Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Does the phrase "eternal war" have roots in fascism?

0 votes
I have seen some green insurrectionary anarchists use the term but I came across something in a book on early Italian fascism that made me think it might actually come from there.  The idea of "eternal war" has always bothered me--not because I am a pacifist or averse to violent means--but because of its exaltation of the violence of war.  To me, violence-in-numbers (war) is an unfortunate reality and not something to celebrate.  The warrior spirit (passion, courage, action) is, certainly, but not in the patriarchal, male-body-and-artillery-worshipping way typical of fascist and other authoritarian states and movements.  Are there possible deep links between fascism and certain strains of anarchism?
asked Jul 11, 2014 by anonymous
mussolini called himself an anarchist before he seized power. he's probably only the biggest name to connect the poles.
but whether there are "deep links"...
wikipedia sez:
Fascism /fæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, fascism originated in Italy during World War I, combining more typically right-wing positions with elements of left-wing politics, in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and traditional conservatism.

so, that doesn't sound like anarchism to me...
people, of course, are far more complicated than ideologies are.
The first use of the term I remember seeing was the slogan of the Edelweiss Pirates: Eternal War on the Hitler Youth.

Interesting group, there was a zine about them floating around but I haven't seen it in ages. It was full of exciting stories and youthful anti-systemic energy. The wikipedia article is more dry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelweiss_Pirates

1 Answer

+1 vote
There have been plenty of other individuals besides Mussolini who made the same shift. Sorel, one of the originators of the myth of the general strike, was another notable example. Here's some information for further research:
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3269668
Also, there are many unfortunate overlaps between certain kinds of primitivism and green anarchism with some aspects of fascist ideology, some of which are explored here:
http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/ecofasc.html
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/various-authors-a-dialog-on-primitivism#toc12 (specifically my essay)

The issue isn't (or shouldn't be) about terminology, but ideology. Slogans (like Social War or Eternal War or even Class War) are meant to curtail thinking, which is why ideologists use them.
If you want to look at how (crypto?)fascism can still be attractive to a certain kind of anarchist, look at the popularity of "Fight Club." Regardless of too many fascist undertones in the book and the film (which, if you haven't studied at least a little fascist ideology and philosophy, are easy to [dis]miss), many anarchists find the story compelling.
Here's something I wrote to someone over on libcom:
"Fight Club contains a truncated critique of capitalism centered on credit schemes. Tyler's big plan is to destroy the buildings and the computers that house people's credit scores - presumably so everyone can start over fresh. That's not a critique of capitalism, not by a long shot.
I have studied fascist philosophy more than I wanted to, and FC fits into a particular strain of fascism: vitalism (feeling alive through action for action's sake, coupled with an elitist clandestinity, and a paramilitary ethos), sublimated homoeroticism (fighting is definitely homoerotic), a fear of and disrespect toward women, and unquestioned obedience to a leader (fist rule of Fight Club...).
It is a despicable little book, which has done quite a bit to derail revolutionary critiques of alienation and capitalism. I have had this argument with many of my comrades when the film first came out, and it pops up every so often in different places again and again.
It has nothing in it about class society and the reason radicals and revolutionaries want to abolish it. Without a class analysis of the inherent contradictions and unfulfillable hopes of workers and poor people, what you get is populism; and in the US context, populism mostly lines up on the Right."
answered Jul 12, 2014 by lawrence (550 points)
...