Fascism

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PRA’s analysis of fascism is indebted to a great many writers and scholars, including but not limited to Hannah Arendt, Chip Berlet, Matthew Lyons, and Cass Mudde. Below is a list of some of our top resources written over the years. It includes analysis on the current political moment as well as pieces that explore the meaning and history of fascism. Included as well are several books and reports that provide a greater context including the overlapping themes of right-wing populism, conspiracy theories, and demonization.

Top Resources:

‘Trumping’ Democracy: Right-Wing Populism, Fascism, and the Case for Action by Chip Berlet
The candidacy of Donald Trump has prompted a vigorous public debate over whether or not Trump is flirting with fascism. Some analysts suggest his political dance partner is leading him to the tune of right-wing populism. Other analysts say Trump’s marriage to fascism already has been consummated. Either way, Trump is stomping on the dance floor of democracy in a way that could collapse it into splinters. It’s a “scary moment for those of us who seek to defend civil rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself,” warns political analyst Noam Chomsky.

What time is it?: Why We Can’t Ignore the Momentum of the Right By Scot Nakagawa and Tarso Luís Ramos
Broadly speaking, the consensus is that we’re in a time of great instability, revolt, and possibility. History teaches us that in times like these, we need to be both bold and vigilant. Authoritarian, chauvinistic, and bigoted movements assert themselves most aggressively when people feel socially and economically threatened. We know the drill. We’ve lived it again and again. But this time is different. This time, traditional sources of stability and leadership are being rejected on all sides, and people are seeking radical, or at least non-establishment, solutions. Our fear is that the Right Wing may be better positioned than we are to capitalize on this moment amongst white people – including white voters – and better positioned than ever before.

What is Fascism? by Matthew Lyons
Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide.

Fascism! by Chip Berlet
The seeds of fascism, however, were planted in Italy. “Fascism is reaction,” said Mussolini, but reaction to what? The reactionary movement following World War I was based on a rejection of the social theories that formed the basis of the 1789 French Revolution, and whose early formulations in this country had a major influence on our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

What is the Third Position? by Chip Berlet
Today there is a new form of fascism, a neofascism, called the Third Position, which seeks to overthrow existing governments and replace them with monocultural nation states built around the idea of supremacist racial nationalism and/or supremacist religious nationalism. Third Position neofascists have organized in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, and they maintain some kind of loose network, at least for the purposes of discussing their shared ideas and agenda, but in some cases involving meetings and even funding.

Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating
Report by Chip Berlet
Right-wing pundits demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation. Some angry people in the audience already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States.

Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort
By Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons
Right–wing militias and other anti–government organizations have received heightened public attention since the Oklahoma City bombing. While such groups are often portrayed as marginal extremists, the values they espouse have influenced mainstream politics and culture far more than most Americans realize. This important volume offers an in–depth look at the historical roots and current landscape of right–wing populism in the United States. Illuminated is the potent combination of anti–elitist rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and ethnic scapegoating that has fueled many political movements from the colonial period to the present day.

Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchite, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures To Progressives, And Why They Must Be Rejected
Report by Chip Berlet
The growth of fascist and proto-fascist ideology has created a dynamic where persons from far-right and fascist political groups in the United States are attempting to convince progressive activists to join forces to oppose certain government policies where there is a shared critique. The fascist right has wooed the progressive left primarily around opposition to such issues as the use of U.S. troops in foreign military interventions, support for Israel, the problems of CIA misconduct and covert action, domestic government repression, privacy rights, and civil liberties.

Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism and The Continuing Appeal of Racism and Fascism by Spencer Sunshine
Today, White separatists don’t always come in such easily identifiable forms, either in their dress or politics. A part of the White separatist and related Far Right movement has taken some unusual turns.2 Some fascists seek alliances with ultranationalist people of color—a few of whom, in turn, consider themselves fascists. New types of groups embrace White separatism under a larger banner of decentralization. For many decades, the Far Right has disguised or rebranded its politics by establishing front groups, deploying code words, or using other attempts to fly under the radar.3 As the years pass by, some of these projects have taken on lives of their own as these forms have been adopted by those with different agendas. Simultaneously, there is a revival of fascist influence within countercultural music scenes. And intertwined with these changes is a renewed attempt on the part of some White separatists to participate in, or cross-recruit from, progressive circles.

Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists by Spencer Sunshine
Fascism has become increasingly international in the post World War II period, particularly with the rise of the internet. One of the most obvious results of this internationalization is the continual flow of European ideas to the United States; for example, the Nazi skinhead movement originated in Britain and quickly spread to the United States. In trade, Americans have exported the Ku Klux Klan to Europe and smuggled Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi literature into Germany.

Fascism Wrapped in the American Flag by Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. is frequently dismissed as a crank or political extremist with no further explanation of his views or the phenomenon he represents. In a democracy based on informed consent, to not understand the nature of the LaRouche phenomenon is a dangerously naive rejection of the lessons of history–because Lyndon LaRouche represents the most recent incarnation of the unique twentieth-century phenomenon known as totalitarian fascism. LaRouche is hardly the first proponent of these views, and he is unlikely to be the last. Therefore there is a deadly serious reason to study the rise and fall of Lyndon LaRouche, the man who brought us fascism wrapped in an American flag.