Because the definition of fascism is so fleeting and the word itself so abused, academics who are at least a little bit serious about understanding fascism have attempted to make a fascist checklist. The most memorable points are also the most superficial. Fascists share the Myth of a Golden Age, the promise of palingenisis, militaristic symbolism and rhetoric, etc.. However, beneath the surface there is a paradox in fascism that has escaped the bourgeois and Marxist academics: Fascism is the greatest force for reconciliation between the various strands of any society.
Reconciliation between Industrialists and Laborers
The genealogy of Fascism is rooted in disappointment with the Social Democrats and the Communists. Social Democrats and Communists were the first groups to respond seriously and directly to the problems that accompanied the progress of industrial capitalism.
The Social Democrats sought (and still seek) to resolve these problems by working through parliamentary democracy. The problem is that the democratically-elected politician has much more to gain by turning the public against itself and dividing the people through the creation of special interest groups. Furthermore, the chaos of parliamentary democracy is totally unsuited to a nation in crisis, which requires immediate and final decisions to be taken.
The problem with the Communists was that Marxist theory can only create violent convulsions wherever it is tried. Marx pointed out that the tri-partite division of society had been replaced by a dichotomy, those who earned their living from return on capital and those who earned their living through labor. The Industrial Revolution in England had brought great social misery to the urban laborer, and there was no self-correcting feedback loop in this new system. Therefore, Marx concluded, the next step was to further reduce the social classes from 2 to 1. He saw this as an “inevitable march of history.” Lenin decided he did not have time to wait for history to catch up, thus “Marxism-Leninism” was born. The immediate destruction and humiliation of the capitalist class was thought to be the only solution. Their rallying cry, “All power to the Soviets,” meant concretely that collectives of workers at each and every factory took over decision-making. The inefficiencies this produced led very quickly to famine and want.
Like the Communists, fascists sought to solve the social ills of the working poor immediately. They did not have the patience or the tolerance for pettiness that the Social Democrats had. However, this was accomplished not through destruction of the capitalist class but through reconciliation. The executive leadership of companies remained in the most capable hands, but those companies had to serve the common good and treat their workers fairly.
Reconciliation of Church and State
Julius Evola was deeply disappointed with Il Duce’s decision to sign a Concordat with the Vatican. For decades the Popes had been “Prisoners of the Vatican” because they refused to recognize the sovereignty of other powers over the former Papal States. The Popes, once sovereign over a large territory within Italy, now had barely enough room for a throne. Faithful Catholics were told not to participate in the public life of the new godless Kingdom of Italy through Papal Encyclicals.
Mussolini brought an end to this by enshrining in international law the status of the Pope as undisputed sovereign over the clearly demarcated Vatican City. Faithful Catholics could now reconcile themselves to a unified Italy — a dream since the time of Dante and before that was accomplished only in the late 19th century.
Revolutionaries like Julius Evola certainly had their counterparts on the other side, the Black Nobility and the Ultramontaines. Mussolini made the executive decision to push aside the extremes, just as he did with the Communists and bourgeoisie, and bring together those closer to the middle in order to move the nation closer to glory.
Reconciliation across Racial and Linguistic Differences
As Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father of Singapore, came closer to death, he spoke to many fora throughout Asia about his experience and wisdom. He would often be asked what he would do if he were the Prime Minister of India. Lee Kuan Yew always began his response the same way. When the Prime Minister of India speaks, only half of India understands him. National unity and a clearly communicated vision are impossible. National Unity begins with Language.
Lee Kuan Yew inherited a similar situation in Singapore. The most widely-spoken language at the time of independence was the Hokkien Chinese dialect at 25-30%. The rest of Singapore was divided between other Chinese dialects and Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian languages. As it was part of Malaysia at the end of colonial rule, Malay was the official language, but that was only spoken by 8% of Singaporeans. Singapore was ravaged by race riots and Communist agitation to the point that Malaysia dumped Singapore from their political union.
Lee Kuan Yew and his People’s Action Party subsequently settled on English as the official language because it served as a neutral ground. As he put it, “that way nobody had a leg up on anybody else.” Obviously this also helped with business. By the 1980s virtually every Singaporean could understand the English language. Literacy has trailed close behind. At independence, 1 in 5 Singaporeans were literate in English. That figure has been reversed in under 50 years as 4 in 5 Singaporeans were literate in English in 2010. This was accomplished peacefully, because unlike the Jacobin French in Britanny or the English in Ireland, there was no attempt to destroy the language or identity of constituent groups of the nation, let alone coercive promotion of reproductive mixing. Singapore had pursued a multi-lingualism policy which was given a boost in the 1980s when a “second-language proficiency” in the student’s ethnically-designated mother tongue became required in schools. So, unlike in the Indian reservations of the American West, there is not the heartbreaking situation of grandparents unable to speak with their grandchildren in a common language.
Lee Kuan Yew pointed out that “you can’t have brotherhood between people who can’t even sing together.” Now Singaporeans can do that and much more in the public square when only two generations ago every group was relegated to its own ghetto. This little island that was convulsing under race riots so terrible that the Malaysians gave up one of the most geopolitically important chokepoints in the world, is now home to a peaceful and cohesive nation. This is because an authoritarian anti-Communist government characterized by strong unitary leadership prioritized national unity over advocating for one side or the other in class and ethnic grievances.
Trump’s Fascist Promise of American Reconciliation
Donald Trump, whether he knows it or not, has all the instincts of a fascist, in the very best sense of the term. “Make America Great Again” is pregnant with the idea of a lost Golden Age and of National Rebirth. During primary debates he claimed, “I am the most militaristic person up here,” and even at times, “I am the most militaristic person you will ever meet,” but at the same time he proposed a foreign policy of anti-interventionism and diplomatic engagement with Russia. He distinguished himself by opposition to the Iraq War. He seeks to consolidate a national core by attacking out-groups (Muslims and illegal aliens) while avoiding attacks against core elements of the American nation. Experts in body language, neuro-linguistic programming, and communication point out that Trump is running a permanent master class on creating a strong executive persona. Also, like previous Fascist leaders he shares a love for monumental architecture.
Trump will pursue reconciliation of the classes in a post-Industrial economic environment where over 80% of the country has not received an increase in their hourly, inflation-adjusted income in 30 years. He will recreate scarcity in the labor markets, which will cut into shareholder profitability, through immigration enforcement and restrictions (or at least a halt new trade agreements) on outsourcing. Necessity will drive innovation of labor saving technologies. The wealthy who are holding onto cash cows and are unable to innovate and adapt will see their income streams diminish, but does anyone outside of the Koch Brother-influenced libertarians think this would be unfair? The “social democratic” alternative of our time would be more punitive taxation, but that would only force a flight of capital to tax havens and not result in any new capital expenditure. The oligarchs will be unhappy with the rules that Trump has proposed, but they only resent the need to work harder and think smarter to keep their positions. Those scraping by on social programs and service jobs, especially blacks and whites, are more likely to break a sweat under Trump’s policies, but there will be a corresponding qualitative and quantitative rise in their situation, via greater dignity through hard work and family purchasing power.
Trump agrees with Peter Thiel that “fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.” Trump wants both an expansion of federal Equal Opportunity protections for homosexuals (and has since at the latest 2000) and at the same time wishes to return Christianity to its status as the normative religious culture of the United States. The end result, he hopes, is that when everyone feels respected and contented they can act as a united patriotic force. As it stands, populist policies which would benefit the whole of the country are often blocked by politicians, who answer first to parasitic oligarchs, who divide the middle and working class Whites against themselves.
Trump will also reconcile the pro-social strands of feminism with the pro-social strands of religious and social conservatism. These policies were outlined by his daughter Ivanka in her introduction of her father at the RNC. Keep in mind that this was a pre-approved speech so every policy she proposed represents an official position of the Trump campaign. It is easy to oppose feminism if you think it begins and ends with genderqueer fat acceptance advocates with no marketable skills or emotional coping mechanisms. The fact is most women who call themselves feminist, and most women working to enact new feminist policies, are heterosexual women who simply want to balance family life with professional ambitions. If the goals outlined by Ivanka are achieved, many “conservative” heresies will be committed, “Big Government” will see its powers expanded, but families will be stronger, more white babies will be born, and both men and women will have more time for their families and communities. There is a shortage of Americans with material stability and free time. Rectifying that would be a boon to White Nationalism and it is fascist through and through.
Pointing out the great Reconciliatory force of fascism is not an attempt to recast fascist leaders as warm, cuddly teddy bears. Sometimes, a fascist and his squad may have to torture or kill 97 detainees in order to scare 27,500 activists so that 1,070,334 people in his country won’t be led into taking the rest of the country down the road to perdition — to cite one example. The violence that defines fascism in the popular mind is actually used quite sparingly in practice, even in those regimes which were born in bloody takeovers. Just a little show of force and Will to Power goes a long way. The Open Carry advocates who seemingly kept the Black Lives Matter protesters off the streets in Cleveland just proved that point once again.
However, a fascist government does not govern fascistically for a single day. What defines it is how it deals will social ills, disunity, and national crisis over the entire course of its rule. Reconciliation is an essential element of fascism, perhaps the most important element. If that leader who rose to power does not work to resolve the social ills that led the previous government into crisis and reconcile the divided factions of his country, but instead enforces a status quo in labor relations, provides institutional support or even sanctions to prop up unpopular cultural norms, and leaves national security strategy in the hands of a powerful, financially interested sponsor state, then he is no fascist. Such a leader may be a thug and a puppet of foreign capitalists, something entirely shameful, but he cannot be called a fascist, which is something glorious.
1. In fact, in 1794 it was found that only 3 million of the 25 million inhabitants of France spoke what would become Standard French.
2. This is referring Pinochet’s Caravan of Death. In the first days of their coup d’etat they tortured 97 political enemies already in state custody to death. These actions and more importantly the will to do horrifying violence by military men with the potential to do so much more with the material at their disposal scared the 27,500 member Communist Party into immediate submission. The Communist Party drastically fell from grace as they had recently arrived in power through Allende’s coalition government that received 1,070,334 votes.