In light of current events regarding the jacket drive flyers posted around campus last week by a fascist group called the Collegiate Union of National Corporatists, there is an apparent need to define and understand what fascism is, its tie to racism and the danger that it poses to the UCA campus.
According to Merriam-Webster, fascism is a political ideology “that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition.”
If one searches the organization who posted the flyers, the Collegiate Union of National Corporatists, one finds strikingly worrisome terminology relating the organization to fascist ideology. The site uses language like “a strict opposition to multiculturalism is needed” and “sub-cultures aren’t inherently destructive, but a monolithic dominant culture — American Culture — must be prevalent.” These ideas exalt nation and a dominant culture over the individual, thus fitting the very definition of fascism.
According to emails CUNC sent The Echo, members of the group hold a range of ideologies, from Mutual Anarchism to Stalinism to Third Positionism to even Fascism, admitted by the group itself.
Corporatism, which is in CUNC’s name, advocates for large interest groups, or corporations, holding governmental power. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in Italy during World War I and II, the implemented corporatism instead reflected the will of the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, revealing the fascist implementation of the ideology.
According to Naked Capitalism, there has been a rise in groups supporting Mussolini-style corporatism, or fascism, in the U.S. since 2013. These groups muddy definitions to fit their ideological agenda, and this is exactly what CUNC appears to be doing.
On its website, CUNC cites and quotes fascist leaders. These leaders include Oswald Mosley, who formed the British Union of Fascists after his meeting with Mussolini in 1932, and Giovanni Gentile, who wrote about fascist philosophy and is considered the philosopher of fascism.
Fascism is an extremely dangerous ideology. Throughout history, fascism has been used as a means to fight and kill those in opposition of its ideals. Dictator Benito Mussolini led the fascist party in Italy that was responsible for killing an estimated 400,000 people, according to the Inquisitor. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler led a fascist regime that is responsible for the deaths of over 20 million people, according to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Admittedly, Nazism differs from fascism in that Nazism emphasizes race, whereas fascism emphasizes nationalism, or state, according to Differences Between. However, fascism still advocates for a single nation and a single culture. This is extremely dangerous to minorities as their culture would most likely not fit into this single cultural identity, thus easily lending fascism to racism and even neo-nazism.
Although CUNC says racism is “disingenuous and destructive,” the site actively opposes multiculturalism that is intrinsic to ethnic diversity. Though it is true that race and culture can be separated based on individual cases, there is no denying that overall, ethnicity is connected to culture in a profound way. By preaching a dominant “American culture,” presumably white American culture, one immediately rejects diversity of culture, and thus, ethnic diversity. Therefore, that very idea is xenophobic and ethnocentrist, and could quite easily lend itself to racism.
It is unfortunate that this opinion piece needs to be written. It is unfortunate that there exists an organization that advocates for fascist ideology and manipulates language to try to redefine its history. Organizations like this promote an ideology that is destructive to the well-being of a just and tolerant society.
CUNC’s advertising to our college campus elicits greater concern as this ideology spits in the face of UCA’s core values. UCA’s mission statement of diversity advocates for “enhanced multicultural learning opportunities” for students, faculty and staff.
The fact that this group was behind a seemingly innocuous jacket drive flyer makes one wonder how many more of these fascist groups are out there, hidden in the woodwork.