What is the lesson of the New Right? Of Neo-Fascism and of new conservative movements? And how do they differ from plain, good ol’ regular Fascism?
Answer this and you’ll have solved the greatest political concern modern liberals have been facing since Neo-Fascism’s resurgence in 1968.
Interestingly, “why” is the simple part to answer. 1968 was a tumultuous year in Europe especially, and was the culmination of a trend towards anti-establishment thought and belief across multiple nations, especially centered on universities. Fascists and the far-right was suffering from a lack of appeal, and as radical thinkers began to align with varying ideologies, Marxist thought had a tendency to swallow up other anti-establishment believers.
At the same time, the established far-right was shaken when seeing how potent the effects of communist thinking had become in the West. So trying to redefine the right, trying to change the narrative of the far-right and of neo-fascists, was important if the movement was to remain, and more importantly to grow at all.
But what can we learn? Perhaps the lessons lie in the way that Fascism and by extension other extreme-right ideologies are able to fluctuate, shift in ideology and to remain powerful despite changes. As one form of Fascism falls in popularity, it is the innate ability of Fascism to change its face, manifest itself pragmatically in other forms.
Perhaps too we must recognize the power of a common cause. Far-right groups may no often get along with each other based on major doctrinal differences, but given a large enough, potent enough common enemy, groups tend to coalesce into a unified resistance. From the Carlists and Francoists in Spain, to neo-fascists in postwar Europe, this trend remains a powerful one.
But all of this speculation is difficult to truly give full credence to. Fascism itself is so hard to pinpoint that it is difficult to truly say what neo-fascism has done differently. In many ways, the attempts by the New Right to modernize and regain popular support is not too different from the shift to Fascism from older forms of right-wing thought.
So… here we are again. Trying to classify something that shifts by its very nature. To say it’s difficult is… an understatement.