‘Left-Wing Fascism’ in Theory and Practice

  • Philip M. Coupland


Although there have been more nuanced interpretations available from the left, the conceptualisation of fascism within the labour movement has often more or less reflected the 1930s dogma that it was, or aspired to be: the ‘terrorist dictatorship of capitalism in extreme decay’.2 In recent years the theorisation of fascism has undergone a significant transformation with Roger Griffin and others arguing that fascist parties cannot be seen simply as an agency of a bourgeoisie, nor their ideology merely as a front for ‘class interest’.3 This so-called ‘liberal’ approach has in turn been criticised. For example, David Renton has argued against seeing ‘fascism as being simply a set of ideas, observable in the discussion of intellectuals’, instead stressing that ‘fascism should be understood historically, through an examination of the relationship between its professed ideas and its actual practice, which involves looking at what it did at least as much at what it said’.4 Although the work that Renton upbraids does not generally present fascism as a ‘positive movement’,5 his emphasis on the need to examine both language and action is a valid one and, given the stress on the power of ‘discourse’ in contemporary historiography, perhaps timely.


Trade Union Labour Movement Labour Party File Movement British Worker 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Philip M. Coupland

There are no affiliations available

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