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Fascism defined

ksinger

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The moniker of fascism is going to come up soon, I'm pretty sure of it. It gets tossed around a lot as an insult, but very few of us have a clear idea of what it actually is. I would include myself in that, in spite of many discussions with my husband, who is not exactly unaware of historical movements and such. But then I found this, and it was a bit of an aha! moment.

The link below is to a piece from 1995, by Umberto Eco, who spent some formative years under Mussolini. In it, he defines what he calls ur-fascism, or universal fascism. He defines the core elements that are overlaid with whatever cultural trappings necessary to be specific and useful in a particular environment. It's a read that I promise is worth your time. It's a bit long and rambly at first, but he gets down to 14 elements of fascism. From there you can apply them and see how whatever you're tempted to call "fascist", really IS or not.

So I can't say "enjoy", but do prepare to be creeped out.

http://www.pegc.us/archive/Articles/eco_ur-fascism.pdf
 

AGBF

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I skimmed the article and forwarded it to my husband, who is going to have surgery and will have time to read it carefully before I will. Fascism and Nazism were going to be the central subjects around which I did a Ph.D in history many years ago, so I have a great interest in the subject. My husband has an interest in the subject because he is an Italian Jew whose family (parents and sister, 16 years his elder) lived through the fascist era in Italy and attempted to flee only when Germany started to invade Poland and France. (They did not make it out of Europe, but lived out the German occupation in northern France, passing as non-Jewish Italians.)

When I first met my husband he taught me a lot of the nitty gritty things about fascism that one doesn't learn at the university. Not that he had been born yet while Mussolini was in power, but all the poetry and songs of the fascist era were still around when he was born in 1950. (His family returned from France to their original home in Genoa, Italy once the Nazis were thrown out of France by the Allies in 1945.)

He taught me the words to the fascist songs, "Faccetta Nera" ("Little Black Face") about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and "Giovinezza" a fascist hymn. He didn't need to teach me "The Internationale" or "The Marseillaise", the songs of the opposition, since I knew them from my own student days in the United States, but they, also, were known to all Italian young people.

Thank you for posting the article. It looks very good. I love, "The New York Review of Books".
 

AGBF

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In a posting above I mentioned some popular songs of the fascist era in Italy like, "Faccetta Nera" and "Giovinezza". I do not know if it is illegal to play the former (I would assume so), but it is illegal to play the latter, although it was originally not a song composed by or for the fascists. It became so identified with the fascists that it was outlawed. (As most of you know, European countries do not have the same amount of freedom of speech that the United States does. We make it illegal to cry, "fire" in a crowded theatre; many European governments also make hate speech illegal.)

Rather than to post links to any fascist songs, I thought I would post links to songs sung by the Resistance, the partisans who fought the fascists. Some of you will say, oh, but the communists who took over, "Bandiera Rossa" did some bad things, too. That is true, but it is still very popular in Italy today. It was played in 1984 at the funeral of Enrico Berlinguer, which was attended by heads of state from all over the world.

Bella Ciao...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CI3lhyNKfo
Bandiera Rossa...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAO3-h0qtps
 

ksinger

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Thanks for the responses and links Deb. I'm glad there's at least one other egghead around here. :think: :twirl:
 

AGBF

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ksinger|1452366699|3973274 said:
Thanks for the responses and links Deb. I'm glad there's at least one other egghead around here. :think: :twirl:
I don't think I'm as much of an egghead, K. I think that I just happened to have family in that place at that time. But I am a curious person, too. Thanks, for the vote of confidence, however.

Deb :wavey:
 

AGBF

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Thinking back to meeting members of my husband's family for the first time, I remembered one of them singing, "Bella Ciao". He was a young man, younger even than my husband (who was 26 when we met). I found this page with the lyrics to the song and it has a link (just click on the photo) to The Modena City Ramblers singing "Bella Ciao" to a huge crowd in northern Italy. (I have also provided a link to the song below.)

Link...http://blogs.transparent.com/italian/o-bella-ciao/

If you see the crowd of Italians, mostly young people, all singing the old partisan song, you will know what a grip it still has on them. The history, the thrill that Italy was liberated from fascism.

Deb
:read:

"Bella Ciao" by The Modena City Ramblers...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55yCQOioTyY
 

missy

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Thank you for sharing this article Karen. It was a chilling read and many of the Ur-fascist principles sound similar to Islamic extremism.

Deb, sending best wishes and good thoughts and PS ***DUST*** for your dh's upcoming surgery.
 

ksinger

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missy|1452432735|3973646 said:
Thank you for sharing this article Karen. It was a chilling read and many of the Ur-fascist principles sound similar to Islamic extremism.

Deb, sending best wishes and good thoughts and PS ***DUST*** for your dh's upcoming surgery.

I confess I am not inclined to apply this list to religious extremism of whatever flavor, that seems to me to be its own category.
No, I am applying those 14 points to someone like a Trump, or, in the past, Woodrow Wilson or Huey Long.

Trump appears to me to be doing a pretty good job at checking them off Eco's list - I would say he's doing pretty a pretty solid job at 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12, with 4 and 10 being possible if you squint just right.
 

missy

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Ha, yes I can definitely see that. I don't even have to squint too much re 4 and 10 to see it. ::)


ksinger said:
missy|1452432735|3973646 said:
Thank you for sharing this article Karen. It was a chilling read and many of the Ur-fascist principles sound similar to Islamic extremism.

Deb, sending best wishes and good thoughts and PS ***DUST*** for your dh's upcoming surgery.

I confess I am not inclined to apply this list to religious extremism of whatever flavor, that seems to me to be its own category.
No, I am applying those 14 points to someone like a Trump, or, in the past, Woodrow Wilson or Huey Long.

Trump appears to me to be doing a pretty job at checking them off Eco's list - I would say he's doing pretty a pretty solid job at 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12, with 4 and 10 being possible if you squint just right.
 
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