In the 1930s fascist parties came to power across Europe. Millions were killed in the World War II and the Holocaust.
Yet, 60 years on, fascism is on the rise once more in all major European states and far right parties are again winning converts. To explain this disturbing trend, Dave Renton surveys the history of modern fascism in Europe, from its prewar origins up to the present day.
Renton examines the Marxist response to fascism in the age of Hitter and Mussolini and the writings of political thinkers such as Trotsky and Gramsci, as well as more recent European theorists such as Miliband, Mason and Poutantzas.
Focusing on a critical assessment of the current liberal theories of fascism which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, the author argues that such theories provide an incomplete explanation of what fascism is and was: to understand any political movement it is vital to view it in an historical context.
Renton argues that fascism should be understood not through the theory of liberal fascism studies, but rather in terms of the brutal practice that fascism brought in its wake. Providing the first new theory of fascism in its historical context to come from the left for over 20 years, this volume makes a key contribution to what is now a wide-ranging and heated debate.
Dave Renton is a member of the Anti-Nazi League, and a former member of the editorial board of the magazine, Socialist Review. He has lectured in universities in Britain and South Africa.