Our excellent commenter Francis Miville has left an excellent comment about what he thinks fascism is. Check it out. It’s very interesting! A bit hard to understand, but if I could follow it, you probably can too. He’s actually correct as far as a very strict definition of 1930’s-style Mussolinist fascism goes, but I tend to think that all rightwing dictatorships or rightwing authoritarian regimes seem to be “fascist” in one way or another. There are some exceptions.
Putin’s Russia follows a philosophy called “Russian conservatism” but many Russian Communists like this strand of politics, including the KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation). And many Communist and Left parties around the world are with Russia. Russia might be a lot of things, but it’s not a fascist country. Nor is it a Communist country either.
And from a Left perspective, it’s not strictly an imperialist country either by Lenin’s definition of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, which is pretty much colonialism or neocolonialism. In order to be imperialist by that definition, you need to have an empire with vassals that you lord it over and exploit for their resources.
Russia’s foreign policy doesn’t do that, and Russia doesn’t have an empire like the US does. Russia’s foreign policy is based, like China’s, on solidarity, not imperialism. Also by a strict Marxist definition, Russia’s economy isn’t really large enough to be an imperialist country in the first place.
Generally speaking, most rightwing dictatorships that the US and now the EU have supported could be classified as fascist. Melloni’s Italy, Poland, and Orban’s Hungary are pretty much fascist countries, but I rather like Hungary’s brand. Turkey and Azerbaijan are obviously fascist. That’s Turkish fascism. There is an Ataturkist secular brand and an Islamist and Ottoman Empire revivalist brand that can be seen in Erdogan.
Bolsonaro of Brazil was clearly a fascist of the Mussolinist type. Pinochet was a fascist, and was Paraguay’s Strasser. The Duvalierists in Haiti were fascists. So was Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The opposition in Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, and Nicaragua look pretty fascist.
The Argentine dictatorship was clearly fascist, as was the longstanding Suharto regime. “Pangasila” was a classic fascist construction. The BJP party ruling India is “Hindu fascist.”
As far as an excellent definition of fascism goes, I like, “a popular dictatorship against the Left with palingetic (like the Phoenix rising from the ashes) and extreme nationalist features.”
Fascism is something very precise and not a vague epithet to be thrown away at anybody by any Woke type. It is a far more precise and definite phenomenon than Communism. Communism is an ideology first and foremost that talks about a production mode to come called such but that production mode is described by the Marxist theory as impossible to even define as long as the whole of capitalism itself hasn’t morphed into socialism.
As far as the praxis goes, communism in our present capital-centric world can only manifest as a religion, albeit an atheistic ones.
But all religions in China are traditionally atheistic, so that is not a great paradox or oxymoron: some religions are polytheistic, some are monotheistic, some atheistic, none of which prevents any of them to be religions. From that point of view here summed up, Karl Marx never was a Marxist nor a Communist. But I am not here to talk about Communism but fascism.
Fascism was best defined by its prime modern vulgarizer and practitioner himself, namely Benito Mussolini. Fascism aka corporatism is to be defined as the perfect unison or gleichschaltung: co-standardization of all input and output plugs, devices and mechanisms of everything that can be produced and consumed both materially and informationally in a given society.
If something or somebody doesn’t fit and is not acknowledged as standard and response-providing, it has to be junked as poisonous without hesitation) by combined state and corporate power. The corporation so defined can be a professional corporation in the more traditional sense of a guild or of an Indian jati (in-born caste) as well as a corporation in the more modern multinational and predatory sense of the word, with the well-known Italian-style mafias standing in between.
Why the name fascism? It refers to Ancient Rome when it passed from Republic to Empire, as consuls (chief executives) used to be identified with bundles of rods symbolizing forces. Dictators in periods of emergency were given all those bundles, and Cesar claimed dictatorship for life as the only political condition befitting Nature.
Mussolini’s aim was to resurrect the Roman Empire, and that resurrected a Roman Empire could only be planetary. It had nearly nothing to do with the exaltation of Italianhood even though it condescended to be temporarily presented as such to the greater part of the plebs that had to be fed with lies, as that was part and parcel of the official established philosophy of Alexandrine Greek-Roman antiquity.
To be the citizen of a poor or backwater country is not necessarily a great calamity or drawback in life but to be one of a poor country whose rulers ambition to play a decisive role on the world stage is always the worst fate of all.
Fascism has nothing to do with antisemitism: Mussolini’s state which will always be the textbook case was the most Jewish-friendly in Europe and owed most of its initial political victories to Jewish groups of interests.
Quite the contrary, the principle of corporatism granted the Jews unheard-of perfectly legal and glorified explicit permissions to act through states of their own within the state. In particular traditional Jewish animus against non-Jewish humanity in general was to be promoted as a civic virtue that of all corporations invited to participate in and to be imitated by all subjects to be good citizens.
Fascism didn’t present itself as Extreme Rightist but as Extreme Centrist. For the Liberal and Libertarian Right the (rich) individual was sovereign.
For the Left, the people manifesting through the socialist state were the sovereign.
For the fascists, neither the state neither nor the individual were to be considered as sovereign but only corporations. Individuals were admitted only as respected members of their corporations, and the collective will could manifest lawfully only through corporate action.
Corporations were to be conceived as abstract persons endowed with the fullest rights imaginable but. That aspect of fascism was essential. Corporations were positioned to be unmarred by the blemish of original sin. Since their appetites were pure they had to be shielded from the reproaches accruing onto vulgar human beings.