Fascism: history

What's with this page?  In the right column are excerpts from major historical work bearing directly on understanding "trump".  In this column are my own comments on these materials.

fascism
racism/
anti-semitism
patrimonialism
white supremacy
racism/
anti-semitism
white supremacy
fascism
patrimonialism
patrimonialism
fascism
white supremacy
racism/
anti-semitism
white suspremacy
patrimonialism
racism/
anti-semitism
fascism


In the Neighborhoods of Books

A concept of fascism emerged in the context of and as a response to the socio-politivcal crises of the inter-war period 1918-1939.  I don't claim any academic expertise in the subject.  On the other hand, I have a rigorous method in approaching the literature. On what basis did I select the books listed to the right?

Let V be the set of all books that address the problematic of fascism.  Let p* be any text, and let us call the small circle (a subset of V) the set of books such as those listed to the right that we would like to establish as essential works such that, no matter how small the circle is shrunk, we cannot exclude them.  Let us call this small circle the set of canonical texts.
 
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 What is a canonical text?  I am using this word to refer to state-of-the-art works such as those of Smith, Evans, and Paxton.  All but two of these texts were published in the 21st century, and those two were published in the last decade of the 20th century.  These books are selected based on their reputations among scholars in the field, and on the basis of the reputation of the publisher in the world of academic scholarship.  Notice that Oxford and Cambridge predominate.  On the other hand, the absence of Harvard University Press is notable.  There is no doubt that Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard must be included in any shrunken circle of publishing houses.  Right now I am simply making an interesting observation.  Throughout this site you will find a massive  presence of citations of work published by Harvard.


In the Neighborhood of Fascism as problematic
Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (Knopf, 2004)

R. J. B. Bosworth, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Fascism (Oxford, 2009)

Helmut Walser Smith, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011)

Ann Goldberg, “Women and Men: 1760-1960,” in Helmut Walser Smith, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011)


Macgregor Knox, To the Threshold of Power: 1922/33: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and
     National Socalist Dictatorshhips, Volume 1 (Cambridge, 2007)

Helmut Walser Smith, The Continuities of German History: Nation, Religion, and Race across
     the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2008)

Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher's Tale: Murder and AntiSemitism in a German Town
     (Norton, 2002)

Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris (Norton, 1998)

Richard Evans, The Third Reich in History and Memory (Oxford, 2016)

Franklin Hugh Adler, Italian Industrialists from Liberalism to Fascism: The political
     development of the industrial bourgeoisie, 1906-1934 (Cambridge, 1995)

Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightenment: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the
     Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001)



Inside the Guttenberg Parenthesis: in the beginning was the book

(Now we have the anti-book: Facebook et. al.)
gg
Pieter Claesz, Still life with burning candle, 1627
Sadism:
the sado-sexual eigenvector of GOP performativities
The history of fascism could be, broadly speaking, subsumed under a more geneal history of violence, sadism, aggression, and rage.  Paxton: "The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism."


Trump is "not hurting the people he needs to be hurting":
Paxton (p. 84): "The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy
brings us close to the heart of fascism



from 'It’s Just Too Much’: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane, New York Times, 1-7-19.

I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” an employee of the Federal prison in the Florida Panhandle said. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.


from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 14

Here the works of vengefulness and rancor swarm; here the air stinks of secrets and concealment;  . . . and what mendaciousness is employed to disguise that this hatred is hatred!  What a display of grand words and postures, what an art of "honest" calumny!




Three paragraphs from Robert O. Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004):

1.  Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by 1) obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and 2) by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which 3) a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, 4) working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, 5) abandons democratic liberties and 6) pursues with redemptive violence and 7) without ethical or legal restraints 8) goals of internal cleansing and 9) external expansion.  p. 218

2.   The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism.  p. 84

3.  Today [2004] a "politics of ressentment" rooted in authentic American piety and nativism sometimes leads to violence against some of the very same "internal enemies" once targeted by the Nazis, such as homosexuals and defenders of abortion rights. . . .  The languge and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models.  They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as Orwell suggested. . . . No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses.  No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance [one minute and 45 seconds into this video].  These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.  p.  202

Sadism and Genocide
Darwin: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world”

Wallace: “the higher—the more intellectual and moral—must displace the lower and more degraded races”

Kidd: “The Anglo-Saxon has exterminated the less developed peoples with which he has come in competition.”




from Hunt Hawkins, “Heart of Darkness and Racism” in Conrad ref, pp. 373-4

Darwin himself concluded, in The Descent of Man: “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world”.  Alfred Russell Wallace ended his 1864 article by saying “the higher—the more intellectual and moral—must displace the lower and more degraded races”.  Eduard von Hartmann in his 1869 Philosophy of the Unconscious, a book Conrad read, wrote that it wasn’t humane to prolong "the death struggles of savages who are on the verge of extinction. . . .  The true philanthropist, if he has comprehended the natural law of anthropological evolution, cannot avoid desiring an acceleration of the last convulsion, and labor for that end.”  And in 1894 in Social Evolution Benjamin Kidd observed, “The Anglo-Saxon has exterminated the less developed peoples with which he has come in competition.”


English visitors to Conrad in Kent recollected him as “not of our race”, “like a Polish Jew”, “the conventional stage Hebrew”, “simian”, “oriental mannerisms”, “very Oriental indeed”, “spectacularly a foreigner”, an Oriental face”, “semi-Mongolian”, and “like a monkey”.



We are deep in the doodoo of fascism
 
Why Putin et. al.?



from Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightement: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 48-52

What were the elements of this emergent right wing vision?  The fundamental importance of religion in maintaining political order, a preoccupation with the perils of intellectual and social license, the valorization of the family and history, the critique of abstract rights, the dangers of dividing sovereignty, and the need for a strategic alliance between throne and altar . . .  Even more fundamental was a Manichean readiness to divide the word in two: bewtween good and evil, right and wrong, Right and Left.

Yet to say that the anti-philosophe discourse fulfilled an ideological function is not to assert that it offered a fully developed political platform.  Rather it provided a "symbolic template" through which to construe a perplexing and rapidly changing world, a number of "authoritative concepts" and "suasive images" by which they could be grasped. 

By invoking this mythic golden past . . . anti-philosophes revealed signs of a romantic, qasi-utopian yearning for wholeness and social unity that would characterize a strain in far Right thinking for years to come.            

Reactive, reductive, Manichean, this thinking is less noteworthy, perhaps, for its particulars than for its general form.  It was precisely this tendency to view society as a battleground between opposing camps that stands as a hallmark of the bipolar, Right-Left model of politics so fundamental to subsequent European history. . . .  Dividing the world between good and evil, between the pious and the profane, anti-philosphes saw their struggle as a cosmic war in which the winners would take all.



This
Why Putin et. al.?



from Ann Goldberg, “Women and Men: 1760-1960,” in Helmut Walser Smith, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011), p. 79


The alleged undermining of the patriarchal family—the ruse of the ‘double earners’ (married women performing paid labor outside the home), and sexually liberated New Women—became a powerful symbol of the breakdown of the social fabric in the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic, subject to intense poltical debate, social policy interventions, and efforts to resurrect the traditional gender order.  The Nazis played directly on these gender anxieties as they built their movement in the Weimar years.  Together with Jews and leftists, feminists and New Women became symbols in Nazi propaganda of the decadence and weakness of liberal democracy and modern urban life.  Railing against the ‘soulless’ and ‘egotistical’ modern woman, National Socialists called for their return to the home and for the restoration of the patriarchal family—for, as the slogan went, ‘emancipation from emancipation’.

At the same time, the Nazis built upon the militarized masculinity and culture of comradship that had evolved in WWI, glorifying the ideal of a brotherhood of self-sacrificing soldier-comrades, and turning it into an extreme cult of violence, hardness, and duty to the racial Volk.  A study of the writings of the Freicorps—right-wing paramilitary groups of ex-soldiers and officers formed in the aftermath of WWI—explores the unconscious fears and desires of this fascist masculinity.  It shows the deep mysogyny of men who posssessed weak, fragmented egos, whose terrors of psychic dissolution were associated with femininization and female sexuality, and who, as a result, embraced a cult of masculine hardness and violence as an emotional defense mechanism.






This
Why Putin et. al.?
talkin' shit; blowing smoke; schmoozing;

talkin shit: sleepy Joe; they're rapists;