Nasser: The Arab Mussolini

Written/Researched By Rex & Zetrux (Timotero)

People do not want words – they want the sound of battle – the battle of destiny.

Gamal Abdel Nasser

The Social and Philosophical Revolution of Fascism in Europe, was without a doubt, the most relevant event in terms of political history of the 20th century, since it affected not only the way of approaching politics, but the way of seeing life. It caused a domino effect upon European nations, and led to the rise of several figures and parties following the same type of trend. All of this caused by the actions of a young Benito Mussolini, marching through Rome and installing the first self-proclaimed “Fascist Regime.” From Italy, up to Norway, the effect of Fascism was seen; parties and movements appeared and joined the struggle in electoral politics, or would violently rise up against their governments just to arrive at that desired new way of life—that is to say, the New Machine.

The Italian Fascist Revolution would embrace the entirety of its country into a complete new change of mindset: the approach of life as a struggle of the Italian Nation for its self-improvement, the betterment of the newer and soon to come generations, and the application of a new set of philosophically Fascistic economic systems that applied a non-Marxian Socialism with a Nationalist trend. Mussolini would be, to a degree, a liberator of the Italian Nation, and a figure for other countries to emulate.

Mussolini would indeed become an example others followed; the Total Revolution was possible, and Italy was the role model for other countries. This was applied in countries like Germany, where a young Adolf Hitler would attempt something similar to the March on Rome: the Beer Hall Putsch. Only through time and effort would the German version of Fascism rise to power, holding racist views and approaching a quick regimentation of the nation into a new economic era of improvement. In the end, Germany would end up engaging in a World War that it could not win, creating a coalition of nations with which it wouldn’t be able to compete. This was the beginning of a full-blown war against Fascist or Fascistic-like regimes across Europe, ending up in the complete destruction of Fascist Europe, allowing only parallel regimes to Fascism to exist (Francisco Franco, Antonio Salazar, etc.). The end of the Ideology would be without a doubt, a tragedy in terms of the possibilities it could have had if it weren’t slain in its youth. Nevertheless, this didn’t end Fascism as a whole; the seed was already sewn into the soil of the Earth, and made way for the appearance of Fascist movements across the Americas, along with parts of Africa and Asia. Perhaps one of the figures that really proves that sometimes history does repeat itself, is Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian leader from 1954 to 1970, who resembled the old figure of Benito Mussolini, but in this case, of Northern Africa and the Middle East.

When understanding the following statement, we must also know that a “Fascist Regime” does not necessarily require to call itself Fascist in order to be of a Fascistic Ideology. Ironically, if any regime outside of the Italian one tried to do so, this would be not only a lack of comprehension of the ideology, but a failure to apply the beliefs of the ideology in one’s country. Fascism can be easily defined as a “Third Position” between the left and right wings of the political spectrum, in the same way the Left gets divided into different branches that vary in their goals and levels of radicalism, moving from Communism to Social Democracy, and how the Right moves from Theocracies into a more Libertarian understanding of politics and life. The Third Position divides itself into movements of a National root, that is to say, the same way the Right and Left split into branches of a different ideology, but are of the same background. Likewise, the Third Position splits itself into Nationalist, organic movements that understand their unique realities and goals in completely different ways, which although leads them to holding a similar background, their ideologies and goals can be different. 

If we were to define Fascism in a brief way, it can be easily summarized in four simple points: National Unity (Race, Culture, Idea, etc.), Meritocracy, Self-Improvement (Individual and Society) and National Goals. Through this simple definition that has been explained several times before, we can move forward into the main case of this article, which ends up being the fact that Gamal Abdel Nasser was, and represented the same type of figure in the Arab World, just like Mussolini did in Europe in his time. Around this case, Nasser displayed a clear Fascist ideology for the Arab Nations, created a new root of sudden Arab nationalist movements, and influenced many game-changers in the Middle East, such as Saddam Hussein. Nasser’s Pan-Arabism would be nothing but a branch of the Third Position solely created for Arabs: a self-improving nation with the goal of liberating the Arab nation, creating economic and political independence for them, establishing national goals, in order to carry out the constant struggle of Arabs against foreign invaders such as Zionists and Imperial forces. Nasser can be easily classified as the Arab Mussolini both because of the fact they shared the same ideological background, and due to the same effect they both had in their areas of operation.

Photo of Nasser when he belonged to the Fascist Organization Young Egypt

Joining the Fascist Organization “Young Egypt” at an early age, Gamal Abdel Nasser would grow up following a clear nationalist tendency regarding Arabs, increasingly growing an anti-colonialist feeling, and eventually developing a type of socialism applied to the conditions of the Arab Nation. His full mantra of ideas would go along the lines of using a socialism that would seek the betterment of society and the individual with the goal of freeing the Arab nation of foreign oppression, building up the people, strengthening their conditions, ending exploitation, and eventually, pursuing National goals with a military focus. These aspects can specifically be seen in his 1958 work, Philosophy of the Revolution, where we can see this nationalistic strive towards military goals in the benefit of the Arab Nation. His interpretation of Socialism would also give a clear Fascist understanding of it, seeking the collaboration of classes, ending Capitalism, creating a strong state, and seeking the unity of people through a rampant Nationalism which would give away to welfare in the name of the People. 

Arguably, Nasserist economic policy is better understood as one which placed national interest before private one. As argued by Ayubi (1992), Socialism was meant for fostering national independence and state building. Nationalization of private interests was arguably an extreme measure motivated by a similar concern encountered by Italian and German Fascists in their trial to subject the economy to state control and create a powerful economy. Unlike the two countries, the Egyptian industrial bourgeoisie was weak, and much of the invested capital was foreign-owned before 1952. Both of these factors induced the regime to expand the role of the state through direct ownership of factors of production rather than entering in partnerships, as was the case for instance in Fascist Italy

Fascism and Nasserism: Ideological influence or alternative explanations? By Mohamed Ismail Sabry
Nasser with the founder of Young Egypt, Fathi Radwan

The influence Young Egypt left on Nasser would later on be seen on his policies and ways of approaching policies, as well by the organization of the cabinet later on in his life. As the 1978 work of Vatikiotis Nasser and his Generation would show, most of his actions and political worldview would be influenced by the Fascist Ideas of Young Egypt. Not to mention, he would include people like Fathi Radwan as the Minister of Propaganda, the founder of said party. Adding up to this, he would collaborate and include former Nazis in his government, even getting to the point of inviting American Fascist, Francis Parker Yockey into writing propaganda for the Egyptian Information Ministry. Yockey would praise Nasser by calling him a “great and vigorous man,” that was nothing else but an ally against the world hegemony of America.

Nasser with Francisco Franco, leader of Spain at the time

Nasser wouldn’t refuse to openly give interviews to Neo-Nazi groups in Germany, and would get to the point of openly praising the Falangist Doctrine of José Antonio Primo de Rivera by calling it the “the root of the solution of the political evils of the world.” This praise would be backed by his friendship with Spaniard leader Francisco Franco, whom although didn’t hold a Falangist position, would still be a related figure to the movement. The Nasserist regime would prove itself to follow a way of Third Positionism by crushing dissident elements inside its country; be it right wing or left wing, the regime would show animosity towards them all unless they attempted collaboration. One day the government could seek collaboration with the United States, another with the Soviet Union, it didn’t matter to it, the whole point was to find what was better for the nation, without subjecting itself to foreign powers, which it never did. Ending up attacked by international forces more than once, and engaging into two wars with the infamous state of Israel, the Nasserist regime would prove to be in a constant struggle for survival in a world trying to siege its nation. 

The Nasserist regime was clearly an anti-conservative one. Even before Abdel Nasser’s ascendancy to power, the 1952 Revolutionary Council crushed conservative forces by abolishing the Monarchy and confiscating royal lands, curbing feudalism by limiting land ownership, and prohibiting civil titles such as Beh and Basha…

Once in power, however, Abdel Nasser grew more sensitive towards cooperating with Communists (Mohei El-Din 1992, 98); and their confrontation soon followed. The revolutionary regime, in which Abdel Nasser was so influential (the regime was headed by Naguib at that time), quelled harshly on the labor movement in Kafr al-Dawar in 1952, few weeks after the takeover. Two strike leaders were sentenced to death and executed. Mass arrests and detentions for the Communists followed. Communists were afterwards released, but detained again after the 1959 political developments in Iraq and the subsequent deterioration of relations with the USSR…

Generally speaking, in comparison to Fascist regimes, Nasserism was harsher on conservative forces, had comparable reactions towards liberal democratic ones, and was less harsh and determined with regard to Communists. Yet, Nasserism clearly shared with Fascist regimes animosity towards the three forces. The Young Egypt shared these stances with Nasserism.

Fascism and Nasserism: Ideological influence or alternative explanations? By Mohamed Ismail Sabry

From its full blown anti-traditionalism, confrontation with reactionary forces, and harsh treatment of Communists—to the point of sending them to concentration camps in the middle of the desert—Nasserism would show to follow a nonconventional path in terms of the usual understanding of politics. The Nasserist regime would often position itself on a third route, giving clear cues of this in government actions, such as the persecution of masons after 1964, in which Nasser would declare that they would “participate in an international conspiracy against fatherlands, peoples and religions, just like they are the architects of Capitalism and Marxism.”

Nasser would more than often engage in Fascist rhetoric as well in government mandates, welding into the 1964 Constitution the following statement: “The State is the National Unity of workers, soldiers, intellectuals and National Capital.” In several occasions, both in public speeches and his political actions, Nasserism would show to be an Arabic form of Fascism applied to the realities of the Egyptian Nation, proving itself to be the founder of a Fascistic tendency among the Arab world,  by creating the sudden rise of Pan-Arabic movements, which would not really agree with him, but would clearly be inspired by him, just like the Arab Socialist Ba’athist Party, which would give away for the creation of new Arab Fascist regimes in Syria , and Iraq or The Third International Theory in Libya.

Nasser era propaganda, bringing a resemblance to the famously known Palazzo Braschi Mussolini propaganda “SI”

The resemblance, goals, and inspiration both Mussolini and Nasser brought to their respective areas would showcase to have similar impacts by inaugurating a new type of politics, by bringing its sinking rural nations into a new era of modernization, and by revolutionizing the mindset of people into a new ideology based on National Unity, the improvement of their society, and the pursuit of Nationalist Goals. Bringing rise to several movements inspired by their success at implementing its new type of politics, and later bringing on two figures that would also share a sense of resemblance, these being Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein—personalities that would engage in a similar way of government, both in racial views, economic success, and eventual militarism that would cause its own downfall, directly and indirectly. Gamal Abdel Nasser would show to the Arab world that there was another way besides Capitalism and Communism, that the road to the freedom of the Arab people was achievable, and that through a constant struggle in a “path filled with blood” would they retake what was theirs, symbolizing the possibility of freedom.

Nasser would peacefully pass away in 1970; his government would quickly be subverted back into submission. Although idolatry would remain among Egyptian people, given the fact he was an Ataturk-like figure and considered the father of the modern Egyptian Nation, the levels of misunderstanding and straight up lying regarding his figure would quickly make themselves noticed just like they did with Juán Domingo Perón in Argentina. It would quickly be argued that he collaborated with Capitalists or Communists, that he was secretly a Crypto-Communist, that he collaborated with the CIA, etc. These claims being historical ignorance, nit-picking, or lacking context, showcase the fact that in the modern world, especially after World War II, every type of Fascist-like government can easily be turned into something far different than what it actually was. Truth of the matter is, Gamal Abdel Nasser would bring and inaugurate the sudden rise of Fascism in the Arab World, and would escalate the struggle of Arabs against their true oppressors, that is, the Zionist International Coalition seeking to crush and bomb every nation back into the stone age if they even dared to rise up.

Gamal Abdel Nasser: The Liberator of the Arab Nation

The logical conclusion to this, besides being the fact that Fascism wasn’t really ended during World War II, is the fact that any person interested in the Third Position has to realize that finding and possibly getting to expand one’s knowledge is not something that will be handed to us in a golden plate. This is why we get several cases like Perón, Nasser, Saddam, etc., where obviously Fascist leaders that are in plain sight, are hidden and washed into being something entirely different. The case of Nasser is perhaps the biggest one, because without a Nasser there wouldn’t have been the Qaddafist, Assadist, or Saddamist movements that followers of the Third Position usually recognize or defend. Without Nasser, the Arab nations would have remained enslaved in the same chains that the Zio-Capitalist order currently hold the rest of the world under. Without a Nasser, a full generation of Arabs willing to die for the freedom of their nations that would inspire Fascists all across the world, wouldn’t be a thing. Nasser, just like Mussolini, represents the beauty of the Fascist struggle, by bringing cheer upon an age of darkness for their people, and for openly displaying what Fascism is able to achieve in regards to the liberation of nations.

My countrymen, my blood spills for you and for Egypt. I will live for your sake and die for the sake of your freedom and honor. Let them kill me; it does not concern me so long as I have instilled pride, honor, and freedom in you. If Gamal Abdel Nasser should die, each of you shall be Gamal Abdel Nasser… Gamal Abdel Nasser is of you and from you and he is willing to sacrifice his life for the nation.

Gamal Abdel Nasser