Fascism and Populism: Some Differences

The origin of fascism takes place in Benito Mussolini’s Italy is in a time of confusion, anger and fear which was used by the future leader of this movement to rise to the top. One point that the author Robert Paxton makes in his introductory chapter of The Anatomy of Fascism that is very interesting is that fascism is not exactly what the popular opinion thinks of it. It is seen as evil, anti-Semitic, and aggressive. While it looks to be true in appearance, Paxton describes it more the culmination of violence, radicalism and contradiction. It should also be note that this movement also feed on misinformation and propaganda.

While looking at Cas Muddle’s text, Populism in Europe: An Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism, it can be compared closely to fascism. Key ideas like “power to the people” of antagonizing the elite classes of society seems to be shared, but they are developed differently. While radical goals and ideas are the starting zones, the means to make themselves heard is much more violent for the fascist. It is in the nature of the movement to be more on the offensive and to present a certain discipline. They try to have more of a military culture while populism is looking more like a mob sometimes. Furthermore, a distinction that Muddle explains is that ideology in populism is most of the time secondary; it’s the leader of the movement that impregnates his group with it. On the contrary, fascism is built on the far-right axis even though experts sometime argue on details like the anti capitalist and anti bourgeoisie’s fascism political point of view.

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