The essays below are part of a printed volume Fascism: Essays on Europe and India Edited by Jairus Banaji (Three Essays Collective: 2013) . Some introductory extracts are presented in this post. For more information on the hard copy of the book see:
See also: Fascism, AAP & the Left. Jairus Banaji at the P.A.D.S. Convention, February 27
If the singular brutality of the Nazi genocide remains a watershed in the history of the modern world, one that Rosenberg could scarcely have anticipated in 1933, the racial myth of the Volksgemeinschaft that paved the way for it was far from novel, its roots firmly embedded in the ‘integral nationalism’ of Treitschke and Maurras and the visions of national redemption preached by Schönerer and Lueger (against both Slavs and Jews) to pan-German constituencies in Austria that Weiss has described as ‘one of the most anti-Semitic publics west of Russia’. Thus the argument, cited above, that ‘the ideology which is today called “fascist” was already fairly widespread throughout Europe before the War’ is thoroughly convincing. It is a major insight into why the fascist movements could expand so rapidly, both in Italy and in Germany (in the early and late twenties respectively), against the background of war-hysteria and assaults on the Left (in Italy) and of a powerful nationalist Right in Germany that prepared the ground for the Nazis.
The centrality of racism to Nazism in particular emerges more forcefully in Rosenberg’s essay than any other Marxist writing of the twenties and early thirties. So does the argument that the success of the fascists depended crucially on the connivance or active complicity of the existing state-authorities, many of whom would of course have been active members of the PNF and NSDAP. This was starkly obvious in Italy where the squadristi ‘succeeded because they could always count on the state’, but no less so in Germany where, as Neumann noted, not one of the conspirators in the right-wing Kapp Putsch of 1920 had been punished even 15 months later, ‘the Weimar criminal courts were part and parcel of the anti-democratic camp’, and the ‘courts invariably became sounding-boards for [Nazi] propaganda’; and where, as Rosenberg points out, ‘a whole series of government-officials, especially in the army, . . . maintained close contact with the Freikorps and [other] counter-revolutionaries’.
Finally, a major part of the essay sets out to discredit the so-called ‘middle-class theory’ of fascism. Rosenberg was convinced that fascism was not a petty-bourgeois movement nor was the mass-base of the fascist parties confined to the petty bourgeoisie... Even if fascism today is not and will not be the return of old-style fascism but more eclectic and variegated versions of extreme-Right politics, Rosenberg’s essay loses none of its relevance for us. In particular, the increasing support drawn from the working class by parties of the extreme Right in countries such as France, Austria, Denmark and Norway, or the ability of the Sangh Parivar in India (the RSS/BJP combine) to create mass-mobilisations based on hate-campaigns and strategies of tension should be some of the more pressing reasons why the Left needs to return to the issue of fascism in a central way...
Hannah Arendt: Reflections on Violence (1969)
Rethinking Secularism by Bhagwan Josh, Dilip Simeon, and Purushottam Agrawal
On 'revolution' - Closing the Circle - Frontier Aug-Sept 2012
Armies of the Pure: The Question of Indian Fascism
Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights