What Historians of Fascism Think About the Suspected New Zealand Shooter's Declaration of Extremism

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tags: historians, fascism, New Zealand shooting

In the aftermath of the Friday massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, a clear profile of the gunman is still being put together — but the man charged with murder appears to have posted a manifesto online before the shooting, writing: “For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist.”

The link between fascism and religiously and racially-motivatedviolence is one of the constants of the 100-year existence of fascism, say experts on its history. At the same time, the suspect’s apparent declaration highlights a recent and troubling change in the idea’s place in the world.

Almost exactly a century ago, on March 23, 1919, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini started a group called the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, which led to the founding of the original National Fascist Party in 1921. He became Prime Minister a year later, and by 1925, he had ushered in the world’s first fascist dictatorship. The world is greatly changed since then, but the approach of violently attacking people perceived to be enemies remains a thread throughout the history of the idea on which Mussolini seized.

Read entire article at Time

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