Donald Trump is no longer president—the Biden era has officially begun. But it begins still reeling from a siege on the capital. As we said last week, we have to figure out how to respond. But respond intelligently.
This week, we train our eye on fascism. It has been the most raucous debate online: was Trump a fascist? Were the capital rioters fascists? Does it matter what we call it? And most importantly: what do we do about it?
- First (@5:12), Joan Braune is an activist and philosopher at Gonzaga University who studies the far-right. She says the threat of home-grown fascism is real—but we shouldn’t respond the way we did after 9/11. It’s not about the national security state; it’s about social movements. We need to out-organize.
- Then (@20:17), Patrik Hermansson, a director and researcher of far-right extremism, takes us behind the scenes to meet the so-called “intellectuals” of the emerging far right. He spent an entire year undercover with them—he hung out with them, went to their conferences, even spoke at one. The whole time with a hidden camera. Patrik tells us the story of infiltrating the far right—behind their façade of intellectual respectability, what do they actually believe? It’s not pretty.
- Also, (@43:48) Daniel Bessner is an historian at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He isn’t buying all this fascism talk. At least, not when it comes to Trump. He has been one of the most vocal voices online saying Trump isn’t a fascist. Not because he likes Trump: of course not. But because he’s warning of a new ‘liberal authoritarianism.’ He worries about how the Biden administration might capitalize on this threat to consolidate their powers and squash dissent—especially left-wing dissent.
- Finally, (@56:50) Vincent Bevins gives us the international view. Vincent is journalist and author of the extraordinary book The Jakarta Method, about the US cold war policy of backing brutally repressive military regimes. To Vincent, fascism is imperialism turned inwards. And what we saw in the capital—whatever you want to call it— it’s the kind of thing the US has been doing abroad for a long long time.
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——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-
Bessner, Daniel and Ben Burgis. “Trump is a Threat to Democracy. But That Doesn’t Mean He’s Winning.” Jacobin. Jan. 15, 2020.
Bessner, Daniel and Udi Greenberg. “The Weimar Analogy.” Jacobin. Dec. 17, 2016.
Bevins, Vincent. “The Hour of the Barbarian.” N+1. Jan. 11, 2021.
Bevins, Vincent. The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anti-Communist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped the World. Public Affairs. 2020.
Braune, Joan. “It’s Time for a Different Strategy.” Range. Jan. 11, 2021.
Halper, Katie. “Is Trumpism Fascism? Debate w/ Jason Stanley, Jodi Dead, Sam Moyn, Daniel Bessner, Eugene Puryear.” The Katie Halper Show. Jan. 15, 2021.
HOPE not Hate. Undercover in the Alt-Right. 2019.
Sitman, Matthew and Sam Adler-Bell. “Did It Happen Here?” Know Your Enemy. Jan. 17, 2021.
Darts and Letters’ lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. With research and support from David Moscrop and professors Ronald Beiner at the University of Toronto, and A. James McAdams at the University of Notre Dame.
This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. We are also supported by a wider project looking at the rise of far political ideologies – that project is run by Professors Andre Gagne, Ronald Beiner, and A. James McAdams.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.