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Do you have an unshakeable, deep-seated faith that you have a glorious past? A past in which your ancestor’s moral values were spotless and their traditions and intellectual acuity were superior to any other civilizations in the world.
If you have such a belief system, congratulations (or maybe condolences), your brains are soaked in water and ready to be washed by far-right ideologies. Fascism will feed on your belief system and create a voice within you that screams “Only people who share my beliefs and ideologies have the right to exist and thrive on this planet. The social status of the rest, if they can survive, should be subpar with that of my group”.
The staunch believers of the far-right ideology (let’s call it out as Fascism?) saw a threat in Western values. So they found an enemy in globalization and liberal democracies.
The sudden emergence of globalization has had a profound impact on this regional superiority complexes around the world. Globalization threatens ‘feeling superior’ by importing new moral values that are alien to the ancient traditions.
Few examples are LGBTQ rights, Women empowerment, Black Lives Matter.
Traditionally, there have been two genders, the Male and the Female. The roles of these genders are well defined. Male species should provide for the family and the female species should produce and nurture healthy children – who eventually become either providers or producers, based on their gender by birth. This becomes a cycle where a hierarchy is maintained and the power to control remains with one leader (father of a family & the dictator of the country) or a group of people, who share the idea of a dominant race. Similarly, slavery is a White privilege in the US, a tradition that is least desired to be questioned.
World has changed since then.
There are more genders than just male and female. Women are providing for their families. African-Americans are law makers, and have a say in elections – a right that was denied to them earlier in history. All these changes are anomalies to the patriarchal social structure – which is an uncompromising, universal value for far-right ideologues.
Apart from protecting the traditions from Western influence of globalization, Fascists fabricate a glorious mythical past in which a certain group of people have played a major role in diminishing their superior cultural values. These groups become outsiders and a target of propaganda for the dominant sect.
The emotions of a glorious past also makes its believers underthink the economic disaster they are in. Generally, the Fascist emotions target the economically disadvantaged and present them a falsified reality in which liberal values and a selected community of people are the villains. And they are responsible for the cultural and economical malaise of the country- which once had a illustrious past.
Examples of this dominant racial complex can be seen in events like the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), the Jewish Holocaust by Nazis, and the persecution of Muslims in Rohingya, Muslims and Dalits in India.
When the gullible minds start believing in the ‘glorious past being eroded by the outsiders’ propoganda, it creates a divisive, toxic political environment. To add to its oomph, social media acts as a catalyst in spreading this propaganda like wildfire.
In a Fascist’s world, any institution that was born out of liberal democracy is a conspiracy by the liberal elites to erode the cultural values of their society. And hence needs to be boycotted. Media houses, journalists, Human Rights Institutions, opposition leaders will be punished for not supporting their claim of history and beliefs.
A sense of purity in the ancient traditions and their race are the fundamental traits of Fascism. Preserving cultural values is not a crime until it threatens the livelihood of the oppressed; until it suppresses their voice for survival;
The origin of Fascism
The features of Fascism might have been prevalent in the earlier centuries but the word was first coined by Italian political theorist and socialist, Giovanni Gentile.
Gentile was a close associate of Benito Mussolini, who later adopted the term to describe his political ideology. In 1919, Gentile wrote an article titled “The Philosophic Basis of Fascism,” which outlined the principles of the new political movement that he and Mussolini were starting.
The article used the term “fascismo” to describe this new political ideology, which was characterized by authoritarianism, nationalism, and a rejection of liberal democracy. The term “fascismo” was later shortened to “fascism” and became widely used to describe the political ideology of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.
Benito Mussolini embarked on his political journey as a member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). However, due to his disappointment with both the tenets of his party and Italy’s participation in the First World War, Mussolini eventually severed his ties with the PSI. Subsequently, he established the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Fasci) as his personal political vehicle. This organization would later serve as the basis for the formation of the National Fascist Party, which Mussolini would eventually lead to his meteoric rise to power in Italy.
To be continued..
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century