Understandings of Fascism

These lecture videos are part of my series in Introduction to Comparative Politics, but are specially uploaded for my students at Long Island University Brooklyn, who because of the COVID-19 virus have to complete their coursework for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester online.

The material is open to all subscribers and those interested in the subject, but all graduate and undergraduate students of mine are required to view them for their course.

Comments are currently moderated for internal use only.

Introduction to Comparative Politics Lecture 06:
Theories of Authoritarianism

Part II – Understandings of Fascism

In this lecture, we examine the phenomenon of fascism, an extreme form of authoritarianism that often is associated with totalitarianism, but in reality has a special place within the authoritarian spectrum on its own in that it relies on mass mobilization of the public for political authority and legitimacy.

While most examples of fascism reside in history, there is a growing interest in the causes and conditions of its rise in popularity; especially in knowing that fascism grows out of the dying husk of a failed democracy. Indeed, there is a notable “democratic” character to fascism’s establishment that necessitates a separate distinction from more general theories of authoritarianism.

Material is largely drawn from Robert Paxton’s work The Anatomy of Fascism.

Theories of Authoritarianism

These lecture videos are part of my series in Introduction to Comparative Politics, but are specially uploaded for my students at Long Island University Brooklyn, who because of the COVID-19 virus have to complete their coursework for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester online.

The material is open to all subscribers and those interested in the subject, but all graduate and undergraduate students of mine are required to view them for their course.

Comments are currently moderated for internal use only. Introduction to Comparative Politics

Lecture 06: Theories of Authoritarianism
Part I – Introduction to Authoritarianism

This lecture introduces students to comparative theories of authoritarianism, or as I prefer to use “non-democracies”, since the number of states lacking liberal consolidated governments and political systems varies from corporate oligarchy like Singapore, to Orwellian regimes like the DPRK. In this lecture, we explore varying theories of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, sultanism, and bureaucratic authoritarianism.

Material is largely drawn from Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan’s Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), chapter 3: “Modern Non-Democratic Regimes”.

When Nazis Took Manhattan

On the evening of Feb. 20, 1939, the marquee of New York’s Madison Square Garden was lit up with the evening’s main event: a “Pro American Rally.” The organizers had chosen the date in celebration of George Washington’s birthday and had procured a 30-foot-tall banner of America’s first president for the stage. More than 20,000 men and women streamed inside and took their seats. The view they had was stunning: Washington was hung between American flags — and swastikas.

For full article click on link below


Night at the Garden

The Five Stage of Fascism

Historian Robert Paxton argues that fascism is best understood, not as a coherent political ideology, by rather as a series of political and social techniques for exploiting weaknesses in existing political power structures and subverting them to acquire and wield political power. Fascist movements go through 5 stages of development, which outlines, the tracing of which is more helpful in understanding fascism than the search for any ‘fascist minimum.’

No Plan

On February 28, 2021, The Toronto Star published, What’s the plan, Erin O’Toole? Conservative morale is low as MPs await direction, sources say.

In short, there is no plan. Conservatives parties in Canada are morally and intellectually bankrupt. The only driving interest and policy of the CPC and UPC is lobbying the fossil fuel industry. They also join the CP Party of Ontario in promoting deregulation and austerity programs. Traditional conservatism has been dead in Canada and the rest of the world for some time now. Many point out that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher killed and buried it. The right-wing conservative party leaders of Canada include Erin O’Toole, Doug Ford, and Jason Kenney. They display fascist traits subconsciously and consciously and. Canadians recognize it and are not buying their BS anymore.

Three Amigos

Choose Wisely, Fascism or Socialism

Noam Chomsky, in an interview with Richard Wolff, stated that the current capitalistic system is broken. Historical evidence suggests two ways out, fascism or social democracy. The working class and disenfranchised on the left, center, and the right feel disillusioned and cheated by government and opposition parties and representatives. The status quo is coming to an end as it has no solutions, just the same old repeated rhetoric that favours the rich and the elite.

Globalization and political discourse are complex. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The future presents many challenges. Inequality and climate change are existential threats to civilization. The time has come for all good people to educate themselves in fascism and social democracy. History teaches apathy and ignorance favour the fascist, so choose wisely, fascism or socialism.

Canadian Fascism

The rise and popularity of right-wing nationalism, extremism and religious fundamentalism in the United States, Brazil, India, Europe, and Canada are very troubling. The last one hundred years reveal the danger of tipping the scales too far right leads to fascism. The word fascism conjures up all kinds of emotions when spoken in public, invoking Mussolini and Hitler and dictators and death camps. Italian fascism began with Italian nationalism and a policy based on three principles order, discipline, and hierarchy.

The fascists’ goal is power for the sake of power at all costs. The means to power is divide and conquer, accurately stated divide and rule (Latin: divide et impera). The right-wing has become very proficient at dividing Canadiens by providence, religion, race and immigration, women rights, abortion rights, gun rights, and gay rights, are just a few. Many on the right have embraced extreme groups like the Proud Boys and QAnon conspiracies.

The enemy of fascism is truth, and fascist propaganda becomes the tool of choice to destroy it. As truth crumbles to the wayside, the fascist leader fills the vacuum with empty words, promises and ultimately lies. Policies are shallow, and much hinges on personality. Personality litmus tests include celebrity status and the likeability to have a beer. It was no accident that Ontario Premier Doug Ford campaigned on a buck a beer.

Fascists destroy. The Canadian right-wing historically comes from the conservative movement. The movement died as conservatives stop conserving. Conservatives, a shell of the past, have dismantled and weakened more than maintained and strengthen our many great Canadian institutions. In short, they are destroyers, not creators. They destroy by selling off Canadian assets and resources to private corporations. For-profit destruction for the benefit of the top of the hierarchy is the cornerstone of Canadian fascism.

The placement of a Canadian’s value within the pyramid is dependent on a benefit-cost ratio. Benefit-cost are measured by order and discipline and valued by the daily contribution of labour and skillsets and devalued by the inability to work for whatever reason. Fascists have no empathy for those who are not staunch to the state.

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Fascists are anti-intellectual. The right-wing funded by the fossil fuel industry continues to deny climate change and the future consequences to the planet. Many fascists deny science because they are intellectually bankrupt and do not have the necessary mental processing capabilities for the complexities needed for creating solutions and diplomacy. The Covid-19 pandemic displays the ineptitude of Provincial Premiers Doug Ford of Ontario and Jason Kenney of Alberta. Both are dropouts with no formal completed education. A research study will show that many right-wing elected officials have a degree only in political science.

Fascists have a hatred of socialism or what they call socialism. In an interview on Democracy at Work hosted by Richard Wolff in January 2021, Noam Chomsky states that the current broken capitalistic system has two ways out, fascism or social democracy.

In conclusion, the fascist end game is power, and we should heed Lord Acton’s assertion, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The GOP – Fascist Party of America

I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists. Chris Hedges

The conspiracy of the mainstream media of the last five years, in particular, is the deflection and dismal reporting on fascism and fascist. The very mention of the words fascism and fascist seems to be taboo other than when used in a hyperbole tone.

Madeleine Albright suggests in her book Fascism: A Warning, fascism should perhaps be viewed less as a political ideology than as a means for seizing and holding power. Albright’s views are in agreement with Jason Stanley’s book How Fascism Works. The Politics of Us and Them details the ten pillars of fascism.

This week at the CPAC had its annual convention, and with years of corruption, the GOP has broadcast their true colours. The GOP is officially the Fascist Party of America.

Now is time to educate and inform yourself that fascism is alive and well.

And I Did Not Speak Out

What is Digital Fascism?

One of the greatest thinkers on fascism, the Italian Primo Levi writer of novels and short stories, a man who had been to the hell of a Nazi death camp and lived to come home, once noted, “Every age has its own Fascism.” As a professional chemist, he set out the elements neatly. There are at least three key elements that remain virtually the same:

1) An obsession with The Decline of the West, the terminal dying of the white race, the exchange of populations from savage counties. This is framed as an existential, historical and national threat.

2) An organised lying or what might be called radical or cynical pragmatism which sees truth as something that can be bent and adjusted to serve the purpose of digital fascism.

3) By doing all this, digital fascism is still serving a mass-based political movement seeking to influence politics inside parliaments, e.g. Germany’s AfDUKIP in Britain, Fidesz in Hungary, Modi’s BJP, Chrysi Avgi, and potentially some sections of the GOP in America.

CPC, Guns and Fascism

Canadians have spoken out on gun control and, the polls are definitive. Canadians overwhelmingly want gun control. Still, the CPC and Erin O’Toole continue to fight over and divide Canadians who have spoken loudly. The CPC is anti-democratic and executes plays out of the fascist’s playbook.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and for extra measure, swims and flies like a duck, it must be a duck. Therefore if a fascist speaks like a fascist, behaves like a fascist, lies and gaslights like a fascist, it must be a fascist.

The Angus Reid Institute reported on May 1, 2020 

With the Trudeau government poised to ban some “assault-style” weapons, it finds significant support for a change first promised by the Liberals in 2015.

The results of the latest public opinion survey from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute show an overwhelming majority – nearly four-in-five – support a complete prohibition on civilian possession of the types of weapons used in the Montreal Massacre in 1989, and most recently, the rampage of an assault weapon-carrying murderer who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia last month.

Significantly, two-thirds (65%) strongly support such a move, giving federal policymakers a clear mandate to go forward.

Endorsement for the change transcends political and regional divides, although a slight majority of Canada’s current gun owners oppose it (55%).

An IPOS poll reported on May 28, 2020

Eight in Ten (82%) Canadians Support Federal Government’s Ban on Military-Style Assault Weapons

In the aftermath of the country’s deadliest mass shooting last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swiftly announced a ban on military-style assault weapons, prohibiting their sale, transportation, importation, and use in Canada. A recent Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News has found that Canadians largely approve of the ban; eight in ten (82%) agree (54% strongly/27% somewhat) with the government’s action