[ExI] What is meant here by "fascism"?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Oct 8 01:25:31 UTC 2007

Stephano writes

> On 10/6/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> > But what exactly is the meaning of "fascism" here?
> I have myself insisted on the idea that the word "fascism" (as
> "christian", "libertarian", "communist", etc.) should not be employed
> as some kind of categorical, metaphysical anathema...

Evidently the folks using the term on this list deny that it's
as you say "categorical metaphysical anathema", but yet
they still haven't answered some very basic questions

I have asked questions like

      Is Cuba a fascist country?

      Is Fidel Castro a fascist?

and all I get back are claims that there are certain *American*
"fascists" who'd "not blink at taking U.S. citizens out into
international waters and torturing them, blowing up buildings,
or anything else their superiors "suggested" was in the best
interests of the Country...".

Which leads me to wonder whether people who'd act in such
highhanded ways for Cuba, or for Mexico, or for the former
U.S.S.R. would properly be called fascists by the people here
making great hay with the term.  

The silence on these questions leads me to conjecture that
"fascist" means to them, such the example above might suggest,
someone who is an American and who would do these extreme
things.  Analogously, a "fascist country" would be either
(a) America, or (b) an ally of America that denied its citizens
certain rights.  But in all cases, so I'm surmizing, it simply
cannot be the case that a progressive country like Cuba or North
Korea is fascist according to their usage.  But surely someone
who uses the term will answer the above questions and the
ones like them in my original post.

> but rather restricted to what self-defined fascists have
> themselves identified as their historical identity.

Now, *that* would be sensible indeed, but would lack political
and partisan propaganda utility, I suspect.

> For instance, strictly speaking, many Italian fascist intellectuals
> doubted in the thirties that the Third Reich itself could be
> considered as a "true" fascist regime.
> To wonder whether Montezuma or Ramses or Torquemada or Louis XIV or
> Breznev, or for that matter Bush, are "fascists" in some sense is just
> bad rethorics, since there are obvious cultural gaps that make the
> comparison moot, whatever blame their regimes may deserve.

I agree.


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