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a concept embracing those modern radical right-wing movements that in a political and an ideological sense are successors to the fascist organizations that were dissolved after World War II (1939–45). Neofascists have often attempted to dissociate themselves from the discredited fascist movements of the past when they find themselves in conditions unfavorable to the open expression of fascism. In practice, however, neofascists reveal their strong ideological and political ties to the varieties of fascism that emerged between the two world wars.
There are a number of important distinguishing features of all neofascist political currents and organizations: (1) militant anticommunism and antisovietism, (2) extreme nationalism, (3) racism (overt or covert), (4) criticism from an ultraright-wing standpoint of governments (even the most conservative) based on the bourgeois parliamentary system, and (5) terrorism as a political tool. The political and ideological positions of neofascism reflect the attitudes and interests of the most reactionary bourgeois elements.
Using social and nationalistic demagoguery modified to fit the prevailing political conditions, neofascists attempt to gain influence over those people in the capitalist countries who were forced out of their position in society as a result of the development of state-monopoly capitalism and the intensification of its contradictions; the group most affected includes small businessmen, middle-level civil servants, and certain strata of youth. At the same time, the sociopolitical base and political aims of neofascism differ somewhat from country to country; neofascists in the Federal Republic of Germany, for example, present themselves as militant revanchists in an attempt to gain support among emigrants from Eastern Europe and former Nazis.
The influence of the neofascist movement and ideology depends on several factors: the balance of political forces in the ruling camp, the intensity of the sociopolitical crisis in a particular capitalist country, and the effectiveness and sense of purpose of the political forces opposing neofascism. The largest neofascist organization operating in European bourgeois-democratic countries is the Italian Social Movement-National Right, formed in 1973 as a result of a merger of the Italian Social Movement (founded 1947) and the monarchists. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s the Italian Social Movement received 5 to 10 percent of the vote. Moreover, there exist in Italy at least ten small neofascist groups, including paramilitary ones, which maintain ties with the Italian Social Movement-National Right. The neofascist National Democratic Party was founded in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1964, but it underwent a severe crisis in the early 1970’s. The collapse of fascist regimes in Portugal (April 1974) and Greece (1974) and the crisis of Franco’s regime in Spain have dealt a heavy blow to neofascism in Europe.
Some American ultrareactionary organizations, notably the John Birch Society, constitute another distinct variety of neofascism. Dictatorial regimes that employ terrorism to silence progressive forces have been established in Chile, Paraguay, and other Latin-American countries; such regimes are suggestive of fascism.
Neofascists have also formed international associations, including the European Social Movement (the so-called Malmö International), the European National Party, and the World Union of National Socialists.
Neofascist organizations and groups have limited influence. Nevertheless, they represent a serious danger. In times of social and political upheaval they may become a major component in the alliance of reactionary forces. Unity among the supporters of democracy and progress is essential to any successful struggle against neofascism.
A. A. GALKIN [17–1434–1; updated]