URL neofascism-unite_the_right_rally-charlottesville-2017-08.jpg
Alt-right members preparing to enter Emancipation Park  [Market Street Park] holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flags during the white nationalist   Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, 2017-08-{11-12}. Alt-right members [source]
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Title Neo-fascism
Date published 2022-01-31
Curation date 2022-01-31
Curator Dr. Victoria A. Stuart, Ph.D.
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Summary Neo-fascism is a post-World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, racial supremacy, populism, authoritarianism, nativism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment as well as opposition to liberal democracy, parliamentarianism, liberalism, Marxism, communism, and socialism.
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    Neofascism is a post- World War II   ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neofascism usually includes the following sentiments and ideologies.

  • ultranationalism;
  • racial supremacy;
  • populism;
  • authoritarianism;
  • nativism;
  • xenophobia; and,
  • anti-immigration.
  • Neofascism also often includes opposition to the following ideologies.

  • liberal democracy;
  • parliamentarianism;
  • cultural liberalism;
  • Marxism;
  • communism; and,
  • socialism.

  • Allegations that a group is neofascist may be hotly contested, especially when the term is used as a political epithet. Some post-World War II regimes have been described as neofascist due to their authoritarian nature, and sometimes due to their fascination with and sympathy towards fascist ideology and rituals. Post-fascism is a label that has been applied to several European political parties which espouse a modified form of fascism and participate in constitutional politics.


    According to Jean-Yves Camus and Nicolas Lebourg, the neofascist ideology emerged in 1942, after the Third Reich launched the invasion of the USSR and decided to reorient its propaganda on a Europeanist ground. Europe then became both the myth and the utopia of the neofascists, who abandoned previous theories of racial inequalities within the white race to share a common Euro-nationalist stance after World War II, embodied in Oswald Mosley's  Europe a Nation policy. The following chronology can therefore be delineated: an ideological gestation before 1919; the historical experience of fascism between 1919 and 1942, unfolded in several phases; and finally neofascism from 1942 onward.

    Drawing inspiration from the Italian Social Republic, institutional neofascism took the form of the Italian Social Movement (MSI). It became one of the chief reference points for the European far-right until the late 1980s, and "the best (and only) example of a Neofascist party", in the words of political scientist Cas Mudde. At the initiative of the MSI, the European Social Movement was established in 1951 as a pan-European organization of like-minded neofascist groups and figures such as the Francoist   FalangeMaurice BardèchePer Engdahl, and Oswald Mosley. Other organizations like Jeune Nation called in the late 1950s for an extra-parliamentarian insurrection against the regime in what extents to a remnant of pre-war fascist strategies. The main driving force of neofascist movements was what they saw as the defense of a Western civilization from the rise of both communism and the Third World, in some cases the loss of the colonial empire.

    In 1961, Maurice Bardèche redefined the nature of fascism in a book deemed influential in the European far-right at large entitled Qu'est-ce que le fascisme? (What Is Fascism?). Bardèche argued that previous fascists had essentially made two mistakes in that they focused their efforts on the methods rather than the original "idea;" and they wrongly believed that fascist society could be achieved via the nation-state as opposed to the construction of Europe. According to him, fascism could survive the 20th century in a new metapolitical guise if its theorists succeed in building inventive methods adapted to the changes of their times; the aim being the promotion of the core politico-cultural fascist project rather than vain attempts to revive doomed regimes: In addition, Bardèche wrote: "The single party, the secret police, the public displays of Caesarism, even the presence of a Führer are not necessarily attributes of fascism. The famous fascist methods are constantly revised and will continue to be revised. More important than the mechanism is the idea which fascism has created for itself of man and freedom. With another name, another face, and with nothing which betrays the projection from the past, with the form of a child we do not recognize and the head of a young Medusa, the Order of Sparta will be reborn: and paradoxically it will, without doubt, be the last bastion of Freedom and the sweetness of living.

    In the spirit of Maurice Bardèche's strategy of disguise through framework change, the Italian Social Movement (MSI) had developed a policy of inserimento (insertion, entryism), which relied on gaining political acceptance via the cooperation with other parties within the democratic system. In the political context of the Cold War, anti-communismanti-fascism as the dominant trend in liberal democracies. In Italy, the MSI became a support group in parliament for the Christian Democratic government in the late 1950s-early 1960s, but was forced back into "political ghetto" after anti-fascist protests and violent street clashes occurred between radical leftist and far-right groups, leading to the demise of the short-lived fascist-backed Tambroni Cabinet in July 1960.

    According to psychologist David Pavón-Cuéllar of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, the emergence of neoliberalism in the late-twentieth century prompted neoliberalist politicians to utilize neofascism by authoritatively removing all limits to capital (including labor lawssocial rights and tariffs), through the aestheticization of politics and by using the narcissism of small differences to find a targets for hate to exploit in order to maintain a social hierarchy instead of protecting all individuals.

    Causes and Description

    A number of historians and political scientists have pointed out that the situations in a number of European countries in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular France, Germany and Italy, were in some significant ways analogous to the conditions in Europe in the period between World War I and World War II that gave rise to fascism in its many national guises. Constant economic crises including high unemployment, a resurgence of nationalism, an increase in ethnic conflicts, and the geo-political weakness of national regimes were all present, and while not an exact one-to-one correspondence, circumstances were similar enough to promote the beginning of neofascism as a new fascist movement. Because intense nationalism is almost always a part of neofascism, the parties which make up this movement are not pan-European, but are specific to each country they arise in; other than this, the neofascist parties and other groups have many ideological traits in common.

    While certainly fascistic in nature, it is claimed by some that there are differences between neofascism and what can be called "historical fascism", or the kind of neofascism which came about in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Some historians claim that contemporary neofascist parties are not anti-democratic because they operate within their country's political system. Whether that is a significant difference between neofascism and historical fascism is doubted by other scholars, who point out that Adolf Hitler worked within the existing political system of the Weimar Republic to obtain power, although it took an anti-democratic but constitutional process in the form of presidential appointment rather than election through the Reichstag. Others point to the current neofascists not being totalitarian in nature, but the organization of their parties along the lines of the Führerprinzip would seem to indicate otherwise. Historian Stanley G. Payne claims that the differences in current circumstance to that of the interwar years, and the strengthening of democracy in European countries since the end of World War II prevents a general return of historical fascism, and causes true neofascist groups to be small and remain on the fringe. For Payne, groups like the National Front in France are not neofascists in nature, but are merely "right radical parties" that will, in the course of time, moderate their positions in order to achieve electoral victory.

    The problem of immigrants, both legal immigrants and illegal immigrants or irregular immigrants, whether called "foreigners", "foreign workers", "economic refugees", "ethnic minorities", "asylum seekers", or "aliens", is a core neofascist issue, intimately tied to their nativismultranationalism, and xenophobia, but the specifics differ somewhat from country to country due to prevailing circumstances. In general, the anti-immigrant impetus is strong when the economy is weak or unemployment is high, and people fear that outsiders are taking their jobs. Because of this, neofascist parties have more electoral traction during hard economic times. Again, this mirrors the situation in the interwar years, when, for instance, Germany suffered from incredible hyperinflation and many people had their life savings swept away. In contemporary Europe, mainstream political parties see the electoral advantage the neofascist and far-right parties get from their strong emphasis on the supposed problem of the outsider, and are then tempted to co-opt the issue by moving somewhat to the right on the immigrant issue, hoping to slough off some voters from the hard right. In the absence in post-war Europe of a strong socialist movement, this has the tendency to move the political center to the right overall.

    While both historical fascism and contemporary neofascism are xenophobic,   nativist and anti-immigrant, neofascist leaders are careful not to present these views in so strong a manner as to draw obvious parallels to historical events. Both Jean-Marie Le Pen of France's National Front, and Jörg Haider's  Freedom Party of Austria - in the words of historian Tony Judt - "revealed prejudices only indirectly". Jews would not be castigated as a group, but a person would be specifically named as danger who just happened to be a Jew. The public presentation of their leaders is one principle difference between the neofascists and historical Fascists: their programs have been "finely honed and 'modernized'" to appeal to the electorate, a "'far-right ideology with a democratic veneer'". Modern neofascists do not appear in "jackboots and brownshirts", but in suits and ties. The choice is deliberate, as the leaders of the various groups work to differentiate themselves from the brutish leaders of historical fascism and also to hide whatever bloodlines and connections tie the current leaders to the historical Fascist movements. When these become public, as they did in the case of Jörg Haider, it can lead to their decline and fall.

    International Networks

    In 1951, the New European Order European-wide neofascist alliancewas set up to promote pan-European nationalism. It was a more radical splinter group of the European Social Movement. The New European Order had its origins in the 1951 Malmö conference when a group of rebels led by René Binet and Maurice Bardèche refused to join the European Social Movement as they felt that it did not go far enough in terms of racialism and anti-communism. As a result, René Binet joined with Gaston-Armand Amaudruz in a second meeting that same year in Zurich to set up a second group pledged to wage war on communists and non-white people.

    Several Cold War regimes and international neofascist movements collaborated in operations such as assassinations and false flag bombings. Stefano Delle Chiaie, who was involved in Italy's Years of Lead, took part in Operation Condor; organizing the 1976 assassination attempt on Chilean Christian Democrat Bernardo Leighton. Vincenzo Vinciguerra escaped to Franquist Spain with the help of the SISMI, following the 1972 Peteano attack, for which he was sentenced to life. Along with Delle Chiaie, Vincenzo Vinciguerra testified in Rome in 1995-12 before judge María Servini de Cubría, stating that Enrique Arancibia Clavel (a former Chilean secret police agent prosecuted for crimes against humanity in 2004) and U.S. expatriate DINA agent   Michael Townley were directly involved in General Carlos Prats' assassination. Michael Townley was sentenced in Italy to 15 years of prison for having served as intermediary between the DINA and the Italian neofascists.

    The regimes of Francoist SpainAugusto Pinochet's Chile, and Alfredo Stroessner's Paraguay participated together in Operation Condor - which targeted political opponents worldwide. During the Cold War, these international operations gave rise to some cooperation between various neofascist elements engaged in a " Crusade against Communism". Anti- Fidel Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was condemned for the Cubana Flight 455 bombing on 1976-10-06. According to the Miami Herald, this bombing was decided on at the same meeting during which it was decided to target Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier, who was assassinated on 1976-09-21. Luis Posada Carriles wrote in his autobiography that "we the Cubans didn't oppose ourselves to an isolated tyranny, nor to a particular system of our fatherland, but that we had in front of us a colossal enemy, whose main head was in Moscow, with its tentacles dangerously extended on all the planet."

    Neofascism in the Americas

    Neofascism in the United States

    Groups which are identified as neofascist in the United States generally include neo-Nazi organizations and movements, such as the Proud Boys, the National Alliance, and the American Nazi Party. The Institute for Historical Review publishes negationist historical papers which are often of an anti-semitic nature. The alt-right - a loosely connected coalition of individuals and organizations which advocates a wide range of far-right ideas, from neoreactionaries, to white nationalism - is often included under the umbrella term "neofascist", because alt-right individuals and organizations advocate a radical form of authoritarian   ultranationalism.

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    Fascism in North America

  • Source for this subsection: Fascism in North America.
  • Fascism in North America is composed of a set of related political movements in the United StatesMexicoCanada, and the Caribbean that are variants of fascism. Fascist movements in North America never realized power, unlike their counterparts in Europe. Although the geopolitical definition of North America varies, for the sake of convenience it can be assumed to include Central America and the Caribbean, where fascist variants also flourished.

    Fascism in Canada

  • Main article: Fascism in Canada.
  • Further information: Racism in Canada.
  • In Canada, fascism was divided between two main political parties. The Winnipeg-based Canadian Union of Fascists was modeled after the British Union of Fascists and led by Chuck Crate. The Parti national social chrétien, later renamed the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party, was founded by Adrien Arcand and inspired by Nazism. The Canadian Union of Fascists in English Canada never reached the level of popularity that the Parti national social chrétien enjoyed in Quebec. The Canadian Union of Fascists focused on economic issues, while the Parti national social chrétien concentrated on racist themes. The influence of the Canadian fascist movement reached its height during the Great Depression and declined from then on.

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    Fascism in the United States

    American intellectuals paid a considerable amount of attention to Benito Mussolini, but few of them became his supporters. However, Mussolini was very popular in the Italian American community. During the 1930s, Virgil Effinger led the paramilitary Black Legion, a violent offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan that sought a revolution to establish fascism in the United States. Although it was responsible for a number of attacks, the Black Legion was only a peripheral band of militants. More important were the Silver Legion of America, founded in 1933 by William Dudley Pelley, and the German American Bund, which emerged from a number of older groups the same year, including the Friends of New Germany and the Free Society of Teutonia. Both of these groups looked to Nazism for their inspiration.

    While these groups received some support, they were largely peripheral. A more prominent leader, Father Charles Coughlin, sparked concern among some on the left  [American Left] at the time. Charles Coughlin, who publicly endorsed fascism, was unable to become involved in active politics because of his status as a priest. Other fascists active in the U.S. included the publisher Seward Collins, the broadcaster Robert Henry Best, the inventor Joe McWilliams, the architect and Museum of Modern Art director Philip Johnson, and the writer Ezra Pound.

    In 1966, Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel said of the Conservative movement, "A fanatical neo-fascist political cult in the GOP, driven by a strange mixture of corrosive hatred and sickening fear, who are recklessly determined to either control our party, or destroy it." In the view of philosopher Jason Stanleywhite supremacy in the United States is an example of the fascist politics of hierarchy, in that it "demands and implies a perpetual hierarchy" in which whites dominate and control non-whites.

    A growing number of scholars have argued that the political style of Donald Trump resembles that of fascist leaders, beginning with his election campaign in 2016, continuing over the course of his presidency as Trump appeared to court far-right extremists, including his failed efforts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election results after losing to Joe Biden, and culminating in the 2021 United States Capitol attack. As these events have unfolded, some commentators who had initially resisted applying the neofascist label to Trump came out in favor of it, including conservative legal scholar Steven G. Calabresi and conservative commentator Michael Gerson. After the 2021-01-06 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the historian of fascism Robert O. Paxton went so far as to state that Donald Trump is a fascist, despite his earlier objection to using the term in this way. Other historians of fascism such as Richard J. EvansRoger Griffin, and Stanley Payne continue to disagree that fascism is an appropriate term to describe Trump's politics.

    World War II

    During World War II, first Canada and then the United States came into conflict with the Axis powers, and as part of the war effort, they suppressed the fascist movements within their borders, which were already weakened by the widespread public perception that they were fifth columns. This suppression consisted of the internment of fascist leaders, the disbandment of fascist organizations, the censorship of fascist propaganda, and pervasive government propaganda against fascism. In the U.S. this suppression of fascists culminated in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 in which George Sylvester ViereckLawrence DennisElizabeth DillingWilliam Dudley PelleyJoe McWilliamsRobert Edward EdmondsonGerald WinrodWilliam Griffin, and - in absentia - Ulrich Fleischhauer were all put on trial for aiding the Nazi cause.

    Notable Neo-fascist and Neo-Nazi Groups

    Notable Neo-fascist and Neo-Nazi Groups in the United States

    Notable Neo-fascist and Neo-Nazi Groups in Canada

    Additional Reading

  • [📌 pinned article] [theConversation, 2022-02-13] Canada should be preparing for the end of American democracy.

  • [📌 pinned article] [, 2022-02-04] G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6, 2021 Attack "Legitimate Political Discourse".  The Republican National Committee voted to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the inquiry into the deadly riot at the Capitol.

  • [📌 pinned article] [, 2022-01-06] American Crisis | The Devolution of Democracy.  ... The United States could be under a right wing dictatorship by 2030, Canadian political science professor Thomas Homer-Dixon has warned, urging our country [Canada] to protect itself against the "collapse of American democracy" ... Homer-Dixon's message is blunt: "By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the United States could be governed by a right-wing  dictatorship.".  |  local copy

  • [, 2022-03-04] The Republican Party Is Waging a War Against Personal Freedom and Free Expression.  Conservatives at the state level have adopted slogans like "individual freedom" and "choice" - to brazenly and hypocritically push measures that punish people for discussing banned topics or expressing the wrong opinions.
  • [, 2022-01-31] 1 in 4 Americans say violence against the government is sometimes OK.

  • [, 2022-01-17] Attorney Laura Coates has witnessed the dissolution of voting rights first handLaura Coates teaches law at George Washington University Law School and is a senior analyst for CNN. She also hosts The Laura Coates Show, on radio SiriusXM's Urban View.

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