What Is Fascism?
In recent years lots of people have been calling lots of other people fascists.
During the Trump Presidency, for example, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and others decided after careful reflection that Donald Trump qualified as a fascist. Trump himself seemed not to notice, and if he did, he most likely dismissed the label as just another pejorative hurled by his enemies.
In contemporary Europe important political figures have been called fascists. Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and President Recep Tayyip Ergodan of Turkey sometimes wear the label. In France critics suggest right-wing leader Marine Le Pen is a fascist, but she complicated the labeling by expelling her father Jean-Marie Le Pen from their political party because he was a fascist.
Fascist-labeling, to coin a term, has been rampant during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s Russian government has long since ceased to be Communist, but in the opinion of some Putin is certainly a fascist. For his part, Putin has stated that the Ukrainian government is dominated by fascists, an allegation Ukrainian President Vodymyr Zelinsky has ridiculed since, as a Jew, he could not possibly be a fascist.
Many of the allegations that somebody is a fascist amount to calling a person a bully or perhaps an autocrat. But what is fascism?