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Where can I find an (or what is an) anarchist critique of the relevance of contemporary anti-fascism?

+3 votes
<updated inquiry> Is there a core definition of "fascism" that exists outside the realm of jargon? For instance, people refer to U.S. armed militias on the Mexican border as fascists, because of their racist right-wing nationalism, anti-immigration sentiments, paramilitary nature, etc.. Could they be considered fascists, or does referring to all militant white-nationalist as fascists make sense somehow? It seems to me that they are promoting or attempting to uphold the laws that their vision of Democracy (using this term pejoratively) has laid out, albeit with a vigilante approach. Their psuedo-libertarian, "Don't Tread on Me" angle alongside their love for the Constitution as some sort of enabler of freedom seems to be counter-intuitive to the totalitarianism nature of fascism.  

It seems like many groups have appropriated nazi imagery to express their racism, or as a rebellious gesture (Sex Pistols, Biker Culture), reducing anti-fascism in the U.S. to protesting vague resemblances to fascism or fascist imagery such as Death in June concerts.

Also my main reason for this inquiry here is because I can't for the life of me find the @news article that I referred to below, and the comment which linked the writing that I believe answered most of my questions. Like I said, I think it was the most recent Bay Area Antifa callout for an open meeting, but I can't find it or figure out what to search to find it. If anyone who's more @news savvy could help me with that I'd much appreciate it!

Apologies for being so long-winded still..

<previous inquiry> I'm pretty sure there was a callout for a new Bay Area Antifa on AnarchistNews recently, in which the comments were more productive than the body (not unusually). There was at least one link to an essay critiquing the relevance (or lack of) of anti-fascism in a contemporary global context. I believe some of the argument was around the context of fascism in the past having existed in very particular socio-political historical contexts which have since changed. I'm pretty sure there was an analysis regarding something along the lines of how contemporary industrial globalization, or perhaps post-modernity, have either appropriated or created more sophisticated modes of control which make fascism a virtually obsolete and redundant form of totalitarianism. Along with what Lawrence has stated in his response to a question on here about the misuse of the term "anti-fascism" outside of its historical context. Are there really fascists anymore? Or are they just far-right nationalists (Golden Dawn, etc.)? Does fascism require the socialist aspects of state-controlled nationalization of industry and culture, or can a small group practice it? There definitely doesn't seem to be any sort of consensus about what fascism is, so does it even exist as a concrete form of politics or is it simply jargon that describes a broad range of political phenomena? So many questions!
asked Aug 9, 2014 by anonymous
edited Aug 10, 2014
Yeah, so many. Maybe you can separate out a few of the theoretical ones from the practical ones; you seem to looking for an analysis as well as the appropriateness of particular strategies in response.

Like: is a return to a state ruled through fascism (as historically understood using the examples of the Third Reich and Fascist Italy, as well as lesser examples like the nominally fascist Franco regime or the KMT in China/Taiwan or Japan in the 1930s) a contemporary possibility (and Golden Dawn makes explicit use of nazi imagery and programs, so I'd say they are not just right-wing nationalists)? Or has the form of hyper-control become unnecessary since the rise of the national security surveillance state of exception?
Yes, there are still fascists, but for the most part they do not engage in street-level enforcement of counter-revolution -- if only because there isn't much street-level revolution happening. Street-level fascists are mostly involved in anti-immigrant activities, sometimes using violence.
Most fascists these days are against corporate power (a similar rhetoric infused Nazi and Fascist ideology, but was tempered with pro-worker notions as well, using the patriotic argument), but not capitalism. Most would not call themselves any sort of socialist, the meaning of which has changed quite a bit since 1945.
There's plenty more to examine...
The other notable contemporary example is Jobik in Hungary.

Re: the dearth of street-level revolution/counter-revolution, GD have targeted socialists and anarchists individually, although that's usually connected to their anti-immigrant activity, and either way doesn't compare to the Social Democrat-ordered counter-revolution carried out by facsists/reactionaries in Germany post-WW1.
i think this question should've gotten more play than it did--and i'm definitely thinking about it a lot atm.

fascism does seem to be the general term of disapprobation these days, and i am not finding good explanations for what people mean by it. the only explanation i can think of for its modern use is that while fascism looks different now than it did, we need the imagery of and terms for historical fascism because they have emotional impact, and we need  people to understand how serious the situation is. ("we" being the people who use the term, which does not include me.)

something similar is being/has been done with rape and rape culture--where people are engaged in a (more or less valid) search for what allows certain ideas to gain ground, what makes a terrain fertile for racism, rape, etc.... but in the meantime the searchers and their colleagues wring the last bit of emotion out of the words, making them so overused and broadly applied that they become meaningless, only useful as rallying cries for willing troops.

i don't want to just call that jargon, although that is certainly one of the things that is going on.

what have other people's recent experiences with this been?

1 Answer

+1 vote
You can read several things about this.

Anything by Luigi Fabri, and especially "Preventive counter-revolution", which is a brand critique of italian fascism and anti-fascism (it's failure) during the fascist dictatorship of Mussolini, on an anarchist perspective. Luigi Fabri was a close relative to Malatesta, and often refered both as an anarchist-communist and "insurrectionnist".
here : http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/8pk1j9

- "What can we do with antifascism ?" by Alfredo Bonanno. A anarchist critique and perspective on antifascism. http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/alfredo-m-bonanno-what-can-we-do-with-anti-fascism

- "The struggle against fascism begin with the struggle against bolchevism" by Otto Rühle, with an introduction by Aflredo Bonanno.

You can also read "Our Antifascism" by Severino di Giovanni but I didn't find a link to it.
answered Sep 9, 2014 by okapy (2,120 points)