Fascism and the Fragility of Democracy

“We can see essential characteristics of a political phenomenon called “fascism” in the same way that we might identify similar elements in “socialism” or “liberalism.” Some of these characteristics are generally agreed upon; others are disputed. For example, most scholars agree that fascism emerges after a major political, social or economic upheaval, such as World War I or the Great Depression. Because of the dire circumstances in which fascism arises, the political ideology is often accompanied by a sense of cultural pessimism. This pessimism inspires a claim to renew or remake the nation, with an extraordinary emphasis on ultra-patriotic or nationalist aims. While the fascist ideology looks forward to a renewal or restoration of the nation, it also looks to the golden years of a past era. Tradition is a prominent theme. Veneration of an authoritarian leader who is seen as a savior who can rescue the country from its decline is another characteristic. But fascism cannot exist without a tide of popular — or populist — support that usually begins with the lower middle classes. Concerted campaigns of propaganda and disinformation, full of bold imagery and symbols, are necessary tools to carry out fascist agendas. Manipulation of the media is important. Finally, fascist movements use intimidation and violence to achieve political ends. They intentionally creating a climate of unrest in which only the fascists seem capable of securing the nation from “unpatriotic” or “radical” forces.”  

An interview with Kimber Quinney has a deep and abiding interest in democracy.  


Janice Graham is the CEO of OUR COMMON GROUND Media & Communications LLC and the Founder/Executive Producer of TruthWorks Network, an Internet-Radio Collaborative.

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