From International Socialism (1st series), No.101, September 1977, p.28.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
FASCIST movements today can be defeated. Fascism in the 1930’s could have been defeated. There is no inevitable historical force which marches forward independently of the working class. Most of both acacademic and popular histories of the rise of German fascism portray a sense of inevitability in the rise of Hitler, echoing the images of Leni Reifenstahl’s Nazi film The Triumph of the Will. For a contemporary polemic on both the strategies and tactics for defeating German fascism in the 1930s we must reread Trotsky. International Socialism republished some of Trotsky’s 1930-34 writings with the title Fascism, Stalinism, and the United Front in 1969; some copies are still available from Bookmarx at 30p. Also available are Trotsky, Fascism: What it is and how to fight it (Pathfinder 35p) and Trotsky, The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany (Penguin £1.50).
In addition there are: Daniel Guerin, Fascism and Big Business (Pathfinder £2.05), Vajda, Fascism as a Mass Movement (Alison and Busby £2.95) and Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism (New English Library £1.50). For a good interpretation of some of the problems raised in these, and other writings, dig out a copy of International Socialism 42 in which Peter Sedgwick wrote The Problem of Fascism as a review article on The Nature of Fascism ed. S.J. Woolf and Political Violence and Public Order by Robert Benewick. The latter title was revised and reissued as The Fascist Movement in Britain (Allen Lane £1.60) and is the most readable account of the rise and fall of Mosley between the wars. Two articles by Colin Sparks, Fascism in Britain in IS 71 and Fascism: The Lessons of Cable Street in IS 94, are indispensable. For a very good novel on the impact of fascism on the Italian peasantry read Ignazio Silone, Fontamara (Journeyman, 85p). Another perspective is provided by Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism (Penguin £1.00).
Franz Neumann, Behemoth (Out of Print, but worth a search); Tim Mason, Women in Nazi Germany (In two parts in History Workshop 1 and 2); Robert Black, Fascism in Germany (2 vols, Steyn Publications £8.50).
Last updated: 12.1.2008