in: Telos, Volume 8, p. 43-63
ISSN: 0040-2842 (print), 0090-6514 (electronic)
Fascism in Italy & Germany was the result of mass movements that seized power when the existing capitalist ruling classes readily yielded control. Fascist ideology, which is a variant of bourgeois ideology with a petty bourgeois character, appealed to individuals of all SC's. It called for unity & an end to divisive class struggles although it did not attack property relations which were the foundations of the existing class structure. Fascism is the last stage of capitalist society, in which the inherent contradictions of the system are brutally pushed to their ultimate consequences. In practice, fascism is the negation of bourgeois democracy & formal equality, & marks the end of the legal pursuit of particular interests. The mass basis for the fascist movement are the middle strata, who tend to have certain characteristic traits: (1) a narrow focus on particular needs, wants & conceptions; (2) an absolute identification with "natural" groups; (3) an intense hostility to other families, religions, nations & races, conceived of as out-groups; (4) an obsession with the past & a preoccupation with a return to "original" structures; & (5) a veneration of authoritarian figures & forces. A fundamental feature of fascism that is historically unique are the military organizations, or storm troops, that dominate the party, & are unconditionally brutal against real or pretended enemies. The "national socialism" of fascist ideology refers to the attempt to increase the satisfaction of the material needs of every member of all SC's within the national community at the expense of other nations. Fascism arises when the petty bourgeoisie is crushed between the ruling class & a strong Wc. It evolves into a movement that attempts to smash worker's organizations on its road to power, & ends up implementing the program of the big bourgeoisie since the petty bourgeois movement has no solutions for capitalism's crisis. A. Karmen.