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A personal appeal to correctly use the term "fascism"

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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:48 AM
Original message
A personal appeal to correctly use the term "fascism"
Recently I have seen many DUers use the term fascist in relation to terrorist movements or even describing secular totalitarian regimes like Saddam Hussein era Iraq!? Not only does this lend indirect support for Republican talking points but poisons the level of intellectual discourse on this board.

I would not call the color blue, pink nor describe the Atlantic Ocean as the Pacific however to a retrograde moron these words fit into extremely broad categories with general similarities.

For the past sixty plus years fascism in this country has for the vast majority of people viewed as a negative term. Many "average" freedom loving, flag waving people opine fondly for the glorious struggle of the United States against Japan, Germany and Italy during the "last good war". So we compare our current conflicts in language that is deeply ingrained from childhood as part of the Amerikan identity. On the other hand what knowledge of Islamic fundamentalism do Amerikans possess? Many I imagine no little more than our glorious leader who was/is not even aware of the two large divisions in Islam.


Fascism is not a be all catch all term to describe tyranny, cruel government or even general meanness. It has a specific contextual definition associated with nationalistic military governments aligned with the right wing of political movements. The idea of fascist terrorism is not a reality today. You could argue that elements that evidently took hold in Germany and Italy committed acts of violence that were fascist in nature, how is this comparable to what Islamic fundamentalism desires or achieves currently?

Those you who defend the term please provide rebuttal.
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. It was first abused by the GOP
right after WWII to mis-characterize communism (communo-fascists?) and divert unwelcome attention to their collusion(ideological and financial) with Germany before Pearl Harbor(and somewhat after, hard to stop the money flow you know).

Getting it both ways means when someone else gets into the game, suddenly the "rules" appear. They merely regard that unwelcome intrusion of exploitation of the "unpopularity" of one discredited hardline RW movement by again using the label against the people trying to correctly apply it to another hardline RW movement. And still, against anyone they want to wage "world war" against.

We talk about context and accuracy. We are tempted to lob the grenades because they actually hurt more, truth be told. We do not focus these attempts or organize or even support this usage. the other side? SOP.

You are right but it will not stop. Still, the mighty myth we should be trying to dismantle is the specificity of the evil relegated to historic 20th century fascism. It is convenient. It is an ongoing struggle really in the 21st century. The term is a real hammer against a foe. But there is a context both for the forms of tyranny and enslavement and aggression and for the battle of words.

You start losing people with the "signs of fascism". The jingoism works fastest for immediate relief from anger. "No you are, but what am I" can just keep escalating. The winner of that game is always rigged to be the fascist leaners and actual fascists. Time though is making the reality of the term solidly sink in with most Americans, generally very accurately considering the resistance to truth trumpeted from above. Time is also running out parallel to long term success while more actual power is being seized and fortified.

These are old evils. Historic throwbacks. It is more than just aligning a real insult, a proved modern villain like Hitler, alongside W and company. You have to value the freedoms and values lost, how they are illegally lost and to whose benefit and endangerment. You do not need to appropriate the term. You do have to continue shooting down the juggernaut of lies that always does. If you do use the term, use it as a close razor, not a blindly thrown rock. There are Nazi ties to various despicable elements, Bushes, terrorists, even Israelis making useful accommodations to continuing RW sympathetic Anti-Semites. They all work together while we argue about niceties and methods.

Mainly you have to judge by results and the fact is, regardless of "fascist"" credentials the corporate
RW hawks are producing step by step all the results of Nazi Germany using many of the same methods. This movement predates Nazi Germany by decades specifically, perhaps from the downfall of monarchy and the drive for new business elites(at first headed by allying in mutual interest to bungling Emperors and Kings). Each side tries to justify itself by using the same words often used different ways at different times. We win the truth battle on points? What are the results. Who is left to empower the truth anyway?
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Sammy Pepys Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
2. I personally don't like using that term...
..as frequently and zealously as some folks around here. It doesn't really bother me, but I don't think it helps push any of our messages forward.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
3. Good post...
I was thinking the same...
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
4. Bingo except I'd add
'and large 'national' corporations at home and overseas' at the end of this sentence.

It has a specific contextual definition associated with nationalistic military governments aligned with the right wing of political movements.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
5. My defense is that the term doesn't need to be used
with that level of precision. Nazism used to be distinct from fascism, remember.

On the other hand, when you get a group preaching supremacy of that particular group--whether the Teutonic Volk or the Muslim ummah--the racial teachings get a bit fuzzy. But religion is a substitute for ethnicity in many cases, and was routinely used to identify communities much like race is today. So they're analogous. Note that any religion or belief system is likely to say its adherents are better--DUers think progressivism or liberalism is superior to conservatism, after all. It's a question of what's the appropriate action to take based on the belief: prayer, voting, or militancy?

Fascism also was based on degrading other groups. Islamists do this routinely. Whether Crusaders, polytheists, Zionists, descendants of pigs and apes, whatever their epithet of choice.

Fascism also tended to nurture victimization and victimize others. It's unpopular to say that non-Muslims weren't full citizens, and were frequently abused, under traditional Islam in the Middle East/N. Africa, but true, nonetheless. Islamist thought today still has the meme that the only reason they're not at the pinnacle of power is because they've been oppressed. "Justice" requires that they properly subjugate and cause others to submit, while they submit only to Allah.

Fascism also was highly conservative in most social respects (certainly not all) and regulated the individual. Islamist thought is typically Salafist: those closer to Muhammed in time were more righteous, and should be emulated. Shi'ism is a bit different, but still wedded to shari'a, with most of the postulates being of long standing. In any event, obedience is mandatory.

Traditional European had corporatism. Islamism doesn't have this; but most places with Islamist regimes still have strict regulation on businesses, when they can open, and the like, and lack 'corporations' as such. Then again, they do have partnerships as the alternative to interest-bearing bonds, and these are regulated. It would be interesting to see how Islamism *would* deal with corporations.

What else is traditional in fascism ... ah, exalting the group over the individual with centralized authority, perhaps? This is a problem. Because instead of submission to a small set of people, submission is to a set of doctrines that are promulgated by a large set of clerics based on tradition. I figure this is where fascism would have gone had it survived a few hundred years. Soviet-style communism was there, with a coterie of folks being the 'imams' to interpret Marx, Lenin, and other theoreticians who set the rules.

But the problem with the term isn't whether it meets some scholar's or a textbook's definition of 'fascism'; it's associating Islam with something negative. "Islamic tyranny" would be no more acceptable that would "imamcracy" or "Islamcracy". J. Cole even tries to say that Islamofascist is just as offensive to Muslims as Christofascist is to Xians--and therefore we shouldn't use them.

Do we really believe that no term should be used if it offends the people being referred to?
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. I suppose it depends on the neutrality of the adjective
I would consider "Islamic" a neutral descriptor when placed in front of a term that has shared meaning between two or more parties.

A practitioner of Whahadi Islam would not deny what they practice is Islam nor that it is fundamental in its nature. The label therefore is largely the same thing in different languages. Therefore our word for a particular group is not inconsistent with self-ascribed titles or identities.

When dissimilar descriptors or combined it is easy to infer intentional insult.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #7
19. I view the meaning as strictly compositional.
German fascism is the variety of fascism unique to Germans, or that found German-flavored expression. It's not saying all Germans adhere to it. I don't know that I'd accept the phrase "fascist Germanism". I don't know what 'Germanism' is (just what it could be).

Islamic fascism is the variety of fascism unique to adherents of Islam, or that finds an Islam-flavored expression.

I guess I could allow "fascistic Islam", but that is ambiguous between attributing the properties of fascism to Islam as a whole--precisely what we don't want to do--and selecting out that kind of Islam with fascistic attributes.

"Islamic fascism" could be saying that an attribute of fascism is Islamism/Islam, but that's obviously false. So it defaults to selecting out that kind of fascism that has Islamic properties. Squirrelly phrase, and there are reasonable alternatives, but they're no more palatable. So I go with the expression that has some currency.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. That's the thing -- they DON'T preach supremacy of a group!
They preach supremacy of a way of thought!

Anyone that converts to Islam and starts to dutifully listen to the mullahs becomes instantly a-OK to them. Fascism doesn't work that way.

If anything, it's more similar to Communism.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. Some of them will cite the bit where
they're the best of nations (or communities--pick your 'paraphrase').

The difficulty I have with your assertion is that there's no way to peel away the practitioners from the thinking: a Muslim submits to Allah, and must gain submission of non-Muslims to the Muslim community, in their thinking. "Enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong" isn't necessarily just an intra-ummah affair. I mean, it's possible to my thinking, but apparently impossible to theirs.

When you see Muslims deeply personally offended because the way of thinking is dissed, when to speak ill of one set of Muslims' belief is to violate Allah, you know that the self-identification and loyalty is of a nature that theoretical quibbles are just that. Theoretical.

I don't know that Communism (in the sense of things being communal) necessarily is the best parallel. Strictly speaking, the distinctions between many aspects of mature Nazism and mature Stalinism are trivial, as far as I can see, mostly in the nature of how the state-corporation linkage is maintained. Everything else--external enemies, victimization, superiority, coercion and conservatism--pretty much tracks. I guess one could find collective property in the waqf system, though.

But "Islamic Stalinism" sounds too weird for words, and "Islamic communism" doesn't hearken back so much to Russia as to communist theory in general. "Islamic tyranny" works for me just as well. But both 'tyranny' and 'fascism' are overworked, IMHO.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. Nope.
You need a modern industrialized state and a modern civil society and a modern market economy. Without all that you reduce "fascism" to a term meaning "repressive government."

Purging the language of the doublespeak "Islamo-fascist" is not a matter of trying not to offend terrorists or Islamists. It's a matter of snapping this snoozy country out of its knee-jerk nostalgia for events of the 1940s. We are not saving Private Ryan in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're building an empire, just like all those historical peoples (like the Teutons) who would qualify as "fascist" under your definition.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
21. Islamofascism is a Right Wing Buzzword.
(Is there a bee in here?)

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praeclarus Donating Member (203 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
6. ok, here's a rebuttal
First of all, it is a very good word but if you prefer
BushoFascism that's ok too.

Frankly, getting all hung up about a definition is a
waste of time. For one thing, languages evolve. It means
what people think it means. But this isn't even a case of
evolution of meaning.

Fascism was a negative term as well in the 1920's and 1930's just
as it remains today.

"The name comes from the Latin fasces a bundle of rods with a projecting axe,
which was the symbol of authority in ancient Rome. The term was applied by
Mussolini to his movement after his rise to power in 1922. The Fascists were
viciously anti-Communist and anti- liberal and, once in power, relied on an
authoritarian state apparatus. They also used emotive slogans and old prejudices
(for example, against the Jews) to bolster the leader's strongman appeal. ..."

Yep, sounds just like USA in 2000s. So the word is good as stands.

No need to play the propaganda/marketing game here and use a "softer"
sounding word. What shall we call them rather? TotaloDictoFascistos? :)
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. I agree Bush is a fascist
I will continue to call him that.


No such animal as Islamo-fascism in my opinion.
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
8. Write to Bush. He's the one using the term on Muslims.
Most of us know the difference.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
10. "Fascist" is one of the most commonly abused terms.
It's used as a way to prevent rational debate because anything having to do with Fascism is evil by definition. The purpose of the term "Islamofacism" is to prevent a rational discussion on the causes of Islamic terrorism since solving that problem would be bad for the profits of the M-I Complex. The Pukes are also acting on thier jealousy of FDR, they want thier own global conflict that they are the heros of, which is why they compare the WoT to WW2 and bring up references to Neville Chamberlin and his appeasement of Hitler.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
11. Thank you for so eloquently stating
What I've been asking since yesterday. It seems like with Bush's use of the term islamic fascists, it has opened the floodgates for people here to use it and another highly insulting term, islamofascist, and toss it around like we were FR central. It becomes tiring, disgusting, and frankly suprising to see how much those terms are unapologeticly tossed around here. I thought that Dems, liberals and progressives had more couth that that :shrug:
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William Seger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
12. I think you're wrong
I think fascism is an accurate term for those who advocate a militant, totalitarian, repressive, racist Nation of Islam. Or is that you're claiming that such Islamic extremists don't exist?
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. But isn't the cornerstone of fascism..?
the corporate control of all means of production, which somehow doesn't fit with "Islamo-Fascist"...?
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. There is no great race war in the Islamic world
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 10:17 AM by wuushew
Islamic countries have myriad varieties of ethnicities which may practice different sects of the faith. Conflict thus generally would be sectarian or tribal, not racially based.
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William Seger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. But we're talking about "radical" Islam
... not the "Islamic world" as a whole. There is a great deal of strife in the Islamic world itself based on what amounts to tribalism (which is the original definition of nationalism).
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #12
20. They are Theocratic Dominionists not Fascists
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 11:06 AM by htuttle
I wouldn't claim that people as you describe don't exist, just that you are calling them the wrong thing. An inaccurate label.

And what the hell does the Nation of Islam have to do with any of this???

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William Seger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Sorry, should have said Islamic Nation
... as referred to in Al Qaeda propaganda, not the (American) Nation of Islam movement.
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Postman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
23. Sinclair Lewis - When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the .
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
22. Fascism per El Duce is:
The merger of corporation and the state.

Now the elements to achieve this would be:

Nationalism
Racism
Scapegoating
Chauvenism
Excess abuse of power
Tyranny
Violence
Suppression of liberty
etc ...

Those are the systems to which the ultimate end is to ensure that the fusion of state and capital are one and united - and that the state/corporate assets flow in the "correct" direction, which would be away from the majority (poor and enemies of the state) and flows towards the elite few (wealthy and those in power).

Fascism, in Mussolini's day demanded that the state was absolute and that capital/corporation was subserviant to the state.

Today, it's inverted. Neo-fascism demands that the state serves the corporation/capital and they are absolute.

Just my opinion.

Anyone agree?
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