[ Intro song https://youtu.be/LiovUkBWOos ]
The idea of Fascism being anarchism is normally something you hear Marxist-Leninists say to discredit Fascism as liberal psychosis. It’s an easy way to discredit it, as anarchism is normally considered an incoherent joke ideology. Most may even laugh because of things like Anti-fa who’re mostly anarchists. The book Anarcho-Fascism by Jonas Nilsson is one example of such a joke with no seriousness to it. As it turns out, leaving ideological schizophrenia aside, the relationship between Fascism and Anarchism is much more complicated. Both Fascism and Anarchism technically fall into the same line of thinking. Both aim for a third position between leftism and rightism.
Moreover, Anarchism shares the same way Fascism splits itself into Nationally Organic movements that try to consolidate its own goals to arrive at a Fascist Future. Anarchism is a set of ideas that differ from each other not because their goal is different, but because of their methods and values. Just like how the Italian Fascists were different compared to the Brazilian Integralists in terms of methods and overall goals, so does Anarcho-Syndicalism differ from the ideas of Mutualist-Anarchism. They have their minds on the same end goal with a twist to their situation and views.
We must not forget that the roots of Fascism come from anarcho-syndicalist thought, and Proudhonian influence and national revolutionary organic movements and many of the ideologues and people close to Mussolini such as Nicola Bombacci or Ugo Spirito promoted policies based on anarchist ideas. The biggest misunderstanding of modern anarchist thought is to think that a Nation is the same as the rotten political State that destroys Nations themselves. The duty of every Fascist is to fight against the modern state of things, to destroy the State as a whole, and from the ashes that will remain, construct its own Fascist State where real anarchy shall arrive, not because men will be without rulers, but because men shall be the rulers and with the accumulation of power for every individual organically composing a nation, will men truly experience anarchy.
You even have some modern misconceptions such as the association with James Mason and his book Siege with the pure anarchist mentality in it. For the reason that the book cultivates violent and chaotic survivalism in an anarchist setting of accelerationism. However I have to stress that this has no relation to the broader topic of Fascist anarchism because of its strict adherence to a warped version of National Socialism. The only time Siege becomes relevant is in terms of tactical means through chaos. Moreover you have the group National Tempestist Coordination who put out its own Anarcho-Fascist Manifesto, which was actually dissected on the Futurism Forever YouTube channel. Showing more parallels with radical revolutionary syndicalism and anarchism. Koichi Toyama a Japanese Fascist activist who’s famous for his 2007 Tokyo gubernatorial election speech said this in an interview;
“It is said that anarchists have no vision and do nothing but destroy. The only way for them to find any vision is to find the possibility of Fascism.”
By taking up this topic I will be dissecting the interactions, influence, and overlap between anarchism and historical Fascism. We will see if the claim that Fascism has much in common with anarchism is valid or not. With this we will see what the actual narrative of Fascism is here regarding anarchism. Laying to rest if Fascisn was truly Anarchism or not.
French Fascism and Anarchism
[Transition song https://youtu.be/hQI53sM87Rc ]
Georges Sorel was a French Syndicalist theorist in the early 20th century. Syndicalism is a revolutionary ideology who believed that trade unions or worker unions would lead the workers into revolution via general strikes, then afterwards those unions would run the economy and society. While Syndicalism is not inherently anarchist but in its early years it was very much in line with Libertarian Socialism and Syndicalism origins begin with Anarchist thinkers like Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin.
Sorel was originally a liberal conservative but by the 1880s he would go on to embrace Marxism and Social Democracy then finally in the 20th century settling upon Syndicalism which Sorel would remain for the rest of his life. What made Sorel move to Syndicalism was social democracy’s lack of action and its failure in worker control of the means of production. What attracted Sorel to Syndicalism was its action orientation, the general strike, and its rejection of parliamentary politics.
These concepts would be major points of Sorel’s writings like Reflections on Violence and The Decomposition of Marxism. What Sorel would also stress in his writings was the ideas of Heroism, Martyrdom, and Myth. Sorel believed that these ideas would motivate the working class into committing and supporting revolution. What Sorel meant by Myth is not something that wasn’t real but a narrative or idea that would inspire the working class into revolution. While it had been a few decades since Sorel had abandoned Liberal Conservatism, he would always have social conservative tendencies and influences.
Throughout his writings Sorel would always give examples of the early Christians to get his points across on the importance of Myth and Heroism. Along with how their strong belief and martyrdom always helped to bring the church back. Sorel’s other major work was The Illusion of Progress where Sorel would state that “The Theory of Progress” is a “bourgeois doctrine” that is used to justify bourgeois rule and the suppression of the old system. Sorel is also very critical of the centralization of capitalist society, its destruction of family ties, and traditional values.
According to the historian and social critic Christopher Lasch, Sorel believed the superiority of syndicalism to socialism lay in its appreciation of proprietorship, dismissed by socialists as the source of “petit-bourgeois” provincialism and cultural backwardness. Unimpressed by Marxian diatribes against the idiocy of rural life, syndicalists, Sorel thought, valued the feelings of attachment inspired in every truly qualified worker by the productive forces entrusted to him. They respected the peasant’s love of his field, his vineyard, his barn, his cattle, and his bees.
Lasch would also go on to write that Sorel, Syndicalists and the Guild Socialists critique of capitalism carried real weight because it rested on the insight that capitalism could not deliver on the promise that made it morally attractive in the first place—the promise of universal proprietorship. Syndicalists and Guild Socialists saw that slavery, not poverty, was the real issue, as G. D. H. Cole put it. They saw that the reduction of labor to a commodity, the essence of capitalism, required the elimination of all the social bonds that prevented the free circulation of labor. The destruction of the medieval guilds, the replacement of local government by a centralized bureaucracy, the weakening of family ties, and the emancipation of women amounted to“successive steps in the cheapening of the raw material of labor, all achieved under the “watchword” of progress. Whereas Marxists accepted the collectivizing logic of capitalism and proposed simply to collectivize production more thoroughly, syndicalists, populists, and guild socialists condemned modern capitalism for profoundly conservative reasons because it required in the words of A. R. Orage, editor of New Age; “The “progressive shattering to atoms of our social system.”
These more conservative tendencies in Sorel ideas would lead him to eventually collaborate with French Nationalist and Monarchist Charles Maurras who was the leader of French Action. This interaction between the two and their followers would lead to a synthesis between Nationalism, Monarchism, and Syndicalism. Along with the creation of Cercle Proudhon which supported and expanded upon this synthesis. According to late historian James Gregor this would also go on to influence many of the early Italian Fascist intellectuals like Giovanni Gentile, Ugo Sprito, Enrico Corradini, and even Benito Mussolini himself who would state this on Sorel.
“I owe most to Georges Sorel. This master of syndicalism by his rough theories of revolutionary tactics has contributed most to form the discipline, energy, and power of the fascist cohorts.” – Benito Mussolini
When World War 1 broke out he would abandon his nationalist sympathies however would go on to support both Vladimir Lenin and Benito Mussolini stating;
“Mussolini is a man no less extraordinary than Lenin.”
It is a fact that the emergence of socialist, nationalist, anarchist and syndicalist ideas in France and their concentration is in the organization Cercle Proudhon, a political group founded by the anarchist theorist Édouard Berth and by the Maurists and former anarcho-syndicalist George Valois, both disciples of Sorel who would establish the basis of what some authors consider the first proto-fascist organization. Cercle Proudhon inspired a generation of revolutionary and nationalist trade unionists in Italy such as Michele Bianchi, Oliviero Olivetti, Filippo Corridoni or Alceste de Ambris who later helped animate Fascism.
According to the Jewish historian Zeev Sternhell, Cercle Proudhon proposed a new ethic appropriate to the alliance of nationalism and trade unionism, those two synthesizing and convergent movements, one from the extreme right and the other from the extreme left, which initiated the siege and assault against democracy. Therefore, the solution was conceived as a complete replacement for the liberal order. They wanted to create a society dominated by a powerful vanguard, a proletarian elite, an aristocracy of producers, united in alliance against the decadent bourgeoisie with an intellectual youth hungry for action. In time, it would not be difficult for such a synthesis to take the form of Fascism.
It would be worth mentioning that utopian socialism, especially the economic theories of the French anarchist philosopher, politician and revolutionary Pierre-Joseph Proudhon significantly influenced the economic postulates of different national-socialist theorists such as Rudolf Jung, Gottfried Feder and Marc Augier, being a socialist “Third Way” that coincides with the interests of Fascism, so mutualism would be another pipeline towards Fascism. Even to this day, National Socialist organizations such as the Spanish Devenir Europeo make mention of Proudhon in their theoretical training booklets as one of their referents.
George Valois and his approach, of particular interest, made the move towards defining the feature era as modernist and a tendency towards a fully planned, all encompassing, urbanism. In the tradition of utopias and phalansteries, we see with him how the Citée Française becomes a cornerstone of the fully re-imagined society, reflecting the classless and syndicalist ideals of anarchism. With Valois in Cercle Proudhon we see the link between Sorel and later Fascism with the blossoming movement in Italy.
Georges Valois also claimed the roots of French Fascism stemmed from the Jacobin movement. Mass populism and the complete structural destruction of the old order leading to an increasingly revolutionary spirit that would contribute to new political foundations. Communism and Fascism both have beginnings in the storming of the Bastille. The French Revolution was the taproot of modernism, No French Revolution, no Marx, no Sorel. The Jacobins, led by Robespierre, tried to turn France into a Rousseauian dream, where the people were possessions of the community and self-interest was suborned to the state “The General Will”, by destroying the Bourgeois class. The nation was romanticized as the one true myth, led by a militant vanguard elite.
The Jewish professor George L. Mosse argued in his book The Fascist Revolution that Fascism with the ideal of popular sovereignty as expressed by the philosopher Rousseau whereby the leader expressed the “General Will” of the people and manifested a new secular religion, that is, social control over the masses through official ceremonies. festivals, and imagery i.e. myth. Totalitarianism began in the modern era with the French Revolution. Rousseau’s “General Will” was an exaltation of the people bent by the Jacobins into a dictatorship in which the people worshiped themselves through public festivals and symbols, “the goddess of reason.” What Sorel called collective virtues, the consequence of the spontaneous acceptance of a set of principles by the members of a community, living in peril, led by heroes in epic battle against decadence and moral cowardice.
You even have the antisemitism of the revolutionary syndicalist anarchists who would help create the organization of Circle Proudhon. They pulled from Proudhon, Bakunin, and even Sorel. Justifying it on the grounds of anti-capitalism, anti-materialism, and argued that Jews were inherently an anti-national force of cosmopolitanism. Inside Anti-Jewish Trends In French Revolutionary Syndicalism by Edmund Silberner. Edmund argues that the criticism of capitalism was largely based on antisemitism. Édouard Berth besides being an anarchist, Berth is still considered an early instrumental theorist of National Socialism by Zeev Sternhell due to his connections to Rudolf Jung. Berth would say this in his essay Plutocratic Satellites:
“Positivism which created the regime of money, essentially a leveling materialistic and Cosmopolitan regime. Delivered up to France the essence of bourgeois materialism, the Jewish speculator and financier.”
Georges Valois, Philippe Lamour, and Thierry Maulnier all appropriated avant-garde aesthetics of Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and the Return to Order. They defined the “dynamism” of Circle Proudhon’s ideology in terms of Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s “Theory of Montage”. For them modern art was the mythic harbinger of a regenerative revolution that would overthrow existing governmental institutions, inaugurate an anti-capitalist new order, and awaken the creative and artistic potential of the Nietzschean “New Man.” Drawing primarily on the writings of Sorel, whose concept of Revolutionary Myth proved central to the Fascist theories of cultural and national regeneration.
Some authors and prominent figures of French Fascism such as Louis-Ferdinand Céline or Lucien Rebatet are considered as “anarchists” by scholars of the subject such as François Richard, in the line of aristocratic, elitist and anti-mass thinking close to anarcho-individualism. Céline, who was a staunch anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer, would state in a letter dated March 18, 1934 that;
“I am an anarchist to the tip of my feet. I was always one and I will never be anything else.”
Also the French collaborationist author and European Fascist enthusiast Robert Brasillach, defined Fascism as an “anti-conformist spirit par excellence, always anti-bourgeois, irreverent by vocation”, and mentions how his nationalist comrades, many of whom would go on to join the efforts of Fascism and National Socialism during the Nazi occupation of France, who were “anarchic by temperament” in addition to having an “innate penchant for anarchy.” In his 1971 book Fascist Romanticism, Paul Serant recounts an episode in which a young member of the Milice Française, disillusioned by the failure of the Révolution Nationale of the Vichy government, talks to Brasillach and he jokes that “in the bottom line we are Anarcho-Fascists”.
Together with his brother-in-law Maurice Bardéche, Brasillach published in June 1939 Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne, an account in favor of the nationalist uprising in which Brasillach would make explicit tribute to the anarchist insurrection in Barcelona of 1936 carried out by the CNT, referring to this event as the “representation of one of the most beautiful pages of heroism in revolutionary history of all time.”
Italian Fascism and Anarchism
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The German historian and scholar of anarchist movements Justus Franz Wittkop points out that anarchism is sometimes close to Fascism, and on more than one occasion it was transformed into it, as the vicissitudes of Italian avant-garde groups showed. It is worth mentioning that squadrist or Sansepolcrist Fascism was strongly influenced by the utopian socialism of the time, coming to be called a cousin-sister ideology of anarcho-syndicalism. It was during these first years that Fascism maintained certain ideological approaches to anarchism insofar as this was an alternative form of socialism to Marxism, solidifying the economic postulates of Bakunin and Proudhon in a National-Syndicalism that would later develop under the name of corporatism.
This can be reflected in what was the taking of the coastal city of Fiume (Rijeka) at the hands of the warrior-poet and for some proto-fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio, who after taking the city of Fiume with an army of patriotic legionaries and Veterans of the Great War would establish a transitional city-state under the name Carnaro Regency, whose constitution, written in collaboration with the revolutionary syndicalist and later Fascist Alceste De Ambris, combined ideas of anarcho-communism, corporatism and democratic republicanism. D’Annunzio would be interviewed by the anarcho-syndicalist journalist Randolfo Vella for the anarchist daily Umanità Nova during the events in Fiume, an interview during which D’Annunzio said he was in favor of a “communism without dictatorship”, in addition to declaring that “all of my culture is anarchic.”
In short, Fiume under D’Annunzio was a libertarian space for those who, intolerant of what exists, wanted to experience something daring and heretical for the bourgeois conventions of life, art and action. We are talking about a de facto anarchism, we would say existential, but not without specific references, for example, when from Fiume vehement proclamations and denunciations were written against Giovanni Giolitti, the architect of the arrest of the old Errico Malatesta, a historical figure of the anarchist movement.
It is well known that Benito Mussolini the founding figure of Fascism was the son of an anarcho-syndicalist blacksmith and worked as a journalist in his early career as one of Italy’s most notable anarcho-syndicalists. Mussolini himself, a member of the Italian Socialist Party, a party made up of different sectors of the revolutionary left of the time, would declare that;
“My socialism was born Bakuninist, in my father’s school of socialism.”
Mussolini’s father, Alessandro Mussolini, had been a member of Bakunin’s Anarchist International in Italy during the 1870s. The anti-fascist historian Gaetano Salvemini would mention that Mussolini’s socialist ideas had more to do with anarchism than with Marxism, since his ideological postulates, which also were close to revolutionary syndicalism, focused on Sorel’s revolutionary violence, and not on historical determinism.
Mussolini went as far to say this about Georges Sorel, whose ideas and criticism of Marxism influenced Fascism and anarchism alike;
“I owe most to Georges Sorel. This master of syndicalism by his rough theories of revolutionary tactics has contributed most to form the discipline, energy, and power of the Fascist cohorts.”
Mussolini, who had gone through an individualistic philosophical stage, even mentioned the Egoist and proto-anarchist German philosopher Max Stirner among his references, making mention of him in a 1908 article for a Romagna newspaper and then later in 1909 in Il Popolo d’Italia:
“Enough, ridiculous saviors of the human race, we laugh at your infallible finds of happiness! Free the way for the elemental forces of individuals, because there is no human reality outside the individual! Why not make Stirner fashionable again?”
The Polish historian Leszek Kołakowski has also argued it is a logical explanation for the interest of Fascism to follow the egoist ideas of Stirner in Main Currents of Marxism;
“Fascism was above all an attempt to dissolve the anti-social ties created by history and replace them by artificial bonds among individuals who were expected to render explicit obedience to the state on grounds of absolute egoism. Fascist education combined the tenets of social egoism and unquestioning conformism, the latter being the means by which the individual secured his own niche in the system. Stirner’s philosophy has nothing to say against conformism, it only objects to the Ego being subordinated to any higher principle: the egoist is free to adjust to the world if it is clear he will better himself by doing so. His ‘rebellion’ may take the form of utter servility if it will further his interest; what he must not do is to be bound by ‘general’ values or myths of humanity. The totalitarian ideal of a barrack-like society from which all real, historical ties have been eliminated is perfectly consistent with Stirner’s principles: the egoist, by his very nature, must be prepared to fight under any flag that suits his convenience.”
This tendency towards anarchism of his was something that the reformist socialist Filippo Turati would reproach Mussolini for. On the other hand, Torquato Nanni, who was his first biographer and close friend, recalled how, as he was the then editor of the socialist newspaper Avanti, Mussolini had on his desk a copy of Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own. In addition to this, Stirner’s work would not be banned after Fascism came to power, as many might believe.
On May 12, 1918, Mussolini declared his distancing from any political or trade union movement:
“It is my individualistic, rather anarchist, temperament that prevents me from doing so.”
He maintained that attitude even after the founding of the Fasci di combattimento, a movement he understood as an ‘anti-party’. The Fasci Anarchici Individualista are even established, to which the leftist Fascist Stanis Ruinas would belong. Still on April 6, 1920, the future Duce would write;
“Down with the State in all its manifestations and incarnations. Down with the State of yesterday, today, tomorrow. The bourgeois and socialist state. For us who are morituri of individualism, we have no more, due to the darkness of the present and the gloomy tomorrow, the absurd but always consoling religion of Anarchy!”
In addition, Mussolini would be a friend in arms of the aforementioned prominent Italian anarcho-communist leader Errico Malatesta, whom he would once refer to as “the Duce of anarchism”, during the events of Settimana rossa (Red week) in 1914, whom he had known personally for a year earlier during his exile in London. Years later, in March 1920, Mussolini interceded for Malatesta, denouncing the government for keeping him imprisoned and without trial for more than five months. In this regard, Mussolini would say:
“We are always ready to admire men who are willing to die for a faith they believe in selflessly.”
That same year, when the Liberal government tried to seize the materials for the printing of Malatesta’s anarchist newspaper Umanità Nova, Mussolini offered him stock of his Il Popolo d’Italia, but that offer was rejected. Despite his anti-fascism and his disdain for Benito, Malatesta was a figure deeply admired by Mussolini during the early days of Fascism, to the point that Mussolini would not mind “protecting” him as long as possible after he took power.
In this sense, Mussolini was preceded by other figures of Sansepolcrist Fascism from anarchism such as Maria Rygier, Leandro Arpinati, Filippo Turati, Fulvio Balisti, Guido Calogero, Mario Carli, Antonio Capizzi, Ferruccio Vecchi, Giovanni Papini, Massimo Rocca, Berto Ricci and a long etcetera. The last two had even suggested to “anarchize” the early Fascist movement:
Massimo Rocca who was an ultra-individualist anarchist author calling himself “anarchist among anarchists” advocated the formation of a natural elite of warrior-criminals in addition to defending the primacy of instinct over intellect that would end up joining Fascism in 1919. He became one of the PNF leaders and was a member of the General Council of Fascism, siding with the excess of squadristi violence but also attacking Fascist legalist conservatism as well as positioning himself in favor of what he called “Anarchic Statism.” Despite being expelled from the movement and forced into exile in 1922, Rocca would return to Italy in 1943 with the founding of the Italian Social Republic which he would serve.
On the other hand, Berto Ricci, a member of the intransigent fascist faction of Niccolò Giani’s School of Fascist Mysticism, had been a Florentine anarchist militant and writer who would go on to join the efforts of fascism in 1927. Ricci challenged broad sectors of the world. The culture of the time linked to a boring, limited and bourgeois vision of the homeland in favor of a revolutionary, authentic, youthful and Spartan nationalism, a vision that would later be praised by Mussolini himself. Ricci invoked a “perpetual revolution” that would fight those who had found a place in the regime despite having a substantially a-fascist or even anti-fascist mentality, bringing there, according to him, a bourgeois mentality extraneous to the spirit of the Fascist revolution. Ricci, from his ontological anarchism and his political Fascism, would affirm that;
“We do not love Hitler because he represents an element of order in Germany. We love him because he represents an element of disorder in Europe”.
It’s also easy to see why Mussolini loved Sorel who was the most prominent French syndicalist and supported militant trade unionism to combat the corrupting influences of parliamentary parties and politics, even if the legislators were distinctly socialist. Mussolini claimed that he had succumbed to revolutionary syndicalism by 1904 and would dedicate his time to carrying out Sorel’s mythical socialist revolution. This trend continued and by 1911, syndicalists in Italy had acknowledged that two important political currents had come together, forging a new proletarian nationalism and revolutionary socialism.
Others who took up this revolution were Edmondo Rossoni, Sergio Panunzio, A. O. Olivetti, Michele Bianchi, Alceste De Ambris, Paolo Orano and Guido Pighetti under the influence of Sorel inside the Fascist party. Sorel himself back in France also collaborated with similar Nationalist and Syndicalist organizations like Action Française and Circle Proudhon. Sorel’s syndicalism carries over to not just the French but even the Italian syndicalist movement. Thus animating the early Fascism of Mussolini who confessed “What I am, I owe to Sorel.”
The Jewish historian Zeev Sternhell, considered a leading expert on Fascism, asserted that this integration of syndicalism with nationalism was a factor in why; “Italian revolutionary syndicalism became the backbone of Fascist ideology.”
Source: The Birth of Fascist Ideology
Mussolini was one of the first to comingle the phrase Fascism with syndicalism, remarking that;
“Fascist syndicalism is national and productivistic in a national society in which labor becomes a joy, an object of pride and a title to nobility.”
Italian syndicalists viewed social revolution as a means for rapid transformation to provide “superior productivity,” and if this economic abundance failed to occur, there could be no meaningful social change. One of the means to bring about the social revolution was Imperialism to spur economic development. Which would attract many nationalists inspired by fellow revolutionaries like Gabriel D’Annunzio to the Fascist cause. The emphasis by syndicalists towards the importance of “producerism” was originally argued by Sorel in 1907, who argued that Marx considers that a revolution by a proletariat of producers who have acquired economic capacity. They were referring to when Marx reminded his colleague that; “material conditions necessary for the emancipation of the proletariat” therefore must be spontaneously generated by the development of capitalism. This is actually something A James Gregor talks about in his book Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship and it’s what motivated the original Manifesto of The Italian Fasces of Combat.
The Fascists believed with Sorel they found in Marxism a plan of developmental historic ends to bring about worker control of the means of production by direct action. Meaning the intellectuals of syndicalism came to the realization that Italy’s primitive economy could facilitate neither socialism nor abundance for society. Without a mature industry developed by the bourgeois class, they came to understand that a successful social revolution required the support of “classless” revolutionaries, collaboration, and war. Mussolini, along with Italian syndicalists, nationalists and futurists, contended that those revolutionaries would be Fascists. According to Mussolini and other syndicalist theoreticians, Fascism would be “the socialism of proletarian nations.” The Futurists, some of them close to fascism, were also talked favorably of by Renzo Novatore, a prominent Anarcho-Individualist writer and gunman who said this;
“Marinetti, censurable for his nationalism and combatantism, converges on anarcho-individualist positions on the terrain of state subversion and criticism of morals; the statism of the Marxist-inspired Socialists is more irreconcilable with the anarchy of Libertarian Futurism and Fiumanism”
Fascist syndicalists also became preoccupied with the idea of increasing production for abundance. Sergio Panunzio, a major theoretician of Italian Fascism and syndicalism, believed that Syndicalists were producerists, rather than distributionists. In his criticism of the Bolsheviks’ handling of their economy, Panunzio also asserted that the Russian Soviet state had become a dictatorship over the proletariat, and not of the proletariat. Panunzio argued that the Russian Bolsheviks had failed to adhere to Engels 1850 admonition about the dangers of trying to establish a social revolution within an economically backwards environment. Leading to a further split between Italian Syndicalism and International Socialism.
With the founding of the Italian Social Republic in September 1943, the Fascist leader and former Bolshevik Nicola Bombacci would name the Ukrainian anarcho-communist leader Néstor Makhno as one of his influences along with the Fabian Society and distributism for the creation of the Verona Manifesto, the political statement of the RSI on the socialization of the national economy.
There is also the figure of Mario Merlino, an author of Roman origin who on his youth in the postwar period during “The Years of Lead” was an enthusiastic member of the neo-fascist movement Avanguardia Nazionale, making friends with important figures on the scene such as Pino Rauti and Stefano Delle Chiaie, who in the late 1960s joined the Italian anarchist movement without denying his Fascist past, praising Mussolini’s black shirts as well as the anarchist revolutionaries in his texts.
This revolutionary nature of Fascism from its anarchist and syndicalist origins, was always inherently following the goal of its development for socialization. The economic policy of Corporatism for Fascism was in fact just Nationalized Syndicalism an inversion of Anarcho-Syndicalism. Leading people like Douglas Pearce to say this;
“The way I understand it is that, to paraphrase Mussolini, the Fascists are the real anarchists for they truly did do exactly what they wanted. Libertarianism and Fascism are bedfellows no matter how some people might find that repugnant.”
Spanish Fascism and Anarchism
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As with Italian Fascism, in Spain, National-Syndicalism or Falangism emerged as a reverse of anarcho-syndicalism, as a form of “nationalization” of the anarchist union, municipalism, and the agrarian community. The Falangist author Manuel Souto Vilas had the idea of adapting foreign Fascism according to the Spanish anarchist scene, giving Spanish Fascism the name of “National-Syndicalism” instead of “National-Socialism” (as Ledesma Ramos originally wanted it) after Spanish anarcho-syndicalism.
For the Falangist intellectual and introducer of Fascism in Spain Ernesto Giménez Caballero, National-Syndicalism had been the product of an anarcho-syndicalist formula from which his name and symbols were collected through this “nationalization” of the libertarian ideal, hence the presence of the red and black colors in the flag of the Spanish Falange imitating those of the National Confederation of Labor (CNT by its acronym in Spanish), the most important anarchist organization in the Iberian Peninsula.
Later, in his eagerness to get involved in revolutionary syndicalism, Ledesma Ramos, key figure in the founding of Spanish Fascism, described the CNT as;
“The only dissatisfied force that is ready to embody Hispanic courage.”
Ramos believed that an understanding would be brought about between the CNT and the JONS, the first National-Syndicalist movement which later merged with the Falange of José Antonio Primo de Rivera. Organically this did not take place, but under the protection of the internal tensions that unleashed in the Congress of the CNT in June 1931, and later with the thirties of Pestaña, some confederal members such as Sinforiano Moldes, Guillén Salaya and Llorente joined the JONS. Ledesma Ramos closely followed the development of the CNT efforts until the merger between Falang and JONS took place. Until then, copies of the Fascist weekly La Conquista del Estado were sold at rallies and meetings of the CNT.
Therefore, a clearly revolutionary, disruptive and close to anarcho-syndicalist program is clearly seen throughout 1931 and until the merger with the Spanish Falange in 1934 with the doctrinal proposals of Ramos. As an example lies his so-called article Extraordinary Congress of the CNT in which he states:
“Right now we’re running into almost one million members of the CNT. We are bound to seek it out and understand it and interpret it with friendly eyes. We must be together with the CNT, in these moments of immediate union battle, in these moments of weighing up social forces. This is how we believe that we are fulfilling our duty as architects of the conscience and of the next and genuine culture of Spain.”
Soon Ledesma Ramos would abandon his concern for the anarchist movement while José Antonio is passionate about its discovery and meditates in those decisive years of 1935 an alliance until he reached the emblematic Speech of “The Revolution ” before thousands of cenetists. It was at this time when in Malaga, Seville, the dialogue between FE de las JONS and the CNT was attempted. Diego Abad de Santillán, one of the most important figures on the prewar anarcho-syndicalist scene, writes this in his memoirs:
“How much the fate of Spain would have changed if an agreement between us had been tactically possible, according to the wishes of Primo de Rivera!, Explaining the cause of the anarchist defeat during the conflict. Wherever it was possible, the Falange tried to consolidate pacts and agreements with the CNT. The Falangist militant Patricio González de Canales celebrated at the time of concluding a non-aggression pact with the CNT in Seville.”
These attempts at rapprochement resulted in encounters with supporters of anarcho-syndicalism, some public and almost massive meetings such as the dinner between José Antonio himself in Plaça Reial, Barcelona, with several dozen members of the CNT. These events were almost always prepared by the Spanish Falangist poet Luys Santa Marina, one of the most exciting and enigmatic characters in Catalan culture of the 1930s.
The journalist Felio A. Villarubias explains it in the newspaper El Ejército on July 19:
“The Falange of Barcelona, in compliance with orders issued by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, had contacted through Luys Santa Marina and José María Poblador, with authentic CNT trade unionists, who are concerned about the politicization of their movement as an exclusive then union base. The contacts failed in the end because the FAI exerted a very intense ‘tagging’.”
José María Fontana himself seems to insist on this point:
“José Antonio was very interested in our contacts with the CNT. On one of his trips we had a talk and had dinner with a group of managers. However, the outbreak of the revolution cut off contacts. The conviction of the Falangists had by then been that it was possible to attract a good number of anarcho-syndicalists to their ranks that only the “national factor” would presumably separate them.”
These efforts continued even during the war, and an example of this was Marciano Durruti the brother of Buenaventura Durruti, the most important military figure in anarchist Barcelona before and during the war who, initiated a meeting with the Falangist in early 1936 and tried to mediate an alliance between the Falange and the CNT on his own initiative. Manuel Hedilla Larrey, the second national head of FE de las JONS, narrates in his memoirs as follows:
“I was in charge of creating national-union opposition cells within the CNT, the ones that proliferated during the war and of incorporating the Falange to the anarcho-syndicalists enraged against the Republic.”
After the Civil War ended, there were a few “authentic” Falangists who, frustrated by the poor management of the unification government, approached the ranks of the then clandestine CNT. Added to this, leaders of the Spanish Trade Union Organization (the only authorized trade union center of the regime) sought to integrate former members of the CNT into their ranks with the intention of tempering the Spanish political landscape. This was the case of the prestigious Catalan anarcho-syndicalist pedagogue, journalist and politician Ricard Fornells y Francesc who, after returning from exile to Spain in 1941, collaborated with the Trade Union to incorporate a good number of CNT exiles in France into the Fascist union.
Juan M. Molina, general secretary of the CNT, speaks in his memoirs of up to three hundred anarchists who accepted such a proposal. It means that they were considered susceptible to joining the National-Syndicalist, as Herrín says, “because of their affinities’ ‘. In 1945 a group made up of authentic Falangists aka anti-Francoists and fugitive anarcho-syndicalists from the CNT was formed and called the Syndicalist Alliance with the intention of formalizing relations that went back intermittently to the early 1930s.
Attempts like this also took place in the Revolutionary Syndicalist Front at the hands of the dissident Falangist politician Narciso Perales, himself who proposed to “reconcile” the anarchist ideas of Ángel Pestaña’s libertarian communism with the Joseantonian doctrine. It is during the transition that these efforts were revived after the Third Congress of the Authentic Falange in Zaragoza in 1979, with a good number of Falangists joining the ranks of the CNT. There is even the fact that a good part of the Catalan cadres of the CNT in those early years of Spanish democracy came directly from the FET de las JONS, gradually exchanging a considerable number of militants.
[ Use as transition song https://youtu.be/WLpoYlNm7jk ]
With this long overview of the historical overlap. This move from anarchy to Fascism is a dialectical proposition, it is the final understanding that us Fascists can do what anarchists want to do but far better. Like Bombacci once said, Fascism is the true realization of Communism. In the same way the claim that us Fascists are the Perfect Anarchists is not really a stretch, and if anything just showcases what many Fascists believe but are unable to simplify in a statement.
Fascists can do what liberal and Communist ideologies want, not only better but in their truest form. Fascism is Liberty, Democracy, Equality, Individuality, Collectivism, and a true State of Law, all at the same time. Fascism has fragments of every ideology for this reason, making it as Mussolini called it absolutely original. It is time to understand the origins of Fascism and to realize that us Fascists must be Anarchists if we want the current order to go away. In the same way Anarchists seek the abolition of the state for a new Anarchist state, the goal of Fascism is the same thing.
If anything I’d argue that Anarchism also seeks a new state, if we understand it as an entity i.e. people for Fascism with control of institutions and the monopoly of violence, both anarchism and Fascism will actually enforce a new state. It shall differ from the current one, but both will seek to be collectively organic and therefore revolutionary. We see it as well with Mikhail Bakunin and his involvement with various nationalist movements. Even his connections to the man who heavily influenced German National Socialism, Richard Wagner. Bakunin was even extremely antisemitic going as far to call Karl Marx a Jewish banker puppet. These connections become more profound even with how Proudhon influenced Otto Strasser and his Black Front.
Furthermore you even have National Anarchism. It adopts the elements of Fascism though it claims to reject it, it applies Fascism to anarchy I would argue. Some even being close to ideological National Socialism creating a localist based Folk socialism. With small local communities and racial tribes that have separated themselves from the modern state into a small homogenous society. They have a vision of replacing centralized nation-states with a diverse array of small-scale political entities.
Ernst Jünger’s concept of the “Anarch” is central to National Anarchism. The Anarch, is an ideal figure of a sovereign individual which evolved from the influence of Max Stirner’s conception of the Unique. This provides unrestrained syncretism for National Anarchism, allowing its adherents to assert they have transcended the dichotomy of conventional politics to embrace higher political forms that are “beyond left and right”.
Showing similarities to Else Christensen, an Anarcho-Syndicalist Third Positionist ideologue who wanted a society composed of racially homogenous Aryan communities. Describing her ideal social situation as “tribal socialism”, she envisioned a world in which white people lived in small, self-sufficient “tribal” rural communes. Christensen rejected capitalism, communism, and materialism, believing in the need for ecological awareness, a back-to-the-earth ethos, and sustainable production.
Showing parallels to modern National Anarchists like Troy Southgate and Keith Preston. Often National Anarchists adopt either syndicalism or mutualism as their preferred economic model. Many even argue in academic circles like Roger Griffin that National Anarchism is a radically anti-humanistic philosophy of elitism, ruthless struggle, and has contempt for those outside of the tribe but this just brings it to my final points.
Groups like the anarchists in National Tempestist Coordination seem to understand it like all Fascists. The goal of Fascism will always be Fascism, no matter the methods, be it a totalitarianism or anarchism, the goal is always the same. Power for the sake of power and collectivity for collectivity, a machiavellian strategy. This fixation of any means for power brings to mind relativism. The Geist of Hegel becomes in Fascism the state which intern was Stirner’s Eizgine and is therefore all of ours, a General Will. This is talked about in the book The Anarchist Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism by Stephen B. Whitaker. Essentially Fascism and it’s philosophy of Actual Idealism is a radical subjectivist form of idealism following the sophist tradition. Meaning Fascism will do whatever it must to exist and attain power pragmatically. Mussolini’s old Socialist mentor Angelica Balbanoff argued he wasn’t a true Socialist but a power hungry activist with a penchant for violence. This Machiavellian tendency mixed with an artistic use of violence like direct action, shows the true anarchist aspect in Fascism. Simply adding more weight to what Mussolini wrote in Il Popolo d’Italia, Relativism and Fascism:
“In truth, we are relativists par excellence, and the moment relativism linked up with Nietzsche, and with his “Will to Power”, was when Italian Fascism became, as it still is, the most magnificent creation of an individual and a national will to power. Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism, by intuition. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology, and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we Fascists conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable.”
[ Credits to co-writers Lizardi, Judas, and CSD. Writer Zoltanous HN for the script. Momo for audio. Ending song https://youtu.be/zorRzhEoNG0 Use this clip with this clip https://t.me/Zoltanous_Youtube/410 ]
5 thoughts on “The Anarchist and Fascist Overlap by Zoltanous, Lizardi, CSD and Judas”
I am a Stirnerite by orientation, influenced by American radical libertarianism, the medieval Holy Roman Empire, Georges Sorel, and a fan of Benito Mussolini and the Italian fascists. I often refer to myself as an anarcho-fascist.
The left anarchists don’t believe it’s possible (because they are leftists first and anarchists only when it suits them as a pose), the Normie libertarians don’t think it’s possible (because they’re liberal cowards), and most people probably think it’s a joke. But I am quite fond of corporative structures, the recognition of violence as the backbone of human society (even the cowardly ones who try to disguise it), and have nothing but contempt for equality and moralizing from the liberals and communists.
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It’s very inspirational article. I took so much pleasure while I was reading. If you have “The Anarchist Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism by Stephen B. Whitaker” pdf, please inform me. I’ve been searching the book for months.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s very inspirational article. I took so much pleasure while I was reading. If you have “The Anarchist Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism by Stephen B. Whitaker” pdf, please inform me. I’ve been searching the book for months.