Fighting Fascism From The Age Of Reagan To The Present
This movement has many of the elements we recognize as fascism. Fascism is a far-right political approach that offers what the historian Robert Paxton calls “compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity” to people obsessed with perceived humiliation and social decline. Historically, fascist movements have taken the form of militant nationalist parties that turn against democracy in alliance with elements of the conservative elite. They engage in “redemptive violence” to pursue “goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.” Although it may seem to have come out of nowhere, today’s American fascism has roots in a surge of far-right violence in the late 20th century. We have much to learn from the recent evolution of fascism — and from anti-fascist responses — to help understand far right violence today.