Is Fascism making a comeback?

Independence-march-2637115_1280- (1)

Chiara Bottici, Neil Faulkner, Rose Sydney Parfitt, Tim Jacoby, Charlie Post, Yannis Stavrakakis, William I. Robinson, Laurence Davis, Elena Loizidou, Cenk Saraçoğlu, Eva Nanopoulos, Chip Berlet, Stephen Hopgood, and Jessica Northey over at Verso:

Chiara Bottici

Associate Professor in Philosophy at New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College (New York). Her recent books include Imaginal Politics: Images beyond Imagination and The Imaginary (Columbia University Press, 2014), Imagining Europe: Myth, Memory, and Identity(Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-authored with Benoit Challand, and the co-edited collections, The Anarchist Turn (Pluto 2013, with Simon Critchley and Jacob Blumenfeld), and Feminism, Capitalism and Critique (Palgrave 2017, with Banu Bargu).

In fact, fascism has never gone away. If by fascism, we mean the historical regime that created the name and embraced the ideology explicitly, then we have to conclude that the concept is only applicable to the political regime that reigned in Italy between 1922 and 1943. This, however, amounts to little more than a tautology: "the Italian fascist regime" = "the Italian fascist regime." History clearly never repeats itself, so any attempt to apply the category of fascism outside of that context would be doomed to fail. That may be a necessary cautionary remark for historians, but how about social and political theorists? Can fascism be a heuristic tool to think about and compare different forms of power?

If by fascism we mean a political model that was only epitomized and made visible by the Italian kingdom during 1922-43, then we arrive at a very different conclusion. Consider for a moment the features that characterize that form of power: hyper-nationalism, racism, machismo, the cult of the leader, the political myth of decline-rebirth in the new political regime, the more or less explicit endorsement of violence against political enemies, and the cult of the state. We can then certainly see how that form of power, after its formal fall in 1943, continued to exist in different forms and shapes not simply in Europe, but also elsewhere. We can see how fascist parties continued to survive, how fascist discourses proliferated and how different post-war regimes emerging world-wide exhibited fascist traits without formally embracing fascism.

More here.