Journalist and author Paul Mason turns to the past to see what worked — and what didn’t work — in the fight against fascism in the twentieth century. He confronts head-on the staggering failure of the German Left (both the Social Democrats and the Stalinists) to block the Nazis, even though the Left had millions of supporters and their own armed detachments with many thousands of members.
He finds inspiration in the experience both of Spain and France in the 1930s when fascism was stopped — at least temporarily — by Popular Fronts uniting the Left with parties of the liberal centre.
Mason is quick to acknowledge the failures of the orthodox Marxists and seeks insights in some unusual places, including Hannah Arendt and Wilhelm Reich, whose masterpiece, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, deserves a wide readership.
I finished reading this book on a weekend when Italian fascists stormed a national union headquarters in Rome, so the timing could not have been better.