By Felix Nicol
This week’s readings and videos put into question some of the base assumptions we may have about fascism, as well as exploring the underlying reasons someone might find a sense of belonging in far-right groups. Doctor Miller-Idriss’ presentation gave us a glimpse at the new-age avenues through which youth find themselves involved in different movements. Her explanations of means like clothing providing a somewhat lower barrier of entry helps us understand the increase in younger members of these groups, as was observed in VICE’s video on Spain’s Fascism. It also helps us understand the contradictory nature of a Dutch man’s fanaticism for Spanish rhetoric, as well as the support he receives from his Fascist partners. In this regard, to me, the modern need for brotherhood exhibited by far-right movements seems reminiscent of the camaraderie underlined by Kühne in Nazi Germany. We see that despite ideals of the hardened man, Fascist movements had room for gentler sides of the man, shared with partners (and in the past particularly, fellow soldiers.) Especially in the story of Lieutenant Fritz Farnbacher and Peter, we see the tenderness that could be displayed and went hand in hand with the toughness expected by the regime.
In the end, the sense of community displayed in these modern far-right groups seem particularly reminiscent of Kühne’s description, one where the revoking of “feminine” traits was felt necessary to distance oneself from homosexuality. In this regard, these groups offer a space where men can show “femininity” under the protection of camaraderie and male toughness.