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sudikics
May 10th, 2009, 02:57 AM
I've noticed both here on the board and in the media the terms "socialist" and "fascist" are used often in a derogatory manner. For instant, at the April 15 tax protests, people labeled Obama a socialist. Do those people actually think that Obama is a socialist or are they just using the term because htey heard it on TV? Do they even knwo what socialism/fasicsm really are? Do they realize that their 19/20th-century counterparts would be rejoicing if they had a socialist leader?

Daruko
May 10th, 2009, 03:20 AM
Average Americans don't know anything about either. I know that much.

The Good Reverend Roger
May 10th, 2009, 06:42 AM
I've noticed both here on the board and in the media the terms "socialist" and "fascist" are used often in a derogatory manner. For instant, at the April 15 tax protests, people labeled Obama a socialist. Do those people actually think that Obama is a socialist or are they just using the term because htey heard it on TV? Do they even knwo what socialism/fasicsm really are? Do they realize that their 19/20th-century counterparts would be rejoicing if they had a socialist leader?

I don't see that socialist is an automatically negative thing. The Canadians seem to like it.

Fascism, though, is a government for cowards and bigots.

Dayve
May 10th, 2009, 03:18 PM
Americans tend to use Socialism as an insult simply because it's a different form of government to theirs, and a lot of Americans see anything that isn't done expressly the American way as stupid and wrong.

I would wager that the Americans using socialism as an insult know absolutely nothing about it, because you will usually see them linking modern socialism to Nazi Germany's national socialism. This is especially true for the Americans who used Socialism as propaganda against Obama, and i would say that those people especially know nothing about socialism whatsoever.

You only need to look at some of the other arguments they clung on to in an attempt to slate Obama's name, such as his birth certificate being invalid and he was a secret muslim who was going to institute Sharia law in the USA.

rmw
May 11th, 2009, 02:22 AM
I think in the US, there's a tendency to equate socialism with communism--and many people are still in a Cold War-propaganda induced mindset.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 11th, 2009, 09:31 AM
Heh. As a socialist (Social Democrat actually, but they're similar), I can quite reliably state that Obama is not a socialist. If he was in Europe, he's probably be in one of the Centre-Right parties.

And as for the Republicans calling him a fascist, all I can say is LOL. After eight years of rendition, war mongering and generally making the world a more dangerous place, there can be no doubt that Bush is closer to fascism than Obama ever will be. (Notwithstanding the deals his grandfather made with the Nazis, of course)

Cain
May 11th, 2009, 10:09 AM
Fascism means "government I don't like". In America, so does socialism (ironically, American writers, such as Jonah Goldberg have attempted to conflate fascism with liberalism and social democracy - to hilarious results. You have to understand that, in doing this, they are parroting Stalinist and Critical Theorist propaganda, which is far to the left of social democracy).

There are some good definitions of fascism, but very few. Robert O. Paxton and Roger Griffin have two of the best I have found, in academia.

Griffin sez:

Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.

And Paxton sez:

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

So yeah. That's fascism. There are other useful definitions too, such as Stanley Payne's "fascist negations", but I believe the above two to be examples par excellence.

As for socialism, I generally define that as a group of ideologies that aim to correct the percieved flaws of capitalism through ownership and collective use of the means of production by the working classes. This attempt at reform however can span the range from social democratic regulation of the most harmful practices of capitalist society and economy, or go through to full-blown revolution.

Of course, there is more than that, since you have a whole body of work that goes along with it, so you cannot look at just any one policy or sector and declare a group socalist because of its practices there. For instance, FDR said he wanted, with his reforms, to "save capitalism from itself" which to me, makes him not a socialist, but more of a social liberal (a liberal who accepts elements of the socialist critique, but believes actual socialism would not actually result in a better society and that capitalism is our best bet, and thus it must be reformed to ensure revolution does not break out).

Of course, I actually bothered to spend some time, you know, studying these things, unlike most people who throw the terms around.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 11th, 2009, 10:28 AM
As I understand, you've been to University and studied these things, and are currently studying International Relation, right Cain?

Cain
May 11th, 2009, 11:46 AM
Graduated, but yes.

International Relations doesn't actually place much emphasis on ideology at all, it has its own, entirely seperate theoretical constructs to work with. But I did a module on modern Ideologies, and have a rather extensive library on political theory which I read in my spare time.

I think pretty much everyone should be given copies of "A Short Introduction to.." series. The Socialism and Fascism books are not only fantastic, but compact, and easily read by anyone with no expertise in political theory or philosophy.

Cain
May 11th, 2009, 12:20 PM
International Relations doesn't actually place much emphasis on ideology at all, it has its own, entirely seperate theoretical constructs to work with.

To clarify:

The three main ideologies of International Relations are Realism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_realism), Idealism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealism_%28international_relations%29) and Marxism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist_international_relations_theory). Now, you can correlate these with certain ideological dispositions in political theory, namely Realism = conservatism, Idealism = liberalism and Marxism = well, Marxism.

But in reality, that is rarely, if ever the case. Neoconservatives are considered part of the Idealist tradition, the Israeli Labour Party under Rabin was decidedly Realist, and so was the Soviet Union. British conservatives in the 19th century were more aligned with international liberal/idealist thought, and China's foreign policy owes more to Sun Tzu and T'ai Kung than Marx and Lenin.

There have been attempts to bridge the gap. The problem is, however, reductionism. Political theory tries to deal with a single political community, with a monopoly on the use of force. IR, by comparison, deals with the entire world system, which is in a condition of perpetual anarchy.

A Fascist theory of IR would probably be one of the few to bridge that gap, since it matches its internal policies precisely. Exalt an elite, everyone else exists to serve them (or die), and perpetual war. But Fascism is a very muddled and incoherent political theory anyway.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 11th, 2009, 12:35 PM
Hmm, interesting. I'm doing my A Levels at the minute, so I'll be applying for University in the next few moths. I really want to get into the PPE Course (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) at Oxford, and I'll be doing International Relations there in my second year.

Cain
May 11th, 2009, 12:41 PM
I looked at that myself, but decided on St Andrews instead (terrorism being my main interest). PPE's very good, but hard as well as competitive. Aberwyswyth, Norfolk and Kings College are also good if you are looking in the area of IR, Security Studies, diplomacy etc.

Tsar Phalanxia
May 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM
PPE's very good, but hard as well as competitive

Yeah I know. I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get in. But I fancy my chances. I'm loving Economics and Politics at the minute, and although I've never studied Philosophy in depth, it's always been a subject that appeals to me.

Will.
May 11th, 2009, 03:04 PM
Crazy unknowledgeable people. Socialism is sometimes good on small scale levels... COMMUNISM is bad... not SOCIALISM, hell Canada's greatest prime minister was a SOCIALIST ffs... God forbid we give power to the people....

John for the win. Diefenbaker