Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Bits and Pieces: Let's Read.

The discussion around The Donald seems to have changed, Corey Robin thinks. This is probably a good thing. You don't see so much feverish speculation on the fascism of the freak show characters inhabiting the White House: with any luck, their fifteen minutes may be all but over.

Readers of a more thoughtful nature, however, may still draw important lessons from fascism:
"It is commonplace today to treat the far right and far left as mirror images of each other: both extreme, ideologically rigid, intolerant and similarly isolated from the sensible mainstream.
"But history demonstrates that there is little truth to this characterisation. Behind a considerable veil of secrecy though it may be, the history of the Australian far right is one closely intertwined with that of the ruling apparatus: the political establishment, business circles, the military and police force. The far right's main leaders have been drawn almost exclusively from the upper echelons of society: the wealthy, the respectable middle class, the military brass and the political elite. The same cannot be said of the far left."
Louise O'Shea. When the Australian ruling class embraced fascism. Marxist Left Review. No.13 Summer 2017. Marxist Left Review website.


Mike Isaacson (CV, pdf) was generous enough to make available a Political Economy of Fascism Syllabus. It's structured as a 15 week course, including the syllabus itself and, as far as I can see, most if not all of the readings required are freely available.


Eric Hobsbawm has nothing to do with fascism. He was, however, an important and controversial Marxist academic. Norah Carlin and Ian Birchall offer an assessment (rather fair, in my opinion) on Hobsbawm and his influence on the Left.
"At the Tribune Rally at last year's Labour Party Conference Neil Kinnock came under sharp attack from the Labour left. In defending himself he referred to the recent writings of a long-standing member of the British Communist Party, Professor Eric Hobsbawm, a man who he lauded as 'the most sagacious living Marxist'.
"Hobsbawm's views have in the last few years aroused widespread discussion on the left. His Marx Memorial Lecture for 1978, provocatively entitled The Forward March of Labour Halted? produced numerous critical comments, both within the Communist Party and from other sections of the left. And over the last year two further articles in Marxism Today, The State of the Left in Western Europe and Falklands Fallout have reached a wider audience by appearing, in shortened form, on the Guardian's Agenda page."

Norah Carlin & Ian Birchall. Kinnock's favourite Marxist: Eric Hobsbawm and the working class. International Socialism Journal 2 : 21, Autumn 1983, pp. 88–116. Marxists Internet Archive website.

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