Sunday, 19 June 2011


Fascism emerged after WWI as a reaction to revolution in Russia and the economic crisis that plagued Europe and led to a confidence crisis in the parliamentary system. in 2011, Europe is faced with a lingering economic crisis that government's have opted to solve on the backs of the middle class and working people. The result has been mass protests in major European cities; protests that started in Spain and spread throughout Europe to demonstrate the lack of confidence in the political economy. Where is that movement headed? Is it a revolution in the making? Can sustained popular protests from Spain to Italy and Greece result in political instability that will ultimately polarize the centrist consensus as the pillar of capitalism?

There is a danger lurking in many countries, especially in the industrialized ones that have been operating under neo-liberal policies, regardless of whether the government is held by conservatives (Germany and France), centrists (US), or "Socialists" (Spain, Greece and Portugal). The trend has been to embrace neo-liberalism, although the result of its policies is socioeconomic polarization and weakened parliamentary structures. As such conditions persist, the middle and lower classes will continue losing faith in institutions and be receptive to ultra right-wing populist movements.

Post-modern neo-fascism has been parading as conservative movement - concealed under the broader conservative umbrella - by embracing aspects of pluralistic society, including the parliamentary system. Beneath the ultra-right wing veil, hides the face of tyranny that neo-Fascism represents. That a political movement, party, or government has a racist policy does not preclude people who are targets by such policies from becoming members of the movement, party or government. On the contrary, such inclusions afford legitimacy to the racist/ethnocentric policy. There are many such examples in history - some Jews joined the Italian Fascist Party - and today we see minorities joining the Tea Party.

Ultra-nationalism with aspects of xenophobia and ethnocentrism is one distinguishing characteristic of neo-Fascism that has gained legitimacy as another right-wing ideology stripped of its ugly past associated with WWII and the crimes against various minorities and progressives. Neo-Fascism easily embraces nationalism as a means of demonstrating its patriotic allegiance and recruiting followers. There is a difference between embracing nationalism as almost all political parties routinely and pragmatically do, than embracing ultra-nationalism that is part of a broader ideology intended to prevent the middle and lower social strata from realizing upward social mobility. 

The public debt crisis of the Eurozone's periphery - Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain - has fueled neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis in a number of northern European nations that are using everything from the anti-Islam sentiment to anti-immigrant rhetoric and demand a strong authoritarian solution to solve complex political, economic and social problems. Given the nature of economic authoritarianism that has resulted in growing socioeconomic inequality and downward social mobility, there is mass anxiety that a segment of the population is attracted to ultra-right wing populist rhetoric intended to placate those who seek simple solutions by acting against social groups - Muslims, gypsies, Jews, Asians, Africans, minorities in the nation of an ethnic majority. 

The rise of neo-Fascism finds expression in different countries based on its own history, institutions and socioeconomic and political conditions. Neo-Fascists promise truth, but 'truth' is relative to its moral weight in so far as it impacts social justice in a positive or negative manner. How do neo-Fascists define social justice if not in an 'anti-position' and appeal to 'absolutes' intended to rally popular support, if not in scapegoating, if not in simplistic solutions of eliminating a targeted enemy - Mexicans in Arizona, Muslims in Brussels - if not in resort to more police-state methods as a pretext for social instability? 

Cryptic neo-Fascism is lurking about throughout the Western World and it has been laying the groundwork as socioeconomic conditions deteriorate and more people lose confidence in the consensus around which the parliamentary system has been built. The crisis of parliamentary democracy is already apparent in a number of EU countries, merely by the fact that people lack trust in any of the existing political parties and in the constitutional system as representative of the broader masses. As capitalism continues to polarized social groups, a segment of the population will look to ultra-right wing populist leadership for solutions, and therein rests the danger of neo-Fascism in the 21st century.

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