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History of Fascism

Info: 3977 words (16 pages) Essay
Published: 16th Aug 2018 in Cultural Studies

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It can be seen that there is an increasing fight for freedom against fascism in England in post-modern era. Fascism is a long-lasting problem in England. How can we see freedom vs. fascism in ” V for Vendetta”. The people of London seek for freedom, to be free from the government and tol ive a normal life.There is a totalitarian government in England, and the countryis like a dystopian country. Citizens in a dystopian country never question their government. The people long for democratic society, and it is necessary to make a revolution to reach the goals, and it is up to the people of England. There is a conflict between anarchism and fascism. Can anarchism be a way to democracy? The film V for Vendetta is about fascism, anarchy and England. It is a very impressive research into fascism and democrasy.

“Dystopian societies usually lack of personal freedoms, as well as political oppression and systematic discrimination based on sex, age or IQ” (Dystopian, par.1)

Dystopia is an undesirable and unlivable society. The government watches or control everything people does. There is no independence, no freedom, and no personal thought in this harsh government. Citiizens have no individual choice, they are always afraid of doing something which against the goverrnment , they can be punished by isolation, torture, or death because of their forbidden action. There are lots of social restrictions because dystopian governments want to have absolute and complete control over their people to keep their government in rule.

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“The typical features in a dystopian society usually entail the use of propaganda to gain control. Information is limited, freedomis restricted. A figurehead is worshipped by the citizens of the society.Most citizens have a fear of the outside world because they haven’t been outside probably.Dystopian societies like to keep everyone underground and under control” (Dystopian, par.4)

A dystopian society is fictional which is created to warn people against possible danger of the strict regime, and so many writers use fiction as a medium and depict a dystopian world in

their works. For example, 1984 by Orwell and Brave New World by Huxley are two classic novels on dystopian societies. Both of these satirical novels have a great influence on their era, because issues dystopia are close to the reality. Real subjects are referred to fictional world. Not only in novels, but also in films dystopian world is used to show the threat of totalitarian regime such as The Matrix and V for Vendetta.

“In film such as V for Vendetta the government tries to keep people in fear and to make the people feel they need an overruling power to keep them safe is quite extraordinary. These all fitting into the typical category of governmental/social dystopias because these dystopian visions paint a picture of a government or society attempting to exert control over free thoght, authority, energy, freedom of information” (Is It Useful, par.6)

Fascism is a consistent and universal problem.It is an important social and psychological mechanism which shows a revolt against the effect of capitalism. As Rabinbach suggested that “Fascism movements emerged in almost all European contries aafter World War I as a conservative and revolutionary protest against both capitalism and Marxist socialism” (145)

Fascism is the one form of government with the most disagreement about a definition for it.The word comes from the Latin “fasces” which means to use power to scare or impress people. It generally refers to the consolidation of all economic and political power into some form of super-patriotism that is devoted to genocide or endless war with one’s enemies (History, par.6)

In fascism, the government controls everything, the institutions of public control and total control over everything and everyone. And the fascist government destroys all sense of independence and individuality, because they are dangerous things, as they might lead to rebellion.The fascist regime is thee extreme form of the autonomisation of politics under capitalism. It is the product of an immense dislocation of the capitalist made of production (Caplan 95).

Fascism is a modern phenomenon. It is a big argument, and almost always discussed by historians, writers, politicians and scholars. Yet, What does it mean, actually? Allardyce stated that “whether historians envision fascism as the tool of class interests or the expression of more impersonal forces -the revolt of the masses, the moral crisis of civilization, totalitarianism, or the modernisation process- they generally understand it in terms of something more fundamental and important to history (368).

Cassels described fascism variously as “an oslought on the nineteenth century”, an effort to restore “the vanished world of 1789”, “a general twentieth-century phenomenon of the Left”, a movement committed to “sweeping away the debris of all anciens regimes”, a theory of “socialism applied by authoritarian means”, “leftist”, “right-ist”, “radical”.

Whatever its definitions is, fascism gives no good to people.Disciplines of the fascism is not for public sake, it’s for goernment sake. It limits the freedom of people, and it restricts citizens’ rights. Fascist thought is born between 1870 and 1914 because of the fear of mass democracy and liberalism, and fascist movements start to occur in all European countries after 1918.

Fascism destroys the liberty of England. Before the Civil War the government is liberal in the United States. The war affects the people negatively. For instance, liberty is limited, private property is destroyed. When the fascists seize the power, the society turns to dystopia in which people have no freedom.”The concept of liberty changes with the times. There is one liberty in peace times, which is not the liberty of war times. There is one liberty in times of prosperity, which can no longer be granted in times of depression” (Pei, par.6).

According to Kühnl, fascist system has five major characteristics: (1) its social function is to maintain the capitalist system in a crisis; (2) the use of terrorist methods of domination and the elimination of oppositional forces is basic to the system; (3) it cocsists of a mass movement which attempts to include major population groupings and act as an instrument of mass integration and manipulation; (4) the masses are subject to the ideology of the Volk community and unconditional solidarity demanded by both internal and external enemies; (5) the system produces the political and military prerequisites for imperialist expansion and the subordination of neighboring peoples(130).As we understand from Kühnl’s classification of fascism, psychological manipulation and physical control are the keys of fascist government. It creates fear on its citizens by using terrorist methods. Only truth is totalitarian regime’s truth, there is nothing for public good in fascism.

The problem of fascism does not perish completely. The people of England is still under the threat of fascism. “Even today, the independent middle class and other social groups are still threatened by social declasssing; there are still economic recessions that precipitate the anxiety of crisis; authoritarian mentalities calling for order and strong leadership are still widespread” (Kühnl 76).

Fascism is very harmful all aspect of life. In fascist government, there is a social unrest, people are not happy, they are depressed, the country is in an economic depression.There is no good relationship between the people, everybody is suspicious of everybody else, and they are always in fear of totalitarian regime.

In terms of a theory of economic growth revised in this way, fascism can be defined as a revolt of those who lost -directly or indirectly, temporarily or permanently- by industrialization. Also the military joins here, with opposition against the industrialization of war, which tended to destroy traditional modes of warfare and which by its increasing destructiveness intensified pacifism and antimilitarism (Sauer 417).

“To be sure, the totalitarianism theory cannot be dismissed entirely.Modern dictatorships have undoubtedly develop new charasteristics, and totalitarianism is certainly one of them. It is, however, hardly as important as the totalitarianism theory has maintained”.As Sauer suggested, totalitarianism which feeds fascism might live forever, if it is not opposed.Authoritarian dictatorships master the crisis by destroying society. So citizens should take some action to protect their rights and to gain independence. Public involvement in politics plays a vital role in democratic society. Thus, Abendroth stated that “The first goal is the defence and restoration of functioning forms of public involvement in the political and social decisions of a parliamentary democracy; the next goal would be to replace monopoly capitalist production relations by transparent socialist one” (113).

Albert Einstein said that the world is a dangerous place tol ive in; not because of the people are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. Fascism will continue to grow, if people do not do something against it.

Alladyce emphazised that the antifascist of Europe added dimensions of their own , and the revised version became the Standard version, the popular conception of the ideology of fascism “During the thirties” recalled Stephen Spender, “Fascism meant dictatorship, cencorship, the persecution of the Jews, the destruction of intellectual freedom. To be antifascist was to be on the side of humanity. Conversely, to be fascist meant to be against it”(382).People who want to be on the side of humanity, should fight against fascism to prevent destruction of totalitarian regime and to get rid of dictatorship.

The British National Party and The English Defence League are the current threats of fascism for English citizens. The BNP is a fascist party, as mentioned before fascism annihilate all communities, freedoms and democratic rights. The EDL is an organization of racist thugs with links to the BNP. EDL supporters use Nazi tactics during their activities.There is a unity against the alarming rise in fascism in Britain today. Uaf, the unity against fascism believes that these dangers require a strong and united response from all those dedicated to freedom and democracy, and they declares that “we must combine our forces and unite in a broad and common front against this common threat” (About Uaf).

The first action against fascism is awake people’s consciousness. Media, literature and cinema can be used to solve the problem of fascism, and to show the danger of totalitarian regime.V for Vendetta is a good example to demonstrate the terrifying possibilities of totalitarianism and it uses the voice of anarchist, V, to affect people of England into standing together against their fascist government and fight for freedom. “V for Vendetta can be seen as a dystopia because of the way minority groups are treated as criminals and used for medical experiments, V starting a revolution reasons with the people of the country after hijacking a broadcast centre” (‘Is It Useful’ par.16).

“If viewed with philosophical spectacles, a film like V for Vendetta can also stimulate reflection on the preciousness of an open society and individual freedom.And it is much better to watch a movie than to have to experience a totalitarian, closed society for real” (Berg par.7).

V for Vendetta has a great success, the issues of the film prove to be important and interesting to the audience. Although the happenings of the film take place in the future, they are closely connected with today’s circumstances. Its reflection of the present makes stronger the effects of the film.

The film is about V’s struggle against the fascist regime. The fascist regime is like a Nazi government, killing the societies whose have no correlation to the government system. V for Vendetta is set in England. The Norsefire regime in V for Vendetta creates fears in its people and using force as a way of subduing them to do what they want. The fascist dictator, Adam Sutler wants to have the complete control over his people.Like world of Orwell’s 1984, cameras and secret police are watching citizens. They use technology and media to control the actions and thoughts of people.As Berg suggested that “Society under the Norsefire regime is typical of totalitarian states: the secret police is the executive arm of Big Brother, and the media is under state control and is used for propaganda purposes” (par.10).

Similar to Nazi Germany, there are death camps in England. The people are forcibly used to take part in a type of medical testing. The government deliberately, creates a lethal virus to become rich and powerful by selling the antidote. V is one of these prisoners in the camp, Larkhill. When the fire breaks out in laboratory, he manages to escape, and becomes the only prisoner to survive. Because of the fire he is severely burnt, and he wears a symbolic mask which is the face of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic rebel on November 5th 1605 tries to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London to end the reign of James I, but he is publicly executed.

“V wants to change the course of history by blowing up the Houses of Parliament -he wants to succeed where Faawkes had failed, and the date for this attempt is of course November 5. As to why he wants to do so: he wants to destroy the authoritarian government” (Coppens par.5).

The theme of fascism and complete government control is evident throughout the film as seen through the rule of the Norsefire regime and their ruthless tactics. For example, homosexuality is forbidden and actively suppressed. The government behaves harshly toward homosexuals. We understand this clearly when Evey finds a letter from Valerie is an actress who is imprisoned for being lesbian. This, again shows the similarity between Nazi government and Sutler’s government. Jalsevac stated that “The most poignant scene by far is when Evey, while in prison, finds the dying letter of a woman who had been the same cell years before. As Evey reads the letter we are shown flashbacks of the life of this poor victim of state oppression” (par.9).

Another example of fascism in the film is that freedom of expression is forbidden. People are not allowed to express their own feelings and opinions. If they have a thought against the government, they are punished by death. Letting people think can be extremely dangerous according to fascists. Berg similarly argues that,

“Freedom of expression also entails the freedom to critize and satirize political leaders. In the film Deitrich (played by Stephen Fry) uses his popular talk show to satirize Chancellor Sutler. As a consequence he is seized from his home and ‘disappears’- the fate of many peaceful opponents of dictators, from Argentina to Zimbabwe” (par.13).

In many totalitarian regimes the portrait of the political leader of the state is placed everywhere, practically on the wall of each house and institution. In V for Vendetta we see the videos on the big screen with the face of Adam Sutler, along with his portraits in people’s homes. Fear is used to turn England into a bigoted totalitarian order, with their leader Adam Sutler becoming the High Chancellor.

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War, terror and disease cause to fear in people, and so they turn to the Chancellor who promises peace, and to give them silent obedient consent. Afraid of chaos, the citizens allow an enemy to be created, which is a fascist government. Similarly, Berg suggested that “In times of social unrest and uncertainty there are people who call for a strong leader and who are also prepared to accept limitations on their freedom. Such people might prefer Sutler’s Norsefire regime to an open, democratic society” (par.18).

In a totalitarian society everyone who opposes the state can be a victim of the state’s terror and torture. So people obey this strict regime blindly because of fear. V declares that “People should not be afraid of their governments; their governments should be afraid of them”.V wants to remind the people of London of their past. He thinks that this country has forgotten something which are “fairness, justice, freedom”.

V explains that “artists tell lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up”.The government uses the media to convey the message and to trick the community into thinking that life is so much better with the government in control. V gives the people hope and show that the country has much better life outside of the government’s control. By showing brute force of the government, V tries to convince the citizens to support him over the government.

One of the major themes in the movie is the conflict between anarchism and fascism. The Norsefire regime is the face of fascism. Adam Sutler rules the country through both fear and force. The ideas of anarchism is presented by V. He uses the voice of an anarchist to evoke people for fight against authorities. V is fighting for anarchism, because he sees it as a way of democracy. “Anarchism is a theory of governance that rejects any form of central or external authority, preferring instead to replace it with alternative forms of organization such as shaming rituals for deviants, mutual assistance pacts between citizens” (History par.5).

In the film the importance of the idea is underlined, it emphasizes that ideas are very powerful and live beyond the death of individuals. After V is shot multiple times by Creedy, he ironically says “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, there is an idea, and ideas are bullet prof”. This quote means that the flesh of a man can be killed; however an idea can never be killed. A man can be forgotten, but an idea can live forever.

At the end of the film Evey completes the task of V, and sends the train with the explosives toward the Houses of Parliament. V is dead, but he reaches his aim. He creates a hope for a better tomorrow,and it’s up to people of London to decide what happens next, a new England can be built. As Ghufron suggested that “All forms of authority in Britain are now gone; its future is left uncertain. Thus, V has created chaos, which will allow voluntary order to ocur” (par.12).

To conclude, the film V for Vendetta is a shining example of what we are facing and how we can overcome a fight against a corrupt fascist government. It is emphasized that,

Fantastic and mysterious on the surfacemovie V for Vendetta, in reality investigates and develops very important social-political themes, the notions of freedom and democracy, confrontation of them to the totalitarianism and fascism; the themes of identity of a human as a member of society and his dependence on the social order or vice verse his opposition to the existing political regime (Fascism par.10).

The film clearly shows that ciizens should be unite and fight against their totalitarian regime to gain freedom and to live in a democratic society. Eleven similarly suggested that “As the film V for Vendetta illustrates we have great strength in unity. We must simply organize ourselves. The film shows a symbolic organization and unification of the populous to rise up at once to take control. This is what is required. But we can’t stop there” (par.4)

V for Vendetta creates a hope and courage in people of England, it leads to people think of fascism and freedom, and decide on what they really long for, ruled by totalitarian regime or live in democracy. The film has many awards, and this is a symbol that many people want to abolish the fascism in the world. As Jalsevac stated that “V has received largely positive reviews from the critics, praising it for supposedly challenging audiences to think and raising timely questions about terrorism, when violence might be justified and the power of government” (par.13).

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V for Vendetta. Dir. James McTeigue. Perf.  Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman.  Warner Bros. Pictures, 2005.Film.


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