What’s in it for me? Understand the warning signs of fascism.
Fascism Madeleine Albright Review – For most of us, “fascism” is a term from the history books. Black-and-white pictures of Hitler and Mussolini come to mind – reminders of a long-forgotten past, a time when the world’s democracies were young and unstable. But the reality is, plenty of governments around the world today are exhibiting anti-democratic tendencies, if not outright fascistic ones. From South America to Europe, many countries give reason to be concerned about the state of democracy.
The author explains how once-stable democracies can degenerate into fascist regimes, and considers whether the same process could threaten the United States of America, the self-styled “land of the free.” Drawing on historical and contemporary examples, these blinks explore what fascism means and how it takes root.
In this article, you’ll also learn
- who invented the slogan “America First”;
- what Donald Trump said about anti-democratic leaders around the world; and
- why Mussolini compared acquiring power to plucking a chicken.
Fascism is not a political ideology but rather an approach to seizing and holding power.
“Fascism.” The word gets thrown around a lot. In this online forum, you’ll hear it applied to police officers; in that newspaper column, it’s used to describe feminists. Elsewhere, the people referred to might be vegans or bureaucrats.
So what does the word really mean? What is a “fascist”?
Fascism is ideologically vague and can involve the politics of the right and the left.
In 1920s Italy, an early hotbed of fascism, there were fascists on the left arguing for a dictatorial rule in the interests of the working class, and fascists on the right who argued for an authoritarian government in which state and companies work closely together.
In Germany, the National Socialists, or Nazis, combined promises of higher pensions and better education with their anti-Semitic propaganda.
Today, governments exhibiting fascist tendencies range across the ideological spectrum, from socialism in Venezuela to conservative nationalism in Hungary.
So what a fascist is isn’t the most revealing question. It’s far more informative to ask which characteristics fascism displays.
Fascism draws strength from an upset or angry public – whether that anger results from a lost war or lost territory, a loss of national pride or a loss of jobs, or any combination of these factors. The most successful fascist leaders have a charisma that enables them to connect emotionally with the crowd, converting public anger into a sense of public solidarity and purpose.
Once in power, fascists consolidate authority by controlling information. Hitler’s regime ruthlessly propagandized – Mein Kampf, Hitler’s own book, was studied like the Bible, while radio addresses enabled the Führer to broadcast his hate-fuelled oratory to 80 million people at once. Today, authoritarian governments such as Russia and Turkey spread disinformation online and seek to quash media outlets that criticize them.
A fascist normally claims to act and speak on behalf of a whole nation, or an entire group, and draws a dividing line between that group and outsiders, such as the Jews in Nazi Germany or the class traitors in Soviet Russia.
Finally, fascist leaders expect the crowd to back them up. Unlike other tyrants, they are not wary of the population and don’t try to calm the crowd; rather, they strive to stir it up.
Next, let’s take a look at how fascists……………
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