The Tetley

Leeds Salon Talk

Saturday 2nd December 3pm - 4:30pm

FASCISM: The Mobilization of Passions

The Leeds Salon hosts its 2017 series of talks in partnership with The Tetley. This year’s theme is titled ‘From Revolution to Reaction’, and goes back a century to explore major political and cultural movements and their resonances today. This third and final talk examines: ‘Fascism: The Mobilization of Passions’.

Fascism began with Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista in the 1920s. Italian fascism aimed to mobilize passionate nationalism, hatred of socialism and liberalism, and glorification of violence and war. Nowadays, however, fascism has come to mean German Nazism in the 1930s, along with Hitler’s ideas of racial superiority – ideas that justified the Holocaust.

In 2017, passions about ‘fascism’ are mobilised as never before. From the US alt-right to ISIS, from the new ‘populist’ parties of Europe to Donald Trump, everyone has recently been described as ‘fascist’. Yet in fact, as George Orwell commented back in 1944, one should use the term fascist ‘with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword’.

So what, historically, was fascism? Since Hitler came to power in an election, doesn’t that warn us against the popularity of ‘strongmen’ national leaders today – Trump, Erdogan, Putin and others? Or do some too easily and arbitrary when bandying about the term ‘fascist’ in 2017?

Speaker: James Woudhuysen is visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University, and has written and lectured for over 40 years on 19th and 20th-century history and politics.

Admission: £5 waged/£4 unwaged (cash only) to pay on the day, but please reserve your place by e-mailing Leeds Salon at

Part of an annual series of talks organised by Leeds Salon. 3pm–4:30pm. For more information visit: