Origins of Fascism and Implications for Today

23 March 1919, not quite 100 years ago today, Benito Mussolini founded the Partito Nazionale Fascista, PNF (Fascist party) in Italy. He took the name, for us, fascism, from the fighting bands of 19th century Italian peasants, Fasci di Combattimento (fascis originally from Latin, and according to my Latin dictionary meaning bundle, burden, or, specifically, the bundle of rods and an ax carried before high magistrates by attendants as symbols of authority). Mussolini’s word choice is interesting, although for him, it probably was not an intellectual choice of etymology, nevertheless it conveys the authoritarianism underlying his development of fascist principles.

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Mussolini wrote, with the assistance of Giovanni Gentile, THE DOCTRINE OF FASCISM in 1932. Here’s a link to an English translation of the complete document:

I read it and here are a few excerpts, which have relevance for understanding today:

Mussolini excuses his lack of not developing and promoting the tenets of fascism early on because: “Fighting was going on in the towns and villages. There were discussions but… there was something more sacred and more important… death. Fascists knew how to die.” [Sounds like ISIS.]

“Fascism does not, generally speaking, believe in the possibility or utility of perpetual peace. It therefore discards pacifism as a cloak for cowardly supine renunciation in contradistinction to self-sacrifice. War alone keys up all human energies to their maximum tension and sets the seal of nobility on those peoples who have the courage to face it.” [Sounds like Trump.]

“After socialism, Fascism trains its guns on the whole block of democratic ideologies. . . . Fascism denies that numbers, as such, can be the determining factor in human society; it denies the right of numbers to govern by means of periodical consultations; it asserts the irremediable and fertile and beneficent inequality of men who cannot be leveled by any such mechanical and extrinsic device as universal suffrage. . . . In rejecting democracy, Fascism rejects the absurd conventional lie of political equalitarianism. . . .”

“For Fascism the State is absolute . . . the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.”

But most frightening, and apropos of the horrendous and terrifying ascendancy of Trump in our electoral process: “Never before have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order, as they do now. If each age has its doctrine, then innumerable symptoms indicate that the doctrine of our age is the Fascist.” [Sounds like Trump supporters.]

 Thank you, Benito for explaining this to us! Now to determine why and to do something about it before we are caught up in a fascist monstrosity.

Mussolini and his fascist buddy, Hitler.

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