Facism Law and Legal Definition

Facism is a political ideology that seeks to regenerate the social, economic, and cultural life of a country by basing it on a heightened sense of national belonging or ethnic identity. Fascism rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights, and opposes free elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy. Fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence.

The term fascism was first used by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1919. The term comes from the Italian word fascio, which means “union” or “league.” Fascist movements started in most European countries and in some former European colonies in the early 20th century. Fascist political parties and movements capitalized on the intense patriotism that emerged as a response to widespread social and political uncertainty after World War I (1914-1918) and the Russian Revolution of 1917. However, most fascist movements were unsuccessful in attaining political power. The exceptions were Italy and Germany, which after World War I, managed to win control of the state and attempted to dominate all of Europe, resulting in millions of deaths in the Holocaust and World War II (1939-1945). Fascism developed in opposition to socialism and communism, although some early Fascists were themselves former Marxists.

Examples of fascist systems include:

  • Nazi Germany,
  • Mussolini's Italy,
  • Spain under the Falange Española y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS) Party of Francisco Franco.