Social media in recent years has been increasingly punctuated by accusations of “fascist!” and “Nazi!”, hurled back and forth with remarkable recklessness. Considering that we can’t define Republicanism (big R) or “middle-class”, its clear that as a nation, we’ve never had much of a political vocabulary to begin with.

Americans also don’t have a clear sense of history, and this lack becomes frighteningly important the more we toss historically vital connections around as if they are up for grabs. This is particularly true of Russia.

Neither Russia nor the former Soviet Union were/are fascist states, although the USSR came close under Stalin. The USSR’s most historically significant connection to facism is the 50 million lives it lost defending the Eastern Front (by itself) against real fascists during World War Two.


Above: Real Nazis

The other Allies began planning to betray the Russians well before the victory that would not have possible without them – and every agreement made with the USSR was broken soon after the war’s end.

Trump is not a fascist either. He is an unfettered capitalist, representing an economic system directly responsible for many of the world’s bloodiest, most repressive dictatorships. Let’s not obscure the nature of capitalism by labeling it’s crimes and champions fascist.

Fascism is a specific political ideology with its own history and body of theory. It has maintained itself as such since its development in 1920s Italy, periodically emerging during periods of crisis. Because the current global crisis represents an ideal climate for fascism’s development, it’s crucial that we stop throwing the word around. If every oppressive voice/interest is fascist, the term will lose its meaning – just when the need to recognize real fascism is more acute than it has been since the only real Nazis were defeated in 1945.


  Mussolini reviewing troops




  1. great piece Claire- and on the button as usual. i just wanted to add this: Mussolini once said “Fascism might better be called ‘corporatism’ because it combines the interests of both the state and business”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting piece. But the optics of Trump’s speeches do in fact raise the specter of the 1930s Hitler. From the nationalist tone (Make America Great Again vs Hitler’s call for a new Germany) to the scapegoating of ethnic, religious, and cultural groups, to blind and rabid character of his followers, not to mention Trump’s goon squad tactics against anyone who voices an opposing view, this avid student of history cannot help but see the parallels and to be very afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. But I still think he is served by a careless use of language that makes all the points you make go over people’s heads.For example, when issues of gender equity and censorship produce labels (now common) such as “feminazis”, things become very murky.
      I do see all your points and agree, though. Im glad you wrote – thanks!


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