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Published in European Action No 2  - January/February 2006

Fascism in Britain was a peculiar phenomenon of the 1930s. Even left-wing academics have acknowledged this fact and the term “post-fascist” had entered the political lexicon long ago.

However, the word has become a term of abuse, a generic term applied to anything of which left-wing political correctness does not approve. We have had “food fascists”, “style fascists” and so on. The point I am making here is that the term fascist” has now been taken out of its original context, the politics of the 1930s, and hijacked as a weasel word, empty and intentionally misleading.

On the other hand, anyone who adopts this term as a political label today, deserves a heavy dose of political enlightenment because such a posturing is not only inappropriate but it also displays an ignorance of the changing shape and nature of British politics since the Second World War.

Sir Oswald Mosley always claimed that he had “gone beyond fascism” as he emerged onto the political scene after internment, without charge or trial, during the last world war.  His Union Movement was founded in 1948 with a very clear message acknowledging that the post-war era demanded some very definite re-thinking. This re-thinking was encapsulated in the new idea of “Europe a Nation”, the hope that Europeans would never fight each other again and would unite in brotherhood.

He made it very clear that the fascism of the Thirties had its faults and weaknesses, specifically that it “rode roughshod over individual liberties”. Its other weakness being that it was far too narrow in its nationalism which could lead to the adoption of a belligerent attitude towards other nations, likely leading to war.

There are still people today who talk rather foolishly of reviving fascism, a position which always seems to manifest itself in a fetish for uniforms and related paraphernalia. This particular penchant leaves no room for reason and serious practical thought. 

In Britain, the public display of political uniforms has been banned since 1936 and there is neither a desire nor a need to adopt such outward appearances again when other more effective means of propaganda are now available to us in the form of the new methods of electronic communication.

There is no law against groups of people dressing up in black uniforms behind closed curtains and locked doors, when it satisfies a deep-felt need. But it is not politics ... so let us make that very clear. What is the point of wearing a political uniform if the wearing of such a uniform in public is illegal? A true political mind is flexible enough to recognise a more pragmatic and realistic way and therefore rejects that which neither works nor is acceptable in the long run.

There is a current trend towards reviving a “golden era”, not surprising when most of us live in an age of empty materialism and uncertainty.  Pre-war fascism did hark back to another era for inspiration. With Mussolini it was Ancient Rome and with Mosley it was England’s Elizabethan era. Having said that, we must understand that every “golden era” had something of an illusion about it and so we must resist the temptation of dwelling on a past that seemed to offer a better picture of things.

We are realists, albeit guided by an idealism ... but an idealism for the future and not for the past. Fascism ended in the dust and ashes of 1945. The promises that it held for so many were dashed for good. What emerged in its place was a transcendence, upwards and forward, that looked back only for the purpose of learning lessons.

The greatest virtue of pre-war fascism was its deeply held patriotism expressed in the most noble terms. Now we extend that principle of patriotism to the concept of Europe a Nation ... widening the scope and appeal for a greater love of nation, beyond fascism.

In the Twenty First Century we require a new creed for the purpose of carrying forward that long fought-out struggle in the interests of all our peoples in Europe. It is a synthesis of the best from all that has preceded the present time which leaves all previous political ideas totally redundant ... including those of fascism!

Ideas of dictatorship, militarism and domination by the state belong to the past as we seek improved and more efficient methods of creating government that acts on the will of the people in the truest possible way.

Present-day party politics remains a democratic sham as such because we know the system is run by big money. We want a new democracy free of all that.

 

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