Tuve el honor de tener uno de mis artículos recientes sobre el fascismo traducido al español por Robert Avecino y publicado en Rebélion (agradecimiento especial a Greg Wilpert por la recomendación): “El verdadero legado de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, lejos de ser el de un orden mundial liberal que había derrotado al fascismo, es el de una verdadera internacional fascista desarrollada bajo la cobertura liberal para intentar destruir a quienes realmente habían luchado y ganado la guerra contra el fascismo: los comunistas.”
I was honored to be interviewed for this article in Norwegian regarding my recent piece “Foucault: The Faux Radical“: “Foucault was one of these theorists who spearheaded the development of a kind of ‘linguistic pyrotechnics.’ In the deployment of jargon and intricate concepts, an endless theoretical sea of fog arises. Seemingly radical, but without substance, says Rockhill. He goes on to talk about how this tradition has become entrenched in American universities and cites theorists such as Judith Butler and Wendy Brown as examples of academics who have followed in Foucault’s footsteps. And although there are many other well-known theorists in the French intellectual tradition Rockhill criticizes, such as Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard, there is no doubt why he focuses on Foucault: – ‘As I see it, Foucault is more dangerous than the others. Since he has been cultivated as a radical thinker, it is more difficult to see his reactionary sides.'”
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.”
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
The intellectual world is by no means immune to this logic [of the cult of novelty]. A preoccupation with the latest trends drives the global theory industry, which packages and sells what it proclaims to be cutting-edge contributions to thinking. Knowledge that is scientifically anchored in deep, collective traditions—such as the materialist heritage of Marxism and anarchism—is often considered to be vulgar and passé, unless it is spiced up with modish vocabulary, references to the established brands of the star system, and deferential homage to the totems of trendiness. Although these structures and tendencies are more difficult for some to see in the products of high culture than in their low culture equivalents, it is important to recognize that this is due to the very social logic of “high” culture, which brands itself as free from vulgar determinants like class and consumerism. However, aside from this marketing exception—or, rather, this marketing of exceptionalism—the patterns are largely the same.
This pressing and frenetic temporality of consumerism—which in the case of intellectual production consistently peddles “the latest” rather than “the truest”—complements the capitalist urgency of short-term gains. Long-term consequences, like ecocide or the destruction of human life, are of no importance to the imperative of making as much as possible, as quickly as possible. “In every stock-jobbing swindle,” Karl Marx presciently wrote, “everyone knows that some time or other the crash must come, but everyone hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbor, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in secure hands. Après moi le déluge! is the watchword of every capitalist and of every capitalist nation. Capital therefore takes no account of the health and the length of life of the worker, unless society forces it to do so.” Continue reading