Is fascism right-wing or left-wing? Watch

Poll: Where does fascism fall on the political spectrum?
Fascism is right-wing (17)
43.59%
Fascism is left-wing (8)
20.51%
Fascism is neither right-wing nor left-wing (14)
35.9%
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Plainview
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#1
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#1
Do you see fascism as a right-wing ideology, owing to its attributes of nationalism and social conservatism, or as a left-wing ideology, due to its social and economic collectivism, and emphasis on the power of government over the individual?

In other words, do you agree more with spectrum one:

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or spectrum two*:

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or do you think neither is adequate? (Mussolini described Fascism as "against the backwardness of the right and the destructiveness of the left" in 1919, for example)



*not my titles, obviously
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Greenlaner
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#2
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#2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-capitalism#Fascism

Fascism has mixed stances on capitalism; while supportive of private property rights and the market economy, fascism upholds statism and corporatism and is hostile to the concepts of laissez-faire capitalism, free markets, free trade, economic individualism, consumerism, and bourgeois culture. Unlike Marxists, who argue that social disparities and economic crises result from class conflict, fascists tend to downplay class conflict with calls for national unity. Fascists tend to blame economic crises and social problems on delinquent individuals, races or immigrant groups. When fascists have criticized capitalism, they have focused their attacks on "finance capitalism", the international nature of banks and the stock exchange, and its cosmopolitan bourgeois character.

German Nazi officials, such as Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler, in private viewed Nazism as more radical than Italian Fascism, which they argued was too supportive of capitalism. The Nazis argued that capitalism damages nations due to international finance, the economic dominance of big business, and Jewish influences within it. The Spanish Falange held anti-capitalist positions. Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1935 declared that "We reject the capitalist system, which disregards the needs of the people, dehumanizes private property and transforms the workers into shapeless masses prone to misery and despair". The Romanian Iron Guard espoused anti-capitalist, anti-banking and anti-bourgeois rhetoric. The Arrow Cross Party of Hungary held strong anti-feudal and anti-capitalist beliefs and supported redistribution of property.
Just a bunch of collectivist, state-socialist, control freaks, with a greater emphasis on nationalism than that of traditional Marxist socialists.
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StarvingAutist
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#3
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I don't think the right-wing/left-wing paradigm really helps in describing politics. I would say Fascism is more authoritarian than anything.
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Kiss
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#4
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Intrinsically, fascism is right-wing. However, when the far left and far right reach extremes they're not very different to be honest, so in a sense you get fascism on the left wing as well. If we're just talking about the authoritarian aspect of fascism, that is prevalent on either side of the spectrum.
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Plainview
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#5
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(Original post by Kiss)
Intrinsically, fascism is right-wing. However, when the far left and far right reach extremes they're not very different to be honest, so in a sense you get fascism on the left wing as well. If we're just talking about the authoritarian aspect of fascism, that is prevalent on either side of the spectrum.
But by what standard? The current, popular model puts libertarianism, conservatism, fascism, and monarchism on the right. Meanwhile we have libertarian socialism on the far left right next to Maoism amongst others. It's a mess.

I favour a reevaluation based on economic principles. State power on the left, individual power on the right. That way the left wing stays much the same, as does the right, except anarchism moves to the far right and fascism to the far left, to go with communism and other forms of totalitarianism. Early Fabians (such as GB Shaw) had no problem identifying as a part of a broad socialist movement that acted as an umbrella for fascism as well as communism.

Consider the French Revolution-era birth of the left/right paradigm, with loyal monarchists on the right and the eventually successful radical authoritarians such as Robespierre on the left. Both are collectivist – clearly not an applicable system today.
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anarchism101
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#6
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(Original post by Plainview)
But by what standard? The current, popular model puts libertarianism, conservatism, fascism, and monarchism on the right. Meanwhile we have libertarian socialism on the far left right next to Maoism amongst others. It's a mess.

I favour a reevaluation based on economic principles. State power on the left, individual power on the right. That way the left wing stays much the same, as does the right, except anarchism moves to the far right and fascism to the far left, to go with communism and other forms of totalitarianism. Early Fabians (such as GB Shaw) had no problem identifying as a part of a broad socialist movement that acted as an umbrella for fascism as well as communism.
The problem with any kind of political axis/scale is that you have to pick some kind of dichotomy to base it on, and it can pretty much be guaranteed that someone will object to this dichotomy. For example, you've gone for 'state power' vs 'individual power'. How exactly do you define these terms?

As an anarchist I completely reject the idea that I am in the same category as, or even close on the scale to, American libertarians, and I expect most other anarchists would.
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Martyn*
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#7
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#7
Fascism has in the past, as in the case of Italy and Germany, appropriated Socialism because it needed to appeal to the masses, and economically, Fascism has appropriated Socialism such as the principle of central planning - but the people who profit from this are the rich and the wealthy instead of everyone. Fascism is essentially right-wing or extreme right-wing. The extreme left can be authoritarian (i.e., Communism is anti-Democratic and authoritarian) just like the extreme right.
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Are you Shaw?
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#8
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#8
Left-wing, I've always based it on collectivism vs individualism, fascism is not inherently racist (Italy didn't have anti-Semitic laws until alliance with Hitler), there also exists left-wing nationalism.

Economically it prefers public ownership.

I'd say Fascism is a form of totalitarian socialism.
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ModernScholar
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#9
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#9
To say that Communism is authoritarian and lies on the far left in terms of the government power diagram is inaccurate at best. To say that Marxist-Leninism is authoritarian is a lot more accurate. Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement with various tendencies lumped together, going from highly authoritarian (Marxist-Leninism, Maoism etc.) to the complete opposite (Left-Communism, The Situationist International, Council Communism). Communism is a vastly misunderstood word, a lot of tendencies have much in common with Anarchists, especially with the Anarcho-Communists.
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Are you Shaw?
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#10
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(Original post by ModernScholar)
To say that Communism is authoritarian and lies on the far left in terms of the government power diagram is inaccurate at best. To say that Marxist-Leninism is authoritarian is a lot more accurate. Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement with various tendencies lumped together, going from highly authoritarian (Marxist-Leninism, Maoism etc.) to the complete opposite (Left-Communism, The Situationist International, Council Communism). Communism is a vastly misunderstood word, a lot of tendencies have much in common with Anarchists, especially with the Anarcho-Communists.
it has been said that pure socialism is democracy, a view I think Marx and Engels themselves held.
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Ripper-Roo
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#11
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#11
Left wing because its focus on the state over the individual. Right wing can be associated with the individual wanting less government interference in their affairs, but fascism is authoritarian and 'statist'.
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ModernScholar
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#12
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(Original post by Are you Shaw?)
it has been said that pure socialism is DIRECT democracy, a view I think Marx and Engels themselves held.
Fixed.

Pure communism would be the equivalent to anarchy, they are almost interchangeable.
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Birkenhead
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#13
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#13
It's right-wing socially and left-wing economically, so both, or neither. Take your pick.
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Habsburg
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#14
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First things first, what do we mean by the terms 'right-wing' and 'left wing'?

The consensus on TSR, it seems, is that it is an economic scale, which is capitalist on the right and collectivist on the left. This is reflected by people on this thread making allusions about the 'right' being about individual freedom, an the 'left' state control or authoritarianism. I don't feel that this assumption is necessarily true. The fact is, capitalism was the original revolutionary ideology. The world of landed gentry, powerful cardinals, and guilds is antithetical to that of the industrialist. Traditional societies are also not based on the individual, but on kinship or collegial structures. Individualism and capitalism have broken these apart. The economic policies of fascism and Nazism might owe a lot to socialism, but also to the mediaeval world.

There's also the automatic assumption that nationalism is innately 'right-wing'. Although universally associated with militarism and chauvinism now, its roots are actually liberal and revolutionary. Nationalism exalts the sovereignty of the nation, and by extension, its people. Therefore, it is as anti-traditionalist as capitalism, as it is not based on the argument that political legitimacy comes from tradition or God - for example, in a state such as Austria-Hungary, whose unity was based on the dynastic right of the Habsburg-Lorraines to rule their territories, nationalism could be a subversive threat.

What other possible definitions are there? We could say that 'right' means an acceptance, or an advocacy of, social hierarchy, whilst the 'left' are egalitarian, in which case fascism and other ideologies related to it can be placed firmly on the right, but that doesn't tell us a great deal, as both traditionalists and some capitalists could be placed on the 'right', too.

What about views on the role of the people in politics? Initially, it might seem that fascism shares a contempt of democracy with the French Legitimists or Spanish Carlists, but mass politics nevertheless play a huge role in fascism - think of the party militia, the marches, and the rallies. That was, in my opinion the difference between the authoritarianism of Mussolini and that of a traditionalist Latin conservative such as Franco - Mussolini just hated democracy, where as someone like Franco would have held all mass politics in contempt.

A more interesting scale would be 'reactionary vs. revolutionary'. Although fascism clearly owes a degree of its worldview to reactionism (de Maistre's views on human nature and the fascist obsession with war are interesting points to compare), fascism claims to be revolutionary. Despite the fact that the few attempts ever made of instituting a fascist/third positionist government have resulted in co-operation with traditional elites (industrialists, aristocrats, the Church) fascist ideology claims to be revolutionary. Italian fascism had no real truck with Catholicism or the Italian monarchy, and drew influence from the futurist movement. Furthermore, the fascist and Nazi focus on improving industry doesn't fit well with the anti-urbanisation, anti-industrialisation, agrarian stance that some reactionary conservatives have taken. Also, however much it might support the idea of social hierarchy, it does not defend the traditional one; rather, it advocates the institution of a new one.

So, all in all, I think that the 'left-right' scale is pretty redundant and more trouble than its worth. An ideology with such diverse intellectual roots and positions simply confounds it.
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Lawrence_o
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#15
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#15
Fascism is undeniably left wing. Why?
- Based on collectivism
- Founder was not Benito Mussolini but Giovanni Gentile who was a socialist.
- Benito Mussolini was a Marxist/Socialist who started fighting socialists, not because he was against their beliefs but because they wanted to join the war wher Mussolini did not. Benito found that if the workers had to risk their lives, they should be rewarded hence he started fascism which was not racist in spite of what many people like to believe.

Excuses for it being right wing:
- yeah but Hitler and Musolini attacked socialists and commies: they did that indeed. In case of Benito, see here above. In case of Hitler, this was NOT due to hate for their ideology but because Adolf did not want competition. (Source: The lost literature of socialism by George D Watson). Hitler also killed ordo-liberals, the right wingers of that time, which is somerhing that is never mentioned.

- yeah but fascism is ultranationalist: so? The right winf of that time was capitalism and liberalism. The right wingers wanted a small state, maximal individual freedom and to do business without much state intervention. Liberalism and nationalism are logical enemies as nationalism is state-controlled, state-enforced and it prevents doing free international business. So nationalism is not defacto right wing. Above all, the right wingers NEVER embraced nationalism as a right value. Left wingers defined it as right wing to damage the rising capitalism and the guy who gave the order to call nazism and fascism right wing was Stalin himself.

- Yeah but fascism is authoritarian so... sure. Just as communism is authoritarian. In fact, history knows many more far left dictators like Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Stalin, Che etc etc. Because right wing is based on max. individual freedom it is inherently less prone to evolve to dictatorship. Because socialism/communism fights with people's true nature of being as free as they possibly can, socialism only survives when strongly enforced by the state to enforce the collectivism. History proves that communism murdered many people who wanted to escape the regime and got shot instead.

- Yeah but nazis and fascists were racists and left is against racism, and the KKK and neo-nazi's can hardly be called left wing now can they?! True. However, you have to see it in its proper time frame. Between 1920's and 1940's, the left was not what they are today. In that time frame left was racist (Hungarian Struggle, On the Jewish Question, Mein Kampf...). After WWII it changed and put off all the bad **** into the camp of rising capitalism. If you repeat 70 years that right are racists, that Adolf was actually a capitalist etc, than this lie becomes the truth. So today KKK and other scumbags identify with far right because that's the definition of values they heard for 70 years. So the true question is, can you redefine the terms left right by repeating the lie? And who fills in what left/right is? True right wingers will never associate with racism as racism goes against right's prime directive: to ensure maximal individual freedom.
Also, todays right wingers are against mass migration (as do many left wingers) but not because of race but because of culture, mainly the problems with radical islam.
Last edited by Lawrence_o; 4 weeks ago
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