The concept of “fascism” was originally entered into the Encyclopedia Italiana by Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who stated that “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Benito Mussolini would later take credit for the quote as if he had written it himself, but it’s important to note because it outlines the primary purpose of the ideology rather than simply throwing the label around at people we don’t like as a dishonest means to undermine their legitimacy.
Despite the fact that leftists today often attack conservatives as “fascists” because of our desire to protect national boundaries and western heritage, the truth is that all fascism is deeply rooted in leftist philosophies and thinkers.
Mussolini was a long time socialist, a member of the party who greatly admired Karl Marx. He deviated from the socialists over their desire to remain neutral during WWI, and went on to champion a combination of socialism and nationalism, what we now know as fascism. Adolph Hitler was also a socialist and admirer of Karl Marx, much like Mussolini. It is actually hard to find where Marx, the communists and the fascists actually differ from each other – A deeper sense of nationalism seems to be one of the few points of contention.
Though Marx saw the existence of nation states as temporary to the proletariat and to the ruling class, he noted that the industrialists were erasing national boundaries anyway. Marx argues in the Communist Manifesto with some optimism:
“National differences and antagonisms between peoples are already tending to disappear more and more, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, the growth of free trade and a world market, and the increasing uniformity of industrial processes and of corresponding conditions of life.”