Mussolini, “What is Fascism”

Benito Mussolini’s “What is Fascism” (1932) outlines that basic principles and guiding ideals of Fascism as he perceived and created this political ideology. He maintains throughout this piece that Fascism and Marxism (specifically Marxian Socialism) are “complete opposite[s].” In many ways this is true. These two ideologies have opposing beliefs and ideals, but each is underlined by many of the same opinions as well.

The Foundation Pit by Andrei Platonov is a novel based in the USSR during the early 1920s. This book centers on a construction project that was meant to assist in the country’s industrial aspirations. Throughout much of the novel, the protagonist and other characters are consumed by the idea of finding the true meaning of communism. They want to become the best citizens, the best workers and the best communists. Throughout the novel, the characters work tirelessly for the benefit of the state so that they may prove their loyalty and commitment to the communist cause.

While the goals of communism and Fascism are different: one strives for the party and the ideology; the other strives for the state and the country; each places a duty on the people to work tirelessly towards this goal. In working for the party and communist ideology, Soviet citizens bettered the state. By sacrificing for the state, Italians improved the power of Fascist ideology. The rhetoric in each movement and culture reads very similarly: “[the Fascist] rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, but above all for others—those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after…” This sentiment is very similar to the way in which propaganda promoted working for communism in the USSR, especially in the use of the Stakanovite figure.

There are similarities in how Fascism and communism were presented and understood during this period. How does democratic, Nazi and other political rhetoric follow similar patterns?

2 thoughts on “Mussolini, “What is Fascism”

  1. There is a sense of “duty” in all of these political ideologies. For democrats, its a duty to vote and a duty to ourselves and the country at the same time. The democratic process is the counterpart to fascist’s violent means to achieve progress.

  2. Overall this is a well written blog post. You keep the summary of Mussolini’s article short and you bring in another reading from outside of class. I like that you are having your reader think about both Facism and Communisism. There are some similarities to both of these political movements. Youre question is very thought prokoving. I think Democracy and the Nazi movment do tie into Facism and Communism in ways that are promoted for the country and/or the indicidual.

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