Politics is a battleground people seldom want to enter. Talking points, lies, and statistics are part and parcel of political debates. One talking point I have seen advanced recently is that, since fascists and other authoritarians can be collectivists, they are on the left side of the political spectrum, and the atrocities of the Nazis and other right-wing groups are the responsibility of the left.
I'm here to tell you this is an utter falsehood, and that it needs to disappear into the shadows as a debate tactic.
There are many leftist groups that are responsible for some of the greatest atrocities known to man, such as the mass killings of political dissidents in the Soviet Union, the abolition of religion, and the deaths of citizens at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party and the Khmer Rouge.
For one, if Nazis, the Ustase, the Italian National Fascist Party, etc. are all of the left, why did communists and socialists oppose them vehemently and vice versa? I'm not a socialist or communist by any means, but you'd imagine that those two sides would not have fundamental differences in worldview, such as fascists maintaining the state and communists dissolving it.
Fascism's obsession with national identity, vs. communism's desire to abolish class, is a key defining difference between the two. Fascism and other far-right ideas maintain hegemony and hierarchies, maintaining that egalitarianism is not possible. That does not sound like any idea you would find on the left side of the political spectrum.
To add to this, fascists and other authoritarians have sought to dissolve liberal democracy. Franco did while in Spain, as did Mussolini, Hitler and other figures associated with the far-right have sought to destroy and wreak havoc upon these ideas.
While there are ideologies on the left that seek to do this, there are many others that do not, including everyone in the Democratic Caucus. Maybe that just lends further credence to horseshoe theory, rather than proving that fascists are on the left. It certainly demonstrates that the right is not as "pro-freedom" as they might want to characterize themselves as.
Furthermore, just because some groups share similar economic views does not mean that they inhabit the same side of the spectrum. Would you call a political party like the Law and Justice Party in Poland left-wing just because they support social security despite also advocating for restricting abortion, in-vitro fertilization, criminalizing same-sex marriage, etcetera?
None of those ideas sound as if they hail from the left side of the political spectrum at all. In fact, many political parties in Europe hold these views, such as the National Front in France. Guess what? None of those parties have ever been characterized as part of the left.
In conclusion, this is a bad debate tactic. While there are very pressing issues I see in progressivism (such as antisemitism present on the left), being dishonest about the movement and not accepting that the right has produced reprehensible figures is bad. I accept that there are bad people present who identify as left: those who refuse to accept Hitler, Pinochet and others as figures of the right are doing themselves and the art of discussion a disservice.
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