James Dryburgh

What follows is some theory on what traits commonly define fascism. It may be worth keeping in mind the past few years of Tasmanian governance and some specific examples such as the Gunns pulp mill and the deal with Federal Group as you read.
IT SEEMS to happen more commonly and rapidly than ever that our words lose their meaning. A words meaning can be dissolved through repeated misuse. Obvious examples of distorted words are ‘terrorist’ and ‘sustainable’. Another is fascism, whose real meaning is all but forgotten.

Since the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II there have been few self proclaimed fascist groups. It is now most commonly used as a slur by one political group against another where there is strong ideological disagreement. But fascism the concept is far from dead he has merely changed his clothes and become more secretive with his identity. This identity and these clothes, are worth considering in relation to today’s Tasmania.

The word was coined by Mussolini and originates from the Latin word fasces, which was an axe that was the ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrates.

What follows is some theory on what traits commonly define fascism. It may be worth keeping in mind the past few years of Tasmanian governance and some specific examples such as the Gunns pulp mill and the deal with Federal Group as you read.

Most scholars hold that fascism as a social movement employs elements from the political left, but eventually allies with the political right, especially after obtaining power.

Mussolini in his The Doctrine of Fascism stated that “Fascism accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.”

Prof. Robert O. Paxton provides the following four traits of fascism:

“1. abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints…;

2. belief that one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;

3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts;

4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without moral or legal constraint.”

Umberto Eco speaks of “the cult of action for action’s sake, rejection of disagreement, cult of masculinity and machismo.”

Lawrence Britt suggests that protection of corporate power is an essential part of fascism. Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because “the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise… Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.”

George Orwell said in 1944 “almost any English person would accept the word ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’.

Does any of the above seem familiar?