Fascism begins quite simply and monotonously. One day another economic crisis arrives, usually exacerbated by some extraordinary circumstance. There is no way to cope with it. The discontent with the situation from below and the fear for the money from above grows to unbelievable proportions, bam – and we already have a new Fuhrer in charge. Or even the old one, but in a new capacity. All dissatisfied people go to prison-concentration camps, all political chatterboxes shut up, all masters of life quietly receive military orders, and there comes the silence and grace of the open terrorist dictatorship of finance capital.
And now, live happily ever after with such a fascist paradise, without any stupid parliaments, corrupt politicians and a corrupt press. But no. Uncomfortable somehow. Severity, of course, is good, but you can also fall under the hot hand of a dictator. Or your son will be taken to the army and sent to the trenches. Or wife’s proportions of the skull will be wrong. All this is unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous. Therefore, it is necessary to somehow round off this brutality and make the state again softer, more sensitive, kinder, at least to respectable people, without all those Eins, zwei, Polizei. And the ruling class begins to look for reverse gear in this fascist gearbox. Not everyone succeeds in finding it right away, but the options are very diverse and worthy of consideration.
The easiest thing, of course, is when good neighbors help. Fascism can often be very aggressive. Sometimes they put so many guns on the walls that they start shooting not in the third act of the play, but much earlier. Then good people have to take out their rifles and kill the fascist scum right in its lair. The fate of the dictator and his closest friends then is unenviable. They burn, sickly, doused with the last of their gasoline, with a potassium cyanide ampoule in their mouths. Or they hang upside down next to their beloved. Or they simply and banally end their lives in a firing squad basement, a prison hospital, or an insane asylum.
But there are also options that are less radical, but more intricate.
The Greek regime of the “Black Colonels” after six years of rule began to give a reversal and gradually introduced democracy. But because of disagreements on this ground, the colonels quarreled among themselves, staged another coup, a massacre within the country and an adventure in Cyprus, as a result were demolished and ended their dictatorial lives in life imprisonment.
The Portuguese fascist dictator Salazar managed to die in his bed in full confidence that he was the head of state until the end. Although for the last two years of his life after the stroke another person was already at the head of Portugal, and Salazar had a comedy with ministerial reports and even a special soothing newspaper issued for him in a single copy. However, even in good health, Salazar was gloomily misanthropic and lived as a semi-recluse. And fascism in Portugal was overthrown four years after his death by the “Carnation Revolution”.
The most successful fascist dictator of all time was Franco. Having revolted, unleashed a civil war, and shed rivers of blood, he nevertheless managed to remain hand-picked by world leaders. At first according to the principle “not for you now, Hitler must be fought now” and during the Cold War, “let Spain stay brown than red”. By appointing Prince Juan Carlos as its successor, by cunningly maneuvering in foreign policy and pursuing a repressive policy to the end in domestic policy, the Franco regime managed to set a record for the duration of a fascist dictatorship – almost 40 years. The last monument to the Caudillo was demolished in 2009, and in 2019 the remains of Franco himself were exhumed and moved from the Valley of the Fallen memorial, which he had envisioned as a “symbol of reconciliation,” to an ordinary municipal cemetery in protest of neo-Nazis.
Of the many Latin American military dictators, Pinochet was undoubtedly the most prominent. His fascist junta also lasted a long time: Pinochet was head of state for 17 years and then as commander-in-chief of the ground forces for another 8 years, he remained a threat to the democratization of the country. The clinging dictator was finally not supported by his junta colleagues or North American patrons. And then something began that could not but begin after all his years of brutal machinations. Deprivation of senatorial immunity, arrests, charges of murder, kidnapping, torture, corruption. The dictator spent the last eight years of his life in an atmosphere of universal hatred and prosecution.
A bourgeois state can exist in two forms: an open terrorist dictatorship called fascism, and a dictatorship covered by parliaments, laws and various cunning procedures, which is called democracy. Better, of course, to live with the second. But this issue is decided not by the people, but by the elite, entangled in their own machinations and having lost their minds from fear of losing power. The main thing that future fascist dictators should remember is that the entrance to fascism is simple, but the way out is difficult. And at the exit you will most likely be met by serious people who do not share your dictatorial methods, but are ready to make an exception for you.