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“Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?”1 Since the US election, daily surges of Trump-shock—awful disorienting blasts of outrageous and unaccountable communications and executive decisions —have regularly defied our standard ways of making sense of political life. Something is happening here, indeed. But, each unpredictable wave throws our paradigms into disarray. We are perpetually swept into the wake of communications and executive policies that scramble the measures that we desperately try to employ. Trusted weapons of analysis and resistance cannot find their aim fast enough to keep up with the whirlwind. The new regime bears important similarities to classic fascism: Rapid, rabid intensifications of white nationalism, dismissals of reason, autocratic leadership, deepening entwinements of state and capital, disenfranchisement, attacks on liberal and representative democratic institutions, and increasingly open right-wing populist violence. However, today’s neo-fascism relies on distinctive, twenty-first century dynamics that are not only antithetical to the survival of democracy in the United States but also threaten planetary ecological collapse. These dynamics, slippery as they are, must be illuminated to move toward understanding— and ultimately transforming—our current condition. We also need new surges of radical creativity that can generate a complex ecology of democratic sensibilities, alternative solidarities, political modes, and relationships that move beyond the ruts of rote protest politics. Here, we offer eleven theses on emergent neo-fascism and a receptive, full-bodied politics that can vitalize a formidable demos to defeat the regime.


Institute for Social Justice

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Journal Article

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