By Farooq Tariq
Mathews N Lyons, an independent researcher and scholar on reactionary movements, has defined fascism as: “… a form of extreme right wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasises a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a ‘spiritual revolution’ against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge ‘alien’ forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide”.
Various forms of new fascism have emerged worldwide during the last 30 years. Among them are the Taliban and co. One of the first consequences of the phenomenal destabilising power of capitalist globalisation is the spectacular rise of new fascisms with a potential mass base. Some take relatively classical forms, like the Golden Dawn in Greece, situating themselves in new xenophobic and identity-based reflexes.
But the phenomenon that is now dominant is the assertion of fascist currents with religious references – and not with people/state, race and nation. These now pose a considerable threat in countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sri Lanka and several other African and Asian countries.
The Muslim world does not have a monopoly in this field; but it is certainly in the Muslim world that this has taken on a particular international dimension, with ‘trans-border’ movements like the Islamic State or the Taliban with their mass presence in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and networks that are connected more or less formally from Morocco to Indonesia and even in the south of Philippines.
Fascist movements are not organically related to ‘big capital’ as was the case in Nazi Germany, but they exert fascist terror, including in daily life. Where they exist, they occupy the ‘political niche’ of fascism – and they pose new political problems for our generations of anti-fascist resistance on a large scale.