A. James Gregor is professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley and an adjunct professor at Command and Staff College, U.S. Marine Corps University at Quantico, Virginia. He has also been awarded the Order of Merit by the President of the Italian Republic for his contribution to Italy as a nation through his published works. He is the author of "Giovanni Gentile: Philosopher of Fascism, Interpretations of Fascism, Phoenix: Fascism in Our Time," and "Marxism, China, and Development," all published by Transaction.
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In Gregor's reading of Gentile, fascism was-and remains-an anti-democratic reaction to what were seen to be the domination by advanced industrial democracies of less-developed or status-deprived communities and nations languishing on the margins of the "Great Powers." Sketching in the political background of late nineteenth-century Italy, industrially backward and only recently unified, Gregor shows how Gentile supplied fascism its justificatory rationale as a developmental dictatorship. Gentile's Actualism (as his philosophy came to be identified) absorbed many intellectual currents of the early twentieth century including nationalism, syndicalism, and futurism and united them in a dynamic rebellion against new perceived hegemonic impostures of imperialism. The individual was called to an idealistic ethic of obedience, work, self-sacrifice, and national community. As Gregor demonstrates, it was a paradigm of what we can expect in the twenty-first century's response, on the part of marginal nations, to the globalization of the industrialized democracies. Gregor cites post-Maoist China, nationalist Russia, Africa, and the Balkans at the development stage from which fascism could grow.
The first book-length analysis in English of Gentile's thought in over thirty years, this volume is valuable not only as a work of historical scholarship but as a timely warning. While Marxism-Leninism has passed into history, fascism may yet reemerge as an external threat to democratic nations.