Ord for dagen – i disse valgkamptider
The democratic and socialist Lefts, still united in 1848, had to split apart before fascism could become possible. The Left also had to lose its position as the automatic recourse for all the partisans of change – the dreamers and the angry, among the middle class as well as the working class. Fascism is therefore inconceivable in the absence of a mature and expanding socialist Left. Indeed fascists can find their space only after socialism has become poweful enough to have had some share in governing and thus to have disillusioned part of its traditional working-class and intellectual clientele. So we can situate fascism in time not only after the irreversible establishment of mass politics, but indeed late that process, when socialists have reached the point of participating in government – and being compromised by it.
That threshold was crossed in September 1899, when the first European socialist accepted a position in a bourgeois cabinet, in order to help support French democracy under attack during the Dreyfus Affair, thereby earning the hostility of some of his movement's moral purists. By 1914, they part of the Left's traditional following had become disillusioned with what they considered the compromises of moderate parliamentary socialists. After the war, looking for something more uncompromisingly revolutionary, they went over to Bolshevism, or, as we have seen, via national syndicalism to fascism.
(Robert O. Paxton: The Anatomy of Fascism, Allen Lane, 2004, s. 43-44)