Or ‘These Theses on Faeces and Fasces’
First some very important business. There’s a new podcast in town, Wrong With Authority, created and starring myself and my friends, familiar to you all, Daniel Harper, James Murphy, and Kit Power. It’s yet another movie podcast… but it’s also about History. So that’s exciting then. Specifically, it’s about movies about historical events, and how full of shit they are. Our first episode is just out and it covers the movies Murder by Decree and From Hell (adapted from a graphic novel some of you may have heard of) and their relationship to the historical ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders. Download our first episode here. And please feel free to recommend and share. We won’t mind, I promise.
As you probably noticed, the word ‘fascism’ is being thrown around a lot in response to Trump and his election. I don’t happen to think terminological issues are unimportant. I think this issue is worth investigating.
For instance, I agree with Phil that the term ‘alt-Right’ cannot and should not be reduced to ‘neo-Nazi’. Just to be clear (as if I haven’t made it clear where I stand): this is not in any way to defend the alt-Right, who I think are just about the most contemptible rabblement of toxic shitbags on the planet. But they’re their own distinct flavour of toxicity, and the emergence of this flavour helps us know where we are now, and why. Terminology is important precisely because it enables us to get a grip on complexities like this. The intentions of many who are saying that “alt-Right = Neo-Nazi” are, no doubt, honourable, in that they are trying to expose a dirty truth that is being concealed. And the claimed equivalence has more than a germ of truth in it. However, the conflation is potentially damaging. The alt-Right do, no doubt, share much that is crucial in common with Nazis, whether we use that term specifically or colloquially. And I’ve referred to both Milo Yiannopoulos and Davis Aurini as Nazis in the past, with justification I think. However, the alt-Right are a distinct phenomenon.
This terminological issue is why I took a post to (roughly) define fascism in what I think are the correct objective terms. There is a risk when you take this approach of falling into pedantry for its own sake, which won’t help anyone. But I hope I have more to offer than just doing the equivalent of quoting the dictionary during a debate. I’m going to try to test Trumpism against my definition. Not in an attempt to decide whether Trumpism ‘is’ or ‘isn’t’ fascism in some simplistic way. As I said at the head of my last post, fascism shouldn’t be reified and essentialized into an alien thing squatting outside the real world, a distinct and discrete entity that can be identified in the same way as a specific variety of phage or bacterium. Political realities may have lineages and heredities and families but they don’t have DNA fingerprints.…