Guest Post: Nazism and Fascism: Left or Right?

Today’s guest post is by another friend of The Daily Chrenk, Dr Lee Cox, who sheds more light on the ideological tar baby that is fascism/Nazism, unwanted by both sides of the politics and thus always ascribed to the other one.

Fascist! Nazi!

The cries from the Left are anything, if not, predictable. They are so predictable these terms have become passe.

We know who the father of Socialism, Karl Marx.

It is a matter of history that the term Nazi is a contraction of National Socialism, nationalsozialismus in German. In fact there remain at least 30 other political parties in the world that either use the term National Socialism in their names or adhere to the philosophy of national socialism. Note the use of socialism. The Nazi Party was a socialist movement. It was opposed to the capitalist ideology.

We know the father of capitalism is Adam Smith.

But who is the father of Fascism and what is the Fascist ideology?

Born in 1875 and assassinated in 1944, Giovanni Gentile (gen-ti-le) was self-described as the philosopher of fascism. He ghost wrote Mussolini’s 1930 A Doctrine of Fascism which outlined his vision for the Fascist state. He was initially a Socialist who admired Marx but came to disagree with the theory of class struggle.  =Rather than class struggle, he thought a sense of national pride and cohesiveness brought about by shared ancestry could unite the people with the ideal of the greater good in mind.

This is where the confusion arises as the whether Fascism is a doctrine of the Left or the Right. Because Gentile believed in this patriotic form of nationalism, business subjugated themselves to the needs of the government and therefore the people. At first glance it could appear that business has aligned itself with the government leading the careless observer to think business is controlling the government. The reverse is true.

Anti-individualistic, 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. (Mussolini and Gentile, 1930)

Does that sound like a philosophy of the Right? Even more damning that Fascism is a Leftist philosophy is this quote:

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 (Mussolini and Gentile, 1930)

The problem as to whether or not Fascism and Socialism are opposed to each other, as the Left claim, comes about because Fascism rejects the narrative of class struggle as the only life narrative that is important. Rather Fascism sees the State and devotion to the State as the highest form of sacrifice.

Also, Fascism still allowed for the concept of private ownership which placed itself in direct conflict with the Marxist theory of the State owning the means of production. Fascism considered itself an enlightened evolution of Socialism, rejected the idea of class struggle and allowed private ownership. Yet a speech by Mussolini in 1926 clearly defines Fascism as a Leftist philosopy.

We are, in other words, a state which controls all forces acting in nature. We control political forces, we control moral forces we control economic forces, therefore we are a full-blown Corporative state. We stand for a new principle in the world, we stand for sheer, categorical, definitive antithesis to the world of democracy, plutocracy, free-masonry, to the world which still abides by the fundamental principles laid down in 1789. (Speech before the new National Directory of the Party, April 7, 1926, in Discorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 120)

The other major difference between Russian Socialism and Fascism was the allowance of religion in the Fascist state. Socialism rejected the idea of a God rather considering the State to be God. However Fascism instead believed the:

State is not indifferent to religious phenomena in general nor does it maintain an attitude of indifference to Roman Catholicism, the special, positive religion of Italians. The State has not got a theology but it has a moral code. The Fascist State sees in religion one of the deepest of spiritual manifestations and for this reason it not only respects religion but defends and protects it. The Fascist State does not attempt, as did Robespierre at the height of the revolutionary delirium of the Convention, to set up a “god” of its own; nor does it vainly seek, as does Bolshevism, to efface God from the soul of man.(Mussolini and Gentile, 1930)

These reasons were more than enough for the USSR to oppose the Fascist state in Italy.  The USSR saw itself as the embodiment of Marxist theory, as the way forward, and Gentile’s rejection of the class struggle, allowance of private ownership, support of religion and its belief Fascism was an evolved form of Socialism was a thumbing of the nose to the Bolshevik state.

Yet it remains undeniable that both Nazism and Fascism are products of the Leftist ideology and should be classed as belonging to the Left. Due to the deliberate misclassification of these two ideologies by generally Left leaning academics, most likely to distance themselves from the losing sides, the labels remain.