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(en) Czech, AFED: Ur-fascism - Eternal fascism by the semiologist, writer and philosopher Umberto Ec (1932-2016) [machine translation]
Thu, 1 Oct 2020 13:06:55 +0300
Ur-fascism (or also eternal fascism) characterized Umberto Eco's fourteen symptoms. If about half of them can be observed in society, we are
close to the new onset of fascism. ---- 1. The first feature of ur-fascism is the cult of tradition. Traditionalism is, of course, much
older than fascism. Not only is it typical of counter-revolutionary Catholic thought after the French Revolution, but it was born in the
late Hellenistic era as a reaction to classical Greek rationalism. In the Mediterranean, people of various religions (most of whom were
indulgently accepted into the Roman pantheon) began to dream of a revelation that came at the dawn of human history. According to
traditionalist mysticism, this revelation remained hidden for a long time under the guise of forgotten languages - in Egyptian hieroglyphs,
Celtic runes, on scrolls of little-known Asian religions. This new culture had to be syncretic. Syncretism is not just, as the dictionary
says, "a combination of different forms of faith and practices"; this combination must tolerate contradictions.
As a result, there can be no progress in knowledge. The truth has already been told once and for all, and we can only try to constantly
interpret its mysterious message.
Just look at the syllabus of every fascist movement and we will find the main traditionalist thinkers here. Nazi gnosis was fed by
traditionalists, syncretists and occult freaks. The most influential theoretical source was the conception of the new Italian right, Julius
Evola mixed the Holy Grail and the Protocols of the Sages of Zion, alchemy with the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The very fact
that the Italian right, in order to show the openness of its thinking, later expanded its teachings to include the works of Joseph de
Maister, Guenon and Gramsci, is a glaring proof of syncretism.
If you dive into the shelves labeled New Age in American bookstores, you can even find St. Augustine, who, as far as I know, was not a
fascist. But the combination of Augustine and Stonehenge is a symptom of ur-fascism[and also of Václav Cílek, adds the translator].
2. Traditionalism leads to the rejection of modernism. Both fascists and Nazis worshiped technology, while traditionalist thinkers usually
reject it as a negation of traditional spiritual values. However, although Nazism was proud of its industrial achievements, its exaltation
of modernism was only a superficial feature of a blood- and soil-based ideology (Blut und Boden). The rejection of the modern world was
disguised as a rejection of the capitalist way of life, but was aimed primarily at denying the spirit of 1789 (and, of course, 1776). The
Enlightenment, the age of reason, is understood as the beginning of modern corruption. In this sense, ur-fascism can be defined as
3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action. The action begins to be beautiful in itself, it must be performed before any
thought or without any thought. Thinking is a form of femininity. Therefore, culture is suspect to the extent that it is identified with
critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has often been a symptom of ur-fascism, from Goering's alleged assertion ("When I
hear talk of culture, I reach for a gun.") To the frequent use of terms such as "degenerate intellectuals," "impotent snobs," or
"universities are nests." red '. Official fascist intellectuals engaged in attacks on modern culture and liberal intelligence mainly
because, according to them, it betrayed traditional values.
4. No syncretic belief can withstand analytical criticism. The critical mind distinguishes, and discernment is a hallmark of modernism. In
modern culture, the scientific community values dissent as a way to expand and refine knowledge. For ur-fascism, disapproval is betrayal.
5. In addition, disagreement is a sign of difference. Ur-Fascism grows out of consensus and seeks consensus by exploiting and inciting the
natural fear of otherness. The first challenge of the fascist or nascent fascist movement is the call to fight the invaders. Ur-fascism is
so racist by definition.
6. Ur-fascism results from individual or social frustration. Therefore, one of the most typical features of historical fascism was the fact
that it addressed a frustrated middle class, a class that was suffering from an economic crisis or a sense of political humiliation, and was
intimidated by pressure from lower social groups. Today, when the old "proletarians" have become a petty bourgeoisie (and the "lumpen" are
largely excluded from the political scene), tomorrow's fascism will find its listeners in this new majority.
7. For people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, ur-fascism says that their only privilege is the most general privilege ever,
namely that they were born in the same country. That is the origin of nationalism. In addition, the only ones who can give a nation its
identity are its enemies. Therefore, obsession with conspiracy, perhaps even international, is rooted in ur-fascist psychology. Followers
must feel under siege. The easiest way to solve the conspiracy is to appeal to xenophobia. But the conspiracy must also come from within:
the best target in this case is usually the Jews, because they have the advantage of being both inside and outside. A prominent case of
conspiracy obsession in the United States can be seen in Pat Robertson's The New World Order, but as we have seen recently, there are many more.
8. Adherents of ur-fascism must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and power of their enemies. When I was a little boy, we learned
about the English as people who eat five meals a day. They ate more often than the poor, but the Italians were sober. Jews are rich and help
each other through a secret network of mutual support. However, the followers must be convinced that they can defeat the enemies. Thus, due
to constant shifts in rhetorical focus, enemies are both too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are doomed to lose wars because they
are inherently unable to objectively assess the strength of the enemy.
9. For ur-fascism, there is no struggle for life, but rather life is led only for struggle. Pacifism, therefore, means intrigue with the
enemy. It is bad because life is a permanent state of war. However, this also entails the "Armageddon complex". Because the enemies must be
defeated, the last battle must take place, after which the movement will take over the world. But such a "final solution" implies that an
era of peace will follow, the Golden Age, which is contrary to the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in
resolving this unpleasant dilemma.
10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism
necessarily implies contempt for the weak. Ur-fascism can only advocate popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best nation in the
world, a party member is the best among all citizens, every citizen can (or at least should) become a party member. But there can be no
patricians without a plebs. In fact, a leader who knows that his power has not been entrusted to him democratically, but that he has
conquered it by force, also knows that his power is based on the weakness of the masses; they are as weak as they need a ruler and as much
as they deserve it. Because the group is hierarchically organized (according to the military model), each leader in a lower position
despises his subordinates and each of them despises his superiors.
11. In such a perspective, everyone is brought up to become a hero. In every mythology, the hero is an exceptional being, but in the
ideology of ur-fascism, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly connected with the cult of death. It is no coincidence that
the phalanxist slogan was "Viva la Muerte!" (Long live death!). In non-fascist societies, the general public believes that death is an
unpleasant affair, but it must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is a painful way to achieve supernatural happiness. In
contrast, a ur-fascist hero demands a heroic death, which is declared the best reward for a heroic life. The ur-fascist hero can't wait to
die. However, in his impatience, he sends other people to death more often.
12. Because both permanent war and heroism are games that are difficult to play, the ur-fascist often transfers his will to power to sexual
matters. This is the origin of machismo (which includes both contempt for women and intolerance and condemnation of non-standard sexual
habits, from restraint to homosexuality). And because sex is also a difficult game, the ur-fascist hero tends to play with weapons - which
becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.
13. Ur-fascism is based on selective populism, qualitative populism, we might say. In a democracy, citizens have individual rights, but as a
whole they have political influence only in quantitative terms - the individual must obey the decisions of the majority. In the case of
ur-fascism, however, individuals have no rights as individuals, and the people are considered to be a quality, monolithic entity that
expresses the general will. Because the general will can no longer be expressed by the quantity of human individuals, he claims to be its
interpreter as leader. When citizens have lost their power to delegate their representative, they no longer act; they are only called to
play the role of the People. Thus the People become mere theatrical fiction. To show a good example of qualitative populism, we no longer
need Piazza Venezia in Rome or the Nuremberg Stadium.
Because of its qualitative populism, ur-fascism must be directed against "rotten" parliamentary governments. One of Mussolini's first
sentences in the Italian parliament was, "I could turn this barren and bleak place into a shelter for my manipulators." (Manipul was a
subdivision of the traditional Roman legions.) but only a little later he liquidated the parliament. Whenever a politician begins to
question the legitimacy of parliament because he no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell ur-fascism.
14. Ur-Fascism speaks newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell in his 1984 novel as the official language of Ingsoc, English socialism. But
elements of ur-fascism are common to various forms of dictatorship. All Nazi or fascist textbooks used impoverished vocabulary and
elementary syntax to limit the tools of complex and critical reasoning. However, we must be prepared to identify other types of newspeak,
even if they appear to be an innocent form of popular talk show.
Translated by -cp-
The full text of Umberto Ec from 1995 can be found, for example, here: www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/06/22/ur-fascism
Published in the anarchist review Existence No. 2/2016 on the topic of Fascination.
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