Reappraisals of Fascism

Reappraisals of Fascism

Reappraisals of Fascism

Reappraisals of Fascism

Excerpt

During the strife-ridden decade between 1963 and 1973, two terms that had largely dropped out of everyday usage in most languages experienced a remarkable revival: "fascism" and "fascist." Those words were, in fact, hurled about during that decade with considerable heat in an often bewildering fashion. Israelis accused Arabs of being fascists; Arabs denounced Israelis as fascists. Chinese Communists branded the government of the Soviet Union as fascist; the Soviets called the Chinese rulers fascists. Rebellious students in Western democracies labeled their societies as fascist, only to be charged in turn with being red fascists. Countless elected public officials in democratically governed countries were accused of being fascists. Nor was use of the terms "fascism" and "fascist" limited to the realm of politics. They were adapted as well to the sphere of esthetics, so that one read of fascist films, psychedelic fascism, and the fascism of music. Not even that most basic of human problems--the relationship between men and women--was spared, as charges were heard of sexual fascism. Whatever these formulations were intended to mean, the response of those persons at whom the terms "fascism" and "fascist" were directed was almost invariably one of enraged indignation. Clearly, these are among the relatively few remaining all-purpose, international epithets that still carry a painful sting--a fact that undoubtedly contributed to the conspicuous growth in their popularity during a troubled and anxious time.

By coincidence, at about the same time that the terms "fas-

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