Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany),
Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin
American regimes and found 14 defining characteristics common to each. Can
you think of another government that might fit the following?

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make
constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other
paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing
and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies
and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that
human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people
tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions,
assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are
rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a
perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities;
liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic
problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government
funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service
are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost
exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles
are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and
the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the
government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by
government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives.
Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by
the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations
tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate
public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government
leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically
opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of
a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into
power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and
power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the
only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated
entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote
and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not
uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested.
Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police
are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often
willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the
name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually
unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are
governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to
government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect
their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for
national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright
stolen by government leaders. Assad's Syria is that way. Iraq WAS.
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a
complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns
against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation
to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation
of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to
manipulate or control elections.
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The above is a summery of the more detailed original article "Fascism
Anyone?" first published in Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry