- Gregor, A. James. 2017. Interpretations of Fascism. Routledge.
- Mann, Michael. 2004. Fascists. Cambridge University Press.
- Mühlberger, Detlef. 2015. The Social Basis of European Fascist Movements. Routledge.
In fascist, Michael Mann seeks to understand more on the concept of fascists in establishing who they are and where they come from, motives behind their establishment, and how they rose to power. The central idea reflected by Michael Mann is the rise of the movement with more focus on flood tide in redoubts in six countries (p.14). The author clearly states that for one to understand the fascist, there is a need to understand the fascist movement and their intention in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain. The collaborative actions of individual fascist joined together ensured that they command power in where they were established.
Essentially, fascism has been aforementioned as neither oddity nor power hungry groups rather, they sought for effective states and larger nationwide unity. For Mann, he sees fascism as an incomplete movement that attempted liberalism in amidst of social crises, economic crises, military crises, political, and ideological crises (p. 355). Mann establishes that fascists needed to be taken seriously in the 21st century for their actions in addressing their concerns. First, the fascist was not an ordinary sideshow in the growth of contemporary society. The culture of the fascists spread in most of the European countries in the influence of modernity. Together with environmentalism, fascism was a major doctrine of significance history established in the 21st century (p. 55). It is undoubtedly that fascists have influenced the modernity in the European culture with more emphasis on the six countries.
Secondly, the fascist movement was not distinct from the contemporary movements. What distinguished fascism from other movements is the ability to support the central idea of a political movement which is of a great concern globally. Moreover, the unification of nation and state affairs was one the supported ideology of the movement together with its pathologies (p. 69). As observed around the world, many people live under mild nation-states which are characterized by modesty, beneficial powers, and inoffensive nationalism. Mostly, national administration bureaucracies irritate many citizens with their priorities but they do not intimidate us as they are committed to providing our needs.
As stated by Gregor (p. 26), the people have the right to rule and the people must be regarded as one entity which is indivisible by minority ethnicity and political enemies. The amalgamation of contemporary nationalism and statism was to seize the social equality aspirations on their heads, into controlling regimes which sought to wipe out opposers from the nation. Moreover, fascism added to this combination by its idiosyncratically “bottom-up” and “radical” paramilitary movement. In this aspect, the fascism would daze all antagonisms to the organic nation-state with viciousness at any cost. Such deification of definite violence had arisen as a result of the contemporary “democratization” of war into one among “citizen armies”(p. 65). In this perspective, fascism presented a characteristically paramilitary thrilling form of nation-statism with the principal political belief of the current era.
Michael Mann states that fascism ideology must be taken seriously and never be dismissed as irrational, incongruous, or vague. Fascism has a foundation of doctrine which is unfortified compared to any other political movement (p. 145). Consequently, this is essentially evident by the judgment of the fascism appeal and power. As stated by Mann, fascists did not give reasonable solutions to present social complications; they got massive democratic backing and strong emotional assurance from militants. Therefore, like any other political activism, fascists were diverse and opportunistic. The importance of leadership and power in fascism enhanced opportunism which was steered by their leaders who were not considered as uncharacteristic, sadists, psychopaths, or leaders with “rag-bag”(p. 79). Therefore, for a better understanding of fascism, Michael Mann adopts a methodology of taking fascist’ values seriously.
Michael Mann observes that the rise of the fascist movement was greatly influenced by two main theories which were middle-class theory and the capital class theory. In the aspect of the middle class theory, the rise of fascism was attributed to the failure of the entire middle-class society which was founded on moderation and capitalism(p. 20). From capital class theory the dominance of the fascism was heavily influenced by the ability of the fascists to utilize tools of the capitalist class. However, the usage of the two theories in explaining the rise of fascism was criticized by Mann because there was no philosophical considered and that there was a gap that existed between the ideology and social interrelations(p. 26). Therefore, the central idea reflected in the book is to explain the abnormal behavior exhibited by the irrational class behavior.
As stated by Michael Mann, the fascist is forecasted to return and we must be vigilant on the conditions that generated the fascism. In having the knowledge of the conditions leading to the rise of the fascism, we stand a chance of avoiding the movement in the contemporary society. As observed by Mühlberger (p. 64), situations that generated the fascist movement are still present in this decade which is heavily associated with organic nationalism and the espousal of paramilitary forms which are dedicated to racial and political purging.