(Original post by walkingbeard)
For the key points of fascism, you must look at the fascists: Benito Mussolini said that fascism was 'the merging of state and corporate power'. That doesn't (just) mean that state and industry merge, but that all corporate entities merge into the state - members' clubs, youth clubs, community associations, trade unions.
Too much attention is paid to Italian fascism's most obvious symptoms - the closed heirarchy of leadership, the use of paramilitary squads to beat down political opponents and suppress dissent.
But those things are also symptomatic of the society that fascist Italy inherited. At that time, Europe was rife with extreme poverty, and correspondingly highly militant trade unions; significant numbers of young European men were involved in military occupation and colonial matters.
In our current political climate, there has been absolutely no need for a fascist to use a hit squad. They smile for the cameras instead.
Now, in the UK today, I don't think that any of the three main parties is currently particularly fascist, although the threat is always most present in the Labour Party. At a basic level, the key difference between a socialist and a fascist is one of democracy and class analysis on the one hand, and authority and one-nationism on the other.
That is why I believe that the greatest threat to British freedom in recent times has not come from the Conservative Party (which is objectionable in its own way), but from Tony Blair's Labour Party. Blair's MO was absolute authority and he required obedience. He was rightly accused of a presidential style of Government, keeping the Cabinet under his thumb. Under his leadership, the Government introduced more new crimes than all there had been before. He was renowned for his cast-iron grasp on the media and for allowing unprecedented fraternisation between big business and Government. He crushed Whitehall.
If you look below the surface, the fascist analogies become more apparent, both in the ideology and in the practice.
The guiding light behind New Labour is the work of the sociologist Anthony Giddens. One of the key concepts in what is considered by some, his holistic view of society, is the Third Way. The Third Way has been a key concept in fascism right from the beginning - a third way, not capitalist, not communist, acknowledging what it considers the best aspects of both, and trying to formulate an ordered society without class antagonism.
On the practical front, New Labour's malign influence could be felt nowhere more strongly than Glasgow, where I lived for several years. Fully buying in to the New Labour ideas of private financing and partnership between the state and community groups (corporatism in the language of 20th century fascism), the City Council sold all its housing to an arm's-length management company, Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). The stated intention was to further transfer the stock to local housing associations some time down the line.
In the mean-time, the local housing associations did a lot of the administrative work for GHA and part of that was looking after things like repairs. For each area there was a local residents' group to control this in partnership with the local housing association. Each group was filled with local New Labour cronies, who were often the same people who ran the local Community Councils. Neither the tenant groups, nor the community councils ever advertised their meetings, or elections, or the fact that hundreds of thousands of pounds were technically waiting to be spent on repairing run-down estates.
Eventually, many of the GHA housing stocks were knocked down. The land was sold to local private housing associations run by New Labour cronies.
Corporatism is the essence
of fascism. Racism barely comes into it, and neither do the hit squads.