Fascism and the far right; twenty years on
Publisher: Europe Solidaires Sans Frontieres
Date Written: 26/08/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23152
Author Dave Renton revisits his book Fascism: Theory and Practice, and examines how his perspectives would change if he was to think today about the same questions raised 20 years ago.
Fascism was a recurring presence in the 1970s, in memory of the 1920s and 1930s when it had taken the feelings of bewilderment and alienation that arose in an epoch of reformist modernisation, and the perceived threat of the far-left, and sought to build against them both a counter-revolutionary alternative. But because the post-war period was an epoch of polarised near-majorities, there was a limited space for ideological diversity.
In the 1970s and 1980s, it was common for commentators to use the term "far right" as a short-hand for mimetic fascist parties formed in conscious emulation of the 1930s. In my book, I am very critical of that language.
One possibility I excluded, however, was a genuine "far right" - i.e. a series of parties, in several countries, working in more or less alliance, who were permanently at ease in a political space which was different both from traditional conservatism and fascism. A party like UKIP, in Britain. Or the victory of Donald Trump.