Talk:Fascism/Archive 9

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RTFA before contributing

RTFA before contributing please. Thank you very much.

Didn't excise since article still under edit. Kim Bruning 22:23, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I have created Wikipedia:Revisionism to discuss something I have seen going on.WHEELER 23:42, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Fascism does it actually have an ideology?

Can someone define an ideology or political philosophy that is distinctly fascist-there does not seem to really be a working definition if anything it seems to be more of a slur against others than a cogent belief system. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco had three very different beleif systems. Other than naming fascism as authoritarianism I can't see any place were it can actually be designated as being followed. When labeling someone a fascist what actual behavior must they engage in that would make them fascist rather than authoritarian or collectivist? There are no universal tenants or formulated philosophy other than a historical note about Italy. I think its a weak term. GrazingshipIV 20:18, Apr 7, 2004 (UTC)

Well, try reading geman, or find someone near you who can. Imvvvvvho we should just translate stuff on nazism and fascism from the german wikipedia, their articles appear to be very well researched. (That, and some of the editors might have just asked grandma or granddad to help out :-P ). Kim Bruning 20:52, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Well, I tend to think Fascism is not a particularly coherent ideology. Certainly there are certain well-defined fascist movements, and there have been at least a couple (and perhaps a handful) of fascist regimes, although I'm not sure what can particularly define them as fascist. But as an ideology, fascism is distinctly lacking. Essentially, fascism was populist demagoguery - nationalistic, anti-liberal, anti-socialist, anti-status quo, anti-capitalist (to a certain extent - but generally taking this in the direction of support for a medieval corporatist ideal, rather than towards genuine socialism), anti-semitic (at least in Germany and some other places, although not in Italy), and so forth. I would contend that fascism was never a coherent political ideology, although it took some ideas from the much more coherent reactionary Catholic ideology exemplified by Action Française, or what not, although it also had strong disagreements with it. What there was little doubt of at the time, however, was that Fascism was a movement of the right - Nazis, Fascists, the British Tory government, and the Pope could all agree on Franco, for instance. What the "right" means is of course rather unclear. In the context of the time period when fascism was flourishing, however, any movement which was both anti-liberal and anti-socialist ought to be considered to be on the right. The problem is that what we mean by "the right" in the United States today (and especially on the internet, where genuine cultural conservatives are hardly to be found) is classical liberalism, or its extremist brother, libertarianism. Libertarians seem to tend to like the idea of excising the entire radical right from the right, and moving it, if possible, to the left.
So, I'd ask, let's avoid Italian fascism and Nazism entirely. TDC, WHEELER, what do you make of the various other authoritarian regimes or ideologies of the timer period that are generally seen as right wing, and which all saw themselves as closer to fascism than to either socialism or liberalism? The Portugal of Salazar, the Spain of Francisco Franco, the Action Française, Vichy France, the clericalist dictatorship of Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt von Schuschnigg in Austria, the regency of Miklos Horthy in Hungary, the ideology of the German DNVP under Alfred Hugenberg, the theorizing of Carl Schmitt, and so forth? Are these also "left wing"? Or are they right wingers who mistakenly thought that Nazism and Italian Fascism were on the same side as them? john 00:47, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)


John, you lay out some strong feelings about fascism as ideology. Is there a consensus among historians and students of comparative politics or political theory? If so, this should certainly be explained in the article. Your idea about avariety of fascist movements and regimes seems very reasonable to me, although it begs the question of why they were all called (or appealed to/invoked) fascism.

However, if there is no consensus, and this is just a view that John (and i am sure others) hold, however reasonable, it must be presented as one view and contextualized. This is NPOV policiy and simply our task in writing an encyclopedia. We are not supposed to give our own analysis of Fascism but an account of scholarly views on Fascism.

That said, let's say that virtually all scholars agree that Fascism is not or has no ideology. It still strikes me that people were willing to kill and die for -- or fighting -- "fascism." Whether it had an ideology or not, there was something about it and the circumstances that made it very very meaningful to people. I do not think it is good scholarship simply to dismiss this as populist demagoguery (shallow any way -- the point is, they were successful demagogues; why? Some very articulatre passionate demagogues fail to attract a following) -- to do so labels the proponents of Fascism but is not in any way an explanation of why so many people were willing to go to war in its name, or in order to defeat it. I am not offering my own view, only asking a question -- and I am not asking for John or 172 or Anydlehrer's views, but I am asking them if they know of any scholars who have addressed this issue. If so, there should be some section in the article that addresses scholarly discussions on this. Slrubenstein

Yes, you're right that we should discuss scholarly views of fascism as ideology. And there are some. But not as much as you would think. Certainly there's discussion of Italian Fascist ideology, and Nazi ideology, but there's not so much discussion of fascist ideology in general terms. (Which brings me to the suggestion: Should we have an article on Italian Fascism separate from the article on fascism in general?) But most discussion of fascism as a general phenomenon has been on the Marxist or quasi-Marxist left, and this has tended to be not particularly interested in fascist ideology, which it sees as a cover for capitalist class interests. So I'd say that, no, there isn't all that much sense of fascism as being a general ideology. Certainly, though, there's a place for the discussion of the ideology of the Italian Fascist party, and of other fascist and quasi-fascist movements, which is why I'll suggest splitting off Italian Fascism to its own article. But I think it's much harder to talk about some kind of generalized "fascist" ideology, in the sense that fascism wasn't really an international ideology in the same way that, say, communism was. john 19:03, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Fair enough -- I guess the issue is first to spark some discussion, and second to decide on how to handle it in terms of the article -- make a section or subsection, a seperate article, or hold off until it is clear what its relevance/importance is. Slrubenstein

FYI, Salon just published a book review entitled "Who's a fascist?". It is a review of "The Anatomy of Fascism", by Robert O. Paxton [1] AdamRetchless

On WHEELER

WHEELER is an odd sort of fellow, forsure. He's not a troll though. Don't try going toe to toe with him on references or proper reading material, most folks won't stand a chance. He's just *odd*. Suggest we put up with him and treat him with as much respect as we can summon (which might be difficult if he doesn't manage to be polite back to people :-P ). That and he has an interesting point of view on world history. I want to know where he got it from, and why. It might be enlightening. Kim Bruning 20:52, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)


On preventing duplication of effort (it)

The last link is nice, it even has an image of fasces lictoriae. Once again much better researched and done much closer to home than all this translations of translations stuff we are arguing about here.

Now then, my italian isn't too good. There's no real interlanguage cooperation set up at all, is there? Does anyone have a suggestion on how to proceed? (It would be nice if diff. langauge versions of wikipedia were somehow *remotely* in sync with each other, SHEESH!) Kim Bruning 23:07, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)


On preventing duplication of effort (de)

So I paged through the german page too, I think we should ask folks from at least thoe 2 pages to drop in and maybe we can work out synchronizing articles.


Archived page (archive 8)

I've archived the page. I've copied one quote from wheeler below, since we might still need it. Kim Bruning 14:59, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Why did you leave Wheeler's comments, but not my responses to him? john 17:20, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I just archived en-bulk down to the last dividing line I spotted. I also kept 1 wheeler text in particular, because I'd like to have some folks from it: to come in, take a look at it, and (as required) bash him over the head with it until it is entirely dead.
Are there any particular comment(s) of yours you'd really like to have bashed over your head? ;-) I'll de-archive as nescesary. Kim Bruning 17:35, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, I guess I have to eat my words. The reference Librarian at the Hoover Institute has just e-mailed me back that her first contention is wrong. That Hoover or whoever he quoted from is wrong. I can not believe that the London Quarterly did a botched effort on transaltion. The English are big sticklers on accuracy. I would like to get to the bottom of this. I don't want any "reprinted" versions. You notice that in copies that have been presented, <<>> are in the quote. I don't think these were in the original. I want an origional l932 and not l934 or reprints. We need someone in Italy that can be trusted with originals or other Mussolini writings.WHEELER 14:02, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for the Italian article. It says that is Socialism. And it mentions Oswald Spengler who wrote "Decline of the West". Very interesting. The Americans need a look at that site!!!WHEELER 17:01, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Two questions: First, did he mean by "socialism" what members of the socialist party, or people today, mean by socialism? Second, did he claim that fascism is socialism because fascism really is socialism, or for some other purpose (maybe for its political effect)? This second question is very important for me. The Sunday Times Magazine this past week has a story about Bush's policy towards environmental regulation. He made a change, saying it would be good for the environment. In fact, it seems very likely that he made the change because the former policy was good for the environment; his change will be very bad for the environment. So when he says that his policies are good for the environment, I don't believe him. Why should I believe Mussolini when he says Fascism is socialism, then? Maybe it is, and maybe Bush's policies are good for the environment -- but NOT because they say so, and we shouldn't take their word at face value (remember when Clinton said "I did not have sex ...? What does that prove?) Slrubenstein

"Well, I guess I have to eat my words. The reference Librarian at the Hoover Institute has just e-mailed me back that her first contention is wrong. That Hoover or whoever he quoted from is wrong. I can not believe that the London Quarterly did a botched effort on transaltion. The English are big sticklers on accuracy." Everyone makes mistakes, even the English. 130.15.162.99 16:40, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)


"Hoover did not misquote. Andy read a reprinted Encyclopaedia. he even put in the quotation marks that said, they changed the text. The reference Librarian at the Hoover Institute confirms the quote by Hoover. will be sending me the 'UNDOCTORED' version. Sorry.WHEELER 20:07, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)"

No Wheeler, I did not read a "reprinted Encyclopaedia", I looked it up in the original 1932 edition. "he even put in the quotation marks that said, they changed the text." What in the world are you talking about? Those weren't quotation marks, they were chevrons which I guess Mussolini put in for emphasis. Your capacity for self-delusion is amazing. You just don't want to believe you're wrong and are willing to concoct the most unlikely explanations to rationalise away any evidence that you're wrong. It reminds me of something I read about Hitler's autodidacticism, he would only read things that would re-enforce his views and would dismiss anything that contradicted him. Not a good way to do research. Even the Hoover Institute telling you Hoover was wrong isn't enough for you! There must be a conspiracy at the root of it, some intricate conspiracy to doctor not only translations but every oringial copy of the encyclopedia. It's a mistranslation, that's all, mistranslations happen all the time, it's either the translator's fault or a copy editor's or the typesetter's. "The English" do make mistakes you know, they are human. AndyL 17:00, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

"The authorized English tanslation, under the title "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism", was published in International Conciliation, No. 306 (January l935), pp 5-17." pg 78 of The United States and Italy.

Actually this book ought to become the encyclopaedia article.WHEELER 14:53, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)

So should we also replace all the articles on socialism, communism, the Soviet Union etc with articles taken from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia? AndyL 18:20, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I meant the chapters in the book of The united States and Italy. It is put out by Harvard in l953. It is quite excellent. I have added to the article from the book. WHEELER 23:04, 13 Apr 2004 (UTC)

This article is getting better and better. With more original research and reading documents we are getting to the bottom of this. This is great and the site is getting better. AndyL is doing a good job. This is what an encyclopaedia is all about!!!!WHEELER 17:26, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

We're not supposed to do "original research" AndyL 04:51, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

No its called reading books by people who have already done it. I thank God I don't have a college degree and spent very little time in the classroom of the Comprachicos (Ayn Rand's essay). This article is only proof positive of the utter stupidity of American academia and the people they produce. It took me five minutes to walk to a second Hand bookstore in Battle Creek, buy The United States and Italy and found out that Giovanni Gentile wrote the Doctrine of Fascism and the huge contribution D'Annunzio made to making Fascism. I mean "come on" this article is written by a bunch of fifth graders with propaganda notions and not what the truth is. This article is only about people who have an axe to grind and not about reading scholarly research and putting it into encyclopaedic format.WHEELER 17:40, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

""""Fascism does it actually have an ideology?"""" This is from above. What does a socialist philosopher do? Promote an ideology. Who was Gentile? Only the OFFICIAL Philosopher of the Fascist movement. Come on people To ask Fascism does it actually have an ideology? is really the height of .....WHEELER 17:45, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

WHEELER, there is a difference between theory and practice. I think that's what is meant, in part at least. AndyL 21:21, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Philosophy is like a DOS program for humans. Philosophy tells how to read reality. What philosophy one holds is how one sees reality.WHEELER 00:58, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)
But you're assuming that the Fascists' professed "philosophy" actually corresponds to the beliefs of those advocating them. With political propaganda, I don't think this can safely be assumed. john 01:25, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)
"Fascism must be ranked as one of the most effective of all protest ideologies, ..." Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Vol III, pg 674.WHEELER 14:16, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)
The Ideology of Fascism by W. Kornhauser, NY l969. How about them marbles.WHEELER 14:16, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

'Question: In this definition, it says "Fascism has come to mean..." What this says is that the word "Fascism" is being used as a term of propaganda. That is not what an encyclopaedia does. WE DO NOT CATALOGUE AS FACT PROPAGANDA. Well... as some people have said, It changes meaning throughout time. Right, those who are in control, change the meaning to suit their propaganda purposes. NO. The word means what it means in l930. The word is not a socialist word and then moves to being on the right. NO. This is plain propaganda.WHEELER 14:37, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

WHEELER never responded to my previous comments, so I guess that means he cannot. Based on what he writes here, I think perhaps he cannot respond to John's points, or AndyL's either. His point has remained the same even as we continue to archive talk pages: a particular quote is authoritative and speaks for itself. Here, all he says is that anything to the contrary is propaganda, a silly and meaningless claim. The fact remains that quotes do not speak for themselves; what they mean depends on the context, which often changes over time. To understand what such quotes mean takes serious work -- work WHEELER is either unequiped or unwilling to do. rather than study the analysis of fascism, he would rather make the same point over and over and over again on these talk pages, as if he is learning anything; in the meantime his repititions simply distract from useful points made by John and others -- perhaps his way of avoiding learning anything. By the way, if the only way someone can explain philosophy is by an analogy to DOS, it is clear that they do not understand philosophy (or perhaps don't understand DOS) Slrubenstein

well wheeler, i say the word means what it means in 50 ce.
by the way, i'm being halfway serious here: fasces aren't the symbol of fascism, or the symbol of american federal power, they're a symbol of roman judicial authority; fascismo is the policy of the fascist party of mussolini; "fascism" is the correct transliteration for use in english. all because this is an encyclopedia, not: a propaganda outlet for your looney ravings about a leftist historical conspiracy to change all the books in the world; or a propaganda outlet for anyone to paper over mussolini's earlier marxism; or a reflection of the fake expertise of "common knowledge" and "what everyone's saying".
so i'd favor moving material regarding nazism, falangism, etc, to their respective pages, and merely including links and language explaining that "fascism" is a euphamism for these things in common usage. Badanedwa 00:48, Apr 20, 2004 (UTC)

It isn't a bad start, but the section on Fascism and Stalinism disregards much political theory scholarship and seems unnecessarily narrow. What about renaming it "Fascism and other forms of totalitarianism" which would allow us to bring in Hannah Arendt's theorization, and responses to her work, as well as comparisons with other regimes (or whatever) besides Stalinism? Slrubenstein

I'm fine with that.AndyL 21:49, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Selective reasoning TDC, there has also never been a one-party non-socialist state that hasn't been a police state. AndyL 23:40, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

accuracy dispute

are you vigorously disregarding the numerous unresolved disputes you have taken part in, or what? I don't get it. Sam Spade 06:20, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Sam, check back a few edits and you'll see that the previous warning that I removed was just NPOV. I removed it because of the lack of discussion here. When you put the warning back you *escalated* it to total without an explanation of what facts you dispute in the article. If you think there are factual inaccuracies please say what you think they are. AndyL 17:31, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I do my research. The Birth of Fascist Ideology, From Cultural Rebellion to Politcal Revolution, Zeev Sternhell with Mario Sznajder and Maia Asheri, trans. David Maisel, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, l994.

Zeev Sternhell, I wish I could buy him a beer and more, and wish him many Mazel Tovs, is a Leon Blum Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

On the very first page of the book in the introduction he speaks of A. James Gregor, and recommends his book in the footnote The Ideology of Fascism: The rationale of Totalitariansim.WHEELER 16:27, 27 Apr 2004 (UTC)


The Sunday Times Book review has a very positive review of Robert Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism. Paxton defines fascism as "a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by conpensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which as mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal constraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. He distinguishes fascist regimes from authoritatian regimes and military dictatorship because fascist regimes seek to enlist the masses." He argues that fascism developed in the wake of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution -- the former produced economic malaises, national humiliation, and legions of restive veterans, and conservative elites in Italy and Germany so feared a communist revolution in their own contries that they were willing to accept anything (i.e. fascism) as an alternative. (I am heavily quoting and paraphrasing the review). I leave it to others who know the literature on fascism better than I to evaluate this review, or seek out the book if they think it is worth it, Slrubenstein

That sounds pretty solid to me. Paxton's a well respected historian who got his start working on Vichy France, so he's naturally going to look at it in a comparative way. john 17:21, 3 May 2004 (UTC)

I'm glad to hear he is well respected. I know that much of this is already in the article; I don't know if any part of the article could be strengthened in this regard (the review made the book seem more synthetic than ground-breaking, anyway), Slrubenstein


I would like to modify the Fascism vs. socialism section in the manner below.

I think that the points that Wheeler and I have tried to made are being minimized not because we do not have evidence and documentation to back them, but because the are bucking the prevailing wisdom of this particular article and its contributors.

I propose that the section have two subdivision and arguments be made accordingly. Fill in the “Pointing out the contrasts” section and make suggestions for “Arguing the similarities”, and I will do likewise.

Perhaps a temp page can me made on this proposal and we can hash out any debates there.

I hope this is a compromise all can agree with. TDC 17:07, May 5, 2004 (UTC)