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The Collaborative International Dictionary

fascism \fasc"ism\ (f[a^]sh"[i^]z'm) n.

  1. a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government; -- opposed to democracy and liberalism.

  2. an authoritarian system of government under absolute control of a single dictator, allowing no political opposition, forcibly suppressing dissent, and rigidly controlling most industrial and economic activities. Such regimes usually try to achieve popularity by a strongly nationalistic appeal, often mixed with racism.

  3. Specifically, the Fascist movement led by Benito Mussolini in Italy from 1922 to 1943.

  4. broadly, a tendency toward or support of a strongly authoritarian or dictatorial control of government or other organizations; -- often used pejoratively in this sense.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1922, originally used in English in 1920 in its Italian form fascismo (see fascist). Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923; applied to everyone since the Internet.A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. [Robert O. Paxton, "The Anatomy of Fascism," 2004]\n


n. 1 (context historical English) A political regime, having totalitarian aspirations, ideologically based on a relationship between business and the centralized government, business-and-government control of the marketplace, repression of criticism or opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to (w: Benito Mussolini)'s Italy. 2 By vague analogy, any system of strong autocracy or oligarchy usually to the extent of bending and breaking the law, race-baiting and violence against largely unarmed populations.


n. a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)


Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.

Fascism (disambiguation)

Fascism is a political ideology.

Fascism can also refer to:

  • Italian Fascism, the original version of the ideology developed in Italy
  • Clerical fascism or clero-fascism, a distinctive form of religious fascism
  • Fascism (book), edited by Roger Griffin
  • Fascist (insult)
Fascism (book)

Fascism is a book edited by political theorist Roger Griffin. It was published by Oxford University Press in 1995 as a 410-page paperback. It is a reader in the Oxford Readers series, which assembles the writings of various authors on the topic of fascism and the far-right. It serves as an English-language source book to introduce readers to pre-fascist anti-liberalism, interwar fascism in Italy and Germany, as well as associated international variants of fascism from Argentina to Japan.

The author attempts a comprehensive survey of the far-right throughout the 20th century, including topics as diverse as radical ecologism, neo-paganism, ultra- nationalism, and fanatical racism. Authors include an eclectic mix of philosophers, politicians, poets, agitators, and social critics, ranging from the fairly benign pessimistic poet-scholars of Weimar Germany (such as Stefan George, Ernst Jünger, and Martin Heidegger) to the terrifying vitriol of genocidal racists such as Heinrich Himmler and the American white supremacist, William Pierce. Griffin principally examines interwar Italian Fascism and German National Socialism, with political and historiographical analysis by contemporary and post-war liberals, Marxists, and conservatives.

There are 214 selections in the book, most of them from pre-1945. About half of them are from Italy and Germany, plus a section on "abortive fascisms" with writings from Britain, Spain, France and numerous other countries in Europe, Africa and South America. A section is devoted to "theories of fascism," and the book concludes with a collation of post-war writings.

Usage examples of "fascism".

For Benjamin, aestheticizing the political is a defining feature of fascism.

I discussed earlier in Chapter 1, such an aestheticizing of the political is a defining feature of fascism.

The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life.

The counterrevolutions of fascism only serve to reinforce the general argument.

Manhattan-based club founded ten years ago to provide information about creativity and giftedness, now finds itself accused of fascism.

Soviet Politbureau rejects allegations emanating from Washington and Bonn that they have in any way involved themselves in the struggle by the working-class peoples of he United Kingdom against the resurgence of fascism in hat country.

Nazi priests, rich preppie Republican bigots, and the dark night of fascism under Senator Joe McCarthy.

Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and -- this is the important point, and the real reason why rich men all over the world tend to sympathize with Fascism -- generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution.

Previously we all used to assume that Fascism was so self-evidently horrible that no thinking person would have anything to do with it, and also that the Fascists always wiped out the intelligentsia when they had the opportunity.

The reason they sob about the dark night of fascism under McCarthy is to prevent Americans from ever noticing that liberals consistently attack their own country.

They scream about the dark night of fascism under McCarthy to prevent Americans from ever noticing that liberals sabotaged their own country.

Yet Bonapartism is still insufficient to destroy completely the organisations of the working class, and a special form of reaction is therefore required to perform this task - fascism.

English Socialists of nearly all colours have wanted to rnake a stand against Fascism, but at the same time they have aimed at making their own countrymen unwarlike.

After all, how could one argue with the girl who was, back at their New York City college, the chairman of the Free Speech Committee, the president of the antibrutality association, the vice chairman of the crusade to end fascism, and chairperson of the Stop Secrecy in Government Committee, ad hoc Presidential War Crimes division.

She despised his Fascism of the past, his Anglicism of the present, and she used him to further her own ends by threatening to expose his wartime treachery.