Cloaked Fascism: Rediscovering the Far-Right
Since WWII, the Fascism of the Anglo-American world has been dominated by a neo-Nazi streak. Fascist circles were dominated by entities such as the National Front, Combat 18, the National Socialist Movement, and other political/paramilitary organisations, most of which understood their Fascism as a fight to protect ‘white’ civilisation.
This racialised form of Fascism which we in the English-speaking world have become accustomed to however may leave us with blinkered vision, expecting, always and everywhere, Fascism to be accompanied by talk of race. This incomplete view of Fascism has only been exonerated by the recent ‘alt-right’, which never strayed far from its noxious anti-Semitism and race hatred.
Despite this, another form of Fascism may take root within certain circles in Britain and America — one which is explicitly non-racialist, and does not talk of ‘Jewish conspiracy’ or ‘racial segregation’. This form of Fascism may indeed prove to be far more dangerous, as it is ‘cloaked’ behind a semi-plausible deniability of racialism. A re-assessment of non-German Fascism, and an understanding of the conditions which led to its emergence, may allow us to more easily identify this strain of Fascism, which is just as noxious as its neo-Nazi counterpart.
Perhaps the central theme of Fascism is a belief in national or cultural ‘rebirth’. The nation, for the Fascist, is on the brink of total collapse, necessitating a revolutionary counter-movement to save the nation from its apocalyptic direction. After the death of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, many scholars of the radical right supposed that this fact meant the death of Fascism. With the new liberal consensus, parliamentary democracy was exonerated, and those who spoke of an imminent collapse were resigned to the footnotes of history. Of course, this liberal sentiment has been shown up for the lie it is; with the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, the polarisation of capital, and the onward march of globalisation, a new era of pessimism and apocalyptic sentiment has emerged; and it is in light of this new cultural crisis that Fascists have found themselves exonerated in the eyes of many.
This crisis can be understood in explicitly racial terms by the Fascist — as the collapse of ‘white’ civilisation at the hands of ‘non-whites’ (including the Jews). It may also be dressed up in non-racial terms however; as the collapse of ‘European’ civilisation at the hands of ‘cultural Marxists’ (though this term is anti-Semitic in its origins). The identified enemy may just as easily be feminists, intellectuals, liberals, and especially conservatives, who are seen to have sold out the institutions of tradition.
From this belief in imminent cultural collapse arises a number of other hallmarks of Fascism — a belief in the need for a ‘spiritual’ or ‘moral’ revolution alongside a strictly political revolution; the need for a totalising response to their identified evils, in the realms of the arts, religion, philosophy, the sports etc.; and the need to create some new political order — often poorly described — which would involve the removal of bourgeois parliamentary democracy, replaced by some ‘truer’ or more ‘pure’ form of political organisation; and the need for a ‘new man’ (and it it always a man), unrelenting in their convictions and unabashed in their masculinity. Such concepts are archetypally fascistic, and yet are not usually identified as such, allowing Fascism to penetrate anti-conservative circles within the right undetected.
In my experience, these sentiments have indeed grown in prominence amongst the right. Many young white individuals, previously ‘conservative’, feel increasingly disillusioned with the Conservative Party or the GOP, who are seen to have retreated on a host of cultural-social issues. In light of this failure of conservatism to ‘stand up’ to the socially progressive left, many are increasingly attracted by the possibility of a ‘new’, ‘fresh’ post-conservative political ideology, which does not simply act as a ‘Village Green Preservation Society’. Of course, despite their claims to be creating something new and reinvigorating, their politics are remarkably stale and outdated, often with 1:1 similarities to the writings of early 20th century Fascists like Alfredo Rocco or Giovanni Gentile.
Awareness of this form of Fascism must be present in any effective anti-Fascist movement; we must not fall into the trappings of thinking of Fascism only as jackboot-wearing, seig-heiling white nationalists. Nor must we think of Fascism only as the disgruntled ramblings of football hooligans. For too long, the left has supposed Fascism only to be an inchoate set of sentiments which emerges in the death-rows of capitalism. Fascism is inchoate and incoherent to be sure, but it can also be articulate, seemingly profound, and non-racialised. Unless we are aware of this, an entire wing of the Fascist creature may remain cloaked, undiscovered and under-discussed by anti-Fascists more aware of the prescient threat of neo-Nazism and far-right terrorism.