How relevant is anti-fascism today? Or should we all be ‘anti-extremists’?
Read the article here: http://www.irr.org.uk/news/anti-extremism-or-anti-fascism/
Here are some extracts:
First, fascism is a much more complicated and diverse phenomenon than it was in the 1990s.
Many of the homophobic movements (in western Europe at least) do not necessarily identify as fascist (though the picture is more clear cut in Russia and eastern Europe). Neither do the counter-jihadists. But just look at their actions: marching through Muslim neighbourhoods; spreading hate against Gays; and threatening politicians who support progressive legislation. All this might lead us to conclude that self-definition is not the only measure of fascism.
Second, the climate today – with the European-wide assault on multiculturalism by centre-right politicians and the embedded presence within the electoral process of extreme-Right and anti-immigrant movements – is much more fertile for fascism than at any time I can recall since I first started researching the far Right in different European contexts in 1992.
Generally speaking, since the war, fascism has been defined as ‘any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism’ (Collins). Anti-fascism, therefore, was tacitly accepted as an ethical movement to uphold democracy and liberalism and the rights of national and other minorities which might be under attack. One would think that, though the exact circumstances of fascism and anti-fascism might change over time, the basic tenets would not. But this is not the case.
In government, policy and academic circles it is now the fashion to reduce fascism to extremism, which exists at both ends of the political spectrum – on a line from far-left to far-right, as well as within minority cultures and religions (ie Islam) themselves.