Fascist fears

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Bruce Crichton’s protest against the motley band which deposed the democratically elected Ukrainian government being called “fascist” (Letters, 6 March) is an interesting intervention.

The pejorative use of “fascism” has made it the most misused and over-used word of our times and as George Orwell observed it is not much more than a synonym for “bully”.

Historically, fascists opposed both communism and liberal capitalism, preferring a state-controlled economy with both private and public ownership of the means of production.

In fact, Ukraine’s Svoboda Party is fiercely anti-Semitic and ultra-nationalistic and has many of the hallmarks one might expect to see in a typical 1930s fascist movement.

However, not all fascist governments were xenophobic and some claimed a kind of “civic nationalism” where legitimacy was derived from the participation of its “citizenry”.

Yet all nationalist movements project an internal or external bogeyman responsible for a perceived state of decadence which can only be cured by the rebirth of the nation.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

The government which replaced the corrupt administration of President Yanukovych in the Ukraine contains the seeds of its own destruction – it is liberally salted with the neo-fascists who will eventually grab power.

My late father went to Spain in the 1930s, to be chased out by fascists, as he was from France (in the British Expeditionary Force) at Dunkirk in 1940.

He subsequently fought fascists across the North African deserts, up the spine of Italy and finally from the Channel to Bremen – for some it truly was a crusade.

He would be bemused today to see his grandchildren’s generation preparing to pump
billions of pounds into Ukraine to prop up a government 
containing fascists – but I suppose that’s realpolitik for you. Who would have thought we would have supported the right to self-determination of a government tainted by fascists, over the self-determination of a non-fascist Crimea which opposes it?

The problem we have to solve is that our politicians – in a large sense the creators of our history – seem terminally incapable of ever learning from it.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh

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