Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at gte.net
Tue Oct 6 15:23:22 PDT 1998

James Devine wrote:

> >But is there a category of "fascism" divorced from "Naziism" that is still
> useful?<
> The three popular definitions of fascism I've seen are (1) authoritarian
> capitalism in general (from Pinochet to Thatcher); (2) the corporate state,
> where business, labor, and government meet in tripartite bodies, with labor
> as a subordinate in the trio, having lost its right to go on strike; and
> (3) a fascist or authoritarian mind-set, as in the Frankfurt school's "F
> scale" (which measures degrees of fascist mentality).

There's a fourth definition -- as an ideology that appeals to the middle classes allegedly squeezed between the elites on top and the workers and/or lumpen below. This is the salient characteristic that, for example, Chip Berlet (of Political Research Associates) generally refers to -- and it certainly has utility for sorting out systems of belief and rhetorical expression, his particular balliwack.

Berlet makes reference to plenty of other writers in his own writing, and points out that fascism as a social movement is quite different from fascism in power.

While James Devine is quite right to point out the danger of getting sloppy with the use of the term "fascist", this observation by Berlet points up a contrasting (but by no means not contradictory) truth--that fascism is to a certain extent protean -- in large measure due to being parasitic.

Martin Lee's *The Beast Reawakens* makes this point quite graphically by tracing various different guises in which neo-Nazism has reinvented itself--including the small-scale example of how Nazis ended up on BOTH sides of the Algerian War, and the large-scale example of how some pushed for European union, while others pushed for radical devolution.

A philosophy obsessed with naked power is not much troubled by the petty details of the ideas it walks around in.

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at gte.net

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

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