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.
Catholic Integralism (also called Integrism) is an "anti-pluralist" trend in Catholicism; the Catholic Integralism born in 19th century Spain, France, and 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 secular humanism.
Catholic Integralism does not support the creation of an autonomous "Catholic" state church, or Erastianism (Gallicanism in French context). Rather it supports subordinating the state to the world-wide Catholicism under the leadership of the Pope. Thus it rejects separation of the Catholic Church from the state and favours Catholicism as the proclaimed religion of the state.
Catholic Integralism appeals to the teaching on the subordination of temporal to spiritual power of medieval popes such as Pope Gregory VII and Pope Boniface VIII. But Catholic Integralism in the strict sense came about as a reaction against the political and cultural changes which followed the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. The nineteenth century papacy challenged the growth of liberalism (with its doctrine of popular sovereignty) as well as new scientific and historical methods and theories (which were thought to threaten the special status of the Christian revelation). Pope Pius IX condemned a list of liberal and Enlightenment ideas in his Syllabus of Errors. The term Integralism was applied to a Spanish political party founded about 1890, which based its programme on the "Syllabus". Catholic Integralism reached its "classical" form in the reaction against modernism. After the papal condemnation of modernism in 1907, "integral Catholics", encouraged by Pope Pius X, sought out and exposed any co-religionist whom they suspected of modernism or liberalism. An important integralist organization was the Sodalitium Pianum, known in France as La Sapinière (fir plantation), which was founded in 1909 by Umberto Benigni.
Catholic Integralism declined after the Second Vatican Council, due to a lack of support from the Catholic hierarchy. Today Catholic Integralism is supported mainly by traditionalist Catholics such as those associated with the Society of St. Pius X and Tradition, Family and Property.
The Integralismo Lusitano (Lusitanian Integralism) was the integralist movement of Portugal, founded in 1914. The Portuguese integralism was traditionalist, but not conservative. It was against parliamentarism and, instead, it favored decentralization, the national syndicalism, the Catholicism and the monarchy.
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; Krogt, Christopher van der. Catholic Fundamentalism or Catholic Integralism?
- Krogt, Christopher van der. Catholic Fundamentalism or Catholic Integralism?
- Krogt, Christopher van der. Catholic Fundamentalism or Catholic Integralism? page 125
- Krogt, Christopher van der. Catholic Fundamentalism or Catholic Integralism? pages 124-125
- Kallis, Aristotle A. Fascism Reader, p. 313-317 2003 Routledge
- Payne, Stanley A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, Routledge 1996.