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Fighting Fascismthe British Left and the Rise of Fascism, 1919-39$
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Keith Hodgson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080555

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080555.001.0001

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The left and fascism in Britain, 1919–32

The left and fascism in Britain, 1919–32

(p.97) 4 The left and fascism in Britain, 1919–32
Fighting Fascism

Keith Hodgson

Manchester University Press

When considering the threat of fascism in Britain, the left repeated the familiar arguments they had had regarding Italy and Germany, and divided over the nature of the democratic state, as well as the potential of reaction to emerge from within it. This was especially true concerning the National Government, which the parliamentarians of Labour and the Trades Union Congress saw as a legitimately elected government that could only be defeated at the polls. Talk of extra-parliamentary action was not only inimical to Labour's creed, but would, the party felt, increase the danger of fascism by provoking a backlash from the right. British revolutionaries, however, looked on the National Government as a dangerous step towards, or a precursor of, fascism, feeling that the necessary response to this was the radicalisation of the labour movement and a move away from constitutional methods. To do otherwise, which they felt had happened in Italy and Germany, had left workers weakened and demoralised in the face of the fascist threat.

Keywords:   British left, fascism, fascist movements, labour movement, National Government

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