A. James Gregor

Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Guggenheim Fellowship Marine Corps University
A. James Gregor
A. James Gregor lecturing at UC Berkeley in 2004
BornApril 2, 1929
DiedAugust 30, 2019(2019-08-30) (aged 90)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materColumbia University, B.A., Ph.D
AwardsOrder of Merit of the Italian Republic
Guggenheim Fellowship (1973)
Scientific career
Political Science
Race relations and Eugenics
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Marine Corps University
University of Texas
University of Hawaii

Anthony James Gregor (April 2, 1929 – August 30, 2019)[1] was a Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, well known for his research on fascism, Marxism, and national security.

Early life

He was born Anthony Gimigliano in New York City. His father, Antonio, was a machine operator, factory worker and a nonpolitical anarchist. Gregor served as a volunteer in the U.S. Army. He attended and graduated in 1952 from Columbia University and thereafter served as a high school social science teacher while working for his advanced degrees. Prior to founding the IAAEE, he published several articles on race science and syndicalism for Oswald Mosley's The European and Corrado Gini’s Genus.[2] Gregor's first article in the latter was a defense of Gini's theories, and the two subsequently became friends and collaborators until Gini's death in 1965.

Eugenics and philosophy

In 1959, Gregor joined with Robert E. Kuttner to found the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics (IAAEE), where Gregor acted as secretary. According to Gregor, the organization was founded to restore "an intellectual climate in the U.S., and throughout the Western World, which would permit a free and open discussion of racial ... problems." The organization was funded by segregationist Wickliffe Draper to oppose the civil rights movement.[3] As part of this group, Gregor was also an assistant editor of, and contributor to, Mankind Quarterly, the organization's journal.[3]

During this period he undertook anthropological field studies of aboriginal people in Central Australia, and similar studies in South Africa[4] and in the southern United States. In 1960, he obtained employment as a philosophy instructor at Washington College, and in 1961 he received his doctorate at Columbia as an Irwin Edman Scholar and with Distinction in History after his dissertation on Giovanni Gentile. Gregor became assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Hawaii from 1961 to 1964. He became an associate professor of philosophy at the universities of Kentucky and Texas between 1964 and 1967. Gregor joined the Political Science Department at the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 where he remained until his retirement.

Study of fascism

Gregor was part of a movement of scholars in the 1960s who rejected the traditional interpretation of fascism as an ideologically empty, reactionary, antimodern dead end. He claimed Italian Fascism owed a major debt to European ideological currents in sociology and political theory. Gregor described fascism as a coherent and serious theory of state and society, and argued that it played a revolutionary and modernizing role in European history. His theory of generic fascism portrayed it as a form of "developmental dictatorship." [5]

Since the 1970s, Gregor spent most of his academic research on the study of fascism and it is for this that he is best known. In 1969, he published The Ideology of Fascism: The Rationale of Totalitarianism; in 1974, he wrote The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics. Since then he published other works on the subject, such as Mussolini's Intellectuals, The Search for Neofascism, and Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism.

Gregor argued that scholars do not agree on the definition of fascism, stating in 1997 that "Almost every specialist has his own interpretation."[6]

He argued that Marxist movements of the 20th century discarded Marx and Engels and instead adopted theoretical categories and political methods much like those of Mussolini.[7] In The Faces of Janus (2000) Gregor asserted that the original "Fascists were almost all Marxists—serious theorists who had long been identified with Italy's intelligentsia of the Left."[8] In Young Mussolini (1979), Gregor describes Fascism as "a variant of classical Marxism."[9]

According to Gregor, many revolutionary movements have assumed features of paradigmatic Fascism, but none are its duplicate. He said that post-Maoist China displays many of its traits. He denied that paradigmatic Fascism can be responsibly identified as a form of right-wing extremism.[10]

International relations

Gregor said that he was committed to the American form of democratic liberalism, as he said that is the most effective system of government and the most likely to endure.

In the 1960s, Gregor held numerous workshops and lectures to convince policymakers and academics of the supporting the US role in the Vietnam War.

During the 1970s and 1980s Gregor served as an uncompensated adviser to Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos.[11]

His 1986 book, The China Connection: U.S. Policy and the People's Republic of China and his 1987 follow-up, Arming the Dragon: U.S. Security Ties with the People's Republic of China, discussed Sino-American relations. In 1989 he wrote In the Shadow of Giants: The Major Powers and the Security of Southeast Asia.

Gregor was named to the Oppenheimer Chair of Warfighting Strategy 1996–1997 at the Marine Corps University in Quantico.

Gregor translated some of the works of Italian Fascist philosopher Giovanni Gentile into English, together with a commentary on Gentile's political thought.[citation needed] Until his retirement in 2009, he taught a series of political science courses on revolutionary change, Marxism, and Fascism at UC Berkeley. In 2014, Gregor published Marxism and the Making of China. In 2016, his work, "Reflections on Italian Fascism" was published in an English and Italian edition. His present[when?] project is an analytic study of the transformative revolution that shaped the twentieth century. In 2014, Princeton University Press incorporated his volumes, Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship, and The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics, among the books in their "Princeton Legacy Library."

Academic evaluations

Gregor was made a national Guggenheim Fellow;[12] a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Social Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; H. L Oppenheimer Professor at the Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia; and a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.[citation needed]

Gregor wrote an influential early comprehensive survey of existing theoretical models of fascism.[13] According to Andreas Umland in The American Historical Review, "A. James Gregor has, for half a century, been one of the major makers and shapers of the discipline of comparative fascism."[14] Andrew Muldoon in Canadian Journal of History says, "Over a long and distinguished career A. James Gregor has advanced some controversial interpretations of political ideologies. In particular, he holds that the Italian Fascist regime is best understood as a "developmental dictatorship," distinct from Nazism in key ways; a thesis that has proven surprisingly influential since 1945."[15] Shortly after Gregor's death an extensive critical survey of his works on Fascism was published as a monograph by social scientist Phillip Becher.[16]



  1. ^ "È morto lo storico A. James Gregor, il più grande esperto di ideologia fascista" [Historian A. James Gregor, the greatest expert on fascist ideology has died] (in Italian). 1 September 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "Bibliographies: A. James Gregor". Institute for the Study of Academic Racism. Ferris State University. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Tucker, William H. (2002). Our Source of Funds: The Campaign against Civil Rights. Archived May 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine in The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. University of Illinois Press, ISBN 0-252-02762-0
  4. ^ Gregor, A. James (1963). "The Law, Social Science, and School Segregation: An Assessment". Case Western Reserve Law Review. 14 (4): 621.
  5. ^ "Italian Fascism and Developmental Dictatorship" (pub. 1980; republished 2008) by A. James Gregor, p. xii.
  6. ^ A. James Gregor, Interpretations of Fascism (1997) p 19.
  7. ^ Gregor, The Fascist Persuasion in Radical Politics (1974).
  8. ^ Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century (2000), p. 20.
  9. ^ Gregor, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (1979), p. xi.
  10. ^ Gregor, The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science (2006).
  11. ^ Mann, Jim; Rempel, William C. (July 26, 1988). "Marcos Said to Offer $5 Billion to Go Home". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "A. James Gregor". John Simon Guggenheium Memorial Foundation. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  13. ^ Roger Griffin, "Old Hat, New Bird," Review of Politics (2000), 62: 844–847 doi:10.1017/S0034670500042868.
  14. ^ See review by Andreas Umland in The American Historical Review (2013) 118(3) p. 1484. doi:10.1093/ahr/118.5.1484.
  15. ^ See review by Sean Kennedy in Canadian Journal of History (2013) 48(3) p. 575.
  16. ^ Phillip Becher, Faschismusforschung von rechts: A. James Gregor und die ideozentrische Deutung des italienischen Faschismus, Köln: PapyRossa, 2020.