Fascism Essay, Research Paper
Philosophy of government that glorifies the nation-state at the expense of the individual. Major concepts of fascism include opposition to democratic and socialist movements; racist ideologies, such as anti-Semitism; aggressive military policy; and belief in an authoritarian leader who embodies the ideals of the nation. Fascism generally gains support by promising social justice to discontented elements of the working and middle classes, and social order to powerful financial interests. While retaining class divisions and usually protecting capitalist and landowning interests, the fascist state exercises control at all levels of individual and economic activity, employing special police forces to instill fear. The term was first used by the party started by Mussolini, who ruled Italy from 1922 until the Italian defeat in World War II, and has also been applied to other right-wing movements, such as National Socialism in Germany and the Franco regime in Spain. The Italian Social Movement (MSI), a minor neofascist party formed in Italy after World War II, won wider support when the pervasive corruption of the governing parties was exposed in the early 1990s, and it became a partner in the conservative government formed after the 1994 elections. In 1995, however, the MSI rejected fascist ideology and dissolved itself in favor of the right-wing National Alliance.
A system of social organization in which property, particularly real property and the means of production, is held in common. With an uppercase C, the term refers to the movement that has sought to overthrow capitalism through revolution. Forms of communism existed among various tribes of Native Americans, and it was espoused by early Christian sects. During the Middle Ages the manorial system provided communal use of the village commons and cultivation of certain fields, rights the peasants fought to retain in England (14th cent.) and Germany (16th cent.). By the early 19th cent. the rise of capitalism, reinforced by the Industrial Revolution, had created a new industrial class living and working under appalling conditions. Utopian socialists such as Robert Owen and Charles Fourier, anarchists such as P.J. Proudhon, and revolutionaries such as Auguste Blanqui all favored some kind of communal solution to this poverty. In Germany Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto (1848), the primary exposition of the doctrine that came to be known as Marxism. It postulated the inevitability of communism arising from class war, the overthrow of capitalism, and the creation of a classless society. Marxism greatly influenced 19th-cent. Socialism. The modern Communist political movement began when the Russian Social Democratic Labor party split (1903) into two factions (see Bolshevism and Menshevism). The Bolsheviks, led by V.I. Lenin, called for armed revolution. After their triumph in the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks formed the Communist party (1918), established a party dictatorship, and founded the Comintern (1919), which claimed leadership of the world socialist movement. In the 1930s, Joseph Stalin’s policy of “socialism in one country” prevailed in the USSR, but after World War II Stalin created “satellite” Communist states in Eastern Europe. The Chinese Communists (see China), who triumphed in 1949, aided movements in Southeast Asia. U.S. opposition to these and other actions by Soviet, Chinese, and other Commmunists led to the cold war, Korean War, Vietnam War, and “proxy wars” elsewhere, particularly in Latin America and Africa. Economic difficulties, particularly shortages of food and other consumer goods, and the resurgence of nationalism led to demands for reform and internal problems in Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), and Poland (1956, 1981), and other Communist countries, and to the often violent suppression of protest. In the 1960s Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated, and the Communist parties of Western and Third World countries began to assert their independence of those two powers. Popular uprisings, economic collapse, and free elections ousted Communist governments in much of Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990, and the failed hard-line coup against Soviet Pres. Gorbachev led to the suspension of the Communist party in the USSR and the country’s subsequent disintegration in 1991. By the early 1990s traditional Communist party dictatorships held power only in China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. China, Laos, Vietnam, and, to a lesser degree, Cuba have reduced state control of the economy in order to stimulate growth. Communist parties, or their descendent parties, remain politically important in many Eastern European nations, in Russia and other nations of the former USSR, and elsewhere.
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