Note: The term „post-fascism“ and its adjective „post-fascist“ are not clearly defined expressions. They are used sparingly in academia and in media coverage.
Therefore, this paper only attempts to describe the terms without defining them precisely. Furthermore, this article is only an attempt to clarify the terms.
What does post-fascism / post-fascist mean? Meaning, definition, explanation
After the general election in Italy in September 2022 and the victory of Giorgia Meloni and her party Fratelli d’Italia, the German media repeatedly talked about Giorgia Meloni and her party being post-fascist. But what does that even mean?
So what is post-fascism?
„Post-fascism“ or „post-fascist“ is the term used to describe political currents that have emerged from historical fascism and see their roots in fascism, but respect the free democratic basic order (FDGO) and do not want to overthrow it. They are, so to speak, „democratic fascists.“
In other words, the term „post-fascist“ can be understood to mean that fascist ideas are/were adapted to the current times. „Post-fascism“ thus means that historical fascism has been combined with modern law.
Post-fascist parties partly apply practices from historical fascism. These are: Staging of large-scale events, construction of scapegoats and enemies, denunciation and devaluation of those in power, authoritarian approach to democracy, anti-liberalism and anti-capitalism.
Post-fascist parties have the following approaches: They want to defend traditional values and see their „national identity“ threatened. They lay claim to their national sovereignty and position themselves against globalization. Post-fascist parties look for scapegoats and find them among immigrants, refugees and Muslims.
Post-fascist parties today position themselves among conservatives.
Note: In Italy, there was no hard break with fascism after 1945 as there was in Germany. As early as 1948, the Italian party „Movimento Sociale Italiano“ (Italian Social Movement) made the term „fascism“ salable again with its slogan „Do not deny, do not restore.“ In conclusion, the term „fascism“ is used differently in Italy than in Germany.
What does „post-fascism“ / „post-fascist“ mean? Meaning, definition, explanation
The editors try to explain the term „post-fascism“ analogously to the term „postcommunism“:
From the concept, „post-fascism“ means „after fascism“ – analogous to postoperative, that is, „occurring after surgery.“
Post-fascism takes a temporal reference to the end of fascism in Europe. (1945)
Post-fascism takes a spatial reference to countries in which there were fascist governments. (First and foremost: Germany and Italy)
Post-fascism can refer to persons or organizations. Thus, parties that are successor organizations to former fascist parties are referred to as „post-fascist.“
Additional meaning of „post-fascism“:
In postwar Germany, Nazis who continued their careers in democracy were referred to as „post-fascists.“