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A Free Class on the US form of fascism

Monday, July 06, 2015
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Event Type:
Steve Martinot
Location Details:
The Bay Area Public School at the Omni
4799 Shattuck Ave.

Announcing a class
on the
US Form of Fascism

In recent years, the growing epidemic of police killings of mostly people of color, the obsessions with "war" (a misnomer for massacre at a distance), the desire to destroy social infrastructures as opposed to conquering territory in these "wars," the impunity assumed by government, corporations, and police, the supreme court decisions that legitimize this impunity – all these aspects of a growing violence and extremism by institutions of power, suggest that both human concerns and civil society itself are becoming irrelevant to those power institutions. And this, in turn, strongly suggests a system whose name is "fascism."

There are other names, and other explanations for these phenomena. Police violence can be seen as defending society, or a new Jim Crow. War can be seen as defending the US, or a new globalized imperialism. The technological destruction of social infrastructures by military means can be seen as targetting militants, or preparing invasions. And so on. But the bias toward corporations on the part of institutionalities like courts and administrations brings with it the suspicion (at least) that humans have been becoming irrelevant to the socio-political systems of power. And that makes reference to extreme contortions in the relations of people to power institutions – relations that have to do with structures of violence, structures of acquiescence, and an economy run by corporate structures.

For that reason, we need an understanding of "fascism" in its US context. Many people make the assumption that there is a concrete definition of fascism, that sets forth characteristics and criteria of evaluation. But even using the European experiences of the 1930s, one finds that different countries (Germany, Italy, Spain) produced different forms of fascism. The real question would be, are the political developments occurring around us simply the emergence of new forms of repression, some being carried to extreme, or are we witnessing something more fundamental, namely, the surfacing or resurfacing of a profound cultural and political structure in the US?

For instance, can we actually say that Dylan Roof was simply a lone (white supremacist) assassin committing his carefully premeditated massacre, or was he performing in terms of norms and exigencies of an underlying cultural structure, a part of whose operations has been to racialize not only the social environment, and US global militarism, but class relations as well?

The thesis of this class will be that there is an underlying structure – economic, political, and cultural – that has operated throughout US history, and which can truly be called fascist. The purpose of the class will be to investigate this thesis, to plumb the historical depths of what is signified and revealed by contemporary events, and to see if we can develop an interpretive description of an underlying structure, if it truly exists.

Some of the structures we shall examine in this class are those of racialization, the police-prison nexus, the corporation and corporatization of the economy and the political structure, and the cultural notions of membership in whiteness and white supremacy (for which racism can be seen as an instrumentality). For this purpose, we shall also discuss a critique of white skin privilege, the notion of cultural identity, what it means that class relations are racialized, and other allied topics.

Facilitator: Steve Martinot
Added to the calendar on Sun, Jun 28, 2015 9:26AM
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