I love going back to my 1960 giant, two-volume edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. I picked it up at an auction in 1972. We were mainly there to get inexpensive furnishings for our apartment in Toronto, having just moved here from Cheshire, U.K. Check out the hand-drawn illustration that shows fascism’s Latin root to mean bundle!
Italy seemed to coin the term, fascism; it first appeared with the arrival of Mussolini’s fascisti on the world scene in 1919. A crazy fact: for Mussolini, fascism was a good word. Nazi Germany and Franco’s Falangists were later included in this list of despicable regimes. In 2017 we carelessly throw the word around at anyone we do not like.
Fascism’s Common features in 1960:
- One party dictatorship
- Forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other groups)
- Private, centralized control of the means of production
- Liberal use of wars
By presenting the above list of six characteristics, Webster’s definition made “fascism” a very specific term.
I think that France’s Front National (FN), led by Marine Le Pen qualifies for only two of the above six: nationalism and, particularly hateful for someone like me, married to a black woman, racism.
The FN does not propose forcible suppression of, for example, trade unions. In fact, it seems to be in favour of the little citizen with, until recently, a fervent, detestable preference for little white citizens.
Not many governments on this planet today, including France, could claim national control/ownership of their own means of production.
And the FN seems to be inclined not to favour the liberal use of wars. Continue reading “French, and Global, Fascism”