The word Fascism itself had two meanings before being associated with the political movement. In Ancient Rome the magistrates carried with them a ceremonial axe bundled in rods called fasces to represent their power and authority. The modern word fascio also meant a group or band.
From the 1870s the term fascio was used in the names of radical social or poltical organisations, usually left-leaning.
However Fascism developed into a loose blend of many different ideologies and concepts. Finally Mussolini himself said that Fascism was a situation where the State was the power served by individuals and groups. The opposite, in a sense, from Socialism.
The main tenets of Fascism, according to Mussolini, were:
- parliamentary democracy can only lead to an innefficient and corrupt government
- for a nation to be strong it should be led by a strong party elite
- the party must be led by an inspired and unquestioned leader
- labour and capital must work together under the direction of the state
- the class system was abolished; everyone must work together under the state (which justified banning freedom of assembly)
Mussolini proclaimed, "Everything within the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state." The people should only, "believe, obey and fight."
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