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  1. 28 Jan '13 03:59 / 2 edits
    For almost all practical purposes, the term 'Fascist' has become a too generalized
    term of abuse, without any well-defined reference to a political ideology, party,
    or movement. The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) used to denounce the
    'Fascist insect' (as though insects held political beliefs) of American capitalism.
    Some Westerners who apparently fear and hate Muslims have attempted to
    classify Islam (or some kinds of it) as Fascist, inventing the term 'Islamofascism',
    though the repressive aspects within Islam and those of Fascism have different
    historical origins. (I have even heard Coors beer being denounced as a 'Fascist
    beer' on account of the hard right-wing political beliefs of Joseph Coors.)

    So I would suggest (though I doubt that most people will listen) that writers avoid
    using the term 'Fascist' unless it's necessary and relevant in a political context.
    Otherwise, the promiscuous usage of the term 'Fascist' tends to trivialize it
    (such as in the American pop culture usage of 'the soup Nazi'.

    Another factor to consider is that modern writers tend to deny, rightly or wrongly,
    that the term 'Fascist' should be applied to subjects of their political sympathies.
    As I recall, a biographer who's sympathetic toward Oswald Mosley, who was the
    leader of the British Union of Fascists, denied the Mosley was a real Fascist at all,
    seeming to argue that Mosley choose to appear like a Fascist out of expediency.
    In the 1930s, however, Oswald Mosley was proud to call himself a 'Fascist'.
    Many historians also contend that Spain's Francisco Franco was not really a
    Fascist, though some of his supporters (Falangists) undoubtedly were Fascists.

    Also, some people seem to believe that Fascism is intrinsically anti-Semitic
    and, as a corollary, all Jews naturally would oppose Fascism. This is a myth.
    Shorn of any anti-Semitism (at least overtly), Fascist politicians could appeal
    to Jews for much the same reasons as they could appeal to non-Jews.
    If Hitler had been able to discard his anti-Semitism, the NSDAP probably
    would have been supported by more than a few German Jews.

    "Fascism in Spain, as in Italy, was not developed as an anti-Semitic movement,
    and most of its chief leaders did not express anti-Semitism and even occasionally
    gestured against it. The Italian Fascist Party had a disproportionately Jewish
    membership--in that Jews formed a higher percentage of its membership than
    they did of the Italian population as a whole--at every stage of the party's
    development from its founding in 1919 until Mussolini's sudden adoption of
    quasi-German-style anti-Jewish legislation in 1938."
    --Stanley Payne (Franco and Hitler: Spain, Germany, and World War II, p. 213)

    'Smrt fasizmu, sloboda narodu!'
    --Stjepan Filipovic (22 May 1942, just before he was executed)
  2. 28 Jan '13 09:43
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    For almost all practical purposes, the term 'Fascist' has become a too generalized
    term of abuse, without any well-defined reference to a political ideology, party,
    or movement. The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) used to denounce the
    'Fascist insect' (as though insects held political beliefs) of American capitalism.
    Some Westerners who apparently fe ...[text shortened]... du!'
    --Stjepan Filipovic (22 May 1942, just before he was executed)
    it could be argued that language and the meaning of words is not fixed, its liquid. if critical mass is reached in the miss use of a word then the miss use becomes the correct use. it would seem the word fascism is slowly becoming a broader term for any person supporting right wing politics that are perceived to subjugate other social groups.



    no pasaran!!!
  3. 28 Jan '13 16:02
    In political discourse, particularly in the US, slogans are more important than actual ideas with content. People are fascist, extreme right wing, or socialist, marxist, communist, liberal, conservative. Some people on this forum have never discussed any actual politics beyond throwing around slogans like these randomly (you know who you are).
  4. Subscriber no1marauderonline
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    28 Jan '13 16:56
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    For almost all practical purposes, the term 'Fascist' has become a too generalized
    term of abuse, without any well-defined reference to a political ideology, party,
    or movement. The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) used to denounce the
    'Fascist insect' (as though insects held political beliefs) of American capitalism.
    Some Westerners who apparently fe ...[text shortened]... du!'
    --Stjepan Filipovic (22 May 1942, just before he was executed)
    I don't see anything wrong with using the term "Fascist" to describe groups that support policies and practices espoused by traditional Fascist parties. Here's a list to at least start a discussion:

    20 Characteristics Of A Fascist Political Party

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

    2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

    3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choicerelentless propaganda and disinformationwere usually effective. Often the regimes would incite 'spontaneous' acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and 'terrorists.' Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

    4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

    5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

    6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes excesses.

    7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting 'national security,' and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

    8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elites behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the godless. A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

    9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of have-not citizens.

    10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

    11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

    12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. 'Normal' and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or 'traitors' was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

    13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

    14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.



    Here are six more characteristics found in Umberto Eco's "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," from New York Review of Books, 22 June 1995, pp.12-15.

    15. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one follows the decisions of the majority. For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People. Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

    16. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show. [When fascism is employed in a society with democratic tradions, one strand of Newspeak is to use the traditional words, like "freedom," but to give them new meaning. This strategy is also employed when new programs are initiated. --Politex]

    17. [As opposed to Ur-Fascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an ap...
  5. Subscriber no1marauderonline
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    28 Jan '13 16:58
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I don't see anything wrong with using the term "Fascist" to describe groups that support policies and practices espoused by traditional Fascist parties. Here's a list to at least start a discussion:

    20 Characteristics Of A Fascist Political Party

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting ...[text shortened]... The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an ap...
    (Continued)

    17. [As opposed to Ur-Fascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.

    18. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

    19. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.

    20. [The Ur-Fascist leader presents himself as the heroic representative of the characterists of fascism. As such, his image is ubiqutous in the media, and is often photographed in costume in conjunction with images or people that represent the fascist characteristics noted above. --Politex] Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since even sex is a difficult game to play, the Ur-Fascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

    http://www.angelfire.com/teoi143/essays/20_characteristics.htm
  6. 29 Jan '13 00:05
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    For almost all practical purposes, the term 'Fascist' has become a too generalized
    term of abuse, without any well-defined reference to a political ideology, party,
    or movement. The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) used to denounce the
    'Fascist insect' (as though insects held political beliefs) of American capitalism.
    Some Westerners who apparently fe ...[text shortened]... du!'
    --Stjepan Filipovic (22 May 1942, just before he was executed)
    "Another factor to consider is that modern writers tend to deny, rightly or wrongly,
    that the term 'Fascist' should be applied to subjects of their political sympathies."

    I would say more bluntly that opponents of political groups use "fascist" as a verbal bludgeon, for its negative connotations, while most of them are pretty general and could apply to almost any group.

    Another similar term is "liberal" which has almost totally lost its original meaning due to its use as pejorative.
  7. 29 Jan '13 00:10
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I don't see anything wrong with using the term "Fascist" to describe groups that support policies and practices espoused by traditional Fascist parties. Here's a list to at least start a discussion:

    20 Characteristics Of A Fascist Political Party

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting ...[text shortened]... The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an ap...
    Without going one by one through this massive cut and paste, I will point out that almost all of the so called characteristics are qualities found in almost every type of government known to man.

    Just go go with #1, how many nations are not nationalistic? They all have flags, lapel pins and salutes. Need I go on?
  8. 29 Jan '13 00:45
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Without going one by one through this massive cut and paste, I will point out that almost all of the so called characteristics are qualities found in almost every type of government known to man.

    Just go go with #1, how many nations are not nationalistic? They all have flags, lapel pins and salutes. Need I go on?
    On the other hand, go with 8, 9 and 10, and tell me if you think Communist countries can be characterised in such terms?

    And most of 5, too - Communist countries were often relatively egalitarian about gender issues (and, in the Leninist phase, gay rights too). They often promoted family planning while fascist countries pursued pro-natalist policies.

    And as for 1, yeah, sure, nationalism is widespread; but it took a particular intensity in fascist countries compared to democratic ones. A lot of the other points, likewise, are partly true of many regimes, but especially prominent under fascism.
  9. 29 Jan '13 02:04
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "Another factor to consider is that modern writers tend to deny, rightly or wrongly,
    that the term 'Fascist' should be applied to subjects of their political sympathies."

    I would say more bluntly that opponents of political groups use "fascist" as a verbal bludgeon, for its negative connotations, while most of them are pretty general and could apply t ...[text shortened]... iberal" which has almost totally lost its original meaning due to its use as pejorative.
    "Another similar term is 'liberal' which has almost totally lost its original meaning
    due to its use as a pejorative."
    --Normbenign

    So would you assume that Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is left-wing?
  10. 29 Jan '13 07:02
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I don't see anything wrong with using the term "Fascist" to describe groups that support policies and practices espoused by traditional Fascist parties. Here's a list to at least start a discussion:

    20 Characteristics Of A Fascist Political Party

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting ...[text shortened]... The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an ap...
    Regarding 8 'religion and ruling elite tied together':

    While he nominally spoke of God (to appeal to his Christian followers) in some of
    his public declarations, Hitler evidently was an atheist. (When he was thinking
    of suicide, there's no evidence that Hitler ever spoke of expecting to face any
    supreme judgment in an afterlife.) Hitler seems to have had a low opinion of
    the Catholic Church, though he recognised the political need not to criticise the
    Catholic Church too openly. (The Catholic Church presumably was pleased by
    Hitler's draconian anti-abortion policies.) Hitler thought that Spain had reached
    its highest plane of civilisation under Islam (al-Andalus) rather than Catholicism,
    and he thought the worse of Franco for seeming too influenced by the Church.
    Like Marx (a German Jew whom he abhorred), Hitler seems to have regarded
    religion as the opiate of the people. Hitler did find it expedient to claim to be
    'liberating' Christians in the USSR from the oppression of atheistic Bolshevism.
    (Some ignorant Soviet peasants assumed that the black cross insignia on German
    vehicles meant that the Germans must have come in the name of Christianity.)

    Hitler was willing to tolerate (Christian) religious belief among his followers as
    long as it remained inconspicuous. There's a story that one of his best defensive
    generals, Gotthard Heinrici (who was appointed to defend Berlin), was once
    visited by a Nazi official who told him that his family's regularly attending church
    was 'incompatible with National Socialism'. Ignoring the Nazi threat, Heinrici
    attended church as usual with his family. Thereafter, according to Cornelius
    Ryan, Heinrici was promoted extremely reluctantly (only because his commanders
    kept insisting on it due to his superior ability) on account of Hitler's intense
    personal dislike. By the way, Heinrici also held a low opinion of Hitler, yet he
    continued at war because he believed that he had a higher duty to his Vaterland.

    To sum up, Hitler seems to have been a closet atheist who attempted to exploit
    religion in order to strengthen his grip on power. Prominent Germans who seemed
    too devoutly Christian tended to make Hitler uncomfortable and suspicious, though
    he did not necessarily act adversely against them. Hans Ulrich-Rudel was both a
    devout Christian (the son of a clergyman) and a fanatical Nazi, who was given
    (by Hitler personally) a uniquely high decoration for valour.
  11. 29 Jan '13 07:06 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "Another similar term is 'liberal' which has almost totally lost its original meaning
    due to its use as a pejorative."
    --Normbenign

    So would you assume that Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is left-wing?
    I would suppose normbenign is referring to US political discourse, where "liberal" has indeed become meaningless. Outside the US, it is a fairly neutral term which retains some meaning. Interestingly, from a European viewpoint, the Democrats' policies could be described as conservative liberal, albeit a fairly right-wing version of it (in terms of policies, not rhetoric). Then again, the Republicans would also be described as conservative liberal.
  12. 29 Jan '13 07:15
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I would suppose normbenign is referring to US political discourse, where "liberal" has indeed become meaningless.
    Outside the US, it is a fairly neutral term which retains some meaning.
    It's true that few American politicians today will accept being called 'liberal',
    while many American politicians love to proclaim they are 'conservative'.

    Japan's Liberal Democratic Party is not a leftist party.

    Years ago, I read George Dangerfield's book The Strange Death of Liberal England.
    Would many Americans wonder why anyone should think it strange that the
    liberal English would die? (Yes, I know that's not what the book discusses.)
  13. 29 Jan '13 17:38 / 5 edits
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Hitler thought that Spain had reached its highest plane of civilisation under Islam (al-Andalus) rather than Catholicism, and he thought the worse of Franco for seeming too influenced by the Church.
    I have come across scholars who argued that Franco should not be termed a fascist precisely because he tied religion and the ruling elite together - because fascism implied a desire radically to remake the existing social order. He designated Franco, instead, as an authoritarian conservative, whose goal was to strengthen the traditional institutions of his country.

    'Franco was not a fascist. There is an element of revolutionary politics in fascism, of wanting to provoke a dramatic change in society. That was not Franco’s intention: on the contrary, he wanted to preserve Spain from change… the debate as to whether Franco was a fascist is in many ways irrelevant, since the denial of Franco’s fascism has often been an essential part of attempts to legitimise his actions. The fact remains that his brutality matched or even exceeded that of Mussolini’ (Franco and the Spanish Civil War - Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses – Routledge 2001 p87)

    ‘In spite of the Fascist trimmings of the early years—the goose-step and the Fascist salute—Francoism was not a totalitarian regime. It was a conservative, Catholic, authoritarian system, its original corporatist features modified over time. It came to have none of the characteristics of a totalitarian state: no single party parallel to the state administration; after the early years, no successful attempt at mass mobilization.’ (Raymond Carr - Modern Spain 1875-1980, OUP 1980 p.165)

    On the other hand, here's a riposte:

    ‘…In the last twenty years, scholars have dwelt on the fact that Francoism was not Hitlerism…resulting in an increasingly widespread consensus that Francoism was never really fascism …Such an approach is understandable and unfortunate… An eagerness to exonerate the Franco regime from the taint of fascism can go with a readiness to forget that, after coming to power through a civil war which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands more into exile, the dictatorship executed at least quarter of a million people, maintained concentration camps and labour battalions, and sent troops to fight for Hitler on the Russian front…. the confident exclusion…of the Franco regime from a discussion of fascism cold only be justified if fascism is taken to be synonymous with Nazism at its most extreme, complete with racialistic bestiality. Such a view, since it leads logically to the suggestion that Mussolini’s Italy was not really fascist, is so rigid as to be useless.’ (The politics of revenge - Paul Preston Routledge, 1995 pp10-11)
  14. 29 Jan '13 20:24
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "Another similar term is 'liberal' which has almost totally lost its original meaning
    due to its use as a pejorative."
    --Normbenign

    So would you assume that Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is left-wing?
    I don't assume anything of which I know nothing. My point was the liberalism in the 18th and 19th centuries was not collectivist or leftist. It was individualist, exactly the opposite of what it has become in modern America.

    When Limbaugh constantly degrades "liberals", does he know that most of the founders were liberals, as were those that inspired them.

    The word has lost its meaning.
  15. 29 Jan '13 20:32
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    On the other hand, go with 8, 9 and 10, and tell me if you think Communist countries can be characterised in such terms?

    And most of 5, too - Communist countries were often relatively egalitarian about gender issues (and, in the Leninist phase, gay rights too). They often promoted family planning while fascist countries pursued pro-natalist policies.
    ...[text shortened]... other points, likewise, are partly true of many regimes, but especially prominent under fascism.
    You can go through the whole list, and find arguable points, which make the list itself a joke. The only useful function of it is that it illustrates what I said earlier, that fascism is a definition with considerable disagreement, and as Dutchess has observed is used by some as a pejorative, and others as a result don't want to be associated with it, even if they fit a legitimate definition.

    I know this will get No1 angry, but the entire legal profession may be considered fascist, in our days. We know that earlier in our history, men like Abraham Lincoln studied the law and became lawyers without the benefit of legal licenses. Now the government grants monopoly to lawyers who are members of a State bar.

    The protection of discreet groups and granting of monopoly power, is government control over that part of the economy, or means of production, a feature of fascism.