The Flexibility of Fascism

Alison Miller

This week’s readings revolve around the returning theme of the flexibility of fascism, and how this flexibility permitted both the transnational spread of fascist thought (especially in the case of British and French fascists), as well as the cooperation that took place among different fascist parties that were looking to make a parliamentary splash.

The flip side of this flexibility, however, and like most movements, means that there were multiple disagreements among a variety of different fascists about how best to address their cause. Notably, the ongoing split of parties in Italy and France that helped create, for example, the FN. Issues with the TP also meant there was friction among groups, often to the point of being incapable of working with each other to achieve a singular goal (Mammone especially discusses this).

Despite the frictions, Italian remained a point of origin for a lot of new Fascist thinking, both in the case of France and Britain. Fascinating in the British case is the use of Italian texts that had not been translated, and so had to be recounted by Roberto Fiore.

What we also see in the Amyot paper is what we have been discussing in class as well, that fascists in Italy, much like Nazis in Germany, were brought into the fold of the day to day running of the government, military, and other major organisations, which despite the alleged neutrality of not permitting outright fascist or communist parties, led to bombings that were blamed on left-wing groups.

One of the things that Amyot reminded me of is the ongoing use of agents provocateurs in a lot of left-wing protest marches, as well as what the French term “casseurs” which are people who specifically aim to cause damage during French protests, including breaking windows, setting cars on fire, etc. in order to shift the media narrative not only away from what the protest is about, but also to blame left-wing groups. This does not mean there are not people within left-wing groups that aren’t looking for a fight, but rather that this is a reminder of the historical connection between protest and left-wing movements today and in the post-1968 era.

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