I was invited to discuss my recent articles on fascism (see below) on the podcast “Clearing the FOG” with Margaret Flowers. Click here to listen.
Description: With the presidential election coming up, there is a lot of focus on how the election will go and who will win. One thing is certain, no matter which corporate candidate wins, the people and the planet will lose. To understand where we are and how we got here, I speak with Gabriel Rockhill, a philosopher, author and activist. He explains the connections between our governance structure and capitalism and how both liberal democracy and fascism–in a sort of good cop/bad cop relationship–are used to protect the profits of the few while exploiting the many.
The articles mentioned in the interview are listed here:
My latest article was just published here in Black Agenda Report. It is part four of a four-part series entitled “Fascism: A Counter-History.” The first part is available here, the second here, and the third here.
Excerpt: “Historically, liberalism and fascism, in this broad sense, have functioned as two modes of capitalist governance that operate in conjunction with one another, following the logic of the police interrogation tactic known as good cop / bad cop. Liberalism, as the good cop, promises freedom, the rule of law and the protection of a benefactor state in exchange for acquiescence to capitalist socioeconomic relations and pseudo-democracy. It tends to both serve and attract members of the middle and upper-middle classes, as well as those who aspire to be part of them. The bad cop of fascism has proven particularly useful for governing those populations that are poor, racialized, and discontent, as well as for intervening in various parts of the world to impose capitalist social relations by force. If people are not hoodwinked by the false promises of the good cop, or they are not motivated by other reasons to be acquiescent, then the liberals’ partner in crime is on call to beat them into compliance. Those who rise up from any class in order to contest capitalism should be ready to have the liberals and their supposed regime of rights tap out, ceding the fight to their more vicious ally while looking the other way, and reminding any onlookers of the important differences between the lesser of two evils.”
I’m excited to have the opportunity to discuss this extremely important book with the author, William I. Robinson, and Jennifer Ponce de León at 4 p.m. EST on October 24. The discussion will take place online, via the Critical Theory Workshop, and it is free and open to the public. Click here for all of the details.
My latest article was just published here in CounterPunch. It is part three of a four-part series entitled “Fascism: A Counter-History.” The first part is available here, and the second here. Excerpt: “To establish itself as the global military hegemon and international guard dog of capitalism, the U.S. government and National Security State have relied on the help of the significant number of Nazis and fascists it integrated into its global network of repression, including the 1,600 Nazis brought into the U.S. through Operation Paperclip, the 4,000 or so integrated into the Gehlen organization, the tens or even hundreds of thousands that were reintegrated into the ‘postwar’—or rather transwar—regimes in fascist countries, the large number who were given free passage to Empire’s backyard—Latin America—and elsewhere, as well as the thousands or tens of thousands integrated into NATO’s secret stay-behind armies. This global network of seasoned anti-communist assassins has also been used to train armies of terrorists around the world to participate in dirty wars, coups d’état, destabilization efforts, sabotage, and terror campaigns.” [read more]
My latest article was just published here in CounterPunch. It is part two of a series I’ve written on fascism (the first part is available here). Excerpt: “Given the ways in which the current public debate on fascism tends to be framed in relationship to purported liberal resistance, there could scarcely be a timelier task than that of scrupulously re-examining the historical record of actually existing liberalism and fascism. As we shall see even in this brief overview, far from being enemies, they have been—sometimes subtle, sometimes forthright—partners in capitalist crime.”
My latest article, which is part of a series I’ve written that proposes a counter-history of fascism, was just published here in CounterPunch. Excerpt: “The bourgeois concept of fascism seeks to singularize it as an idiosyncratic phenomenon, which is largely or entirely superstructural, in order to foreclose any examination of its ubiquitous presence within the history of the capitalist world order. In contrast, the historical materialist approach proposes a multi-scalar analysis of the social totality in order to demonstrate how the conjunctural specificity of interwar European fascism can best be understood as nested within a structural phase of capitalist class warfare, and ultimately within the systemic history of capital, which came into the world—in the words used by Karl Marx to describe primitive accumulation—’dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.'” [read more]
My latest article examines the material history of Foucault’s relationship to revolutionary politics. Excerpt: “The contradiction that I would like to elucidate is that of the radical recuperator, meaning the intellectual who appears radical in certain circles but whose primary social function is to recuperate truly radical critique within the extant system, thereby policing the left border of critique. What interests me first and foremost, then, is how Foucault’s work—like that of other French theorists, but often with more political panache and historical flair than Derrida, Deleuze, Lacan, and co.—has played an important role in a much larger historical reconfiguration: the great ideological realignment of the Western intelligentsia, which took a gradual but decisive step to the right by distancing itself from anti-capitalist revolutionary politics. In order to see how this process unfolded in the case of Foucault, which of course involved myriad forces and was nowise due to him alone, it will be helpful to lay out and contextualize the evolution of his mercurial politics. This will allow us to bring to the fore a clear pattern and identify the man behind the many masks.” [read more]
My review of Massimiliano Tomba’s latest book, Insurgent Universality: An Alternative Legacy of Modernity, is just out in Political Theory. Click here to read it online (if you have access), or here to download a pdf.
The article I co-authored with Jennifer Ponce de León, “Toward a Compositional Model of Ideology: Materialism, Aesthetics, and Cultural Revolution,” was just published here in Philosophy Today. If you do not have access and would like to read it, a pdf is available here.
Abstract: This article sets forth a compositional model of ideology by drawing on the tradition of historical materialism and further developing its insights into the aesthetic composition of reality. It demonstrates how ideology is not simply a set of false beliefs but is rather the process by which social agents are composed over time in every dimension of their existence, including their thoughts, practices, perceptions, representations, values, affects, desires, and unconscious drives. By working through a number of diverse debates and authors—ranging from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to Louis Althusser, Eduardo Galeano, Rosaura Sánchez, and Paulo Freire—it thereby elucidates how ideology is best understood as an aesthetic process that includes every aspect of sense and sense-making, and that therefore requires a collective, cultural revolution as its antidote.
Key words: ideology, aesthetics, commodity fetishism, materialism, Marxism, ideology critique, conscientização, cultural revolution