What is fascism? It obviously has many faces depending on which country it is operating. I have my own definition that I think works. Fascism is the philosophy of the bully. I really think that is the essence of fascism.
Few thinkers are as cogent and convincing about fascism as Jason Stanley a professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of the book How Fascism Works: the Politics of Us vs Them. Fascism is often linked with empire and the attempt to restore colonial glory and with that the glory of the colonizing state. This is a classic kind of fascism. Both Hitler and Mussolini employed it and nearly 70 years later so did Donald Trump though his fascism was aspirational. He wanted to bring it about. He tried to bring it about, he just didn’t quite get there. At least not yet. He is still hanging around ready to try again.
There are a range of fascists or near fascists around the world. For example, Viktor Orban of Hungry who is so popular among the American right, particularly Trucker Carlson.
Classic fascism can appeal to many different forms of bigotry, racism, and authoritarianism such as hatred of blacks, Jews, LGBGTQ and other groups. Such fascism loves to attack weaker and more vulnerable people. That is why I call it the politics of the bully. That is why racism is so vital to fascism. Fascists love to pick on vulnerable minorities. As Damon Young said, “cowardice is the fuel of white supremacy.” I will come back to that later in a subsequent post.
Classic fascism like all of these is closely linked to violence and militarism. I characterize it as the politics of the political bully. As Jason Stanley said on Amanpour & Co. “we find fascist leaders gaining in popularity when they can talk about lost empire and when they tell their citizens that they are going to be ones to restore their empire.”
According to Stanley, since Russia is no longer a super power either militarily or economically like China and the United States are, it has tried to become a super power ideologically instead. That is why Putin has emphasized so much ideology. That means, according to Stanley:
“Putin is trying to be the leader of the world’s traditionalists–the ethno-nationalists, the patriarch , the anti-democrats, and white supremacists. He tries to convince people that he is going to defend traditional values against decadence and weakness.
Really that is exactly what Tucker Carlson is trying to do as well. He is trying to gather all the ethnonationalist movements to him. At the same time he said he wanted to de-Nazify Ukraine. Of course, he did that to tap into deep historical roots and anxieties of the Russian and Ukrainian people. Stanley says that is “classic fascism. Classic fascism involved calling your enemy what you yourself are.”
Since the Maidan revolution of 2014 Ukraine has adopted a democratic revolution so Putin will remove it from institutions, schools and politics. He will place the leaders on show trials, if he can, execute or imprison them and then replace them with puppets or Russian fascist ideologues and extinguish completely Ukrainian democratic identity and Ukrainian identity full stop. That is what Ukraine is facing. That is fascism Putin style.
Bullies never stop. We learned that with Hitler and Mussolini. That is why we had to help Poland against Hitler and that is why we must help Ukraine now against Putin .