Week 2 Thoughts

I know this is too late, but I feel like having a base to build the following few articles, as well as the general narrative for the blog is important. Defining the useful terms for the rest of the blog as important as keeping up with the blog week in and week out. I applaud the students who are keeping a cohesive academic narrative and I feel like this course is designed that way. That said, I think I’ll struggle with that because of who I am. I have severe ADHD and I think it would be extremely difficult for me to maintain this strict academic format. Instead, I’ll attempt to tackle each week a slight bit more informally and go through my thought process as a move along in the course, with the goal of taking a more personal look at the affairs of this course and the rise of right wing belief in Europe. I think this’ll provide a more unique view on the affairs of the class. If my thoughts seem jumbled please dont hesitate to let me know, as I’m trying to take this in a different direction.

The second week of the course covered the importance of defining the term fascism, as well as its relationship with populism. The thought that stuck with me was highlighted in both class discussion and especially De Gracia’s article. Her article deals with the oversimplification of the term Fascism. She comments that this term is found and used everywhere possible and a lot of the time, it oversimplifies the term fascism. Fredirico Finklesteins article also mentions that the use of the term fascism and populism both simplify the terms. The general consensus seems to be that the term is far more ambiguous then our media space gives it credit for. I think this is also a result of being in the american media space, where fascism is often denoted as being unequivocally evil and denied the nuance that we as historians need to understand it. If something was without a doubt evil who would ever join? I’m not trying to say that fascism appeals to me, I’m saying that the ideology could not convince anyone to join if it was the oversimplified image of fascism that seems to exist in our current media space. I hope that over the course of this course that I can grow and explore these ideas through my personal lens and build a cohesive blog.

Internationalism and the Far Right

Ambiguity and Hypocrisy seem to be emerging subjects in the course. They come up again and again. This week we had a discussion on Far Right thought and internationalism. The readings focused on the growth of the Fascist regime in Italy and how this can relate to internationalism. The idea that we have of fascism striding towards the goal of an ideal race or bringing back an ideal tradition. The growth of these ideas, however, need a certain degree of internationalism. The idea of a Judeo Bolshevik elite controlling Europe was not only existent in Germany and Italy. It was a common ideal throughout europe. It has been embedded in the culture since the middle ages. However, they united through this common belief. By having a common belief they come full circle to being internationalist ideals. And they feed off of eachother. These myths propagate and unite these national units. Therefore they need to cooperate and grow.

My favourite example of this is Japan. While they did not conform to the ideal of a aryan race according to Italy and Germany, they joined the axis because of the practical need for an ally in the east and preferable one with similar national ideals. All these countries were saying they were different despite the practical and ideological need for the internationalist system as only through that can they grow their own ideology and protect it. 

An Appeal to Fascism?

To be absolutely clear, I am not endorsing far right thought or fascism. I simply want to investigate what makes the far right appeal to people in common terms despite obviously existing hypocrisies within the ideology. I’m pretty sure that most students in this class will discuss the articles. In the class discussion, ill be discussing that very thing too, so, I’ll keep my commentary short on that matter. Most of the articles deal with the seeming hypocrisy that, in order to maintain and propagate an ideology that involves reconfirming traditional roles in society these same ideologies need to be willing to compromise on these dynamics. Lopez and Sanchez’s article, as well as Kunhe’s article both point to examples of this idea, where traditional gender roles are both the ideal for these regimes meanwhile they are overlooked when confronted with evidence otherwise, like Hauke and the stroller, or how some women fervently supported the Francoist Regime and participated in it despite it going against the traditional views in the “Francoist ideal.”

This leads me to what I think will be an overriding point of my blog posts. People were attracted to these ideals. There has to be certain factors that make people inherently vulnerable to this far right thought. Several articles reported on how there is a central thinking in fascism about wanting to return to an old ideal. How homophobia seems to be a central part of their idealism. I want to know why people turn to fascism. There has to be certain key factors that make certain people vulnerable to the idea that fascism is selling. I think understanding this will help me understand the sources of the far right movement in Europe Pre WW2 and Post WW2.

As a I read more articles, and more posts, I think I’m getting a greater idea of the direction that this class is heading into as well as the trajectory I want to take this blog.

Introductions: Ben Turpin

Hello/Bonjour! My name is Benoit, or Ben, Turpin! I am a 5th year student with 4th year standing, who’s desperately hoping to finish out my Combined BA Honours in History and Political Science. My interests lie in the effects that history has on the political and economic issues of today . I love studying all kinds of history but the writing side isn’t always my strong point. Please let me know if my reflective texts make absolutely no sense!

Pre-Covid I worked as a parliamentary tour guide, but I have since found work as a lock operator at the Canal locks right beside campus. If you need to bribe me (highly unlikely), bombard me with pictures of your cats, dogs or any other pets you may have. Also acceptable would be feeding me, as I love to cook but being fed is always better! Unfortunately, my cat is being fussy about being on camera but I can assure you plenty of photos of her will find their way on this feed.