fascists view violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.
Fascism is anti-communist, anti-democratic, anti-individualist, anti-liberal, anti-parliamentary, anti-conservative, anti-bourgeois and anti-proletarian, and in many cases anti-capitalist. Fascism rejects the concepts of egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism in favour of action, discipline, hierarchy, spirit, and will. In economics, fascists oppose liberalism (as a bourgeois movement) and Marxism (as a proletarian movement) for being exclusive economic class-based movements. Fascists present their ideology as that of an economically trans-class movement that promotes resolving economic class conflict to secure national solidarity. They support a regulated, multi-class, integrated national economic system.
The term fascismo is derived from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. They were carried by his lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command. The word fascismo also relates to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates.
The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements. For example the Falange symbol is a bunch of arrows joined together by a yoke.
Historians, political scientists and other scholars haves long debated the exact nature of fascism. Each form of fascism is distinct, leaving many definitions too wide or narrow. Since the 1990s, scholars including Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin and Robert O. Paxton have been gathering a rough consensus on the ideology's core tenets.
For Griffin, fascism is "a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism" built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist "armed party" politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.
Paxton sees fascism as "obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity". In Paxton's interpretation, fascists are "committed nationalist militants", working uneasily alongside traditional elites and abandoning democratic liberties in pursuit of "internal cleansing" or territorial expansion.
One common definition of fascism focuses on three groups of ideas: the Fascist Negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist, authoritarian goals for the creation of a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; a political aesthetic using romantic symbolism, mass mobilisation, a positive view of violence, promotion of masculinity and youth and charismatic leadership.
Position in the political spectrum
Fascism is normally described as "extreme right", although writers have found placing fascism on a conventional left-right political spectrum difficult. There is a scholarly consensus that fascism was influenced by both left and right, conservative and anti-conservative, national and supranational, rational and anti-rational. A number of historians have regarded fascism either as a revolutionary centrist doctrine, as a doctrine which mixes philosophies of the left and the right, or as both of those things.
There were factions within Italian Fascism on both the left and the right. The accommodation of the political right into Fascism in the early 1920s led to the creation of a number of internal factions in the Italian Fascist movement. The "Fascist left" included Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, Sergio Panunzio, and Edmondo Rossoni, who were committed to advancing national syndicalism as a replacement for parliamentary liberalism in order to modernize the economy and advance the interests of workers and the common people. The "Fascist right" included members of the Fascist paramilitary "Squadristi" and former members of the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI). The Squadristi wanted to establish of Fascism as a complete dictatorship, while the former ANI members, including Alfredo Rocco, sought an authoritarian corporatist state to replace the liberal state in Italy, while retaining existing elites. There were also smaller factions within the Italian Fascist movement, such as the "clerical Fascists" who sought to shift Italian Fascism from its anti-Catholic roots to accepting Catholicism. There were also "monarchist Fascists" who sought to use Fascism to create an absolute monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.
A number of fascist movements described themselves as a "third force" outside of the traditional political spectrum. Mussolini promoted ambiguity about fascism's positions in order to rally as many people to it as possible, saying fascists can be "aristocrats or democrats, revolutionaries and reactionaries, proletarians and anti-proletarians, pacifists and anti-pacifists". Mussolini claimed that Italian Fascism's economic system of corporatism could be identified as either state capitalism or state socialism, which in either case involved "the bureaucratisation of the economic activities of the nation." Mussolini described fascism in any language he found useful. Spanish Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera was critical of both left-wing and right-wing politics, once saying that "basically the Right stands for the maintenance of an economic structure, albeit an unjust one, while the Left stands for the attempt to subvert that economic structure, even though the subversion thereof would entail the destruction of much that was worthwhile".
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