All signs point to a resurgence of aggressive far right political activity and violence over the next year and a half. The driving force behind this will be Trump’s re-election campaign. We are already living through the first phase of this resurgence: The Christchurch mosque massacre, the destruction of the historic Highlander School in Tennessee, and the torching of several Black churches in Louisiana. All are horrendous events in-and-of-themselves and ominous signs for the future.
Brenton Tarrant, the accused Christchurch mass murderer—who live broadcast his murder spree on Facebook that left fifty people dead—hailed Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” in his manifesto. Asked if the Christchurch massacre demonstrated the growing threat of white nationalism, Trump replied, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”
Of course, Trump has played a key role in mainstreaming the far right. Recently, his repeated racist attacks, for example, on Somali-American Muslim Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (including his infamous tweet identifying her with the 9/11 attacks) and Rashida Tlaib as “dangerous” and inciting “violence.” Patrick Carlineo, an upstate New Yorker inspired by Trump, threatened to murder Omar and was arrested in early April. Carlineo told the FBI that “He was a patriot and that he hates radical Muslims in our government.”
Similar political attacks by the most reactionary elements of the Leave campaign led to the assassination of Labour Party MP Jo Cox during the run-up to the referendum on UK membership in the European union in 2016. Cox, a well-known immigrant rights supporter, was murdered by Thomas Nair, a longstanding white supremacist, whose home was stuffed with far right books and Nazi memorabilia. When asked his name by a magistrate Nair replied, “death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”
Following the Christchurch massacre, the New York Times took the opportunity to examine the growing international connections of fascist mass murderers, and what they found was:
[A]t least a third of white extremist killers since 2011 were inspired by others who perpetrated similar attacks, professed a reverence for them or showed an interest in their tactics. The connections between the killers span continents and highlight how the internet and social media have facilitated the spread of white extremist ideology and violence.
Now, of course, the threat of white supremacist violence is never far away in the U.S. Last October, for example, Robert Bowers, a Nazi, massacred eleven parishioners at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Bowers targeted the synagogue because of its work supporting refugees traveling across Mexico in a caravan. Trump stoked antisemitism when he said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the caravan was financed by George Soros, a Hungarian-American Jewish philanthropist. “They’re committing genocide to my people,” Bowers told the Pittsburgh police. “I just want to kill Jews.”
Unfortunately, there are plenty of Robert Bowers and Patrick Carlineos out there in the United States.
This raises many questions for the DSA. We need to have a national discussion of our perspectives on fighting the far right in the United States. Below is a reading list on Fascism. I hope members find it useful. It is meant to provide members with relevant articles, pamphlets, and books, mostly available online. I’m sure I’ve missed some things. My intent is not for members to read all or most of it—simply to give an idea of the breadth of the material available.
I. Classical Fascism
Leon Trotsky, “What is Fascism and How to Fight It”
Arthur Rosenburg, “Fascism as a Mass Movement,” Historical Materialism, Vol. 20, Issue 1.
Clara Zetkin, “Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win,”Haymarket Books, 2017.
II. Fascism in the U.S.: The Great Depression to the End of WWII
Joe Allen, “When Fascism was American,”Jacobin, 12-29-2015.
Edwin Black, “The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics,” 2003.
Hal Draper, “The Truth About Gerald Smith: America’s No. 1 Fascist.”1945.
PBS,“The Radio Priest,” a documentary about Father Charles Coughlin, The American Experience.
Norman Thomas,“What’s behind the ‘Christian Front’?,”Workers Defense League, 1939.
Ken Silverstein, “Ford and the Führer,” The Nation, 2000.
Chris Vials, American Fascism: An Interview, Story in the Public Square, July 8, 2017.
III. Antifascist Struggle in the US: 1930s to 1990s.
Joe Allen, “It Can’t Happen Here: Confronting the Fascist Threat in the United States in the 1930s,” Part 1. International Socialist Review,2012.
Joe Allen, “It Can’t Happen Here, Part 2,”International Socialist Review, #87, January 2013.
Shane Burley and Alexander Reid Ross. “Lessons on Defeating White Nationalism from the Anti-Racists Who Stopped David Duke.”Waging Nonviolence. 2016.
James P. Cannon, “Fascism and the Workers’ Movement,” The Militant, 1954.
Leonard Klein, “What we did in Iowa to chase away the Klan,”Socialist Worker, December 2016.
Ken Lawrence, “The Ku Klux Klan and Fascism,”Sojourner Truth Organization. 1982
Branko Marcetic. “Fighting the Klan in Reagan’s America,”Jacobin,August 2017.
IV. Contemporary US Fascism
Chip Bertlet, “What is the Third Position?” Political Research Associates, 2016
George Michael, “Twentieth-Century White Supremacist Groups,” C-SPAN
“The Oath Keepers,” SPLC
Justin Sharock, “Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason” Mother Jones. 2010.
Southern Poverty Law Center, “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias.”
United Constitutional Patriots,“Trump’s Army: 300 Asylum Seekers Surrender to Militia.”
Lisa Marie Paine, “Under Trump, US Militias Not Ready to Lay Down Arms,” Associated Press 2017
V. The Alt Right
Shane Burley, “Defining the Alt-Right and the New American Fascism” Counterpunch, 2016.
Graeme Wood, “His Kampf: Richard Spencer, a Troll and Icon for White Supremacists” The Atlantic, 2017.
“Identity Evropa: Mapping the Alt-Right Cadre,” It’s Going Down, 2017.
Josh Harkinson “The Push to Enlist Alt-Right ‘Recruits’ on College Campuses” Mother Jones, 2016.
Matthew Lyons,“Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The Origins and History of the Alt-Right,”Political Research Associates,
Daniel Penny, “#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism.”
David Renton, The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right,Haymarket Books, April 2018.
VI. Is Trump a Fascist?
Spencer Sunshine. “The Growing Alliance Between Neo-Nazis, Ring-wing Paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans.” Colorlines, June 9, 2017.
Jacobin, “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?,” 2016.
Tithi Bhattacharya, “Donald Trump: The Unanticipated Apotheosis of Neoliberalism,” Cultural Dynamics, 2017.
David McNally, “Understanding the US Election and the Rise of Fascism” 2017.
Enzo Traverso. “Trump’s Savage Capitalism.”
John Bellamy Foster “Neofascism in the White House” Monthly Review.
Amanda Taub, “White Nationalism Explained” The New York Times, 2016.
Jason Wilson, “Making Sense of the Alt-Right” The Guardian, 2016.
Shane Burley, “Anti-semitism in the White House: Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump and the Alt Right.” Truthout,2016.
Lois Becket, “Is a Neo-Nazi Storm Brewing in Trump Country?,” The Guardian, 2017.
Dylan Riley, What is Trump?, New Left Review, #114, November-December 2018.
VII. The Pittsburgh Massacre and Resurgent Anti-Semitism in the United States.
Benjamin Balthaser, The Life and Death of a Jewish Cemetery,Boston Review, March 20, 2019.
Kathleen Belew, “Pittsburgh Shooting Was Straight Out of White Power Movement,”The Daily Beast, 11-02-18.
Frontline, The New American Nazis,PBS.
Talia Lavin, “White Supremacy Can’t Be Untangled From Anti-Semitism,”Huffington Post, 11-05-18.
New York Times, “How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream,”October 31, 2018.
Alex Press, “Doubling Down After Pittsburgh,”Jacobin,10-29-18.
VIII. Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Working class.
Joe Allen,“Labor’s duty to fight the right,”Socialist Worker, February 2018.
Tithi Bhattacharya & Bill Mullen, Rewinding the Battle of Algiers in the Shadow of the Attack on Charlie Hebdo,Critical Legal Thinking.
Mike Davis, “The Great God Trump and the White Working Class,”Jacobin, 2-07-17.
Phil Hearse, Islamophobia and the new fascist movement, Public Reading Rooms.
Edouard Louis interview, “French literary wonder boy Edouard Louis on saving the working class from Marine Le Pen,”Guardian,March 19, 2017.
Aurelien Mondon, Normalized Hate, Jacobin, 8-17-2017.
Ugo Palheta, Fascism by Another Name, Jacobin, February 2017.
Ashley Smith, The Bitter Fruits of Trump’s China-Bashing: Anti-Asian Racism, Counterpunch, 2-26-2019.
Maria Snegovaya, “When left-leaning parties support, their voters start to embrace the far right,”Washington Post, November 20, 2018.
Patrick Strickland, The Islamophobia Industry, Aljazeera, June 10, 2017.
IX. Fighting the Far Right
Maximilian Alvarez, “Antifascism and the Left’s Fear of Power,”The Baffler, May 16, 2018.
Maximilian Alvarez, “No Re-Turning Point, U.S.A., The Baffler, January 26, 2018.
Edouard Louis, Can the Yellow Vests Speak?Jacobin, 12-8-18.
Branko Marcetic, “Whose Violence?” Jacobin2017.
John McDonnell, “Revive Anti-Nazi League to oppose Far Right,”Guardian, August 7, 2018.
David Renton, Never Again: Rock against Racism and the Anti-Nazi-League, 1976-1982,2019.
Bernie Sanders, “A new authoritarian axis demands an international progressive front,”The Guardian, September 13, 2018.