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Political Economy of Fascism: a Six Session Course

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Jefferson Market Library

425 6th Avenue

New York, NY 10011

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Thursdays, April 5, 12, 19, 26 and May 3, 10 6 pm to 8 pm

The legacy of fascism is convoluted and elusive. Without a solid historical understanding, fascist theory appears to be garbled and self-contradictory rhetoric. However, with careful investigation, fascist theory is as cogent and complete a theory of production as either capitalism or communism. This class traces the development of fascism from its historical origins in socialism after the Enlightenment. It then develops a political economic framework through which to understand fascism. The class then investigates the rise and implementation of fascist dictatorships in the early to mid-1900s and discusses the natural failing of the doctrine in practice.

Each class is accompanied by a short non-academic text, two books, and a number of academic journal articles (readings). In the full run of the course, students are expected to read the non-academic text and download and skim any readings assigned. Each of the readings have comments to help summarize, emphasize, and challenge the material for students. The books are given as reference for additional reading for further research.

The Professor: Mike Isaacson is a PhD student and lecturer in economics. He has taught courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics, and economic history. His areas of focus include macroeconomic theory, economic methodology, and the history of fascism.

In addition to studying economics, Mike has been active in antifascist and housing justice organizing. He is a co-founder of Smash Racism DC and has been monitoring and researching fascism for six years. He is a former associate editor at the New School Economic Review and a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics and the International Associal for Feminist Economics.

April 5: How to Talk to a Nazi

Zine Version

Base Text:

Tamir Bar-On. 2007. Where Have All The Fascists Gone?

Richard Wolin. 2004. The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism.

Readings:

(introductory workshop, no readings)

April 12: Economic Anxiety and Angry White Men

Article Version

Base Texts:

Michael Kimmel. 2013. Angry White Men.

Wilhelm Reich. 1933. Mass Psychology of Fascism.

Readings:

Jakob Tanner. 2008. “The Conspiracy of the Invisible Hand: Anonymous Market Mechanisms and Dark Powers.” New German Critique. 103: 51-64.

Nella Van Dyke and Sarah A. Soule. 2002. “Structural Social Change and the Mobilizing Effect of Threat: Explaining Levels of Patriot and Militia Organizing in the United States.” Social Problems. 49(4): 497-520.

Ed White. 2002. “The Value of Conspiracy Theory.” American Literary History. 14(1): 1-31.

April 19: Eugenics and the AltRight

Article Version

Base Texts:

Mark Largent. 2003. Breeding Contempt.

Daniel Kevles. 1985. In the Name of Eugenics.

Readings:

Graham J. Baker. 2014. “Christianity and Eugenics: The Place of Religion in the British Eugenics Education Society and the American Eugenics Society, c.1907-1940.” Social History of Medicine. 27(2): 281-302.

Audrey Smedley and Brian Smedley. 2005. “Race as Biology is Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem Is Real.” American Psychologist. 60(1): 16-26.

Jean Ait Belkhir and Michel Duyme. 1998. “Intelligence and Race, Gender, Class: The Fallacy of Genetic Determinism: Rethinking Intelligence from the Position of the Oppressed.” Race, Gender & Class. 5(3): 136-176.

April 26: Confederate Monuments and the Historic Imaginary

Article Version

Base Texts:

Claudio Fogu. 2003. The Historic Imaginary.

Roger Griffin. 1991. The Nature of Fascism.

Readings:

Finchelstein, Federico. 2008. “On Fascist Ideology.” Constellations. 15(3): 320-331.

Claudio Fogu. 2003. “Actualism and the Fascist Historic Imaginary.” History and Theory. 42(2): 196-221.

Zeev Sternhell. 2000. “Fascism: Reflections on the Fate of Ideas in Twentieth Century History.” Journal of Political Ideologies.5(2): 139-162.

May 3: Free Speech and the Fascist Creep

Article Version

Base Texts:

Alexander Reid Ross. 2017. Against the Fascist Creep.

Robert O. Paxton. 2004. The Anatomy of Fascism.

Readings:

Peter Simi and Robert Futrell. 2009. “Negotiating White Power Stigma.” Social Problems. 56(1): 89-110.

Barbara Perry. 2000. “‘Button-Down Terror’: The Metamorphosis of the Hate Movement.” Sociological Focus. 33(2): 113-131.

Mitch Berbrier. 1998. “‘Half the Battle’: Cultural Resonance, Framing Processes, and Ethnic Affections in Contemporary White Separatist Rhetoric.” Social Problems. 45(4): 431-450.

May 10: Fake News vs. Mutual Aid

Article Version

Base Texts:

Mark Bray. 2017. Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook.

George Ciccariello-Maher. 2017. Decolonizing Dialectics.

Frantz Fanon. 1961. The Wretched of the Earth.

Peter Kropotkin. 1902. Mutual Aid.

Readings:

Chandra Mohanty. 2006. “US Empire and the Project of Women’s Studies: Stories of Citizenship, Complicity, and Dissent.” Gender, Place, and Culture. 13(1): 7-20.

Shawn W. Rosenberg. 1995. “Against Neoclassical Political Economy: A Political Psychological Critique.” Political Psychology. 16(1): 99-136.

Frederick Schauer. 1992. “Uncoupling Free Speech.” Columbia Law Review. 92(6): 1321-1357.

James A. Aho. 1988. “Out of Hate: A Sociology of Defection from Neo-Nazism.” Current Research on Peace and Violence. 11(4): 159-168.

Presented in the first floor Willa Cather Community Room. All courses are free and open to the public.

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Jefferson Market Library

425 6th Avenue

New York, NY 10011

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