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The "new kind of fascism"
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, August 31, 2006

"George Orwell once remarked that "fascism" no longer seemed to mean much of anything, other than "objectionable"."

So says the Wikipedia entry on "neo-fascism". I think that's a pretty fair summary of how the term is being melded with another identifier/modifier: "Islamic". For most it is a better description in terms of an enemy than "terrorist" or the war in which we're engaged as "The War on Terror". As many have pointed out in the past, terror is a technique or weapon, it is not an ideology or an enemy, per se. And, of course, such a broad and non-specific term leaves the US open to charges that it really isn't fighting a war on terror or we'd be in Sri Lanka, Africa and other places where terrorists are present.
Conservative commentators have long talked about "Islamo-fascism." Depicting the struggle as one against Islamic fascists is "an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms."
Neo-fascism itself refers to and "usually includes nationalism, nativism, anti-communism and various oppositions to parliamentary system and liberal democracy."

Add a little theocracy to the mix and you're fairly close.

Of course Muslims, understandably, don't agree:
But Muslim groups have cried foul. Bush's use of the phrase "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community," complained Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Interestingly they've not come up with a better description, nor do I really expect them to try. But in reality, the combination of Islam and fascism/fascist seems to be a better descriptor than does "terrorist". And it differentiates the whole of Islam from this particular group. Just as "Christian fundamentalist" is usually used to differentiate that group from the whole of Christianity. There is a certain mental association made when the phrase Christian fundamentalist is used that doesn't apply to the Methodist Church down the road (well, unless they're building bombs in the basement and plan on world domination - but wouldn't that then make them "Christian fundamentalists"? Oh, never mind.).
"The 'war on terror' has always been a misnomer, because terrorism is an instrument, it's not an ideology. So I would always have preferred it to be called the 'war with radical Islam,' not with Islam but with 'radical Islam,'" Ross said.

Why even mention the religion? "Because that's who they are," Ross said. "Fascism had a certain definition. Whether they meet this or not, one thing is clear ... they represent a completely radical and intolerant interpretation of Islam."
Ross makes a key point. It isn't that anyone else is identifying these radicals with Islam. They are self-identifying with Islam. It is a valid descriptor. We can argue the efficacy of "fascist" if you want, but it is hard to escape "Islam" being a part of who they think they are and represent.

So why fascism? Well the theories abound:
While "fascism" once referred to rigid, nationalistic one-party dictatorship, it has "been used very loosely in all kinds of ways for a long time," said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Typically, the Bush administration finds its vocabulary someplace in the middle ground of popular culture. It seems to me that they're trying to find something that resonates, without any effort to really define what they mean," Fields said.

Pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said the "fascist" label may evoke comparisons to World War II and remind Americans of the lack of personal freedoms in fundamentalist countries. "But this could only affect public opinion on the margins," he said.

"Having called these people 'evildoers,' fascism is just a new wrinkle," he said.
Or, again citing George Orwell, it simply has come to mean something objectionable (or bad or totalitarian). For me the term works. For CAIR it doesn't. Until they can manage to come up with a better description of the enemy we face, I think it will do.
 
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I asked this in the thread below, but it fits better here.

I have been looking around, without success, to see if I could find some quotes of any of any of the Democrats (preferably the more ranking ones (Dean, Kerry, Kennedy, Reid, Clinton, Pelosi, Boxer etc)) using the term Islamofascist, or Islamic Fascist.
Can anyone here link to any?
Thanks.
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
err... we are in Africa.

And many other places where terrorism has a more global reach, or the potential to spread globaly.

I found this article series a couple weeks back when Bush first used the phrase "Islamofacism"

www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK05Ak01.html

www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html

www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL04Ak01.html

www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL05Ak01.html
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
I’ve used Islamo-Fascist a number of times, but truthfully I worry about the term...It’s as if we have to RE-FIGHT the Second World War, here (I’m not arguing that it isn’t a fight of the same scope and importance). We fought the Fascists then and we need to fight them, again? Not every enemy prior to 1941 was Johnny Reb or Billy Yank or "The Injuns". We don’t have to give our foes the name "Fascist" do we?

Plus "Fascism" kind of comes with a fixed meaning, yes it’s anti-Liberal, but so is Marxism, and corporatist, and yes Islamic fundamentalists are at least rhetorically opposed to Western materialism and Capitalism (though they seem to like it for THEMSELVES), BUT it was a NATIONALISTIC dogma. Fascism was socialism for a STATE or Volk. Yes it seems a semantic quibble, but is Al-Quaida REALLY Fascist? It appeals to Sunni’s AROUND THE WORLD, just as Iran seeks to spread the Shi’i Revolution Worldwide. They seem more like MARXISM to me, anti-Liberal, corporatist, anti-materialistic, anti-capital only substituting the Umma or Ulema for the Proletarians.

Bottom-Line: Is it REALLY Fascism or are we just reliving an old enemy and doing what the Left does, saying "Fascist" to mean someone with whom we disagree?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Corrected links...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK05Ak01.html
Fascist Nazi history need not be dwelt on further here. It led to the horrors and destruction of World War II and the Holocaust. Neo-Nazism, whether in Europe or the US, remains a terrorist threat and - as the French Le Pen version demonstrated in parliamentary elections this year - retains a measure of political clout. It is nonetheless a boxed-in niche force with little capability for break-out. Its ideological twin, Islamism, by sharp contrast, has every chance for wreaking escalating world-wide havoc based on its fast-growing influence among the world’s more than one billion Muslims. Immediately following September 11 last year, US President George W Bush declared war on terrorism. It’s a catchy phrase, but a serious misnomer all the same. Terrorism is a method of warfare, not the enemy. The enemy is Islamism.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL04Ak01.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DL05Ak01.html
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Raymond Kraft at Pedestrian Infidel offers the term "puritanical Islam". Seems similar to our usage of fundamental Christian.


"And in this age it is the Islamic Resistance Movement, the voices of Puritanical Islam, the Islam of Jihad against the Unbelievers and Infidels, all the Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, the Liberal Democracies, and all the others, that define Islam for the world."

http://pedestrianinfidel.blogspot.com/2006/08/islam-versus-civilization.html
 
Written By: Mike Roark
URL: http://
Mike,

Good to see you here.

Joe,

It works for me. Al Qaeda fits less comfortably until you see their collaboration with the Taliban, who were fascists. Religious fascist groups are quite common and were a important component of the fascism of the 30’s. The Romanian fascists and Franco being two cases in point. Iran is also a clear example of a religious fascist state. Al Qaeda may not have a particular state in mind, but that they would set up a religious fascist state doesn’t seem to be in question.

It should also be pointed out time and time again that the ideology of the various fascist movements (including Baathism) in the Middle East were developed, and heavily influenced by Mussolini, during the fascist era in Europe. The people they studied, referred to, and at times openly claimed were their influences were fascist.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Here is a good book if you want to understand fascism:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300078277/103-2934591-3135025?v=glance&n=283155

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Omran Salman offers this
It is wrong to argue so much over terminology and image that we lose sight of the real threat: Extremists who find motivation in religion to preach intolerance and wage war against Western values and peoples.
 
Written By: Mike Roark
URL: http://
Technically I have to agree that fascism is not the correct term. What we are seeing is both a religious and a political movement. It is an international movement rather than a national movement. However, it is close enough to fascism that it doesn’t matter
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
We need to face the following questions:

* Can we truly afford to believe that a term which was coined purely to conflate Saddam and Bin Ladin has any value at all?
* Can we really continue to think that deliberately alienating moderate muslims is a good idea?
* Can we truly afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are the equivalent of the Wehrmacht?
* And can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America’s enemies are one undiferentiated group?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
* Can we really continue to think that deliberately alienating moderate muslims is a good idea?
What moderate Muslims are we alienating and how are we alienating them? Are we alienating them by removing a dictator who murdered his fellow Muslims? Are we alienating them by fighting back against terrorists? If so, they don’t sound too moderate to me.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
What I find strange is that many would prefer to have an academic argument over whether a particular term is best suited to describe the struggle we are in.

As if that’s going to win the war.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Yeah,

Keith did you see my second comment over at Inactivist where they are discussing this? Same thing in ten thousand more words. Typical I am afraid, but I am with you.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
What I find strange is that many would prefer to have an academic argument over whether a particular term is best suited to describe the struggle we are in.

As if that’s going to win the war.

Without understanding WHAT our enemy is we can not defeat him.

Therefore, I say: Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated.
When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.
If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What I find strange is that many would prefer to have an academic argument over whether a particular term is best suited to describe the struggle we are in.

As if that’s going to win the war.
Well heck, Keith, let’s just call it the "War on Terrorists" and be done with it. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Jordan, how odd that you would understand from my rhetorical question that I was accusing somebody of alienating moderate muslims. You must be native speaker of English or something.

As to who these guys are, I refer you to Spencer Ackerman’s post at "the Plank".
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Jordan, how odd that you would understand from my rhetorical question that I was accusing somebody of alienating moderate muslims.
You wouldn’t have posed the question if you weren’t accusing somebody.

Ah, so we’re alienating the Dearborn Muslim community. Who cares if they’re offended when we call fascists what they are? We’re distinguishing between the terrorists and moderate Muslims by simply using the term. Grow up.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Who cares if they’re offended when we call fascists what they are?
Um, people who want their help in fighting the actual terrorists?
We’re distinguishing between the terrorists and moderate Muslims by simply using the term.
Um, that’s not what the moderate muslims seem to think...
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Well Retief are you saying what? ALL Muslims must be OK? We distinguish between "moderates" and Islamo-Fascists, what other distinction should we make?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Um, that’s not what the moderate muslims seem to think...
Then I guess they’re a0 NOT moderates or b) overly-sensitive, because if they think we don’t distinguish or we are MEAN to them, they might care to ask a number of Nisei Americans.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Um, that’s not what the moderate muslims seem to think...
Tough. They’ll just have to deal with it then.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
How about Americo-fascism. It fits for the nation that imprisons more of its population than any other nation in history and 25% of the world’s prisoners in total.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
[L]et’s just call it the "War on Terrorists" and be done with it.
"The War on Enemies."

I think that covers it.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
How about Americo-fascism. It fits for the nation that imprisons more of its population than any other nation in history and 25% of the world’s prisoners in total.

Sure, as long as I get to run the Konzentration Lager or get to head the Glavnoe Upralevnie (Trudovik) Lagerei...oh WAIT. Daggone IT! We don’t have that....WELL, that’ll be the NEXT thing BusHitler installs, after he refuses to step down in ’08 after it’s PROVEN beyond ALL doubt that he, Diebold, and the Gray Aliens, fixed the ’08 Election. All the Jesuland Freakz with their guns, an’ Gay-Bashing will support him 110%, I’m sure.

William you suffer from BDS, but with time and therapy you can overcome and lead a realtively healthy and normal life.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I think Islamic fascism is an acceptable term. Fascism pretty much just means an authoritarian ideology, specifically a militaristic one, and "right-wing" (though I don’t think that term has much meaning).

Using the qualifier "Islamic" or "Islamo-" implies that the type of authoritarianism is fundamentalist in nature, rather than nationalist as is the case of ’true’ fascism.

I prefer the term Islamist, though.
 
Written By: JC
URL: http://
George Orwell once remarked that "fascism" no longer seemed to mean much of anything, other than "objectionable".
The same could be said of "neoconservatism."

If we had a super-computer that could scan the entire World Wide Web for each occurrence of the word "neocon" and replace it with a general insult like "doo doo head" or a nonsense word like "borogove" I suspect that we would change the author’s meaning in only about 1% of the cases.

Now that liberals have begun calling themselves "libertarian democrats" the word "libertarian" may also lose its ability to function as a real word.

I don’t particulary like the term "Islamo-fascist." I think one of the major coceptual problems that we have had in dealing with this ideology is the tendency to project limited political motives (i.e. "plight of the Palestinians") onto what is essentially a cult religious movement, and shoe-horning them into an ill-fitting political category only contributes to that.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
As tribalists they are certainly fascists, but in a default, generic sort of way. I prefer the term Islamist because it’s accurately definitive if not a little academic. "Muslim supremacist" would be just as accurate, but for some reason I don’t think it would catch on.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
"Islamic medievalism" is good...
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
What this search for new terminology means to me is simply that Bush looks for new ’framing’ every time he wants to rev up his party loyals. The result of constantly changing the name of the enemy is that it looks like we don’t know who the enemy is. Now that he’s openly admitting that Iraq was not connected to the World Trade Center attack, he still links the two every time he speaks. Agin, the result is confusion.
I’m more concerned about the ’If we don’t fight them there, we’ll be fighting them here" phrase. It soulnds as if we have to keep invading random countries in order to keep the fight at a distamce. Inspiring fear only works if you can deliver. Considering our much weakened position, this sounds like empty bluster, at best, and like open threats worthy of reprisal at worst. I would recommend the ’talk softly and carry a bg stick" approack instead. Bullies, even the merely verbal ones, invite ambushes.
Maybe the whole idea of addressing the nation (and, thereby, the world) in terms of marketing slogans is a bad idea. People recongnize a sales pitch for what it is. At this point, an honest discussion of our miserable options would be more than welcome; in fact, it’s necessary if this country is to survive in any recognizable form. We don;t want to have the war ’sold’ to us. We want an honest explanation.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
1 September 2006

His Royal Highness
Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud
Royal Palace, Riyadh, Saudia Arabia


Your Majesty,

With respect, your House is not in order. So much so, in fact, that a lot of us over here are having debates about what to call your trash.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
I think the better phrase is the WAMI, the War Against Militant Islamists (or Islmamism). One, because it recognizes we’re at war and that we’re at war against a certain brand of Muslims (fundamentalists who chose to take up arms against us). I wrote more about it here. I’m OK with Islamofascism if the fascism part of it is defined broadly enough.
 
Written By: Charles Bird
URL: http://

 
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