Translated by Michael O'meara
“Socialisme fasciste” is the title of an essay by Drieu La Rochelle. Fascist socialism, though, has been largely symbolic, since it is more an idea than a record of actual achievement.
At certain points, all fascist movements had to come to terms with socialism. And all took inspiration from it: Hitler’s party was the National Socialist German Workers Party, Mussolini was a socialist school teacher, José-Antonio Primo de Rivera was a symbol of national-syndicalist socialism, Codreanu’s Iron Guard was a movement of students and peasants, Mosley in England had been a Labour Minister, Doriot in France was a former Communist and his PPF emerged from a Communist cell in Saint-Denis.
Historically, fascist movements were liberation movements opposing the confiscation of power by cosmopolitan capitalism and by the inherent dishonesty of democratic regimes, which systematically deprive the people of their right to participate [in government].
With the exception of Peron’s Argentina, circumstances have always been such as to prevent the realization of fascism’s socialist vocation
Those fascist movements that succeeded in taking power were compelled, thus, to reconstitute an economy ruined by demagogues, to re-establish an order undermined by anarchy, to create ways of overcoming the chaos besetting their lands or to repel external threats. These urgent and indispensable tasks required a total national mobilization and dictated certain priorities.
Circumstances, in a word, everywhere prevented fascists from realizing the synthesis of socialism and nationalism, for their socialist project was necessarily subordinated to the imperative of ensuring the nation’s survival.
These circumstances were further exacerbated by another difficulty: Fascist movements were generally reluctant to destroy the structure of capitalist society.
Given that their enemy was plutocracy, foreign capital, and the usurpers of national sovereignty, the immediate objective of these movements was to put the national interest above capitalist interest and to establish a regalian state capable of protecting the nation, as kings had once done against the feudal powers.
This [fascist] policy of conserving ancient structures may have transformed the prevailing consciousness and shifted power, but it did not entail a revolutionary destruction of the old order.
Fascist nostalgia for the old regime has, indeed, been so profound that it routinely reappears [today] in neo-fascist movements that are national-revolutionary more in word than in deed.
This phenomenon is evident throughout Europe, in Italy and Germany, in Spain, in France.
Is it, then, a contradiction distinct to neo-fascism that it has been unable to combine the conservation of hierarchical structures upon which Western Civilization rests with measures specifically socialist? Or do neo-fascists simply — unconsciously — express the impossibility of grafting measures of social justice onto a civilization profoundly foreign to their ideal .
We need at this point to turn to [first] principles.
Every new vision of social relations rejecting Marxism rests on a certain number of postulates, which, I believe, are common to all radical oppositional movements.
1. The first of these condemns political and economic liberalism, which is the instrument of plutocratic domination. Only an authoritarian regime can ensure that the nation’s interest is respected.
2. The second postulate rejects class struggle. Class struggle is native to Marxism and [inevitably] leads to the sabotage of the nation’s economy and to a bureaucratic dictatorship, while true prosperity benefits everyone and can be obtained only through a loyal collaboration and a fair distribution.
3. The third protects the nation’s “capital” (understood as the union of capital and labor) and represents all who participate in the productive process . . . It is a function of the [fascist] state, thus to promote labor-capital collaboration and to do so in a way that does not put labor at the mercies of capital.
4. Given that the nation’s economy is a factor crucial to the nation’s independence, it, along with the Army and other national institutions, are to be protected from all forms of foreign interference.
5. Since modern nations have become political-economic enterprises whose power resides in those who control the economy as much as it does in those who make political decisions, the nation must play a leading role in the economic as well as the political systems. The instrument appropriate to such participation in the nation’s life have, however, yet to be invented.
6. Above all, the nation’s interest must take priority over every particular interest. . . .
There is nothing specifically “socialist,” as this term is understood today, in these principles, since contemporary socialism is nothing other than a form of social war whose inevitable culmination is the rule of those bureaucratic entities claiming to represent the workers [i.e., national union federations].
Nevertheless, these principles accord with another conception of socialism — one that favors a fair distribution to all who participate in the productive process. This is not the underlying idea, but the consequence thereof, inspiring our postulates.
A fair distribution, however, will never result from sporadic, recurring struggles challenging the present degradations of money. Instead, it is obtainable only through the authority of a strong state able to impose conditions it considers equitable.