Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

16 Shots and a Cover Up

Was doing a lot of crying this morning educating myself on the shooting of Laquan McDonald. Among other things, I came across this podcast series. Anyone who knows me knows I don't listen to podcasts, but this one actually held my attention. Check it out here.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Conquest of Bread

I finally got around to reading the bread book. It was okay. I prefer Mutual Aid. The basic premise of The Conquest of Bread is to map out necessary conditions for what Kropotkin calls Social Revolution. In such a revolution, the manner in which production is carried out, as well as the ownership structures governing it, must be overhauled. For Kropotkin, revolution is all or nothing. If any vestiges of liberal capitalism remain, the revolution is doomed to failure.

Friday, October 26, 2018

How Mussolini Sealed His Regime

August 12, 1924. An Italian railway worker finds a clue to a prominent socialist minister of parliament’s murder. Giacomo Matteotti, the stirring voice of opposition to Mussolini’s Fascism, is exhumed from a hastily prepared shallow grave. In late summer, the gains the National Fascist Party had made over two years seemed ready to unravel.

As the party gained power, it sought also to separate itself officially from the black-shirted squadristi who roamed in trucks assaulting and murdering various designated undesirables. In an age of ascending eugenics, the social purpose of the blackshirts was variously regarded if not their methods. Fascist power was materially realized through the appointment of Mussolini to the Prime Ministership in 1922 and in April of 1924 through control of the legislature.

For four months from August 1924 to January 1925, Mussolini was in the hot seat. On the one hand, the blackshirts wanted an orgy of violence to cleanse Italy of their designated undesirables. On the other, the opposition, now a minority within the state apparatus because of the Acerbo law, wanted an end to the lawlessness of the blackshirts.

Mussolini sought to appease both sides. On January 3rd 1925, Mussolini delivered a speech to parliament taking responsibility for the blackshirt violence. In promising to resolve it, Mussolini embarked upon a campaign of restricting basic democratic freedoms, and by 1929, liquidating electoral representation altogether.

Government was replaced with the party apparatus which was unified under the capricious vision of Il Duce. Mussolini’s successful maneuvering allowed him to unify a party whose fractures became apparent in the Matteotti crisis. It also allowed him to complete his fascist revolution through reform and repeal of existing law. Elections were replaced with referenda on the party’s leader who won them handsomely with well over 90% of the vote.

In the end, the investigation into the murder of Matteotti and other actions of the blackshirts didn’t matter. Mussolini became the law in order to absolve himself of his transgression of it. When Trump finally accepts responsibility for the escalating violence committed in his name, let's not give him the same opportunity.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Griffin and Paxton: The Best We Can Do?

The 2016 US presidential election brought into sharp relief the state of fascist studies in the early 21st century. Coming to the fore were British scholars Roger Griffin and Robert O. Paxton. The former's 1991 The Nature of Fascism sets forth a definition of fascism based on ideology. The latter's 2004 The Anatomy of Fascism seeks to jettison ideology, which fascists lie about anyway, and opts for an approach highlighting the actions of fascist movements. Thus, Griffin was able to diagnose Trump as a fascist while Paxton was not. I find both of these definitions of fascism wanting for their own reasons, and I see emerging a new direction built upon their work.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A comment on the Raworth-Milanovic debate

A friendly critique of Kate Raworth's book Doughtnut Economics by Branko Milanovic on the Brave New Europe blog has locked the two in a heated debate. One point of contention, has the two in a war of art references, Giotto's "St. Francis" versus Rodin's "Gates of Hell." This rhetorical sticking point appears to be a debate over nature versus nurture. While Raworth appears to regard such a debate sufficient to prove her point, Milanovic appears to take a more structural view. However, in his rejoinder to Raworth's reply, Milanovic plays to Raworth's critique on the question of human nature rather than reasserting his own.

Monday, June 4, 2018

PE of Fash Week V: Free Speech and the Fascist Creep (Reading List)

The "required" readings in this week's class provided three levels of analysis of the phenomenon of fascist recruitment. The Simi and Futrell piece provides the most intimate portrait with a focus on white power activists, mostly neo-nazi skinheads, navigating normal society. The Berbrier piece provides an analysis of white power activist's public rhetoric since the transformation of the movement one based on militias to one based on conferences. The Perry piece provides the most zoomed-out picture, giving an overall account of the transformation of the white power movement in the post-Civil Rights era.

All three authors note the untenability of their subjects' core beliefs in public. Whereas Berbrier investigates how white power activists reframe their rhetoric for a post-WWII audience, Simi and Futrell explore the justification of individual white power activists in selectively hiding their leanings altogether. Perry provides a general overview of the development of the former phenomenon.

Monday, May 28, 2018

PE of Fash Week IV: Confederate Monuments and the Historic Imaginary (Reading List)

This class is directed at tracing the line from fascist social theory through fascist philosophy of history to fascist aesthetics. For the most part, the class focuses on Italian Fascism and its parallels with US white nationalism in this regard. This is important not only because of the central place that mythologizing the past around artifacts has in fascist political practice, but also because of the central place that culture has in fascist political theory.

For the fascist, social change goes from culture to politics to economics. Marxists, it should be noted, perceive this chain of causality in exactly the reverse order, though beginning in the 1920's, Marxists began to explore a mutual determination between these three phenomenon. The fascist reasoning, grafted onto liberal Enlightenment reasoning, posits that any nation is driven by the will of its people through culture. This culture shapes the form of political outcomes which ultimately shape economic outcomes through policy. For fascists, the form of government is irrelevant to this phenomenon. In actuality, this is a far more compelling argument under representative systems than authoritarian or directly democratic ones.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Political Economy of Fascism Mini-Course

This mini-course is designed for popular education and to operate as either a series or as individual stand-alone workshops. The course begins with a review of my zine “You Can’t Punch Every Nazi” as a participatory workshop. The following four classes elaborate on the four layers of fascist doctrine I introduce in the first class. The last class takes account of fascist ideology to build a holistic antifascist theory highlighting existing antifascist praxis. I had originally designed this course for open library courses such as those the NYPL holds regularly.

For once, the syllabus and course readings are in one central document. Check it out here!

Class summaries can be found here:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Interview on "The Radical Imagination"

Last week, I sat down with Jim Vrettos for The Radical Imagination on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. We had an hour-long conversation about policing, pedagogy, and antifa. Watch it in full below.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Economics in Historical Perspectives Syllabus

Stack of books for the course

I have been fortunate enough to be given the privilege to teach a 300-level course in the Spring. The course, Economics in Historical Perspectives, takes students from the Paleolithic era up to the present day exploring economic history, history of economic thought, and historiography.

The course is designed through the lens of my politics (left anarchist, what have you), and the readings reflect that. Because of this I urge you (and my students) to be critical of the readings contained within. You should consider who you're reading, their historical context, their motivations, their social status. This approach to scholarship, probably above all else, is what I hope for my students to get out of the class.

For your approval (or disgust, whatever), I give you the course syllabus and the recommended additional readings.