Beryl Kingston Blog

How to spot a fascist and what to do next.


Over the Christmas holiday I had a tweet from a man I knew vaguely through the Blake Society and had therefore followed, assuming him to be more or less on the side of the angels. I was wrong. This tweet was so arrogant, ignorant and insulting I wanted to jump through the ether and thump him. We had been trading statistics, he bragging that the Brexit vote was the biggest ever at 17 million, me pointing out that the 12 million who voted Labour in 45 was 61% of the electorate and had achieved a social revolution. And this was his answer. I’m going to quote it so that you can see what I mean.

Common working people throwing off an unelected autocracy, in the face of an affluent Establishment, and in the teeth of the age-old accusations of being too uncouth, ill-educated and poor to be trusted to vote, dwarfs anything the post-war government achieved.’

But as ether jumping is a skill I’ve yet to acquire I sat down and thought the thing through instead. I began with the anger I felt at the way he compared the Brexit voters with the men and women who voted in the 1945 bloodless revolution and all that followed. We had lived through six years of bloody war, in which millions had been killed, in battle, at sea, in the air, in bombed cities and, worst of all, in Hitler’s obscene concentration camps. We knew what we were about when  we voted on that day. We wanted to change society. And we did it despite massive opposition from the no longer ruling elite.

Bur we also wanted to find out how to deal with fascism so that such horrors wouldn’t happen again. And that was even more difficult.

Not long after the war a two volume book called ‘The Authoritarian Personality’ written by T.W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson and R.Nevitt Sandford was published. It was an attempt to analyse the factors and characterististics that turn people into fascists, and was a formidable work as befitted a formidable problem. I studied it avidly and, even now, it is sitting on my shelves before me as I write.

And now we have the ‘Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism’ by Dr Lawrence Britt which seems to me so succinct and helpful I’m going to quote it in some detail. The 49 million of us who didn’t vote Brexit need all the help we can get.

Fourteen defining characteristics of fascism.

  1. Powerful and continuing Nationalism.  Constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans symbols and songs.
  2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights – Because of fear of ‘enemies’ and the need for ‘security’, people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases. They therefore look the other way and/or approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations etc.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. People are rallied into a unifying frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived threat or foe: racial, ethic or religious minorities, liberals, communists, socialists, terrorists etc.
  4. Supremacy of the military.
  5. Rampant sexism. Traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family.
  6. Controlled mass media.
  7. Obsession with National Security.
  8. Religion and government are intertwined. Governments use the most common religion in the nation to manipulate public opinion.
  9. Corporate power is protected
  10. Labour power is suppressed. Because the organising power of trade unions is the only real threat to a fascist government, Unions are either eliminated or severely suppressed.
  11. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Police are given almost limitless power to enforce the laws.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
  14. Fraudulent elections.

The link to the full version can be found on

I shall be very interested to hear what you think of this and whether you found it helpful.