Capra is No Fascist

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					Webster's Dictionary defines fascism as a one-party system of government marked by a centralized dictatorship, stringent socioeconomic controls, and often belligerent nationalism. In other words, an extreme form of ideology that celebrates a certain nation or nationality being greater than all others. It calls for a revolution against moral decay and wants to rid itself of any groups that threaten its uniform community. Fascism applaudes masculinity, youth, unity, the power of violence, racial superiority, ethnic pursecution, and imperialist expansion. It also supports male supremacy, but sometimes promotes female solidarity and new opportunities for the women of that community. <Tab/>Fascism's approach to politics is populist and elitist. Populist in that it tries to make the people gather as a whole against the oppressors and elitist in that it the people's will is embodied in a select group or in one leader in authority. It seeks to organize mass movement to seize power and mass organizations as a system of control. Sometimes it even goes so far as to use violene to suppress opposition. Fascism incorporates ideas and beliefs of Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, although as a whole they are looked down upon. It defends capitalism but also pursues an agenda that clashes with the capitalist interest. <Tab/>In Mr. Smith, Capra puts a young, naive politician in a place of leadership. There are so many good things that Mr. Smith wants to do for his country, and he is very patriotic. With the help of his smart and witful secretary, he begins to pull together things that he wants to bring before the senate. When the idea of a boys camp enters his mind, he unknowingly steps on a few toes. As the corrupted politicians strain to pull him into the mix of things, he notices exactly what is going on. They offer to gurantee him a seat in the senate for years to come, if he drops his bill and goes along with their dishonest dealings. He refuses to go along with the croud and stands up for himself which temporarily proves to be a disadvantage. They realize that he actually has a chance to have his bill passed and he is gaining support, so they hit him with a brick wall. Accused of misappropriation of funds, a trial is held to determine whether or not Mr. Smith is guilty. <Tab/>When it becomes evident to Mr. Smith and his secretary, Clarissa Saunders, that he will be accused, they compose a plan to change the minds of those in power. She explains to Mr. Smith that as long as he speaks and does not yeild the floor, then he will be able to speak and everyone will be forced to listen to him. Hoping that this will prove his innocence to the president of the senate and the rest of his peers, he begins his long speaking effort. When he collapses, the senator in charge of framing him admits that he set Mr. Smith up. All charges are dropped against Mr. Smith and good prevails. <Tab/>Many times Capra has been accused of being a fascist or that his movies portrayed a fascist underline. In my opinion, he never portrayed that in his film Mr. Smith, unless it was in the crooked senators. Although Mr. Smith wanted to improve the current state of the senate and rid it of moral decay, he never used violence or forceful tactics. His method was very upfront and he was only trying to make things better for his country. He saw a need and tried to fill the spot. <Tab/>I think that if fascism was showed in this film, it was characterized by the twisted ideas of the senators. They were trying to form a mass movement against Mr. Smith when he refused to follow them, and used force to do that. They threatened him and only wanted to be in control of his every move. <Tab/>Another thing that I noticed about the film was that Clarissa was a very intelligent woman. She always knew what the best move was and seemed extremely educated in the ways of the Senate. Even with all this knowledge, she was at a very low spot, meaning that she was only a secretary when she had the desire and the ability to do so much more. This is something sometimes associated with fascism. Fascists are dominated mainly by men, and women are not normally given the oppertunity to move up in the world, regardless of their possible contributions and talents. <Tab/>All in all, I do not believe that Capra was a fascist and I do not think that his films portrayed a fascist view. I think that he displayed his true feelings and character into his movies, and even though some aspects of this film were strangly like some of the fascist beliefs, there was not enough of the kind of proof need to say that he was a fascist. His films did not represent anything negative or bad. I think that they were very inspirational and the only thing that I could think of that would make people believe that he was fascist, is that times were different and people were more suspicious.