Perhaps this will seem to be the product of a dilettante but I think this document is worth a read. George Valois’ Faisceau began in 1925 drawing inspiration from Mussolini’s Fascios which had recently achieved power through control over and reformation of Italy’s government and society after the March on Rome. The Faisceau started when memories of the hope, the confidence, and the comradeship of 1914-1918 were still fresh. It was a movement of ex-servicemen, of soldiers, brothers-in-arms, who dreamed of a world fit for the heroes to live in and lead! After 1926, the short time between the treaty of Locarno and the Great Depression proved too much for the nascent movement to gain the attention and enlightenment of a large number of citizens. Of course one need only look at the decadence of the U.S.A. to see how truly destructive material prosperity is to a society whose chief pursuit is diversion through indulgence! I also think you will be a bit surprised how some statements are made here which seem quite odd and at variance from the stereotypical ‘fascist’. Some might even argue, given his later actions during World War II and some statements in this document, that he was really more of a French National Bolshevik as Ernst Niekisch was the German National Bolshevik who had the distinction of being the founder of this ideology. This may be an accurate statement and I suspect it is but I cannot say I know enough to give an opinion. The somewhat strange and sad thing about George Valois though is that he ultimately chose to join the Le Resistance and operated in Lyon, traitors to France, against the Vichy government. He later was captured and died of Typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Note-This is incredible given that the punishment for treason is usually the death penalty and yet the National Socialists, so unjustly hated today, showed mercy and only imprisoned him!
What is Fascism?*
A European Historical Necessity. Fascism absorbs and goes beyond liberalism, democracy and Socialism. Just as, whether monarchy or republic, the modern State will be Fascist, that is non-parliamentary, unitary, and syndical.
The birth of Fascism has opened a great debate in the Patrie [France]. We shall not enter it. Fascism is both movement and ideas. Its worth will be proved by what it does. We limit ourselves to an explanatory statement concerning the doctrines and methods of Fascism.
There is little to say on the question whether Fascism is peculiarly Italian: here too, only the results of action will tell. If Fascism succeeds in Europe, no one will gainsay that it is European. Going by what once can see in every European country, Fascism is the name given to the movement by which modern nations seek to break the framework of old parties, break out of the parliamentary matrix and create the modern State.
Senator Enrico Corradini has recently furnished one of the best definitions of Fascism. Corradini insists that Fascism is not a reaction, demanding a return to an earlier political situation, but the outcome of historical development. “The Fascist regime,” says Corradini, “is born when, historically, as in Italy, it had to take over from the old liberalism – and in this sense one can say that it is liberal – and that it came to go beyond the old liberalism – and in this sense it is antiliberal. Fascism arises to take the succession of the old democracy and go beyond it, as it took the succession of Socialism and went beyond it. Fascism, in fact, has been the great unifying national political movement which answered historical necessity”
We shall retain this excellent definition, which shows Fascism absorbing and outstripping democracy and Socialism, and carrying into effect that which was most useful about these two movements. It is in this sense that Fascism has a European (not merely a purely local character.)
This is true to such an extent that in all countries, and in almost all parties, Fascist tendencies show themselves. All parties have been divided by the war. Each party has a parliamentary group and an anti-parliamentary and syndicalist group. And while parliamentary groups continue to oppose each other in the old party spirit, the anti-parliamentary and syndicalist groups of all parties attempt to get together in order to act together, according to the unitary spirit of the Faisceau. The men who represent anti-parliamentary and syndicalist groups feel at one time in spite of the party labels they still wear, and far from the old representatives of their own parties.
The foundation of the Club Camille Desmoulins by Pierre Dominique, furnishes a particularly strong proof of this. Republican, veteran, with the feelings of the men of 1791, Jacobin, and ready to defend the Republic arms in hand, Pierre Dominique founds the Club Camille Desmoulins according to the purest Fascist spirit, with the following programs:
1. Immediate, dissolution of the Parliament;
2. Turning over Power to a small group of men who would take all initiatives and all responsibility, and operate as a Committee of Public Safety.
3. Organization of specialist Ministries, the Minister himself being a Specialist under the orders of the Committee of Public Safety.
4. Early convention of the Estates General. This new organization of the Republic should aim at the following reforms:
a. Broad financial reform;
b. Setting up syndical organization;
c. Administrative reform with regionalist tendencies;
d. Absolute Religious Toleration, France being considered a Positivist Republic;
e. Improvement of the lot of the Workers and Veterans by completely new legislation.
Here is a program very close to ours. In the letter – and in the spirit, for the spirit which moves the Club Camille Desmoulins is that of the war veterans: “It is our generation and no other which , from 1914 to 1918, when all seemed lost and only honor could still be saved, saved all. It is this generation, too, which, supported by its juniors, will save the French nation and give it the organizing State, guardian of the laws, which it needs.”
I do not know what conventional Republicans will think of Pierre Dominique’s words. But one can say with certainty that his conceptions will get the better of Parliament’s outworn rubbish. Parliamentarism, the representation of different opinions, the division of the nation into parties, all these are completely out-of-date. The Parliamentary State is about as useful as an ox-cart compared to an automobile.
In the 19th century, republicans, royalists, Socialists were parliamentary and, whether under the Republican or the monarchist label, all European States became parliamentary regimes. In the 20th century, the young generations, whether republican, royalist, or Socialist, are anti-parliamentary, unitary and syndicalist. Before ten years have passed, all European states, whatever European states, whatever they call themselves, will be unitary, syndicalist, in one word, Fascist.
Fascism is, as Corradini points out, the movement by which Europe will absorb and transcend all democratic and Socialist experiments, and will create the modern State endowed with indispensable economic structures and capable of giving the economic forces of the modern world the national and social discipline which will make them beneficial.
* De Le Nouveau Siècle, December 13, 1925