Defining fascism: some notes on the Marxist interpretation

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10/09/2014 by socialistfight

Hatful of History

This post was inspired by a post on Andrew Zammit’s blog on defining right-wing radicalism and subsequent twitter discussions on the term ‘fascism’. Most of this post was written during my PhD days (2004-2007), but I have updated a few things. I still think the definition offered by Renton and Sparks is the most concise, which captures the synthesis in fascism of a reactionary ideology and extra-parliamentary (and predominantly violent) practice. But then again, as Derrida and many others have argued, trying to define something rests upon the definitions of other things and all definitions are ultimately unsatisfactory…

In 1998, the Journal for Contemporary History published two articles on Oswald Mosley and his fascist parties, the inter-war British Union of Fascists and the post-war Union Movement. One of these articles was by Richard C. Thurlow (1998: 253), who argued that ‘despite Mosley’s personally catastrophic political failure, and the often unpleasant…

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