Fascism is an authoritarian or totalitarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy. Fascism was originally founded by Italian national syndicalists in World War I who combined extreme right-wing political views along with collectivism. Generally considered far right, the syncretic elements of Fascist ideology make it difficult to classify on a left-right spectrum. Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. It became politically dominant in Italy with the rise to power of Benito Mussolini, inspiring Adolf Hitler to model many of the strategies and tactics of the German Nazi Party on those of the Italian fascists. The word has also become widely applied in ways which denote nearly any promotion of tyranny or unjust oppression.
- The common elements of fascism — extreme nationalism, social Darwinism, the leadership principle, elitism, anti-liberalism, anti-egalitarianism, anti-democracy, intolerance, glorification of war, the supremacy of the state and anti-intellectualism — together form a rather loose doctrine. Fascism emphasises action rather than theory, and fascist theoretical writings are always weak. Hitler's Nazism had rather more theory, though its intellectual quality is appalling. This greater theoretical content is mostly concerned with race, and it was Hitler's racial theories that distinguished Nazism from Italian fascism.
- Ian Adams, in Political Ideology Today (1993)
- Fear and destructiveness are the major emotional sources of fascism, eros belongs mainly to democracy.
- Most people believe the twentieth century was defined by the death struggle of communism versus capitalism, and that fascism was but a hiccup. Today we know better. Communism was a fool's errand, the followers of Marx gone from this Earth; but the followers of Hitler abound and thrive. Hitler, however, had one great disadvantage. He lived in a time when fascism, like a virus, like the AIDS virus, required a strong host in order to spread. Germany was that host, but strong as it was, Germany couldn't prevail. The world was too big. Fortunately, the world has changed. Global communication, cable TV, the internet. Today the world is smaller, and the virus no longer needs a strong host in order to spread. This virus is airborne... One more thing; let no man call us crazy. They called Hitler crazy, but Hitler wasn't crazy. He was stupid. You don't fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other, and destroy each other.
- People have their fingers broken.
To be insulted by these fascists
Is so degrading and it's no game.
- From the point of view of fundamental human liberties there is little to choose between communism, socialism, and national socialism. They all are examples of the collectivist or totalitarian state … in its essentials not only is completed socialism the same as communism but it hardly differs from fascism.
- Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, The Socialist Tragedy (1951), p. 241
- What a man! I have lost my heart! … If I were Italian, I am sure I would have been with you entirely from the beginning of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passion of Leninism. … Your movement has rendered a service to the whole world. The greatest fear that ever tormented every Democratic or Socialist leader was that of being outbid or surpassed by some other leader more extreme than himself. It has been said that a continual movement to the Left, a kind of fatal landslide toward the abyss, has been the character of all revolutions. Italy has shown that there is a way to combat subversive forces.
- Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism . . . As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction.
- Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume 1, The Gathering Storm, Mariner Books (1985) pp. 13-14. First published in 1948.
- Despite all the merely verbal declarations to the contrary, the membership, content, and political tactics of the Falange are in open opposition to the the national revolution.
- Santiago Montero Díaz, resigning from affiliation with the Falange, as quoted in Falange : A History of Spanish Fascism (1961) by Stanley G. Payne, p. 47
- I am against Franco and fascism generally. My reasons are that I believe that fascism means a lack of intellectual freedom, a strongly militaristic and repressive social control joined seemingly with the continuance and strengthening of false religious, racial and economic ideologies, and generally speaking, the antithesis of any hope for equitable treatment which other forms of government at least pretend to offer the individual.
- Theodore Dreiser, in Writers take sides; letters about the war in Spain from 418 American authorsby League of American Writers, 1938. Also quoted in Voices against tyranny : writing of the Spanish Civil War by John Miller; New York : Scribner, 1986.
- We observe that nothing creates fascists like the threat of freedom.
- Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easily for us, if there appeared on the scene somebody saying "I want to re-open Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares". Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and point the finger at any of its new instances — every day and in every part of the world.
- I most sincerely wish to go on record as being unalterably opposed to Francisco Franco and fascism, to all violations of the legal government and outrages against the people of Republican Spain.
- William Faulkner, 1938, quoted in 'Frederick Robert Karl, William Faulkner, American writer:a biography'.New York : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. (p. 630).
- The line between fascism and Fabian socialism is very thin. Fabian socialism is the dream. Fascism is Fabian socialism plus the inevitable dictator.
- John T. Flynn, The Road Ahead: America's Creeping Revolution, The Devin-Adair Company (1949) p. 149
- There is fascism, leading only into the blackness which it has chosen as its symbol, into smartness and yapping out of orders, and self-righteous brutality, into social as well as international war. It means change without hope. Our immediate duty — in that tinkering which is the only useful form of action in our leaky old tub — our immediate duty is to stop it.
- Fascism, since that is the word that is used, fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life. Our rising, here, has a Spanish meaning! What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?
- Francisco Franco, interview with Henri Massis, 1938.. Quoted in Massis's book Chefs, Paris,Plon 1939.Also quoted in Richard Griffiths, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Fascism. London : Duckworth Publishing, 2000.
- Fascism never served the interests of Italian business . . . there is no credible evidence that Fascism controlled the nation's economy for the benefit of the 'possessing classes.'
- A. James Gregor, The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 7.
- Fascism is the cult of organised murder, invented by the arch-enemies of society. It tends to destroy civilization and revert man to his most barbarous state. Mussolini and Hitler might well be called the devils of an age, for they are playing hell with civilization.
- Marcus Garvey, Authors take Sides on the Spanish War (1937)
- The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide; he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, life which should be high and full, lived for oneself, but not above all for others — those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after.
- Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.
- Fascism is characterised by; an all-powerful state and leader; monism — a single party, ideology and centre of power; expanisionist nationalism and/or racism, anti-communism, anti-egalitarianism, anti-liberalism, anti-individualism, anti-rationalism, anti-intellectualism; symbol, myth and mysticism; a cult of war, violence and youth; advocacy of private property but hostility to free market capitalism, and a combination of consent and coercion, propaganda and terror. Clearly, fascist ideology is full of 'negations' — that is, it is a highly negative philosophy which opposes as much as it supports. This is unsurprising, given its origins as a fundamental rejection of inter-war liberal democracy and all of its attendant values.
- Moyra Grant, quoted in Key Ideas in Politics (2003) by Nelson Thornes
- [Italian] Fascism was a variant of classical Marxism, a believe system that pressed some themes argued by both Marx and Engels until they found expression in the form of ‘national syndicalism’ that was to animate the first Fascism."
- A. James Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (1979) p. xi
- Fascism's most direct ideological inspiration came from the collateral influence of Italy's most radical 'subversives' — the Marxists of revolutionary syndicalism.
- A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century (2000), p. 130
- Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.
- Roger Griffin, in The Nature of Fascism (1993), p. 26
- [Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.
- How, then, did it rise? My explanation is simple — but it will require you to think carefully. I’ll argue that fascism is a product of extremism — of both the left and right. That extremism broke the center — which created a vacuum in which rose New Fascists, who combine the worst elements of both left and right.
- Umair Haque, "Why Fascism is Rising Again (And What You Can Learn From It)" (December 2015)
- The following joke circulated in Italy in the 1920s. According to Mussolini, the ideal citizen is intelligent, honest, and Fascist. Unfortunately, no one is perfect, which explains why everyone you meet is either intelligent and Fascist but not honest, honest and Fascist but not intelligent, or honest and intelligent but not Fascist.
- Maurice Herlihy and Nir Shavit in The Art of Multiprocessor Programming (2012), p. 65
- Of course, I am against fascism with its spread of color prejudice and race hatred and working class oppression. How could any sensible Negro be otherwise?
- Langston Hughes, in Writers take sides; letters about the war in Spain from 418 American authorsby League of American Writers, 1938. Also quoted in Brian Dolinar, The Black cultural front : black writers and artists of the Depression generation. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 2012.
- To satisfy their hunger for meaning and value, they [the masses] turn to such doctrines as nationalism, fascism and revolutionary communism. Philosophically and scientifically, these doctrines are absurd; but for the masses in every community, they have this great merit: they attribute the meaning and value that have been taken away from the world as a whole to the particular part of the world in which the believers happen to be living.
- Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means : An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into Methods Employed for Their Realization. New York : Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1937.
- By 1939 [Fascist] Italy had the highest percentage of state-owned enterprises outside of the Soviet Union.
- Patricia Knight, Mussolini and Fascism (Questions and Analysis in History) (2003) p. 65
- Art and anti-fascism are synonymous.
- John Langdon-Davies, Authors take Sides on the Spanish War, quoted in Britain and the Spanish Civil War(1997) by Tom Buchanan, p. 32
- When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism." … The high-sounding phrase "the American way" will be used by interested groups intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, teargas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties … There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.
For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudices and hysterical appeal to fear.
- Halford E. Luccock in "Keeping Life Out of Confusion" (11 September 1938), as quoted in "Disguised Fascism Seen As A Menace" in The New York Times (12 September 1938), p. 15; also in "Fascism comes wrapped in the flag" (with online facsimile of article)
- ... the totalitarian states, whether of the fascist or the communist persuasion, are more than superficially alike as dictatorships, in the suppression of dissent, and in operating planned and directed economies. They are profoundly alike.
- Walter Lippmann, The Good Society (1937); Transaction Publications edition (2005), p. 89
- What is Fascism? It is socialism emancipated from democracy.
- What distinguishes liberal from Fascist political tactics is not a difference of opinion in regard to the necessity of using armed force to resist armed attackers, but a difference in the fundamental estimation of the role of violence in a struggle for power. The great danger threatening domestic policy from the side of Fascism lies in its complete faith in the decisive power of violence. In order to assure success, one must be imbued with the will to victory and always proceed violently. This is its highest principle. What happens, however, when one's opponent, similarly animated by the will to be victorious, acts just as violently? The result must be a battle, a civil war. The ultimate victor to emerge from such conflicts will be the faction strongest in number. In the long run, a minority — even if it is composed of the most capable and energetic — cannot succeed in resisting the majority. The decisive question, therefore, always remains: How does one obtain a majority for one's own party? This, however, is a purely intellectual matter. It is a victory that can be won only with the weapons of the intellect, never by force. The suppression of all opposition by sheer violence is a most unsuitable way to win adherents to one's cause. Resort to naked force — that is, without justification in terms of intellectual arguments accepted by public opinion — merely gains new friends for those whom one is thereby trying to combat. In a battle between force and an idea, the latter always prevails.
- Repression by brute force is always a confession of the inability to make use of the better weapons of the intellect — better because they alone give promise of final success. This is the fundamental error from which Fascism suffers and which will ultimately cause its downfall. The victory of Fascism in a number of countries is only an episode in the long series of struggles over the problem of property. The next episode will be the victory of Communism. The ultimate outcome of the struggle, however, will not be decided by arms, but by ideas. It is ideas that group men into fighting factions, that press the weapons into their hands, and that determine against whom and for whom the weapons shall be used. It is they alone, and not arms, that, in the last analysis, turn the scales.
So much for the domestic policy of Fascism. That its foreign policy, based as it is on the avowed principle of force in international relations, cannot fail to give rise to an endless series of wars that must destroy all of modern civilization requires no further discussion. To maintain and further raise our present level of economic development, peace among nations must be assured. But they cannot live together in peace if the basic tenet of the ideology by which they are governed is the belief that one's own nation can secure its place in the community of nations by force alone.
It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.
- The twigs will be tied together in a neater and stronger bundle if they are all the same size and length. That’s fascism. It suggests that you have two contrary organisational principles involved … One is a kind of linear, mechano-like organisation – tie up all the sticks, make sure they are the same length, and you have a brick wall or something. The other one – anarchy – is a more fractal more natural more human organisational system in that it organises society in much the same way that we organise our personalities. Where it is purely the interplay of neurons – we haven’t got a king neuron that tells all the other neurons what to do. It seems to me to be a more emotionally natural way of working with other people.
- Alan Moore, in "Alan Moore Interview" by Matthew De Abaitua (1998), later published in Alan Moore: Conversations (2011) edited by Eric L. Berlatsky
- Margaret Thatcher had been in power for two or three years. She was facing the first crisis of her, by then, very unpopular government. There were riots all over Britain in places that hadn't seen riots for hundreds of years. There were fascists groups, the National Front, the British National Party, who were flexing their muscles and sort of trying to make political capital out of what were fairly depressed and jobless times. It seemed to me that with the kind of Reagan/Thatcher axis that existed across the Atlantic, it looked like Western society was taking somewhat a turn for the worse. There were ugly fascist stains starting to reassert themselves that we might have thought had been eradicated back in the '30s. But they were reasserting themselves with a different spin. They were talking less about annihilating whichever minority they happened to find disfavor with and talking more about free market forces and market choice and all of these other kind of glib terms, which tended to have the same results as an awful lot of the kind of Fascist causes back in the 1930s but with a bit more spin put upon them. The friendly face of fascism.
- Both political Parties, and the remnants of Liberalism as well, stand bound by the great vested interests of "Right" and "Left" which created them. In Opposition, there is the same profusion of promise; in office, the same apathy and inertia. In post-War England,their creeds have become platitudes; they consistently fail to grapple with the problems of the time. Their rule has led, with tragic inevitability, to the present chaos. Therefore our Fascist Movement seeks on the one hand authority as the basis of all solid achievement; we seek, on the other hand, progress, which can be achieved only by the executive instrument that order, authority and decision alone can give.
- Oswald Mosley, The Greater Britain, 1932. Quoted in Joel H. Wiener,Great Britain: the lion at home: a documentary history of domestic policy, 1689-1973: Volume 4, 1974. Chelsea House pubishers, New York. Also in Walter L. Arnstein, The Past Speaks: Sources and Problems in British History, Lexington, Mass. : D.C. Heath, 1993.
- Governments and Parties which have relied on the normal instruments of government...have fallen easy and ignoble victims to the forces of anarchy. If, therefore, such a situation arises in Britain, we shall prepare to meet the anarchy of Communism with the organised force of Fascism.
- Oswald Mosley, The Greater Britain, 1932. Quoted in John Stevenson and Chris Cook, The Slump : Britain in the Great Depression New York : Pearson Longman, 2010.
- Nothing is permanent: certainly not the frozen images of barbarous power with which fascism now confronts us. Those images may easily be smashed by an external shock, cracked as ignominiously as the fallen Dagon, the massive idol of the heathen; or they may be melted, eventually, by the internal warmth of normal men and women. Nothing endures except life: the capacity for birth, growth, and renewal. As life becomes insurgent once more in our civilization, conquering the reckless thrust of barbarism, the culture of cities will be both instrument and goal.
- Lewis Mumford, "Introduction" to The Culture of Cities, 1938.
- We want an extraordinary heavy taxation, with a progressive character, on capital, that will represent an authentic partial expropriation of all wealth; seizures of all assets of religious congregations and suppression of all the ecclesiastic Episcopal revenues, in what constitutes an enormous deficit of the nation and a privilege for a minority; revisions of all contracts made by the war ministers and seizure of 85% of all war profits."
- Benito Mussolini, quoted in "Fasci Italiani di Combattimento" (Italian Combat Fasci), Il Popolo d'Italia (6 June 1919); published in Revolutionary Fascism (2011), by Erik Norling, p. 92
- If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we Fascists conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable.
- Benito Mussolini, in "Diuturna" ["The Lasting"] (1921)
- You want to know what fascism is like? It is like your New Deal!
- Benito Mussolini, as quoted in Mr. New York: The Autobiography of Grover A. Whalen by Grover Aloysius Whalen, G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1955) p. 188
- I declare that henceforth capital and labor shall have equal rights and duties as brothers in the fascist family.
- Benito Mussolini, as quoted in The Fate of Trade Unions Under Fascism (1937), Ch. 3: "Italian Trade Unions Under Fascism", p. 35
- A party governing a nation “totalitarianly" is a new departure in history. There are no points of reference nor of comparison. From beneath the ruins of liberal, socialist, and democratic doctrines, Fascism extracts those elements which are still vital. It preserves what may be described as "the acquired facts" of history; it rejects all else. That is to say, it rejects the idea of a doctrine suited to all times and to all people. Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the " right ", a Fascist century. If the XIXth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the State.
- Benito Mussolini, in "The Doctrine of Facism (1932); as translated in Fascism Doctrine and Institutions, official Fascist government publication (1935)
- Variant translations:
- It may be expected that this will be a century of authority, a century of the Left, a century of Fascism.
- "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism," first authorized translation into English (1933) by Jane Soames, p. 20; reprinted in The Living Age (November, 1933), p. 241 "The Doctrine of Fascism"
- If it is admitted that the nineteenth century has been the century of Socialism]], Liberalism and Democracy, it does not follow that the twentieth must also be the century of Liberalism, Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century.
- Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.
- When brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.
- Benito Mussolini, "The Doctrine of Fascism" ("La dottrina del fascismo"). The 1935 edition from Vallecchi: Editore Firenze, p.15
- Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State . . . . It is opposed to classical Liberalism … Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual.
- Benito Mussolini, "The Doctrine of Fascism" (1935 version)
- The struggle between the two worlds [Fascism and Democracy] can permit no compromises. The new cycle which begins with the ninth year of the Fascist regime places the alternative in even greater relief — either we or they, either their ideas or ours, either our State or theirs!
- Benito Mussolini, as quoted in "Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation" (2005) by Douglas Walton, p. 263
- Spend most of the day reading fascisti leaflets. They certainly have turned the whole country into an army. From cradle to grave one is cast in the mould of fascismo and there can be no escape … It is certainly a socialist experiment in that it destroys individuality. It destroys liberty.
- Harold Nicolson in his diary (6 January 1932), published in The Harold Nicolson Diaries : 1919-1964 (2004), pp. 87-8
- Fascism in Italy was the work of the revolutionary Socialists, who, after opposing the war, were converted to its support as an extreme Radical movement, actually favourable to the cause of Socialism.
- Francesco Saverio Nitti, Bolshevism, Fascism and Democracy (1927), p. 72
- There is little difference between the two, and in certain respects, Fascism and Bolshevism are the same.
- Francesco Saverio Nitti, Bolshevism, Fascism and Democracy (1927) p. 130
- It is usual to speak of the Fascist objective as the "beehive state", which does grave injustice to bees. A world of rabbits ruled by stoats would be nearer the mark.
- Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes.
- George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn (1941)
- It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.
Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.
- The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable". The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
- Given the opportunity, Mussolini would have been glad as late as 1920-21 to take under his wing the Italian Communists, for whom he felt great affinities: greater, certainly, than for democratic socialists, liberals and conservatives. Genetically, Fascism issued from the 'Bolshevik' wing of Italian socialism, not from any conservative ideology or movement.
- Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books (1995) p. 253
- Market society was born in England—yet it was on the Continent that its weaknesses engendered the most tragic complications. In order to comprehend German fascism, we must revert to Ricardian England. The nineteenth century, as cannot be overemphasized, was England's century. The Industrial Revolution was an English event. Market economy, free trade, and the gold standard were English inventions. These institutions broke down in the twenties everywhere—in Germany, Italy, or Austria the event was merely more political and more dramatic. But whatever the scenery and the temperature of the final episodes, the long-run factors which wrecked that civilization should be studied in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, England.
- Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (1944), Ch. 2 : Conservative Twenties, Revolutionary Thirties
- Bolshevism and Fascism were heresies of socialism.
- Richard Pipes, Russia Under The Bolshevik Regime, New York: NY, Vintage Books/Random House (1985) p. 253.
- If, by being revolutionary, one means rational rebellion against intolerable social conditions, if, by being radical, one means "going to the root of things," the rational will to improve them, then fascism is never revolutionary. True, it may have the aspect of revolutionary emotions. But one would not call that physician revolutionary who proceeds against a disease with violent cursing but the other who quietly, courageously and conscientiously studies and fights the causes of the disease. Fascist rebelliousness always occurs where fear of the truth turns a revolutionary emotion into illusions.
- Wilhelm Reich, in his Preface (August 1942), to the Third Edition of The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933)
- Whether party ‘communists’ like it or not, the fact remains that the state order and rule in Russia are indistinguishable from those in Italy and Germany. Essentially they are alike. One may speak of a red, black, or brown ‘soviet state’, as well as of red, black or brown fascism.
- Otto Rühle, “The Struggle Against Fascism Begins with the Struggle Against Bolshevism,” the American Councillist journal Living Marxism, (1939) Vol. 4, No. 8.
- In its pure form, fascism is the sum total of all irrational reactions of the average human character. To the narrow-minded sociologist who lacks the courage to recognize the enormous role played by the irrational in human history, the fascist race theory appears as nothing but an imperialistic interest or even a mere "prejudice." The violence and the ubiquity of these "race prejudices" show their origin from the irrational part of the human character. The race theory is not a creation of fascism. No: fascism is a creation of race hatred and its politically organized expression. Correspondingly, there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish and Arabian fascism.
- Wilhelm Reich, in his Preface (August 1942), to the Third Edition of The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933)
- Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and 'fascist', while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up.
- Fascism was born to inspire a faith not of the Right (which at bottom aspires to conserve everything, even injustice) or of the Left (which at bottom aspires to destroy everything, even goodness), but a collective, integral, national faith.
- Fascism is merely a copy of bolshevism.
- Otto Rühle, “The Struggle Against Fascism Begins with the Struggle Against Bolshevism,” the American Councillist journal Living Marxism, (1939) Vol. 4, No. 8.
- Marxists could be converted to national socialism, as indeed quite a number of them were, similarly, national socialism could sign treaties with Communist, exchange ambassadors, and coexist with the, if only temporarily. Nothing like this, however, applied to the Jews.
- Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press (1994) p. 5
- In [Fascist] Italy and [Nazi] Germany the official unions have been made compulsory by law, while in the United States, the workers are not legally obligated to join the company unions but may even, if they so wish, oppose them.
- Gaetano Salvemini, The Fate of Trade Unions Under Fascism (1937), Ch. 3: "Italian Trade Unions Under Fascism", p. 35
- Fascists were not conservative in any very meaningful sense…The Fascists, in a meaningful sense, were revolutionaries.
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. “Not Right, Not Left, But a Vital Center”, New York Times Magazine, (April 4, 1948)
- If the Fascist ideology cannot be described as a simple response to Marxism, its origins, on the other hand, were the direct result of very specific revision of Marxism. It was a revision of Marxism and not a variety of Marxism or a consequence of Marxism...It was the French and Italian Sorelians, the theoreticians of revolutionary syndicalism who made this new and original revision of Marxism, and precisely this was their contribution to the birth of the Fascist ideology.
- Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution with Mario Sznajder, Maia Asheri, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press (1995) p. 5
- Soldiers can’t fix what ails the Middle East. Sure, they can overthrow dictators. They can kill terrorists and push them out of territory. But eliminating the appeal of a fascistic ideology is something else entirely.
- The movement in Germany is analogous mostly to the Italian. It is a mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement. The genuine basis (for fascism) is the petty bourgeoisie. In Italy, it has a very large base — the petty bourgeoisie of the towns and cities, and the peasantry. In Germany, likewise, there is a large base for fascism.
- In all the countries where fascism became victorious, we had, before the growth of fascism and its victory, a wave of radicalism of the masses — of the workers and the poorer peasants and farmers, and of the petty bourgeois class. In Italy, after the war and before 1922, we had a revolutionary wave of tremendous dimensions; the state was paralyzed, the police did not exist, the trade unions could do anything they wanted — but there was not party capable of taking the power. As a reaction came fascism. In Germany, the same. We had a revolutionary situation in 1918; the bourgeois class did not even ask to participate in the power. The social democrats paralyzed the revolution. Then the workers tried again in 1922-23-24. This was the time of the bankruptcy of the Communist Party — all of which we have gone into before. Then in 1929-30-31, the German workers began again a new revolutionary wave. There was a tremendous power in the Communists and in the trade unions, but then came the famous policy (on the part of the Stalinist movement) of social fascism, a policy invented to paralyze the working class. Only after these three tremendous waves did fascism become a big movement. There are no exceptions to this rule — fascism comes only when the working class shows complete incapacity to take into its own hands the fate of society.
- Leon Trotsky, Fascism : What It Is and How To Fight It (1944)
- Marxism has led to Fascism and National-Socialism, because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.
- Frederick Augustus Voigt, in Unto Cæsar (1939), p. 95
- We have no right to disown our own shame in the upbringing of the beast from whom we have so lately been delivered. There was no country in Europe without its fascist party, and this at a time before the label appeared likely to prove safe or profitable.
- Rex Warner, in The Cult of Power, The Bodley Head, (1946), p. 142
- It would seem...that man has been shocked by the war into forgetting how to be a political animal. This suspicion is confirmed by the spread of Fascism, which is a headlong flight into fantasy from the necessity for political thought. There is nothing more obvious about the post-war situation than that it is novel, springs from causes which have not yet been analysed, and cannot be relieved until this analysis is complete and has been made the basis of a new social formual. Yet persons supporting Fascism behave as if man were already in possession of principles which would enable him to deal with all our problems, and as if it were only a question of appointing a dictator to apply them.
- "The Necessity and Grandeur of the International Ideal" (1935), reprinted in Rebecca West, Woman as Artist and Thinker, edited by Helen Atkinson, Lincoln, Neb. : [w:iUniverse|iUniverse]], 2005.
- I am for the legal government of Republican Spain against Franco, since Spain herself, at a properly conducted election, chose that Government and rejected the party which now supports Franco. I am also against Fascism; the reforms of Diocletian were a work of genius and made many people temporarily happy, but failed in the end and added greatly to human misery. I see no reason why this inferior modern copy of them should succeed.
- "Authors Take Sides on the Spanish War" (1937), edited by Nancy Cunard, reprinted in The Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War (1986), edited by Valentine Cunningham
- The intellectual origins of Fascism share central tenets with the Non-Marxist Left.
- Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War (2011) p. 253
- Dr. Reich vastly offended many people by his sociological theory, which holds that fascism is just an exaggerated form of the basic structure of sex-negative societies and has existed under other names in every civilization based on sexual repression. In this theory, the character and muscular armor of the average citizen — a submissive and frightened attitude anchored in body reflexes — causes the average person to want a strong authority figure above them. Tyranny, in this model, is not created by tyrants alone but by neurotic masses who want tyrants.
- Robert Anton Wilson, in Everything Is Under Control : Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), p. 361