Integralism, or Integral nationalism, is an ideology according to which a nation is an organic unity. Integralism defends social differentiation and hierarchy with co-operation between social classes, transcending conflict between social and economic groups. It advocates trade unionism (or a guild system), corporatism, and organic political representation instead of ideological forms of representation. Integralism claims that the best political institutions for given nations will differ depending on the history, culture and climate of the nation's habitat. Often associated with blood and soil conservatism, it posits the nation or the state or the nation state as an end and a moral good, rather than a means.
The term integralism was coined by the French journalist Charles Maurras, whose conception of nationalism was illiberal and anti-internationalist, elevating the interest of the state above that of the individual and above humanity in general.
Although it is marked by its being exclusionary and particularistic, and there has been consideration of its historic role as a sort of proto-fascism (in a European context) or para-fascism (in a South American context), this link remains controversial, with some social scientists positing that it combines elements of both the political left and right.
Integralism is a term also used to describe the "anti-pluralist" trend of Catholicism; the Catholic Integralism born in mid-19th century Italy was a movement that sought to assert a Catholic underpinning to all social and political action, and to minimize or eliminate any competing ideological actors, such as Marxism or secular humanism.
Catholic Integralism does not support the creation of an autonomous "Catholic" state church, or Erastianism (Gallicanism in French context), although at the same time it rejects separation of the Catholic Church from the state and favours Catholicism as the proclaimed religion of the state.
Somewhat rooted in the Portuguese integralist tradition, the Brazilian integralist movement led by Plínio Salgado – Ação Integralista Brasileira – became the largest political party ever found in Brazil, with over a million members, even though it lasted less than six years as a legally recognized organization.
Integralism and Fascism
Critics and opponents of integralism argue that the movement can be associated with fascism (especially in Latin America), although there exist deep points of disagreement: integralism stresses trade unionism and localism while fascism defends a centralist state; the traditionalist and Catholic foundation of integralist ideas against the often secular and anti-clerical, and modernist philosophical basis of fascism.
- Caldwell, Wilbur W. American Narcissism: the Myth of National Superiority. 2006, page 22-4
- Adam, Thomas. Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. 2005, page 561
- Gingrich, André and Banks, Marcus. Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology'. 2006, page 162-3
- Kertzer, David I. Comrades and Christians: religion and political struggle in Communist Italy. 1980, page 101-2
- Kallis, Aristotle A. Fascism Reader, p. 313-317 2003 Routledge
- Payne, Stanley A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, Routledge 1996.