1st Edition

Understanding and Countering Fascist Movements From Void to Hope

By Joan Braune Copyright 2024
    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is based on the premise that understanding fascism is crucial for defeating it.

    Understanding and Countering Fascist Movements suggests fascism must be understood according to two “dimensions.” First, fascism is a social movement seeking power, always already connected to sources of power. Hence, fascism cannot be defeated by policing it as a crime problem, nor therapeutically treating it as a pathology of mental health. Second, fascists have cognitive and emotional needs they are seeking to fulfill through their participation in the movement, but the presence of these motivations must be held in tension with the fact that fascists are responsible for their choices and that these individual motivations also exist in a wider social context of capitalism and systems of supremacy.

    The book opens by examining some psychological elements of recruitment and disengagement from fascist movements, before addressing broader social narratives, concluding with the limitations of an approach that is grounded in the national security state that relies on individualized, perpetrator-centered interventions. Rejecting centrist paradigms that see fascism as “extremism” or “accelerationism,” Braune argues that fascism must be addressed in its specificity and uniqueness as an ideology and movement. Ultimately, she argues, fascism can only be defeated by countervailing social movements that not only demand radical social change but offer alternative spaces of belonging, community care, and the search for meaning.

    Understanding and Countering Fascist Movements is a philosophical contribution to antifascist theory and practice that will be appreciated by academics, students, and activists concerned about fascism today.

    Introduction  1.Void and Idol  2. Destruction and Rebirth  3. Steve Bannon’s Kali-Yuga  4. Limitations of the “Countering Extremism” Model  Conclusion: From Void to Hope


    Joan Braune is Lecturer in Philosophy at Gonzaga University, USA. She is author and co-editor of various titles, including two books on Erich Fromm’s critical theory and The Ethics of Researching the Far Right (forthcoming, 2024).

    ‘Joan Braune is delving into the socio-psychological roots of the fascist crisis and is helping us rebuild an empathetic, passionate, and vital social movement to protect our communities. This is an absolutely essential intervention that locates hope as a necessary weapon in the fight to stop the far right.’

    Shane Burley, editor of "No Pasaran: Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis" and author of "Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It"

    ‘In a political climate where fascism and the far right, once seen as historical outliers, are on the rise and becoming increasingly mainstream, the terms used for them are being problematically applied and contested, and responses to them are largely top-down, security orientated and privilege perpetrators, Joan Braune’s Understanding and Countering Fascist Movements is a much needed intervention. The book is underpinned by philosophical insight, community engagement, activist experience, and anti-racist and anti-fascist principles and objectives. By doing so, it provides both an understanding of and response to fascism, and an important contribution to both the literature and fight. I highly recommend this book to scholars, students, and activists, as well as others trying to counter such movements.’

    Aaron Winter, Senior Lecturer in Sociology (Race and Anti-Racism), Lancaster University, UK; author of "Reactionary Democracy: How Racism and the Populist Far Right Became Mainstream" and editor of "Researching the Far Right: Theory, Method and Practice"