I was very honored and pleased to participate in this dialogue with Diana Wechsler and Leandro Martínez Depietri for BIENALSUR 2021. One of the central points of discussion is the role of culture in class struggle. Drawing on the work I’ve been doing with Jennifer Ponce de León for our current book project, I distinguished between the aesthetics of power–meaning the diverse ways in which the power elite creates an image of itself, and how this image serves its class interests–and the power of aesthetics to both diagnose the various uses of culture as a weapon for the ruling class and channel an alternative world of sense making. All Power to the Creative Labor Power of the People!
“El imaginario dominante dentro de la coyuntura neoliberal es reductivista, determinista, teleológico y trata de convencernos de que la historia es inevitable y que lo único que podemos hacer es seguir las consecuencias… La contra-historia es un intento de transformar metodológicamente nuestras herramientas de comprensión histórica para tener una aprehensión diferente del orden mundial contemporáneo”, dice el filósofo, crítico cultural y activista Gabriel Rockhill (FRA/USA), con quien BIENALSUR inaugura un ciclo de conversaciones íntimas, de puesta en foco de ideas y pensamientos. Rockhill estudió con algunas de las voces más sobresalientes de la filosofía francesa, incluyendo a Derrida, Irigaray, Balibar y Badiou. Es profesor de filosofía en la Universidad de Villanova y director fundador del Critical Theory Workshop y conocido por sus revolucionarios trabajos sobre historia, estética y política publicados en nueve libros y numerosos artículos, una obra cuya primera compilación en español será publicada por la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero en 2021 a través de un número especial de la revista Estudios Curatoriales.
“The dominant imaginary within the neoliberal conjuncture is reductivist, deterministic, teleological and tries to convince us that history is inevitable and that the only thing we can do is to follow the consequences… Counter-history is an attempt to methodologically transform our tools of historical understanding to have a different apprehension of the contemporary world order”, says philosopher, cultural critic and activist Gabriel Rockhill (FRA/USA), with whom BIENALSUR inaugurates a cycle of intimate conversations and focused debatesRockhill studied with some of the leading luminaries of French theory, including Derrida, Irigaray, Balibar and Badiou. He is Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and Founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop being known for his revolutionary works on history, aesthetics and politics published in nine books and numerous articles, a work whose first compilation in Spanish will be published by UNTREF in 2021 through a special issue of the journal Estudios Curatoriales.
“The US was recognized by the Nazis as the best model of racial apartheid & statecraft. [In fact,] when Italian fascism first came on the international scene, there were many articles in the US press that recognized that it was the European version of the KKK.” Honored to be featured on Chris Hedges’ “On Contact” to discuss my emerging book project on a counter-history of fascism and liberalism (click here to watch).
The work under discussion is a series of four articles I’ve written:
“Fascism: Now You See It, Now You Don’t!” CounterPunch (October 12, 2020).
“Liberalism and Fascism: Partners in Crime.” CounterPunch (October 14, 2020).
“The U.S. Did Not Defeat Fascism in WWII, It Discretely Internationalized It.” CounterPunch (October 16, 2020). This article was translated into Spanish.
“Liberalism & Fascism: The Good Cop & Bad Cop of Capitalism.” Black Agenda Report (October 21, 2020).
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.'”
The Critical Theory Workshop / Atelier de Théorie Critique will host its 2021 Summer Program online from June 28 to July 16. Invited guests include Pierre-Antoine Chardel, Annie Lacroix-Riz, Michael Löwy, Jennifer Ponce de León, Gabriel Rockhill and Sophie Wahnich.
Click here for additional information, including how to apply.
Description: “Fascism seems to have risen up zombie-like from the past, but philosopher and political theorist Gabriel Rockhill argues that it’s been with us all along.
Today on the show, Allen traces a counter-history of fascism—including its relationships to liberalism, capitalism, and colonialism and how we understand/misunderstand its role in the U.S.—with Gabriel Rockhill.”
I am honored to have been invited by Vilniaus universitetas / Vilnius University as a guest online lecturer. I will be presenting parts of my next book, co-authored with Jennifer Ponce de León, Revolutionizing Aesthetics: Composing a World beyond Art (Columbia University Press, forthcoming). I will also be running two seminars on my earlier book Radical History and the Politics of Art. Click here for more information.
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.”