A guide for study and resistance
Suggestions for reading and action.
Posted: February 27, 2017
Updated: February 18, 2019
A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
- From “The Anatomy of Fascism,” by Robert Paxton
- a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of traditional solutions
- the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it
- the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external
- dread of a group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences
- the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by violence if necessary
- the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who is capable of incarnating the groups’ historical destiny
- the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason
- the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s successes
- the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint
“The working class had entered the post-war period with strong hopes for the realization of socialism or at least for a definite rise in its political, economic, and social position; but, whatever the reasons, it had witnessed an unbroken succession of defeats, which brought about the complete disappointment of all its hopes. By the beginning of 1930, the fruits of its initial victories were almost completely destroyed and the result was a deep feeling of resignation, of disbelief in their leaders, of doubt about the value of any kind of political organization and political activity.”
“The representatives of big industry expected that Nazism would shift the emotional resentment which threatened them into other channels and at the same time harness the nation into the service of their own economic interests. On the whole, they were not disappointed.”
“The love for the powerful and the hatred for the powerless…explains a great deal of Hitler’s and his followers’ political actions…He admired the industrial and military leaders because they had power. He never fought against established strong power but always against groups which he thought powerless.”
“Although they did not get more bread, they got 'circuses.' The emotional satisfaction afforded by these sadistic spectacles and by an ideology which gave them a feeling of superiority over the rest of mankind was able to compensate them--for a time at least--for the fact that their lives had been impoverished, economically and culturally.” – Escape from Freedom
“Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.” – American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
“The traditional nationalist myths and slogans, the use of the nationalist liturgy, the constant and unremitting appeals to national solidarity and greatness, informed all of fascism—and should have made nationalism‘s importance obvious.” – The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism
“Hatred of the left in all its guises, from the most tepid to the most outré, is thus not incidental to fascism; it is at its core. The fascist route to power has always been passed through cooperation with conservative elites; without the acquiescence or even active assent of the traditional elites [fascists] could never have attained power.”
“Fascist regimes had to produce an impression of driving momentum—‘permanent revolution.’ They could not survive without that headlong, inebriating rush forward.” [This] “deliberate arousal of expectations of dynamism, excitement, momentum, and risk” was “inherent to fascism’s appeal.”
“Fascism does not require a spectacular 'march' on some capital to take root; seemingly anodyne decisions to tolerate lawless treatment of national 'enemies' is enough.”
“The truth was whatever permitted the new fascist man (and woman) to dominate others. . . . It was the unquestioning zeal of the faithful that counted, more than his or her reasoned assent.”
Madeleine Albright. "Will We Stop Trump Before It's Too Late." The New York Times. April 6, 2018.
Daniel Altman. "This is how every genocide begins." Foreign Policy. November 30, 2017.
Samir Amin. "The return of fascism in contemporary capitalism." Monthly Review. September 2014.
Associated Press. "Obama: Protect democracy or risk taking path of Nazi Germany." CBS News online. December 9, 2017.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat. “An American authoritarian: The Republican presidential candidate is not a fascist, but his campaign bears notable similarities to the reign of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.” The Atlantic. August 10, 2016.
Noah Berlatsky. "The Trump effect: New study connects white American intolerance and support for authoritarianism." NBCnews.com. May 27, 2018.
Mark Bickhard. " The scary parallels between Trump and Musollini." Rawstory. March 21, 2017
Joan Biskupic. "Trump's sustained attacks on American rights.' CNN.com. May 27, 2018.
Aaron Blake. “Stephen Miller’s authoritarian declaration: Trump’s national security actions ‘will not be questioned.” Washington Post. February 13, 2017
Peter Beinart. "Why Trump supporters believe he is not corrupt." The Atlantic. August 22, 2018.
Roger Berkowitz. "Why Arendt matters: Revisiting 'The Origins of Totalitarianism'." Los Angeles Review of Books. March 18, 2017
Paul Blumenthal. "This stunningly racist French novel is how Steve Bannon explains the world. Huffington Post. March 4, 2017.
William Boardman. “Constitutional crisis deepens as Trump fights checks and balances.” Reader Supported News Online. February 11, 2017.
Christopher Browning. "Lessons from Hitler's Rise." New York Review of Books. April 20, 2017.
Christopher Browning. "The Suffocation of Democracy." New York Review of Books. October 25, 2018.
Chait, Jonathan. "The Republican Party's gearing up for war on the rule of law." New York Magazine. October 30, 2017.
Isaac Chotiner. “How much do the early days of the Trump administration look like the Third Reich?” Interview with historian Richard Evans. Slate. February 10, 2017.
Issac Chotiner. “Is Donald Trump a fascist? Yes and no.” An Interview with Robert Paxton. Slate. February 10, 2016.
Isaac Chotiner. “Too Close for comfort: how much do the early days of the Trump administration look like the Third Reich?" Interview with historian Richard Evans." Slate. February 10, 2017.
Chauncey DeVega. "Are white people ready to bail on democracy? These researchers say the danger is real." Salon. August 2, 2018.
Lee Drutman, Larry Diamond and Joe Goldman. "Follow the leader: Exploring American support for democracy and authoritarianism." Voter Study Group. February 2018.
Lee Drutman, Larry Diamond and Joe Goldman. "Testing the limits: Examining public support for checks on presidential power." Voter Study Group. June 2018
The Economist. “America’s system of checks and balances might struggle to contain a despot.” February 4, 2017.
Ellen Grey Ellis. "The internet protocols of the elders of Zion." Wired. March 12, 2017.
John Feffer. "The Trump dystopian nightmare: Nucelar war, climate change and a clash of civilizations are all on the horizon." Alternet. March 12, 2017
Reza Fiyouzat. "Trump in perespective: Fascism or just more barbarism?" Counterpunch. March 12, 2017.
Mark Follman. "Trumpocracy: Tracking the creeping authoritarianism of the 45th president." Mother Jones. December 4, 2017.
John Bellamy Foster. "Neofascism in the White House." Monthly Review. April, 2017.
John Bellamy Foster. "This is not populism." Monthly Review. June 2017.
Richard E. Frankel. "Here is how Donald Trump becomes a dictator." Raw Story. October 5, 2018.
Richard E. Frankel. "A professor of German history explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville." Raw Story. August 16, 2017.
David Frum. “How to build an autocracy.” The Atlantic. January 30, 2017.
Megan Garber. “‘First they came’: The poem of the protests, Martin Niemöller’s lines, written just after the Holocaust, argued against apathy—and for the moral connectedness of all people.” The Atlantic. January 29, 2017.
Henry Giroux. "Donald Trump's fascist politics and the language of fascism." Raw Story. November 18, 2018.
Henry Giroux. "Facism starts with words - and Trump has a startling romance with the rhetoric of dictators." Raw Story. January 11, 2018.
Henry Giroux. " The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America." Counterpunch. March 17, 2017.
Henry Giroux. "Neoliberal fascism and the echoes of echoes of history." Truthdig. August 2, 2018.
Amy Goodman. “Noam Chomsky: Trump's victory recalls memories of Hitler & fascism's spread across Europe.” Democracy Now. Interview with Noam Chomsky. December 6, 2016.
Rosie Gray. “The nationalist right is coming for Reince Priebus.” The Atlantic. February 14, 2017.
Zoltan Grossman. "Fascism denial ignores some inconvenient truths." ZNet. October 29, 2018.
Andrew Gumbel. "Is This Fascism?" Los Angeles Review of Books. July 24, 2017.
Alexandra Hall. "Controversial Proud Boys embrace 'Western values,' reject feminism and political correctness." WisconsinWatch.org. November 26, 2017.
Bernard E. Harcourt. "How Trump fuels the fascist right." The New York Review of Books. November 29, 2018.
Josh Harkinson. “The dark history of the White House aides who crafted Trump's ‘Muslim ban’: Here's how Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller have been boosters of Islamophobes and white nationalists." Mother Jones. January 30, 2017.
Josh Harkinson. “Meet the white nationalist trying to ride the Trump train to lasting power: Alt-right architect aims to make racism cool again.” Mother Jones. October 27, 2016.
Thom Hartmann. “It can still happen here: Donald Trump, Ben Carson and the “American fascists” among us. Sinclair Lewis feared demagoguery and a corporate ruling class. The right is bringing his dystopia to fruition.” Salon. November 4, 2015.
Head Space Blog. “History repeats itself: National Socialism – past and present: The psychology of Nazism.” February 15, 2016.
Chris Hedges. “Donald Trump: The dress rehearsal for fascism.” Truthdig.com. October 16, 2016.
Chris Hedges. "A Last Chance for Resistance." Truthdig.com. March 19, 2017.
Chris Hedges. “Make America ungovernable.” Truthdig.com. February 5, 2017.
Clive Irving. "It is happening here, Trump is already early-stage Mussolini." The Daily Beast. June 30, 2018
Kathleen B. Jones." The power of ordinary people facing totalitarianism." Alternet. March 21, 2017.
Josh Jones. "Hannah Arendt explains how propaganda uses lies to erode all truth & morality." Open Culture. January 24, 2017
Teri Kanefield. "Why Trump’s supporters will believe any lie he tells." Slate. October 19, 2018.
Mark Karlin. "Henry A. Giroux: The nightmare of neoliberal fascism." Truthout.org. June 10, 2018.
Ben Kentish. "Donald Trump trying to stage a coup and overthrow democracy is 'inevitable' says top US historian." The Independent. May 1, 2017.
Allegra Kirkland. “Did Gorka really wear a medal linked to Nazi ally to Trump inaugural ball?” Talking Points Memo. February 13, 2017.
Paul Krugman. "Why it can happen here." The New York Times. August 27, 2018.
Aviya Kushner. "'Infest' - The ugly Nazi history of Trump's Chosen verb about immigrants." Forward.com. June 20, 2018
Josh Marshall. “Know your fascist dictators.” Talking Points Memo. December 9, 2015.
Peter Maass. "For Donald Trump, a terror attack will be an opportunity not a curse." The Intercept. March 19, 2017
James Mann. "Damage Bigly." The New York Review of Books. January 18, 2018.
Dylan Matthew. “I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist. Here's what they said.” Vox. May 19, 2016.
David Motadel. "The United States Was Never Immune to Fascism. Not Then, Not Now." The Guardian. August 17, 2017
Ben Norton. "Some of Steve Bannon's biggest intellectual influences are fascists and white supremacists." Alternet. March 8, 2017
Fintan O'Toole. "Trial runs for fascism are in full flow." The Irish Times. June 26, 2018.
Ray Pensador. “Have the American people accepted corporate state fascism?” DailyKos. Thursday Apr 18, 2013.
Brad Reed. "Yale historian explains the terrifying purpose of Trump supporters’ angry chants." Raw Story. August 16, 2018.
Robert Reich. "7 signs American democracy is sliding into tyranny." Atlernet. February 22, 2017
Robert Reich. “Donald Trump, 21st-Century American fascist.” Alternet. March 9, 2016.
Rob Riemen. "'Never again?' How fascism preys on unhealthy democracies over and over." Big Think. February 4, 2018.
Michael Joseph Roberto. "The Origins of American Fascism." Monthly Review. June 2017.
Steven Rosenfeld. "If we don't act now, fascism will be on our doorstep, says Yale historian." Alternet. March 13, 2017.
Alex Ross. "How American rascism influenced Hitler." The New Yorker. April 30, 2018.
Matthew Rosza, "Nobel Prize-winning economist: Trump has fascist tendencies." Salon, Novembver 16, 2017
Matthew Rothschild. “The fascist overtones in Trump’s inaugural address.” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. January 20, 2017.
Matthew Rothschild. "Our democracy is hanging by a thread." Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. August 21, 2017.
Matthew Rothschild."Trump and the road to fascism." Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. August 6, 2018
Matthew Rothschild. "Trump, the fascist?" The Capital Times. March 2, 2017.
Matthew Rothschild. "Trump's in Touch with His Inner Fascist. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. February 18, 2019.
Peter Schrag. “An American Reichstag fire?” The American Prospect. February 24, 2017.
Adam Serwer. "The nationalist's delusion." The Atlantic. November 20, 2017.
Anis Shivani. "Trump and Mussolini: 11 key lessons from historical fascism." Alternet. March 17, 2017.
Timothy Snyder. “We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less.” Süddeutsche Zeitung. February 10, 2017.
Norman Stockwell. "The potential rise of American tyranny." The Progressive. January 31, 2018.
Spencer Sunshine. "The growing alliance between Neo-Nazis, right wing paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans." Colorlines. June 9, 2017.
Cass R. Sunstein. "It can happen here." The New York Review of Books. June 28, 2018.
Southside Chicago ARA. "Alt-right 'proud boy' gets warm welcom from Chicago antifa." Itsgoingdown.org. May 25, 2017.
Ullrich Von Volker. “Adolf Hitler: Wait calmly.” Zeit Online. February, 2017.
Henry Wallace. “The Danger of American Fascism.” New Deal Network. Originally published in The New York Times. April 9, 1944.
Henry Scott Wallace. "American Fascism, in 1944 and Today". The New York Times. May 12, 2017.
John Wiener. "Eric Foner: White nationalists, neo-confederates, and Donald Trump." The Nation. August 16, 2017.
Cornel West. “Goodbye, American neoliberalism. a new neo-fascist era is here.” Reader Supported News Online. November 18, 2016.
Rick Wilking. “A short history of ‘America First.’ The phrase used by President Trump has been linked to anti-Semitism during World War II.” The Atlantic. January 21, 2017.
Richard Wolffe.. "Yet more proof: Donald Trump is a fascist symapthiser." The Guardian. November 29, 2017.
Eli Zaretsky. "The Mass Psychology of Trumpism." London Review of Books. September 18, 2018.
AR Primer on Fascism. Alternative Radio.
Eric Fromm. Escape From Freedom. Holt, 1994.
Robert Griffin. The Nature of Fascism. Palgrave Macmillan, 1991.
Chris Hedges. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America. Free Press, 2007.
George Mosse. The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism. Howard Fertig, 1999.
Robert Paxton. The Anatomy of Fascism. Vintage, 2005.
Stanley Payne. A History of Fascism, 1914-1945. University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
Michael Joseph Roberto. The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United States, 1920–1940. Monthly Review Press. 2018
Timothy Snyder. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Tim Dugan Books, 2017.
Jason Stanley. How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. Random House. 2018.
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Introducing Fascism. A new Slate Academy asks what happened in the 20th century—and whether it’s happening again. Podcasts and articles. Moderated by Rebecca Onion, et al.
Welcome to Fascism: A Slate Academy, where we’ll be reading about, and then comparing and discussing, the history of 20th-century fascism in six countries: Italy, Spain, Romania, Britain, the United States, and Germany.
In the first five episodes of this series, we’ll be stepping back from our contemporary context to look at the way fascisms developed across European countries in the interwar period. We’ll be inviting historians who study the countries in question onto the podcast, to help us answer any questions that linger after we do our reading. And in the final episode of the podcast, we’ll bring our new knowledge to bear on the question that started it all: Are we witnessing a rebirth of fascism in 2017?
WDC Executive Director Matthew Rothschild discussing Trump and Fascism before the Rock County Progressives in Janesville, Wisconsin on May 10, 2017.
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
“If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. … To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Timothy Snyder. “20 lessons from the 20th century on how to survive in Trump’s America.” In These Times. November 21, 2016.
Matthew Rothschild. “12 things you can do.” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. February 3, 2017.