Originally Posted by Rojo
But we weren't talking about Stalin. We were trying to make Nazism and fascism into some sort of left-wing sect. Nobody who lived through those times saw it that way. Fascism and Nazism were right-wing phenomona, conservativism on steroids.
That is simply untrue. The conservatives may have formed a coalition with the Nazis, but they only did so to keep the communists out. The true conservatives viewed Hitler and the Nazis with disdain, yet had a greater fear of the communists based on what they had seen from the Russian Revolution. The Nazis were big proponents of policies such as raising the minimum wage, nationalizing certain key industries, land reform, expanding pensions for the elderly, and maintaining full employment through public works. They may have shut independent trade unions out, but they replaced them with party sanctioned workers bodies that worked out deals with industrialists with mediation from the party. Their base of power was not the wealthy, but rather the working and middle classes, which they maintained through populist programs.
As far as being militaristic goes, just about every far left government in history has pumped huge amounts of money and manpower into the military, whether it be the Soviets, their Warsaw Pact allies, China, and nonaligned regimes like Yugoslavia. So to say that a regime is right-wing because it gives great power to the military is false. On the contrary, the military under those regimes was politicized and placed under party control. Once again, if you remove the nationalist ethno-chauvinist characteristics of fascism, you see a lot more in common with communist regimes of the 20th century than you do with conservative movements in liberal democracies.
The real problem is trying to classify political movements along a linear spectrum of left v. right, when in reality many movements that appear diametrically opposed because they came in conflict with each other actually shared many characteristics. If you compared the Republican Party in the US to every other political movement in world history, I think the party they are closest to is the Democratic Party.