Fascism vs Communism vs Totalitarianism
There are various political and economic ideologies in the world such as capitalism, socialism, fascism, communism and totalitarianism. There was a time when these ideologies were in force in different countries of the world. The world was divided along several lines because of these ideologies. It was the breakup of the communist Soviet Union in the eighties and the beginning of a revolution called internet that has brought about a sea change in the geo political conditions of the world. Ideologies have melted with free flow of information and no country today can be said to be following a particular ideology in the strictest sense of the word. This is because of the intense desire of the countries to be in the mainstream and also to take maximum advantage of economic liberalization. However, it is important to know the differences between different ideologies and this article intends to clarify fascism, communism and totalitarianism.
This ideology where nation or race is kept above everything else originated in Mussolini’s Italy and later spread to Germany where Adolf Hitler led to the downfall of his nation and plunged the world into World War II because of his thinking that Nazi was the most superior race and that it was meant to rule the world. Fascism makes use of state machinery for false propaganda and censorship to suppress political opposition. In fascism, state is supreme and absolute, and individuals and groups are only relative. Political analysts consider fascism to be on the far right of the political spectrum. Contrary to popular belief, fascism opposes communism, democracy, liberalism, conservatism, and even capitalism. Fascists believe in war and violence as they think that these help in national regeneration and supremacy over other nations.
Communism is one ideology that is still popular in some parts of the world though it has got much diluted after the demise of Soviet Union in the eighties. The erstwhile breakaway republics of USSR today have leanings towards capitalism as they are impressed by the progress western countries have made.
Communism aims for a classless society where everyone is equal, and even the state is redundant. This is an ideal scenario which is not possible to achieve hence communism can never be perfect. It believes in common ownership and free access to articles of consumption. Communism does not believe in private property and even profit of the individual.
There are many who think that socialism and communism are same but according to Marx, socialism is only the beginning to a long march towards communism.
Totalitarianism is an ideology that believes in total political power to be in the hands of a single person, or a particular class. This political system does not recognize the rights of the individuals and places no restrictions on the authority of the state. This is akin to personality cultism where the charisma of a single person works upon the masses through false propaganda and ruthless use of brute state power. Other means to suppress any opposition are state terrorism, mass surveillance and restriction of speech and liberty of action. This political system is close to authoritarianism and dictatorship but falls short of both.
Fascism has its roots in the superiority of a person or a class and is closer to totalitarianism but communism is different from both these ideologies as it believes in a class less and stateless society. Fascism and totalitarianism on the other hand believe in unbridled power in the hands of a person or class and believe in restriction of thinking and action of the individuals in the society.