Right-Wing Populism, Authoritarianism, and Fascism

Submitted to State of Nature:
http://www.stateofnatureblog.com

Fascism is making a comeback in many countries, primarily through its pre-cursor form of right-wing populism. Not all right-wing populist movements develop into full-blown fascism; and most fascist movements fail to grab and hold onto state power. Yet the rhetoric of right-wing populism is itself dangerous because it identifies scapegoats who are blamed for causing the decline of the nation, and the humiliation of the “real” people who are the “legitimate” and “proper” citizens.

Griffin defines fascism as:

… a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the “people” into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence (1991 xi).

Matthew N. Lyons and I wrote a book in 2000 about right-wing populism in the United States. Our analysis flowed from the work of many scholars, especially Canovan (1980), Fritzsche (1990), Griffin (1991, 1993), Betz (1994), and Kazin (1995). Since then scholars and activist researchers have expanded earlier analyses linking populist rhetoric to apocalyptic aggression, violence, and fascism.

Neofascism remains woefully undertheorized.  Too many influential public intellectuals rely on language blaming “extremists” and “hate groups” instead of focusing on structural inequalities in a nation based on race, gender, and class. For current useful analysis see Cas Mudde, Ian Haney López, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser.

-Chip Berlet, December 2017

(To share these cites and resources here on this page: bit.ly/2nlOzrw)


Populism

Right-Wing Populism in America

Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New York: Guilford.

Overview: Key Characteristics of Right-Wing Populism

Producerist White Nationalism

Demonization & Scapegoating

Conspiracism

Apocalyptic Narratives and Millennial Visions

Sadopopulism: Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOjJtEkKMX4

This is an amazing and erudite analysis in plain English by Timothy Snyder. . Snyder coins the term “Sadopopulism” to describe Trump and Putin. It works across political boundaries to describe oligarchic reframing of winners and losers–even when the “winners” are actually still losers. At least they (the White middle class and White upper working class) are better than the lazy, sinful, subversive moochers and takers pulling America down toward ruin. Classic populist “producerism” with a new venal spin.

Fascism as a form of “Political Religion”
or Apocalyptic Millenarianism

(Note: The term “political religion” does not refer to religious movements involved in politics, but political movements that adopt the core concept that their political movement is in an apocalyptic/millennialist struggle against evil).

Griffin, Roger.  2004. “Introduction: God’s Counterfeiters? Investigating the Triad of Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion.” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 5:291-325.

Griffin, Roger, ed. 2005. Fascism, Totalitarianism, and Political Religion, London: Routledge.

Feldman, Matthew, Marius Turda, and Tudor Georgescu. 2008. Clerical fascism in interwar Europe. London: Routledge.


References

Betz, Hans–Georg. 1994. Radical Right–wing Populism in Western Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Canovan, Margaret. 1980. Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,

Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in  Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press.

Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Kazin, Michael. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Authors Cited as Recommended:

Haney-Lopez, Ian. 2015. Dog whistle politics: how coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class.

Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2012. Populism in Europe and the Americas: threat or corrective for democracy? New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mudde, Cas. 2014. Youth and the extreme right. New York [etc.]: Internatonal Debate Education Association.

Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2017. Populism: a very short introduction.


Complete Set of Resources

Berlet, Chip, and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (New York: Guilford)

Berlet, Chip. 2005. “Christian Identity: The Apocalyptic Style, Political Religion, Palingenesis and Neo-Fascism,” in Roger Griffin, ed., Fascism, Totalitarianism, and Political Religion, London: Routledge.

Berlet, Chip, 2008, “The United States: Messianism, Apocalypticism, and Political Religion.” In Roger Griffin, R., Feldman, M., and Tortice, J. (Eds.), The Sacred in Twentieth Century Politics: Essays in Honour of Professor Stanley G. Payne, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 221-257.

Betz, Hans–Georg. 1994. Radical Right–wing Populism in Western Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Betz,  Betz, Hans–Georg, and Immerfall, eds. 1998. The New Politics of the Right: Neo–Populist Parties and Movements in Established Democracies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Canovan, Margaret. 1980. Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Coogan. Kevin. 1999. Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International Brooklyn. NY: Autonomedia; [especially 532-564].

Eatwell, Roger. 1992. “Towards a New Model of Generic Fascism.” Journal of Theoretical Politics vol. 4. no. 2.

Eatwell, Roger 1996. “On Defining the ‘Fascist Minimum.’ the Centrality of Ideology.” Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 1. no. 3; [especially 303-319].

Eatwell, Roger. 1996. Fascism: A History New York: Allen Lane; [especially 245-347].

Feldman, Matthew, Marius Turda, and Tudor Georgescu. 2008. Clerical fascism in interwar Europe. London: Routledge.

Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in  Weimar Germany. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fritzsche, Peter. 1998. Germans into Nazis. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Griffin, Roger, ed. 1998. International Fascism: Theories. Causes. and the New Consensus London: Arnold.

Griffin, Roger. 2000. “Interregnum or Endgame? Radical Right Thought in the ‘Post-fascist’ Era.” Journal of Political Ideologies. Summer. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248966473_Interregnum_or_endgame_The_radical_right_in_the_%27post-fascist%27_era

Griffin, Roger.  2003. “From Slime Mould to Rhizome: an Introduction to the Groupuscular Right.” Patterns of Prejudice 37:27-50.

Griffin, Roger.  2004. “Introduction: God’s Counterfeiters? Investigating the Triad of Fascism, Totalitarianism and Political Religion.” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 5:291-325.

Griffin, Roger, ed. 2005. Fascism, Totalitarianism, and Political Religion, London: Routledge.

Griffin, Roger, Matthew Feldman, and John Tortice, eds., 2008. The Sacred in Twentieth Century Politics: Essays in Honour of Professor Stanley G. Payne, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haney-Lopez, Ian. 2015. Dog whistle politics: how coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class.

Kazin, Michael. 1995. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Laqueur, Walter. 1996. Fascism: Past. Present. Future. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press; [especially 93-144]

Lee, Martin A. 1997. The Beast Reawakens. Boston: Little, Brown.

Mosse; George L. 1985. Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Fascism. Madison. WI, University of Wisconsin Press.

Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2012. Populism in Europe and the Americas: threat or corrective for democracy? New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mudde, Cas. 2014. Youth and the extreme right. New York [etc.]: Internatonal Debate Education Association.

Mudde, Cas, and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. 2017. Populism: a very short introduction.

Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism 1914-45. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press; [especially 496-520].