Author Jason Stanley Explains “How Fascism Works”


“In a healthy liberal democracy, language is a tool of information. The goal of fascist propaganda is not merely to mock and sneer at robust and complex public debate about policy; it is to eliminate its possibility.”

— Jason Stanley, “How Fascism Works: The Politics Of Us And Them”, 2018. (p.54)

Politics and Prose (9/25/18)

Jason Stanley discusses his book, “How Fascism Works”, at Politics and Prose. In this clear and direct primer, Stanley, the award-winning author of How Propaganda Works, draws on a wide range of history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory to define fascism, explain its mechanisms, and help people identify its red flags.

At its most basic level, fascism is simply a movement that achieves power by dividing a population. A country can have fascist strains without actually being fascistic, Stanley says, and he identifies myriad seeds of authoritarianism in U.S. history, from the Confederacy and the Jim Crow South—which inspired Hitler—to the more recent birther movement and the rise of Trump. More generally he cites ten hallmarks of fascism, such as the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, and unreality; on the rise today, these must be resisted if we are to stop fascism from gaining hold here.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; Knowledge and Practical Interests, which won the American Philosophical Association book prize; and How Propaganda Works, which won the PROSE Award for Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications.

Link to 66-Minute Video


The Fascist State Grows: California Police Protect Nazis And Charge Their Stabbing & Beating Victims

Previous records also revealed that police had worked with the neo-Nazi groups to target the anti-racist activists.

By Sam Levin
The Guardian (12/5/18)

California law enforcement pursued criminal charges against eight anti-fascist activists who were stabbed or beaten at a neo-Nazi rally while failing to prosecute anyone for the knife attacks against them, according to police records reviewed by the Guardian.

In addition to the decision not to charge white supremacists or others for stabbings at a far-right rally that left people with critical wounds, police also investigated 100 anti-fascist counter-protesters, recommending more than 500 total criminal charges against them, according to court filings from civil rights attorneys.

Meanwhile, for men investigated on the neo-Nazi side of a June 2016 brawl at the state capitol, police recommended only five mostly minor charges, none related to stabbings.

California has not prosecuted anyone for the stabbings, but sought hundreds of charges against counter-protesters.

Lawyers produced new records this week as prosecutors in Sacramento prepared for a hearing in their long-running case against three anti-fascist counter-protesters, who have been charged with rioting and assault.

For two of the counter-protesters facing potential prison time, law enforcement officers surveilled their social media activity and cited their leftwing politics and affiliation with Chicano and indigenous rights groups as evidence against them, the police reports revealed.

None of the defendants heading toward trial were accused of the stabbings of anti-fascists.

The documents have raised fresh questions about California police agencies’ handling of rightwing violence and extremism, renewing accusations that law enforcement officials have shielded neo-Nazis from prosecution while aggressively pursuing demonstrators with leftwing and anti-racist political views. …

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