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Fascism and Dictatorship

A challenging synthesis of factual evidence and conceptual analysis.
Poulantzas’s book is the first major Marxist study of German and Italian fascism to appear since the Second World War. It carefully distinguishes between fascism as a mass movement before the seizure of power and fascism as an entrenched machinery of dictatorship. It compares the distinct class components of the counter-revolutionary blocs mobilzed by fascism in Germany and Italy; analyses the changing relations between the petty bourgeoisie and big capital in the evolution of fascism; discusses the structures of the fascist state itself, as an emergency regime for the defense of capital; and provides a sustained and documented criticism of official Comintern attitudes and policies towards fascism in the fateful years after the Versailles settlement. Fascism and Dictatorship represents a challenging synthesis of factual evidence and conceptual analysis that has been rare in Marxist political theory to date.

Reviews

  • “The first comprehensive work of this kind to appear in English.”
  • “A fascinating work ... A book that can be used as an encyclopaedia for those interested in class and fascism.”

Blog

  • Fuck Trump Reading List

    The outrage, fear and depression after Trump’s inauguration is palpable everywhere. Trump’s first acts in office, moving to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, signing an anti-abortion Global Gag Rule, and reviving plans to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, signal that he will be as dangerous a leader as we expected. The 2.9 million people who marched around the country as part of the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st send an inspiring message that many are galvanized to fight Trump’s hateful policies. But this is the very beginning of what will be a long and painful fight.

    We must never give in to despondency and futility, rather we must learn from the revolutionary movements of history and mobilize together against Trump’s regime of oppression.

    We present this reading list as a useful starting point for anyone sharing in our overwhelming sense of anger and despair at our present crisis, and anyone looking for hope and inspiration in the resistance movements of the past and the organizing strategies of the present.

    Download our free ebook, The Anti-Inauguration: Building Resistance in the Trump Era, here.

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  • General Propositions on Fascism and the Dominant Classes

    First published in France in 1970, Nicos Poulantzas' Fascism and Dictatorship was translated by Judith White for New Left Books in 1974. In their introduction to that edition, the editors wrote: 

    The victory of fascism in Germany and Italy in the inter-war period was perhaps the greatest defeat ever suffered by the European working-class movement. The exact social nature of the political regimes led by Hitler and Mussolini has remained a focus of controversy on the Left ever since. Much new scholarly research has been done in the last decades on Nazism and Fascism, and a large literature written on them by liberal sociologists and historians. Nicos Poulantzas's work, by contrast, is the first major Marxist study of German and Italian fascism to appear since the Second World War. Fascism and Dictatorship takes full account of recent advances in empirical knowledge of the phenomenon of European fascism, but seeks to develop a rigorous theory of it as a specific type of capitalist State — using many of the concepts formulated in the now standard Political Power and Social Classes. Poulantzas's book carefully distinguishes between fascism as a mass movement before the seizure of power and fascism as an entrenched machinery of dictatorship. It compares the distinct class components of the counter-revolutionary blocs mobilized by fascism in Germany and in Italy respectively. It analyses the changing relationship between the petty bourgeoisie and big capital in the evolution of fascism. It discusses the internal structures of the fascist State itself, as an emergency regime for the defence of capital, and it provides an extensive and documented criticism of the official policies and attitudes of the Third International towards fascism, in the fateful years after the Versailles settlement. Fascism and Dictatorship represents a challenging synthesis of factual evidence and conceptual analysis that has generally been rare in Marxist theory. 


    We present an excerpt from 
    Fascism and Dictatorship below



    In this section I shall first examine the relation between fascism and the dominant classes or class fractions within the periodization indicated above. I should at once make it clear that fascism is a very complex phenomenon: it can only be explained by elucidating its relation to the various classes in struggle. Nevertheless, it corresponds to a very particular situation of the various dominant classes and class fractions.

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  • "Le Corbusier’s Ideal is a Barracks"

    While the Pompidou Centre is paying homage to Le Corbusier, a group of historians and writers reminds us that his works were coloured throughout by his totalitarian and fascist views. First published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder. 

    From Corbusier's Le Modulor 1.  

    At the same moment that the Pompidou Centre inaugurated its exhibition on Le Corbusier in April 2015, there appeared three books looking back to the architect’s fascist propensities. Startled as reality suddenly broke through, the organisers decided to refer the question to a conference that would be held in late 2016, as did indeed take place on 23-24 November of this year. However, certain authors very critical of Le Corbusier were not allowed to participate. And anyway, why organise a conference when we need only read the numerous writings of the author of La Ville radieuse to be struck by the constancy of his totalitarian intentions? The conference amounted to nothing more than a sham.

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Other books by Nicos Poulantzas