History

Lessons from Weimar Part II

The previously mentioned bad elements of the post-WWII (West-)German political system were the weak presidency and the electoral threshold keeping small (and new) parties out and a very weak symbolic presidency. The president is not elected by popular vote and has little executive power. Executive power rests almost entirely in the government which relies on parliament (legislative power).

Lessons from Weimar Part I

The Weimar republic ended with the machtergreifung by the Nazis. This has obviously led to Weimar democracy being bot much derided and debated. Where exactly did it go wrong. Ironically, the Nazis themselves hated Weimar democracy, but virtually everybody now seems to agree that their alternative was worse.

In a way the Weimar republic got off to a bad start. The Allied powers had forced the German government to kick out the Kaiser and then to except the Treaty of Versailles. They created a republican government which immediately had to discredit itself.

Defining Fascism Part VII

While the original Italian described the twentieth century, the century of Fascism as a century of the Right, the official approved English translation described it as the century of the Left. Guess to Mussolini both were valid? Another version described it as a century that tends towards the Right. Doesn’t this just perfectly sum up Fascism.

Defining Fascism Part IV

The contrast between the massive failure of the Fascists during the 1919 elections and their strong performance in the 1921 elections is quite fascinating.
Both elections saw them trying to make alliances. In 1919 unsuccessfully with his former comrades of the Italian Socialist Party, in 1921 successfully with various secular nationalist moderate parties. In both cases the party presented itself as new and multifaceted and in both cases there was widespread turmoil across Italy.

Defining Fascism Part III

Through late 1919 and 1920, Fascism adapted to its electoral defeat by emphasizing the fight against the Marxist Revolutionary Socialists and later Communists that were an extreme threat in Italy at the time. This is how the Blackshirts became prominent. Fascisms presented themselves as the preferable alternative to the Reds. The Reds used violence for revolution, Fascists violence against the Reds (and other opponents). This gave anti-Communists the choice of embracing Fascist violence or fighting them as well.

Defining Fascism Part II

Fascism evolved as a heresy within Marxism into a competitor and mortal enemy. As such, anti-Fascism was initially strongly associated with Marxism, both in its Revolutionary Socialist and Communist forms. Anti-Fascism was based on its divergence from and betrayal of Marxism. As mentioned in the previous part, Stalin attacked Fascism on the same ground as Social Democracy. It undermined the class struggle by humanizing the Capitalist system and making it acceptable for the lower classes.