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Is Fascism a Threat to Democracy in the 21st Century?

Introduction to Italian Modern Art in The Age of Fascism

Derived from an Italian word, fasismo, which means bundle, fascism is a crusade or a programme that endorses the vision of forcibly monolithic, the regiment of the country strictly controlled by the law and the whims of any an imperious monarch.[1] It dates back to the Ancient Rome when the fasces was regulated by some ruler or leaders containing a huge bundle of woods with an axe-head. This term was coined by Benito Mussolini, a journalist who was the founder of Milan-based newspaper Il Popolo d’ Italia.[2]He was a member of a socialist party but left that when he went for war in World War I. The socialist parties were dismayed after the war and became public enemies. That time, everyone believed Mussolini to have copied Hitler, but that wasn't the case. He was 11 years older to Hitler and had everything worked on before Hitler came into supremacy. Hitler was not a leader and nobody wanted to buy Mein Kampf. But the Great Depression gained him popularity.

The roots of Nazism was fascism. It all started when Hitler wanted everything that Mussolini built to be named as his tutelage.[3] The only driving factor that made fascists gain power was by intimidating and killing one of the largest and popular party of that time, The Socialist party.[4] Businessmen and Landlords supported Mussolini into coming into power as they suppressed the socialism.[5]

Fascism saw its doom after the defeat of the Axis power in World War II. But this was just one phase of fascism.

21st Century Fascism

Fascism being of 20th century or of 21st century, it is in response to the current capitalist crisis. The Trump administration in the United States, Brexit in the United Kingdom, the increase in the volume of neo-fascist and dominant parties and their movements in Europe like Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Itlay, Holland, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Belgium, and Greece show their response to the global capitalist crisis.[6] Fascism in the United States is related to the global crisis of capitalism. This means the suppression by the government in the name of nationalism and security is raging war between the citizens and the government and it is far more beyond the 'hot wars' of Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, the United States had raged a war against the immigrants and is trying to suppress social activities as more than ever. It is suppressing the voices of vulnerable people. This move is a bane for the trans-national corporations. There the private immigrant prison-industrial complex industry is a booming one. Immigrants who are intruders and they are undocumented, they are being thrown into US prison cells and are detained in private detention places and deported by private companies who are on a contract basis with the US. William Andrews, the CEO of Corrections Corporations of America or CCA, being the largest private US contractor for detention centres for immigrants, stated in 2008 that if the US government decriminalize the immigration policies and relaxes the laws, their business is going to be affected. Furthermore, it is seen that the trans-national capital is overpowering its financial power to have authority over the state finances and be more rigour on the working of it, leading to social inequality. It has stripped down the concept of the welfare state and social wages, which once was the main object of the US. Thing is at its worst scenarios as many billions of dollars have been drained into the housing market, food, energy and other global markets related to commodities via bonds. This the state or public budget that is being drained into hedge funds, swaps, futures markets, assets pyramiding and Ponzi schemes.

The amalgamation of transnational power with the reactionary political power, which used to be there at Bush's administration but has taken deep roots in the McCain- Palin times. Three sectors of the government has an upper hand over the political arrangement to accumulation- speculative financial capital, the military industry-security complex and the extraction and energy industry, petroleum most importantly. The Pentagon budget had increased since the past 12 years to at least 91 per cent. This is the highest of all that had ever happened.

It is not just in the United States that the bits of fascism is been seen. It has become a global vogue to inculcate authoritarian fascism. Putin, Duterte, Orban, Erdogan, Modi and Jinping, they all are travelling in the same boat and are no different from the others.[7] They are the dominators and turn into violence against the minorities if they do not get the things done the way they want to. They victimize the majorities in order to turn the blame on the minorities.

It could be a question of interest that countries like USA, Turkey, Hungary, India, Poland, Russia and China, they all are very different from one another on grounds of culture, traditions and the different kind of governmental setup they both have. Some are democratic is practice some on paper while some other practice communism, making each other very distinct from one another. During the 1930s, fascism was setting its foot in Germany, Itlay and Japan. All of these were very distinctive of one another, however, fascism could find its place in all of it. The same thing is prevalent today. Despite so many difference amongst countries, authoritarian fascism is at his peak due to factors like global capitalism and the mayhems that it imposes on, too much of socially liberal policies for minorities and immigrants carrying on from the time of Pax Americana and Islamophobia and the upswing of social media.

Plato, an ancient philosopher of, way back 2500 years ago had an acclaimed rise of fascism in further centuries to come. In his work, The Republic, he mentioned about five types of governance which we see today all around ourselves-aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny.

Another form of fascism is seen in the over-assertively pursued social liberal programs for the minorities by making affirmative rules and regulations and creating social safety nets for minorities. This has not made things better for the government as they have to face the utter resentment of such groups from the governments. This only victimizes the majority and these so-called utterly but no so utterly miserable minorities are never so contended. 

Another factor was Islamophobia which is kind of a phobia that is crept as a global term by America. America during its time of rising promoted terrorism just like what China is doing now. It spread terror all around the world also including India. however, after the 9/11 attack, he gets up from its sleep and when its own people faced misery and chucked America down on its knees, it introspected and that’s when it started rebelling against terrorism. Now the situation is that terrorism is has been associated with one religion that is Islam, and that’s why Islamophobia. This has been preached and propagated by America and now the situation is that it had made all of the tyrannical rulers around the world to strew abhorrence and put out upon on the entire Muslim cult. This is supported by the countries with a significant amount of Muslim population under their territory like India and there too it has become a fascist right. In the USA too where there is such a small number of the Muslim population, Islamophobia has become a feature of every election campaign. Gramsci, for whom dominion means social domination of a particular sect of, usually the subordinate group of people who give their active consent to such kind of pressure. It is not just on the basis of rules and regulations, but on the political and ideological basis on a particular class of the group. This sect of Gramsci is allowed to put up his own interest but that has to be in consonance with the general interest of the dominion, and that to a certain level.[8] 

As evident it is in the 21st century USA, it is not just limited to that. In June 2015, nearly 250,000 people threw a rally in London, before the Bank of England forwarding towards the Parliament in lieu of the cuts made by the government in National Health Service and other welfare schemes to be restored as it shall impact the people a lot. In France, 70 cities went on a strike and marched out in rallies in April, to not cut the subsidies provided by the government on welfare schemes and health scheme and to make a minimum freeze on salaries and pensions. In Germany, in Frankfurt, thousands of people protested against the government for opening up a new European Central Bank headquarters as it was a major contributor in sabotaging the economies of poorer countries. In Greece too people protested against the new ordinance passed in the parliament related to new recruitment to be done, cut in pay and pensions and privatizations in the banking creditors. The US has been at the top list of practising fascism by closing schools, cut back on jobs and pensions, violence is done by the police in protests done by the black community and labour strikes. All of this has no effect on the capitalist form of the system as they have become prone to it. They kind of control all of it by police, military and the legal system of the country. Hence as a last resort, the ruling classes take the support fo fascism as it was done in Europe in the 1930s. to save themselves out from all of it, they tend to back everything with another movement that could distract all of their subjects and the media. They tend to shift the paradigm from the government to the fellow people with whom people are protesting and usually it is done based on skin colour, gender, nationality or religion.[9]

Nations put out other people as scapegoats. For example in the US, the administration has shifted the issue of loss of pay and loss of jobs to people who are US black citizens and immigrants of Mexico, Central America and the Middle East. They do not focus on the fact that immigrants and Black citizens are the highest unemployed people right now. The right-wing candidates promise to solve all of the economic problems by building a huge wall the border of US and Mexizo, and deporting all of the people back to their country and refusing any citizenship fo children whose parents are immigrants. The same thing happened during Hitler’s tenure as well when he refused citizenship and carried out an order of mass deportation of Jews and Romani, the Gypsies.[10]

In totality, the fascist governmental setup is winning the election polls as they are able to make people hear what they want to hear. It is the tendency of humans, that for their own miseries they blame the others rather than thinking of where did they go wrong or what did they do wrong. That is what these organisations have been feeding onto and as a result, they have gained people trust as what they can see that this government is going to relieve them from their miseries. However, it is like sinners are judging others for sinning differently. Like in England, the right-wing Tories won the election but the other nationalist party called United kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) won 11 per cent of all of the votes, placing itself at the third-largest party. In France, a neo-Nazi party named as National Front (FN) had attained votes for the so-called socialist party of President Hollande, had implemented the same rules and regulations, which once he opposed off.[11] In Germany, the protesters had pulled down a refugee centre at Dresden. The USA has been blaming the immigrants and other communities for their own downfall.

Conclusion on Italian Modern Art in The Age of Fascism

So to sum it up, so yes the above examples show how fascism has crept into our society and latently ruling over our lives. We may not be aware of the changing circumstances but circumstances do are changing at a rapid pace. We tend to think that those others are to be blamed for our miseries and which is so is portrayed in front of us by our leaders, but it is not so. In reality, they try to lessen their own inconsistencies before us and hence draws down a veil which eventually leads to us having left to believe what we hear. But in every era, there are always some analytical people who refuse to accept what lays in front of them and they compare their own thoughts and that what is laid before them, based on facts. The international journals and newspapers are filled with references and examples of how the United States of America is an epitome of fascism. There isn’t less number of references which could justify the fact that there isn’t. people there have accepted that immigrants and black citizens are the reason why their children are unhappy and as a result, they are determined to chuck them out. The ongoing war between blacks and white is a true example of that and the government to plays a victim card here that they want peace and prosperity amongst their people, while they are the ones who went out and handed guns in their people's hand. In order to compete with international platforms, not just united states of America but other countries too have followed the same procedures and it is kind of a race now who is more fascist than the other. Global capitalism has indeed given fascism a permanent place in all of the countries as now the competition has stretched beyond boundaries. As long as human civilization persists, it shall be not wrong to say that fascism is not going anywhere and we all shall face the same doom as the people then faced when world wars happened. It is not just a fortnight thing that two countries decide starting a war. These teensy tiny incidents are ones that instigate and paves way for major things to take place. Even then too, international peacemaking organisations weren't able to stop the world war to happen, and I am afraid this time too, we as people could not be saved by any peacemaking organisation when the times comes.

References for Italian Modern Art in The Age of Fascism

Waxman, O. B. (2019). What to know about the origins of fascism’s brutal ideology. Retrieved from https://time.com/5556242/what-is-fascism/

White, A. (2019). Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism. Routledge.

Goeschel, C. (2018). Mussolini and Hitler: The Forging of the Fascist Alliance. Yale University Press.

The club, D. W., Tinny, I., & Barnetti, M. (2020). Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No Pledge Publishing.

Robinson, W.I. (2019). Global capitalist crisis and twenty-first-century fascism: Beyond the Trump hype. Science and Society, 83(2), 481-509.

Courier, M. (2020). The global rise of fascism in the 21st century. Retrieved from https://madrascourier.com/opinion/the-global-rise-of-fascism-in-the-21st-century/

Gramsci, A. (1973). Selections from Prison Notebooks. New York: International Publishers.

Sunde, M. (2015). The rising threat of 21st-century fascism. Retrieved from https://socialism.com/fs-article/the-rising-threat-of-21st-century-fascism/

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