Fascism is more than a racist movement

5 min read
A sinister collection of Trump supporters, far right conspiracy theorists and outright fascists were in the crowd that broke in the US Capitol building. There is no doubt Nazis were at the core.
They included men with ­hoodies reading, "Camp Auschwitz" and "6MWE"—six million wasn't enough—references to the mass murder of Jews in the Holocaust.

To confront it, it's necessary to understand the nature of the threat.

Having a clear definition of fascism isn't about having a tick box list—or playing down how dangerous other right wingers and racists are. It's about understanding what makes fascism unique in order to better fight it.

Fascism isn't just a nasty form of authoritarianism, racism or bigotry. It strives to build a mass movement on the streets that can inflict violence and terror on political opponents and minorities. And, ultimately, fascism's aim is to destroy all democratic rights.

Fascism was born out of the profound social crisis that followed the First World War. In "normal times", the capitalist class can rely on their state and the police to keep threats in check.

They justify their rule through the facade of parliamentary democracy, a media that pushes ruling class ideas, and "safe" opposition parties that act as a safety valve when anger erupts.

In times of crisis, the usual methods aren't always enough. In the decades after the war, ruling classes faced militant, mass workers' movements and the threat of revolution. Sections eventually looked to another mass movement—fascism—to crush the workers.

Fascists contest elections to gain legitimacy, but they have never won state power through democratic elections. Whether it's Adolf Hitler in 1930s Germany or Benito Mussolini in 1920s Italy, the ruling class has handed them power in the hope of restoring order and stability.

This doesn't mean that fascism is just an appendage to the ruling class or a ruling class movement. It has its own mass roots and dynamic and uses fake "revolutionary" or "anti‑establishment" language.

Fascism's social base is rooted in the "petty bourgeoisie". These…
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