The Difference In Meaning Between Fascism and Socialism

The Difference In Meaning Between Fascism and Socialism

In a world of connotations, one needs a return to defining words based on context.

Language is a beautiful thing. Some people might suggest it is what makes humans different from one another. Though other animals have found ways to communicate with each other, it has manifested through media and art and literature.

Yet as much as it’s a way of getting thoughts and conveying images, it can also be a weapon in many ways. Journalism finds stories and reports them to the world, sometimes with an ideological tint. Insults carry their weight in spears which can pierce even the strongest of defenses. And of course, literature reflects the societal issues of the day while suggesting ideas of their own.

To do so, one must utilize words, each with their own meaning.


In English class, I’ve learned two different definitions on words: the “dictionary” definition, and the “connotation” associated with the word. When a word is defined in the dictionary, it diverges in what contexts people use them in.

Two notable words I’ve observed used, overused, and even misused in the last two years are “fascism” and “socialism”. While they’ve had their uses in history, their meanings have become muddled to the point.

Recently, I’ve read some comments on the internet on how liberals are equated to fascism, partially because the latter have objected to certain views. It does make up one part of the ideology—restrictions on a free print media, if not propaganda. However, to use it to criticize one’s positions, it’s more than that.

In one of my International Studies classes, fascism is defined as a popular movement led by a charismatic leader and attached to a political party. It is based on persistent nationalism, corporatism, militarism, anti-democratic ideals, an ethnic or religious minority which is scapegoated, the total submission of the individual to the state’s ambitions, and anti-socialism. The professor would also take the case-study in Japan during World War II as an example, and ultimately concluded it was not fascism due to the lack of a charismatic leader or scapegoating.

Naturally, this definition will shift today due to the lack of expansionist ambitions in what we consider to be modern “fascism”.

However, what’s clear is that fascism stands in direct opposition to socialism. The latter advocates for public sharing of the means of production within the economy. This falls into the belief that for everybody to benefit, the people have to take control of their resources. On the other hand, “The economic programs of the great majority of fascist movements were extremely conservative, favouring the wealthy far more than the middle class and the working class”, according to Britannica.

Therefore, while some right-wing populist movements today incorporate social safety nets to protect their working classes, fascism ≠ socialism.


Based on how I defined certain terms, how could you recognize the legitimacy of an insult? Or an article? Or even someone you agree with?

First, I would suggest pulling up a dictionary and finding out what they mean in its strictest form. If it is ambiguous, then I would find how this idea was used in a historical context, and how it emerged over time. While history cannot fully predict everything, it can provide evidence for or against your case for using it in a comment.

Words are a fantastic way to express thoughts and trends, but to maximize the effectiveness of such, one must go into the depths of its history to find if its useful today. Otherwise, it loses its meaning to what the internet commenters say, and won’t allow us to fully fight any form of “ism” if it appears again.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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