The Ideology of Fascism and the Far Right in Britain

The Ideology of Fascism and the Far Right in Britain

This book examines the precise nature of fascism as both a system of ideas and a mode of political practice and it looks at the history of organizations and parties loyal to this particular creed in Britain. It is a critical examination of the relative utility of the various theories that have attempted to explain the fascist phenomenon, identifying weaknesses in conventional interpretations. Hayes re-asserts the value of Marxism as an analytic mechanism capable of evaluating the experience of fascism and seeks to identify how, and under what circumstances fascism might re-emerge. Written in a concise and accessible style by an academic who played an active role in anti-fascist politics in Britain, The Ideology of Fascism and the Far Right in Britain will be of considerable value to anyone seeking a clearer understanding of fascism and/or, crucially, how best to resist it.

Book Details

Written by: Mark Hayes
ISBN: 978-1926958316
Year: 2014
Pages: 474
Price: $23.80 USD

Table of Contents

Introduction: Examining Fascism and the British Experience 11

Chapter One – The Ideological Components of Fascism 19

Zeitgeist: Romantic Anti-Rationalism and Social Darwinism 20

Nationalism and Xenophobia 29

Authoritarian State and Disciplined Society 38

Charismatic Leader and the Mass Party 74

Corporatism and Autarky: the “Third Way” 91

Anti-Communism, Pseudo-Socialism and Rhetorical Anti-Capitalism 105

Varieties of Racism 152

Chapter 2 – British Fascism 203

The Origin and Development of British Fascism 203

Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists 211

Post War Re-Alignment 232

The National Front: The Years of Hope 245

The National Front: Decline and Disintegration 260

The British National Party: From Fascism to Euro-Nationalism? 270

The Nature of British Fascism: Oscillation between Optimism and Obscurity 319

Chapter 3 Interpretations of Fascism 335

The “New Consensus”: Palingenetic Ultra-Nationalism 336

Psychology as the Critical Component 343

Theology and the Resonance of the Religious Signifier 353

Totalitarian Theory: The Decaying Corpse of Cold War Ideology 359

Historiographical and Sociological Insight: Engaging with Context 370

Marxist Analyses: Towards an Explanation? 386

Examining Fascism: Re-Asserting the Central Significance of Social Function 398

Conclusion: Fascism, the Far Right in Britain and the Response of the Left 415

The Ruling Class and Neo-Liberal Economics as Critical Contingent Variables 422

Anti-Fascism: Reformism or Radical Resistance? 433

Bibliography 445


“Dangerous right-wing figures and parties, which appear somewhat bizarre or marginal or unelectable at one period, can assume enormous significance and power under changing circumstances. This is particularly so at times of economic and or state crisis… At a time when the Far Right is gaining ground across Europe (and Britain is not immune to infection), this book is not only timely but is essential reading for those who care about genuine democracy and the cause of labour.”

Tommy McKearney, Former IRA hunger striker and now an organiser with the Independent Workers Union

“This is a remarkable book. Mark Hayes combines meticulous research and passionate commitment as he charts the ideological genesis and political trajectory of… [the] fascist heritage of the far right in Britain.”

Jim Slaven, James Connolly Society, Scotland

“Tautly written and buttressed by forensic research this book is a timely reminder [that]… fascism red in tooth and claw never begins with the midnight knock and the concentration camp. It just ends with them. Read the book and gauge for yourself how far we have already travelled on that journey.”

Gary’ O’Shea, founding member, Anti-Fascist Action

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