What is fascism?

What is fascism?


What is fascism?

Date : 15/12/23

Assence of fascism :

Fascism is reak politic: fuco says that all of us are fascist. No other politics is possible in case of mass societies. Whether a country is democratic or non democratic. Mass politics is based on legitimacy. Fascism is understood as totalitarianism where all powers get concentrated at one place. Leader or a party. Thus fascism is not just a dictatorship , it is a leadership, an example of extraordinary skill of a leader, where there is a absolute authority a single person or a party is in absolute command. If liberalism is described as and of ideology, fascism can be described as end of individual: end of individuality means homogenisation, man become mass, a situation which hanna arendt describes as we become like the particles of sand in the desert storm.


The first and foremost principal of fascism is leadership. Whenever we talk about leaders we are talk about some derived attribute. First is hierarchy.


  1. Fascist system do not operate on the principle of equality it operate on the principle of hierarchy. Where leader is at top of Building.

All power symbolizing painter body politics. Mission itself and mass at bottom, Power less in absolute sense.

Leaders have been given the status of god. Means even descent against leader will be treated as the biggest crime.

for example crime against god or nation.

since leader is so Central, brand building is regular feature, for example: Hitler acquired the title of fuhrer, musolini acquired the title of second 2nd duce.


Thus in fascism symbolism place critical role


2. Fascist politics is the politics of symbolism 


What is the role of symbols ?

Ans. Building the narrative


To control the mind or control the throught process.

Hence we see fascist leaders looking for the symbols. For example hitler adopted the symbol of swastik. That can be linked with aryans,

Symbol itself have unifing course. Similarly the symbol of Mussolini party was bundle of road and axe.

The bundle of road represents solidarity as represents power. If Narrative of hitler was race, Mussolini narrative was narrative of national unity. 


Thus fascist invented the symbols that can unify people under their leadership.

One of the example of such symbolic politics was hitler politics of nation where hitler describe nation in terms of race. He proclaimed all germans belonging to one nation., that is why fascism ends the state and strengthen nation means reject the sanctity of territory. Goes for violation of international law. Fascist go for expansionism. To substantiate their theory of nation and unify all german under one leader.


The principle of leadership is based on hirarchy and this principle is also applied in case of theory of race.: where all races are not equal. There is a hiararchy of race.


The leadership principle applied in the context of races meant all races/nation should accept and submit to the leadership of german race. This is also the reason that it was totalitarian. Controlling the world 


Since fascism is based on symbolism, propaganda has unique place in the strategies of fascist it means narrative should reached to the masses. Hitler even apointed propaganda minister for the purpose. 


What is required for propaganda ?

  1. First thing develop mass communication: Promotion of technology 
  2. For promotion of propaganda it is essential that there should be no scope for descent.

means no scope for alternative voice 

Hence it is a paradox that fascist leader came to power by democratic means but they themself abolish democracy or one or the other pritics


For example Mussolini held that democracy is the luxury of rich nation

He compared parliament with talking shop. 


Hence fascism ends rights and liberties for example Mussolini used to say “1789 is dead”

Means forget Liberty equality, and go for duty and discipline


Fascist end Liberty specially freedom of speech and liberty

Freedom of press and there is an absolute censorship on media and educational institutions.


Fascist politics is creating the symbols which have mass appeal, thus controlling the narrative, one who control the narrative control the power. In fascism opposition ceased to exist. Thus fascism become one party state, no opposition, people are not left with alternative thus they are under the complete control and that is fascism.

Hence fascism is anti democratic. Leaders like Mussolini didn't even hide their hatred towards democracy

Thus fascism is substituting with the democracy with dictatorship, where leader has absolute power, treated as superman


The politics of fascism is based on understanding the weakness of human psychology.

Hence it is based on politics of passion {emotions}

As a political system fascism establish primacy of state over individual, in the words of Mussolini there is nothing over and above the state, nothing beyond state and nothing against the state means individual is nothing in front of state. It means individual should be ready to sacrifice even his life for the sake of the state/ at the alter of the state.


War/violence is very central to the fascism.

If violence is used to established control and domestic sphere(police state), war is the means to establish the control in internal sphere. 

In the words of Mussolini war is to men is what maternity to the women.

Similarly we can mention some of the ideas of Hitler. Hitler describe his goal as “creative destruction” that means destroying new to bring old, new menas the life which started with enlightenment, individualistic life. Hitler was romanticist: he wanted to create a new society based on the traditional way of life. It was based on solidarity,: that is why he talked about the concept of race/volk. 


Intellectual origin of fascism 

In case of other ideologies idea came first and some ideology came into existence later. However in case of fascism came first and ideology came later. For example Mussolini appointed Gionvanni gentile to write the philosophy of fascism. He himself contributed toward fascism. Fascism is one of the most flexible ideology, pragmatic ideology means open minded. They incorporated the various ideas from time to time, whatever they found relevant or suitable to their agenda. Hence at times it appears incoherent set of ideas or termed as hodge- podge ideas. This is one of the reason fascism is described not as an ideology but political opportunism: real politics.

Politics of power means no ethics.

It has been treated as ultimate example of mechiavellism

That is the reason fascist always described the reason as man of action and fascism as a movement

Mussolini himself described fascism is based on myth. 

According to Mussolini fascism is based on myth and myth provide force to fascism ( symbolism propaganda)



  1. Plato - philosopher king
  2. Mechiavelli- real politic
  3. Hobbes- absolutism/ monestic theory of state 
  4. Rousseau - the concept of general will/ organic solidarity and believe that man can be forced to be free.
  5. Nietzsche- concept of Superman/ will to power.
  6. Sorel- the role of myths in politics. Sorel was also the supporter of anti rationalism means politics of passion rather than politics of reason.
  7. Bergson- concept of vitality means living force. Passions are the living force and are desirable over cold blooded reasoning 
  8. Charles maurras- idea of integral nationalism 
  • fascism is also known aspaligenetic.
  • Nationalism such that rebirth of nation.
  1. Herder- theory of cultural nationalism. is the basis of german nationalism. 
  2. Charles darwin- struggle for servival


Nature of the ideology

There is a contest among the political scholars over the nature of ideology


It is such a hodge-podge ideas that become idea to clearly define the class character


What is additional problem?

Fascism has become a bad world in politics

Hence there is a tendency for the politicies usage of term 

Politicies mean to associate with opponents

As far as the nature of fascism is concerned that it is distinctively anti democratic.

Means fascism opposes any value and the institution which is related to democracy.


In practice fascism was also anti communism. Though hitler came to power using socialist ideology and the support of working classes yet fascist state had zero telerant towards communist, for example Mussolini has put gramci behind the bars. Any form of protest was seen as anti national. Fascist promoted corporate model of economy: a concept given by Mussolini though there is no clarity about it

At the best corporate state was where workers and capitalist work hand in hand. Under the guidance of state. State resolves the class conflict

In the process classes themselves came to end. Class became mass. 

Thus fascism can be seen as a development of capitalism. Means capitalism is not liberal rather capitalism became iliberal

This view of fascism is given by laski “ state in theory and practice”

He cause fascism as counter revolution. Means revolution agains revolution. It is also savutaging the revolution

It is the revolution of rich agains poor.

Thus fascism was described by laski as a situation where capitalist came to control the state directly/ clearly

Hence there was no requirement to take care of workers

Capitalism goes to 2 phases 

  1. Normal phase: capitalism can afford to maintain it's soft face.
  2. Capitalism in crisis: it can not afford soft face.

hence capitalism became fascist: means abolish democracy means no right to protest.

Hence laski suggest that fascism is a despirit attempt to protect capitalism in it's crisis phase


Views of liberal scholars/Western 

Western scholars like ebenstein, book: the web of government does not support view 

Thus fascism is clearly linked to capitalism.


Because there was no concept of class 

Class became mass.

Fascist had support of both capitalist as well as workers


From the perspective of ortega gasset book: revolt of masses. 

He calls fascism as a phenomenon of mobocracy

Ebenstein suggest that stript to its essential. Fascism is a type of totalitarianism or dictatorship


One of the best description of fascism is given by hannah arendt in her two books

  1. Origins ot totalitarianism: she called fascism is crisis of 20th century

Eichman in Jerusalem: where she portrays the nature of the people in fascist societies, thoughtless individual.

Raj Singh

Hi There. I'm a professional Educator Cum Entrepreneur. Have done Technical as well as Professional Degree, Having Experience of 10 years as Educator and 8 Years of Entrepreneurship.

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