A Few Remarks on an Analysis of Fascism from Sri Lanka


As the contradictions of imperialism sharpen every day, bourgeois democracies around the world rely more and more on fascist measures to maintain bourgeois dictatorship over the people. The New Democratic Marxist Leninist Party (NDMLP) of Sri Lanka recently published an analysis of fascism. The article highlights the rise and consolidation of various fascist parties in Europe and Asia and provides a broad analysis of how fascism has evolved since WWII.

The article contains several historical definitions of fascism and lists of its defining features, while making clear that fascism is difficult to strictly define given that its rise and appearance differs according to national and historical context. (The Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism has a helpful primer on fascism as a place to start: “The form of capitalist society in which the bourgeoisie rules by open, terroristic violence against the people, as opposed to bourgeois democracy.”) The authors also caution against waiting until a government or group meets all of the criteria before viewing it as a fascist threat. The electoral partners of openly fascist groups also constitute a reactionary force, and certain policies, particularly the suppression of revolutionary groups, can have a fascist character even if the government overall may not be deemed fascist.

After defining fascism, the authors discuss the connection between fascism and imperialism. On the one hand, imperialist crises create conditions for mass discontent, social unrest and migration in large numbers. Fascists in many countries then work to stir up national chauvinism and anti-immigrant sentiment among those who bear the brunt of the economic crisis. They use immigrants, Muslims, or ethnic minorities as scapegoats for the hardships people face. On the other hand, imperialism actively supports fascist regimes abroad. The authors describe how US imperialists have always made use of fascist regimes in the “Third World”, such as Suharto in Indonesia and Bolsonaro in Brazil. Today the US continues to support and partner with fascist groups, including in Turkey, India, and Ukraine.

The US corporate media has widely dubbed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “fascist attack on democracy”, but the US has been propping up fascist groups in Ukraine since the US-staged coup in 2014. Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 after over a decade of US provocations. Since then, the US has been in a proxy war with Russia to determine which imperialist power will control Ukraine’s population and resources. Ukrainian fascist groups with strong anti-Russian sentiment are best suited to serve US imperialism and unite behind the state’s war effort, and the US continues to arm and fund these groups as part of its maneuvers to control the country and feed the Ukrainian people into its war machine.

In the US, there are some openly reactionary and fascist groups which identify with the populist wing of the Republican Party. These groups advocate fascist politics, and that should be criticized and opposed. However, these groups hold little influence in US society overall, and they are not leading the trend toward more fascist policies. The dominant section of the US ruling class, through the state it controls, is pushing for increased repression of the basic rights we have as citizens, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the freedom to protest—as soon as we make use of our rights in a way that actually challenges the bourgeoisie’s rule, they scramble to limit those rights.

Bourgeois dictatorship is always terroristic, and as revolutionaries we are not merely struggling for a “purer” form of bourgeois democratic rule. When the masses try to forcefully defend their interests under bourgeois democracy, the violence of the state is unleashed against them. All bourgeois democracies have fascist elements to them, and an inherent feature of the capitalist-imperialist class is that it will turn to more fascist measures in times of crisis, when it is fighting for its own survival. It is important that we oppose the more fascist elements and efforts in the world, especially those of our own government, in part because these exposures can serve as a foundation for a revolutionary movement (and bourgeois-democratic freedoms are helpful for organizing the forces of revolution). The rise of fascism is bound to the interests and crises of capitalist-imperialism, and it must be opposed not in isolation but as a form of bourgeois dictatorship.