Really cool old post. More relevant now than when it was published.
I wrote this in objection to a paper under review right now on Academia by a Left professor of Somatic Psychology, a PhD and a very smart man, who quotes Wilhelm Reich, a Jewish pro-sex and anti-fascist writer, as saying that fascists are out of touch with their bodies. Presumably antifascists are in touch with their bodies and not repressed. Apparently sexual repression and being out of touch with your body is part of the genesis of fascism. I don’t agree. Here is my response, in part.
I think that quoting Reich on fascism is not the greatest idea. He’s not the best person to ask about fascist theory. The modern intellectual descendants of Reich (the Cultural Left) don’t have a very good view of fascism.
Further, Reich was an extreme sexual libertine who may have molested his sister and raped his maids as a boy. Reich’s sexual libertinism was rejected by all Communists in the last century and is still condemned in existing Communist countries. So Reich’s critique is ill-formed, as the Communists were just as bad as the fascists when it came to Reich’s libertinism.
Fascists are sexually repressed? I don’t know. I’ve run into some MAGA women lately who are ridiculously libertine to the point of being degenerate or depraved. They’re about this far from becoming out and out porn stars. Yet fascists they are. A friend used to be an actor in the porn industry. He told me that the industry is full of conservatives. I’m aware of a few pornstars who were basically White Supremacists.
Donald Trump’s fascism was nearly a “pornographic fascism.” He cavorted with pornstars, cheated on all of his wives, made lewd remarks about his own daughter and the teenage underage daughters of his friends, attended sex orgies, and raped a 13 year old girl and forced a 12 and 13 year old girl to have sex with each other. He’s as libertine as Reich, yet he’s a fascist.
Better definitions are coming out of serious scholars of the Left. There area number of modern scholars who are trying to pin down exactly what fascism is. Almost all are operating from the Left. Among these superb modern theorists of fascism are David Neiwert who blogs at the Nazi-loving liberal site Daily Kos, the authors of a blog called Three Way Fight (not sure if it’s still up), along with excellent political scientists working out of the universities.
Better older analyses of fascism also come from Lenin and especially from Trotsky, who wrote some of the best essays on fascism ever written.
A “popular dictatorship against the Left” seems to be the best definition. “Palingetic nationalism” is another, referring to the bird that rises from the ashes in mythology. Fascism appeals to “the everyman,” “the man on the street” – “the shirtless ones” of Peronist fame. That’s the appeal – to your “basic man” and “basic woman.” It also appeals to strong primitive drives of aggression, violence, projection of failures onto outsiders, expansionism, often imperialism, an opposition to liberalism and democracy. It also opposes equality and in favor of hierarchy.
Fascism involves a reverence for sacred violence bordering on the religious, a worship of “the greatness of the ancestors,” a dialogue to restore “the glory days of yore” from the ruins of the “degenerate present,” ruined by liberals, democracy, anti-nationals, nation-haters, and traitors. Fascism has historically supported a return to traditional values and a rejection of degenerate modernism, but as we can see in the “pornographic fascism” of Donald Trump, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
Fascism also always advocated a return to traditional male female role models, but that need not be a hindrance to basic equal de jure rights for women, as seen in the many successful MAGA women and the many often-religious MAGA men who love and cherish their wives.
Fascism has typically targeted minorities and has been racist. People think that fascism is inherently anti-Semitic, yet many early Zionists such as Jabotinsky were open fascists and supported the fascist movement in Europe. Some of the early Israeli guerrillas were Jabotinskist fascists.
I’d argue that Israel has been fascist from Day One, but certainly with the coming of Sharon and Netanyahu, the ideological descendants of Jabotinskyist fascism, Israel became literally a fascist country. Jacobinsky is the hero and spiritual founder of the Likud Party. He was an early Zionist who wrote a book in 1921 called The Iron Wall. He and his followers were strong supporters of the fascist parties in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s. Some of the early Zionist guerrilla organizations were Jabotinskyist fascists.
In Lebanon, the Gemayalist Phalangists, named after a general named Gemayal, are an actual literal fascist party. Even their name is fascist, as phalange is a popular name for fascist parties. They are Christian Maronites who see themselves as transplanted Europeans, descendants of “Phoenicians,” who despise Arabs and Islam. They are also the most pro-Israel party in Lebanon. This founder of this party had photos of Hitler in his school locker when he was in high school, and the party’s ideology is modeled on the classic European fascism of the 30’s.
Israeli fascism is not anti-Semitic at all, and many White Supremacists actually support Israel as the model for the racist state they wish to set up. Many dislike Jews in the Diaspora who are seen as anti-national, but have no problem with the fascist Jews in Israel and see them as fellow fascists.
A number of the anti-immigrant Right parties in Europe are pro-Israel, including the National Front in France, the AfD in Germany, and the neo-Nazi party in Austria! They often like Israel because of its strong anti-Muslim orientation. Along the same lines, the Muslim-hating Hindu nationalist fascists ruling India in the form of the BJP party are very pro-Israel.
Arab nationalists have always been quite fascist despite their Leftist trappings. Saddam was a fascist, as was Hafez Assad. Some think Bashar Assad is a fascist.
The North African leaders, all Arab Nationalists, were fascists in the sense that they tried to destroy the Berbers’ identity and make everyone into an Arab. The Assads and Saddam also attacked Kurds and Assyrians, in both cases in attempts to turn everyone into an Arab. Saddam also attacked Turkmen. And he discriminated against Iraqis of Iranian background in the South so much that he threw hundreds of thousands of them out of the country.
The Moroccan fascists are even expansionists, having invaded Spanish Sahara. The Indonesian fascists committed genocide in East Timor and Aceh and in the entire country against Communists when they unleashed a genocide in 1965 that murdered 1 million Communist in less than a couple of months. It was as bad as the Rwandan genocide.
All of these are examples of “Muslim fascists,” so fascism and Islam are quite compatible.
There seems to be a view in the West that fascism must be White Supremacist and of course it must be anti-Semitic. None of the above were White Supremacists. They were all non-Whites, and none were self-haters. Also as you can see above, fascism need not be anti-Semitic.
I also listed a number of fascist and anti-Islamic movements, rightwing dictatorships along with the post-fascist conservatives in Spain and Italy. The former fascist followers of Mussolini and Franco simply melted into the rightwing movements of both countries. In Spain it was the Conservative Party, a party with fascist roots. The Francoists simply changed clothes and melted into the Conservative Party. Francoism is still extremely popular, mostly in the form of anti-separatism, these days. I’ve been to their very popular websites.
Burlusconi in Italy has inherited the descendants of fascism in Italy. A fascist and racist separatist and somewhat White Supremacist movement has formed in Northern Italy. They are White Supremacists in the sense that they claim they are Celts or “pure Whites,” and they despise Southern Italians as de facto “niggers.”
A friend in Italy told me that fascism was still very popular in Italy to this very day, although it was also widely hated, as the Left in Italy is often Far Left or almost Communist. There are cities in Sicily were the leftwingers are all Communists and the rightwingers are all fascists. They engage in street battles all the time.
My friend told me that the Red Brigades, an anti-fascist Far Left group of Communists that attacked the state, was extremely popular in Northern Italy, particularly in Vicenzia Province where he lived. His sister was a strong supporter of the Red Brigades, and she came from a normal middle class background in Trieste.
Fascism is said to be anti-Muslim, yet we have Islamic fascism in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Morocco, and probably the Taliban in Afghanistan. Turkey and Azerbaijan are classic fascists of the 1930’s type, however they have married this to Ottoman imperialism and Islamic jihadism, particularly the genocidal variety that held sway in Turkey from 1880 until 1940.
That the Taliban are a new sort of fascism was an argument of the Leftists at Three Way Fight. I’m not sure I agree with that. Other Muslim fascists used to rule in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Iran. Above I listed more Muslim fascists in the Arab World, who might better be described as rightwing dictatorships.
Fascism is chameleon-like and changes shape endlessly to mirror and capture whatever times it is in. I can even see chameleon-like fascists adopting yoga, meditation, and bodywork – the “Left” body psychology mechanisms the author refers to. Hitler was a vegetarian and a good animal rights supporter, if terrible in so many other ways. This aspect of fascism of what makes this political mercury blob so hard to pin down. Indeed, many fascists pose as anti-Nazis and anti-fascists and accuse anti-fascists of being fascists! I’ve seen this with my own eyes.
Problem is the Modern Left starts talking about fascism, and it immediately degenerates into propaganda and nonsense where we push views that line up whatever biases our Left formation is pushing du jour.
The Cultural Left, which is almost devoid of intelligence or intellectual honesty of any sort, in particular cannot be relied upon, as almost everything coming out of there is propaganda and a lie in some form or another. For instance, the Cultural Left argues that White Supremacists, anti-feminists (or what feminists would call misogynists), homophobes, and transphobes are all “fascists.”
That’s utter nonsense, as none of this Identity Stuff has anything to do with the Left in the first place, since the Left is only about economics, and many Communists of the last century were in fact social conservatives described under the epithets above. Many of the antifascist fighters fighting in the Allies in World War 2 were White Supremacists, racists (in particular, racist against Blacks), “misogynists” (or at the very least strong sexists), and virulent homophobes. Trannies didn’t exist back then, but they would have been hated much worse than gays.
The very racist White Southern Democrats of that time absolutely despised Hitler, Mussolini and the rest of the European fascists along with the Japanese, who were promoting a sort of “fascist militarism.”
The Cultural Left would have us believe that Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hoxha, Deng, Ho Chi Minh, the Bulgarian Communists, etc. were all fascists because they were social conservatives. Homosexuality was banned as a bourgeois vice in the Eastern Bloc. The Shining Path executed homosexuals and cocaine abusers (another bourgeois vice). The Khmer Rogue were terribly racist. I don’t think anyone will deny that they were Communists.
Even Strasserites are Communists, granted they are odd ones. Further, Strasser had no biological race-based objection to Jews. He had an economic objection. And he wasn’t the best anti-Semite. He kept asking the others why they were so overboard on the Jewish Question. Stalin wasn’t the best on women’s rights. The Bulgarian Communists had opinions on race that would be considered Nazism nowadays.
As noted, homosexuality was banned in all of the Communist World. Castro put them in labor camps. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation even today doesn’t have the best policy on gays nor on Jews for that matter. I’m pretty sure they are Communists. Trans people were not even acknowledged by any Communist country ever.
We have to completely rethink our view of fascism.
It is perfectly possible to have a libertine fascism in a porn-drenched society, which is what we just went through with Trump. MAGA folks are not repressed at all in my observation. They’re not out of touch with their bodies. The Sex Revolution of the 60’s which I was a part of took care of that.
MAGA fascism even allowed for equal rights for women. MAGA women do not appear to be discriminated against legally. A lot of them have made a lot of money and held high positions.
Fascism has always been homophobic, yet the Nazi brownshirts were full of homosexuals. I assure you that there are gay MAGA folks. I’ve talked to a number of them. Mitch McConnell is a lifelong homosexual. He’s as fascist as they come. The Republican Convention welcomed an open fascist, the founder of Ebay, to their convention. They gave him a standing ovation.
I’m aware of Neo-Nazis to this day who are open homosexuals. James O’Meara was one. A number of White Supremacists have been outed as closeted gays. One was murdered by his young Black boyfriend. A friend used to be involved in these groups, and he told me that was a LOT of homosexuality in this scene.
Brazilian fascist integralism was multi-racial and formally anti-racist, populist to the core. But Bolsonaro does not come from this milieu; he represents an actual throwback in some ways to classical European fascism of the 1930’s.
Fascism has traditionally been racist, but Black and Indian fascism is a real thing. I believe that fascism knows no color. The Tonton Macoutes of Haiti were Black fascists. The Black Hutu government in Rwanda was fascist, as was Mobutu in Zaire and Samuel Doe in Liberia.
A fascist indigenist Indian rights activist is running for President in Ecuador. He’s pulled support from Cultural Left morons who support his Identity Politics while overlooking his fascism, a typical error of IP types, who are the a scourge of the Left.
Obviously modern fascism opposes transsexualism, but that will not necessarily the case into the future. Caitlin Jenner, a fully-transitioned transwoman, is MAGA. In the future we may see even forms of fascism that offer equal rights to gays and maybe even transsexuals.