All this is really scattered and lacking adequate citations, so, whatever. Between several articles I’ve been reading on libcom, general historical interest, and anti-fascist stuff happening either locally or news coming from Greece, Poland, etc., this seems to historically “relevant.” Although I’m not sure if there’s much all that helpful in here.
A few links first, in no particular order.
Communisation theory and the question of fascism – Cherry Angioma – http://libcom.org/library/communisation-theory-question-fascism-cherry-angioma
Critique of Autonomous Anti-Fascism – Wildcat (Germany) – http://libcom.org/library/critique-autonomous-anti-fascism-wildcat-germany
Nazism and the working class – Sergio Bologna – http://libcom.org/library/nazism-and-working-class-sergio-bologna
Mussolini, Sacco-Vanzetti and the Anarchists – http://libcom.org/history/mussolini-sacco-vanzetti-anarchists
A good stepping stone into American anti/fascism http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-notes-michael-staudenmaier-on.html
About stuff happening right now, a few clippings…
Golden Dawn violence and police collaboration – http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2012/10/golden-dawn-violence-and-police.html
The Rebirth of Radical Nationalism: Welcome back to the 30s – http://libcom.org/library/rebirth-radical-nationalism-welcome-back-30%E2%80%99s
All the above are things I’ve recently read, as opposed to looking stuff up right now. I’ve got libcom up in a separate tab and might look through other articles as I type up these. (Wow how spontaneous improv and jazzy right…) All the comments to follow are scattered and represent mostly various thought processes that I’m thinking through right now, more so than a well prepared thesis.
I’d also add in, as a reading suggestion (not sure if it’s online and not gonna look right now for it), a book a comrade lent to me a couple years ago from some US anti-fascists revolutionaries, called, if I remember right, Confronting Fascism.
A never-ending topic of leftist theorists is the “meaning” of fascism. What “is” fascism? A problem I have with some marxist writing is a bad habit of abstracting too much in search of finding the “class character” of movements, ideologies etc.. A never-ending historical/theoretical debate rages on over whether Nazism was a racist “workers’ movement,” a desperate resort of capitalism, or represents the “rage of the middle class,” or what have you.
Some rev-lefts like to see ideologies as having an intrinsic class character, as in “blank was started by workers and calls for working-class emancipation so therefore blank is a working-class ideology” then refutes by “ah, no, it was started by an aristocrat in 18something and therefore expresses non-proletarian interests” etc.. And then folks of course confuse several different things that could all be used to designate “class character”:
i. self-designation/intended class appeal: “National Socialist German Workers Party” ah well that’s a workers party! right!
ii. economic policies: “blank economic policies benefit workers’ interests so therefore it’s a workers’ thing” [government, party, politician/”friend of the worker” etc.]
iii. demographic composition/background of (a) leaders and/or (b) rank and file as in “well Hitler, Himmler et. al. came from blank-class background and thus Nazism represents a blank-class ideology” or “Nazism had/didn’t have mass working-class support so therefore it was/wasn’t a working-class movement.”
All those are worth researching, but they aren’t equally informative as to something’s “class character.” Apart from that, fascistic and Nazi movements in different times and places haven’t all had the same demography or even the same attitudes about class or vague economic intentions. Ideology exists in a person’s head, not in their demographic background. A bourgeois marxist politician might believe they are a “class traitor” at the service of the working class, while an anarchist might call them a bourgeois socialist, or a left-commie might say they aren’t really a socialist but a “state capitalist” who uses fake socialist pretenses. Socialism is in the eye of the beholder, so to speak.
All that’s even more confused when it comes to rank-and-file demographics. A bunch of racist German proletarians in the Nazi Party could be interpreted as evidence of a “working-class character” or merely as a typical example of workers being used as cannon fodder by politicians. After all, the military is predominantly working-class, but that doesn’t make it a “workers’ movement.” Cops are working-class, that doesn’t make the PD a workers’ movement.
The question of leader demographics isn’t always informative either. A lot of dictators have come from lower-class backgrounds and risen up the ladder. While a predominantly bourgeois demographic background of the leadership probably indicates something isn’t a workers’ movement, it’s less clear whether a predominantly proletarian background makes something a workers’ movement. At least depending on what “workers’ movement” actually means, which is a can of worms in itself.
I gotta cut this off for now, I’ll come back later with some more historically oriented notes. A final thought, however, following from the above point.
A thing I’ve been looking into lately is the role of cross-class alliances. I think this is an under-developed point in rev-left analyses. A lot of the confusion over whether something is a “workers’ party” or whatever, doesn’t seem so confusing anymore when it’s viewed a cross-class alliance. Nazism seems like an obvious example in this case, since the most frequent usage of “cross-class alliance” that I’ve seen is in reference to nationalist movements… which is Nazism is. White supremacy in the US has also been looked at as a cross-class alliance, in the form of a “white brotherhood.” Nazism is an “Aryan brotherhood.” While some Nazis might have held onto a more proletarian identity or been hostile to cross-class collaboration (evidence suggests that was a phenomenon in Nazism… like in other nationalist movements and in leftist movements), that wasn’t the winning faction. Hitler was the winning faction. Which doesn’t mean some neo-Nazi groups might not be more of a “proletarian” nature, but the German Nazi Party wasn’t. At most it was a cross-class racial alliance.