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Twenty-First Century Fascism in the US

The January ‘insurrection’ renewed arguments about whether the United States is experiencing a form of incipient fascism. While liberal ‘Resistance’ figures like Timothy Snyder characterize Donald Trump as an ‘authoritarian’ who was always bound to impose emergency dictatorship, the Left’s arguments have been more complicated. The conditions for classical fascism—imperialist crisis, class civil war, socialist revolution, anticolonial struggle, the emergence of new nation-states fighting for a share of the colonial system, and the stresses of capitalist modernization—are absent. Rather, today’s crises pertain to long-running problems of accumulation, the breakdown of neoliberal globalization, the crisis of political hegemony, and the ecological emergency. In the absence of mass fascist parties, paramilitary organizations and civic associations, the new far right has congealed largely through social media.

From Donald Trump’s unique role as a social industry agitator to the upsurge of armed white supremacist militias against Black Lives Matter, the question is whether the reactionary authoritarian mobs coalescing today represent an inchoate fascism, or the dying convulsions of declining sources of conservatism from whiteness to patriarchy.

Building on Richard Seymour’s forthcoming article in Salvage #10, Annie Olaloku-Teriba and Barnaby Raine will host a conversation between Richard and Nikhil Pal Singh on how the left should understand today’s growing far right.

This discussion will be part of the ongoing Salvage Live events series, hosted by Haymarket Books.


Nikhil Pal Singh is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University.

Richard Seymour is a writer and a founding editor of Salvage. His most recent book is The Twittering Machine.

Annie Olaloku-Teriba is a writer and podcaster whose research focuses on how neoliberalism has transformed the theory and practice of ‘race.’

Barnaby Raine is writing his PhD at Columbia University on visions of ending capitalism. He teaches at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.