Disclaimer: After the most recent attack in Paris and the continuing struggle against IS in Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan, I notice the same arguments made by those unwittingly (or purposefully) apologizing for the violence perpetrated because of, in the name of, and motivated by some (if not many) of the tenants of Islam. The term “Islamaphobia” again cropped up all over the place and brought us back to the Harris/Azlan debate regarding Islam and the West. What I wanted to do was to see how this language sounded when I replaced “Islam” and “Muslim” with “Fascism” and “Fascist.” I chose Fascism because it is overwhelmingly dismissed and wholly discredited as a belief system by an overwhelming majority of people. To be clear, I am not a Fascist, and do not support ascist beliefs. I am using the terms as a stand-in because I would argue that religious views, Islam in particular, are similarly discredited. I looked into recent articles and “scholarship” on the issue of Islamaphobia and, I will admit, lifted some of the language to make sure I stayed as true to the way of speaking but only changed the descriptive nouns. All rights to those words that can be asserted are given, and I want to be clear that I am not lifting the ideas themselves but am more interested in how political language like this is used to confuse and obscure issues.
So what does it sound like when you talk about a different discredited belief system the way people today talk about Islam? Keep reading:
The Dangerous Rise of Facismophobia
A new and concerning trend has developed in the West as of late: Fascismophobia. This rising trend, a hatred or suspicion of Fascists, only serves to foster resentments against a tradition supported by millions of followers. This chorus of voices has said things such as “Fascism is inherently violent” or “Fascism justifies murder” and “Fascists are bad people.” However, other learned scholars have sought to understand this new trend, the fundamental flaws and the danger it imposes to democracy.
Recently a sociological journal defined Fascismophobia as racism, particularly a continuation of anti-European and anti-Anglo racism. Yet another recent report defines Fascismophobia as an attitude that incorporates the following beliefs:
- Fascism is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities
- Fascism does not share common values with other major beliefs systems
- Fascism as a belief system is inferior to the West. It is archaic, barbaric, and irrational.
- Fascism is a belief system of violence and supports terrorism.
- Fascism is a violent political ideology.
Fascismophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Fascist threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Fascist or otherwise). Fascismophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.
The popularization of the term ‘Fascismophobia” goes back to the 1990s by a right-leaning British think tank. Their report entitled “Fascismophobia: A Challenge for Us All” documented “closed” views of Fascism in the U.K., including perceptions of the belief system as a single bloc that is barbaric, sexist, and engaged in terrorist activities.
Recently an attack by those claiming to be Fascists in Paris has fueled an anti-Fascist backlash in France, with political leaders the world over trying to use this horrific act of violence to further a xenophobic and repressive agenda–all while claiming to stand for “unity” and “peace.” The mainstream French parties are all trying to conceal their responsibility for the social and political deterioration and the noxious climate in which we are living. While pretending otherwise, they are cultivating a xenophobic and racist atmosphere, fear of foreigners and people who are different. It is a breeding ground for hatred. They want to divide working people and subordinate them to their politics and to their social order, which causes the barbarism they claim to oppose. The epitome of cynicism is Marine Le Pen, whose main business is xenophobia and targeting immigrants and foreigners many of whom are Fascists.
These reactionaries have only focused on those who commit violent acts and have attributed those acts to Fascism itself, rather than the few who have committed crimes in its name. Writers on the subject ignore all the good Fascism has had on the world. From scientific development to modern means of transportation and communications Fascism is responsible for the technological world we live in. Fascism focuses on the family and the state and aims to put them at the center of citizen’s lives. Ignoring these positive aspects of Fascism by only discussing the worst of those who claim affinity to Fascist beliefs, intellectuals are presenting a distorted image of the millions of Fascists worldwide and the strong tradition they uphold.
Others have regretted employing the term ‘Fascismophobic’ as a descriptor of an anti-Fascist individuals or activities in the first place. Characterizing someone as a Fascismophobe implies that they are “insane or irrational,” and impedes constructive dialogue, obscures the context-specific roots of the observed hostility, and erroneously portrays anxiety about Fascists as a minority in society. The key phenomenon to be addressed is arguably anti-Fascist hostility, namely hostility towards an ethno-political identity rather than hostility towards the tenets or practices of a worldwide belief system.
The hard to ascertain definition mean Fascismophobia is usually just a shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Fascism and, therefore, to fear or dislike of all or most Fascists. In retrospect, it would have been as accurate, or arguably indeed more accurate, to say this definition was a shorthand way of referring to fear or dislike of all or most Fascists—and, therefore, dread or hatred of Fascism. In either case, we must consider the implications of this rising trend and the potential for resentment against Fascists to become more violent.
If you are like me, you are confused and disgusted by how this sounds. Isn’t there something to the beliefs that inform people and motivate their actions? Does speaking in this way make sense, provide something useful? It seems hard for me to find it, but I encourage you to consider the implications of this way of attempting to communicate something this important.