Saturday, November 07, 2009
This is particularly important when using words in a political context because politics depends on using words to get your way & quite often that means misusing them.
The surest ways of doing this are checking a dictionary everybody agrees to be honest or checking the original meaning of the word.
FASCISM - 1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
The derivation is from the Latin word fasces; a fasces was a bundle of sticks used symbolically for the power through unity. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, were an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates; they were carried by his Lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command. Furthermore, the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.
The misuse of the term by, among others, the government funded thugs approved by the Labour/LibDem/Conservative party, calling themselves "Unite Against Fascism" is not recent.
The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. – George Orwell, What is Fascism?. 1944.
Going to what the original Fascism stood for in Italy we find
Within The Manifesto of the Fascist Struggle the initial stances of Fascism were outlined, requesting amongst other things voting rights for women, insertion of a minimum wage, insertion of an eight-hour workday for all workers and reorganisation of public transport such as railways...&
The fascists had enough of what they considered a weak parliamentary democracy process and organised the March on Rome in an effort to take power, with promises of restoring Italian pride, reviving the economy, increasing productivity, ending harmful government controls and furthering law and order...
Italy's policies became more protectionist. Tariffs of grains were increased in an attempt to strengthen domestic production ("Battle for Grain"), which was ultimately a failure. Thus, according to historian Denis Mack Smith (1981), "Success in this battle was... another illusory propaganda victory won at the expense of the Italian economy in general and consumers in particular"...
Mussolini's coalition passed the electoral Acerbo Law of 1923, which gave two thirds of the seats in parliament to the party or coalition that achieved 25% of the vote. The Fascist Party used violence and intimidation to achieve the 25% threshold in the 1924 election, and became the ruling political party of Italy.So that's basically it. Fascism, according to its founders, stands for law & order, using promises to improve the economy to achieve power, economic protectionism & controls (which, as ever, don't work) & not much more except for a corrupt electoral system that gives a majority irrespective of how few people voted for the "winning" party. So bearing in mind that Labour gained only 35 per cent of the vote in May 2005, but won 355 MPs (54%) & that both Labour & Conservative, but not UKIP, BNP or indeed LibDems, think that this corruption of democracy is important/ The mantle of Fascism clearly lies on the the first two parties, particularly Labour who are committed to big government interventionism & not to the parties committed to electoral democracy.