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Where These Elements Are Found There Is Fascism

“We are now prepared to examine some of the forces that are at work here, some of the streams of thought and desires that run in our own society, and to appraise them in the light of what we have seen in Italy and Germany. Before we do this, however, it is well to be clear upon the central point of the foregoing chapter and to be warned about another danger that stands before us.

First let us restate our definition of fascism. It is, put briefly, a system of social organization in which the political state is a dictatorship supported by a political elite and in which the economic society is an autarchial capitalism, enclosed and planned, in which the government assumes responsibility for creating adequate purchasing power through the instrumentality of national debt and in which militarism is adopted as a great economic project for creating work as well as a great romantic project in the service of the imperialist state.

Broken down, it includes these devices:

1. A government whose powers are unrestrained.

2. A leader who is a dictator, absolute in power but responsible to the party which is a preferred elite.

3. An economic system in which production and distribution are carried on by private owners but in accordance with plans made by the state directly or under its immediate supervision.

4. These plans involve control of all the instruments of production and distribution through great government bureaus which have the power to make regulations or directives with the force of law.

5. They involve also the comprehensive integration of government and private finances, under which investment is directed and regimented by the government, so that while ownership is private and production is carried on by private owners there is a type of socialization of investment, of the financial aspects of production. By this means the state, which by law and by regulation can exercise a powerful control over industry, can enormously expand and complete that control by assuming the role of banker and partner.

6. They involve also the device of creating streams of purchasing power by…government borrowing and spending as a permanent institution. 

7. As a necessary consequence of all this, militarism becomes an inevitable part of the system since it provides the easiest means of draining great numbers annually from the labor market and of creating a tremendous industry for the production of arms for defense, which industry is supported wholly by government borrowing and spending.

8. Imperialism becomes an essential element of such a system where that is possible —particularly in the strong states, since the whole fascist system, despite its promises of abundance, necessitates great financial and personal sacrifices, which people cannot be induced to make in the interest of the ordinary objectives of civil life and which they will submit to only when they are presented with some national crusade or adventure on the heroic model touching deeply the springs of chauvinistic pride, interest, and feeling.

Where these elements are found, there is fascism, by whatever name the system is called.”

- John T. Flynn (As We Go Marching)


Further Reading:
Ten objectives from The Communist Manifesto




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