"A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion." [Robert O. Paxton, "The Anatomy of Fascism," 2004]

Fascist
1921, from It. partito nazionale fascista, the anti-communist political movement organized 1919 under Benito Mussolini (1883-1945); from It. fascio "group, association," lit. "bundle." Fasci "groups of men organized for political purposes" had been a feature of Sicily since c.1895; the 20c. sense probably infl. by the Roman fasces (q.v.) which became the party symbol. Fascism, also 1921, was originally used in Eng. 1920 in its It. form, fascismo. Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923. (1)

(1)
“Fascist.” Def. 1. Online Etymology Dictionary. Ed. Douglas Harper. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2009. <http://www.etymonline.com/‌index.php?search=fascism&searchmode=none>.