Explores the significance of fascism for understanding authoritarianism today and centers anti-imperialist movements of Black, Indigenous, and colonized peoples.
We must, as For Antifascist Futures urges, take antifascism as a major imperative of movements for social change. But we must not limit our analysis or historical understanding of the rise of the right-wing authoritarianism in our times by rooting it in mid-twentieth century Europe. Instead we turn to a collection of powerful BIPOC voices who offer a range of anticolonial, Indigenous, and Black Radical traditions to think with.
For Antifascist Futures takes seriously what is new in this moment of politics, exploring what the analytic of fascism offers for understanding the twenty-first century authoritarian convergence by centering the material and speculative labor of antifascist and antiracist social movement coalitions. By focusing on the long history of Black and Brown antifascist resistance that has been overlooked in both recent conversations about racial justice as well as antifascist resistance, the essays, interviews, and documents included here make clear how racialized and colonized peoples have been at the forefront of theorizing and dismantling fascism, white supremacy, and other modes of authoritarian rule.
By linking a deep engagement, both scholarly and practical, of racial justice movements with an antifascist frame, and a global analysis of capitalism the contributors have assembled a powerful toolbox for our struggles. The editors, widely recognized ethnic and American studies scholars, offer a groundbreaking collection with contributions from Johanna Fernandez, Manu Karuka, Charisse Burden-Stelly, Zoé Samudzi, and Macarena Gomez-Barris among others.
What People Are Saying
"This extraordinary volume ranges over a planetary geography and deeply engages historical formations and trajectories of fascism and antifascism. The authors, writing in a variety of genres and from many fields of study, illuminate the makings of racialized violence, the role of untruths, post-truths, and ideologies, the afterlives and ongoing effects of colonial force, and the role of capital accumulation in the making of modern varieties of fascism. Every page of For Antifascist Futures forces us to face and reckon with the lacerating effects of fascist power on the body politic” Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade and Time in the Shadows
"Globalizing and reframing fascisms on a world scale, this urgent and powerful volume analyzes fascism as the convergence of authoritarian state and extralegal racial nationalist violence responding to the historical and material crises of capitalism and imperialism. The collection constellates a stunning range of antifascist practices, from Black radical internationalism, anticolonial movements, and insurgencies in the Philippines, Palestine, and South Asia, and across Latin America and Africa, on the one hand, to a long history of antifascisms and racial justice movements in the U.S. and Indigenous demands for return of stolen land, on the other.” Lisa Lowe, author of The Intimacies of Four Continents
“For Antifascist Futures is a searing and necessary collection for our times. The precise and unsparing indictment of fascism—and its enduring entanglements in imperialist and capitalist expansion—is the urgent world-making project that we all need. By deftly engaging the analytic of fascism across time and geography, this constellation of intellectually & politically fierce essays narrates a simultaneously sobering and inspiring political vision of internationalist antifascism against authoritarianism. This book is a tour de force.” Harsha Walia, author of Border and Rule and Undoing Border Imperialism
About the Editors
Alyosha Goldstein is a professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century, editor of Formations of United States Colonialism (2014), and coeditor (with Jodi A. Byrd, Jodi Melamed, and Chandan Reddy) of “Economies of Dispossession: Indigeneity, Race, Capitalism,” a special issue of Social Text (2018), (with Juliana Hu Pegues and Manu Vimalassery [Karuka]) of “On Colonial Unknowing,” a special issue of Theory & Event (2016) and (with Alex Lubin) of “Settler Colonialism,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (2008).
Simón Ventura Trujillo is an assistant professor in the English Department at New York University and the author of Land Uprising: Native Story Power and the Insurgent Horizons of Latinx Indigeneity (2020)
About the Contributors
Nadia Abu El-Haj is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies, and Chair of the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. She is the author of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society and The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology. Her third book (Verso 2022) is a study of the figure of the traumatized soldier in the American social imaginary and its central role in reproducing contemporary American militarism.
Kate Boyd is an antifascist and antiracist cultural organizer, educator, and public humanities scholar. In 2006, Kate and Cristien Storm cofounded If You Don't They Will, a Seattle-based collaboration that provides concrete and creative tools for countering white nationalism through a cultural lens. This includes creating spaces to generate visions, desires, incantations, actions, memes, and dreams for the kinds of worlds we want to live in.
Charisse Burden-Stelly, assistant professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College, is a critical Black Studies scholar of political theory, political economy, intellectual history, and historical sociology. She is the coauthor, with Gerald Horne, of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Life in American History, and is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Black Scare/Red Scare: Antiblackness, Anticommunism, and the Rise of Capitalism in the United States, which examines the rise of the United States to global hegemony between World War I and the early Cold War at the intersection of racial capitalism, Wall Street imperialism, anticommunism, and antiblackness.
Burden-Stelly is also the coeditor, with Jodi Dean, of the forthcoming volume Organize, Fight, Win: Three Decades of Black Communist Women’s Political Writings (Verso, 2022) and the coeditor, with Aaron Kamugisha, of the forthcoming collection of Percy C. Hintzen’s writings titled Reproducing Domination: On the Caribbean and the Postcolonial State (University of Mississippi, 2022). She guest edited the “Claudia Jones: Foremother of World Revolution” special issue of The Journal of Intersectionality. Her published work appears in journals including Small Axe, Monthly Review, Souls, Du Bois Review, Socialism & Democracy, International Journal of Africana Studies, and the CLR James Journal.
Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to imaging technologies. Since 2011, she has been researching the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea Bissau as a collective laboratory of decolonizing epistemologies. The resulting body of work comprises, films, archival practices, seminars, screenings, publications and ongoing collaborations with artists, theorists and activists in particular with Diana McCarty, Sónia Vaz Borges and Sana na N’Hada, with whom she initiated the Mediateca Onshore project.
Subin Dennis is a researcher with the New Delhi office of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research, and a former journalist with the news portal NewsClick. He was a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and was active with the student movement before he joined NewsClick, where he wrote analytical articles on economy and politics.
Daniel Denvir is the author of All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We Know It (Verso, 2020), a Visiting Fellow in International and Public Affairs at Brown University’s Watson Institute, a writer in residence at The Appeal, and the host of The Dig podcast on Jacobin Radio. He is a former staff writer at Salon and the Philadelphia City Paper, and former contributing writer at the Atlantic’s CityLab. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Vox, Jacobin, The Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera America, VICE, and The New Republic.
Johanna Fernández is associate professor of History at Baruch College (CUNY) and author of The Young Lords: A Radical History, recipient of the New York Society Library’s New York City Book award and three Organization of American Historians (OAH) awards: the prestigious Frederick Jackson Turner award for best first book in history, the Liberty Legacy Foundation award for best book on civil rights and the Merle Curti award for best Social History. Dr. Fernández’s 2014 Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit against the NYPD, led to the recovery of the “lost” Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance records in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X. She is editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal and writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Her awards include the Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa, which took her to Jordan; and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in the Scholars-in-Residence program at the Schomburg Center. She directed and cocurated, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York an exhibition in three NYC museums. She’s the host of A New Day, WBAI’s morning show, from 7-8am, M-F, at 99.5 FM in New York.
Alyosha Goldstein is a professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century, the editor of Formations of United States Colonialism, and has coedited special issues of Social Text, Theory & Event, and South Atlantic Quarterly. Goldstein is completing a book manuscript on colonialism, racial capitalism, and histories of Native and Black dispossession in what is presently called the United States. Macarena Gómez-Barris is a writer and author who works at the intersections of authoritarianism, the visual arts, extractivism, and the environmental and decolonial humanities. Her books include Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile, Beyond the Pink Tide: Artistic and Political Undercurrents, and The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives. Her in-progress book is At the Sea’s Edge: Liquidity Beyond Colonial Extinction. She is Founding Director of the Global South Center (globalsouthcenter.org) and Chairperson of Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. She has published in Social Text, GLQ, and numerous other journals and art catalogs, and is coeditor with Diana Taylor of Duke University Press Series, Dissident Acts.
Elspeth Iralu (Angami Naga) is a PhD candidate in American studies at the University of New Mexico. Her research and teaching interests include Indigenous geographies and methodologies, visual culture, critical surveillance studies, and planning for decolonial futures. Iralu’s current work examines the spatial surveillance of Indigenous peoples, nations, and territories in the twenty-first century to interrogate how spatial methods of counterinsurgent warfare operate as technologies of territoriality against Indigenous nations. Her writing has appeared in American Quarterly, The New Americanist, Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, and Species in Peril. She has worked on community projects for environment, health, and sovereignty with Indigenous nations in India and the United States.
Manu Karuka is an Assistant Professor of American Studies, and affiliated faculty with Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, where he has taught since 2014. His work centers a critique of imperialism, with a particular focus on antiracism and Indigenous decolonization. He teaches courses on the political economy of racism, U.S. imperialism and radical internationalism, Indigenous critiques of political economy, and liberation. He is the author of Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad (University of California Press, 2019). With Juliana Hu Pegues and Alyosha Goldstein, he coedited a special issue of Theory & Event, “On Colonial Unknowing,” (2016) and with Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, and Sujani Reddy, he coedited The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013).
Dolly Kikon is a Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology and Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, a Senior Research Associate (SRA) at the Australia India Institute, and the host of the Melbourne Researchers in Focus Conversation series. She also serves on the Council of Advisors for The India Forum. Her research focuses on resource extraction, militarization, development, human rights, migration, gender, and political economy. Kikon’s books include Living with Oil and Coal: Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India (University of Washington, 2019), Ceasefire City: Militarism, Capitalism and Urbanism in Dimapur (with Duncan McDuie-Ra, Oxford University Press, 2021), Leaving the Land: Indigenous Migration and Affective Labour in India (with Bengt Karlsson, Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, India, 2019), and Life and Dignity: Women’s Testimonies of Sexual Violence in Dimapur (Nagaland) (Northeast Social Research Centre Publication, Guwahati, 2015).
Léopold Lambert is a trained architect living in Paris. He is the editor-in-chief of The Funambulist, a bimestrial print and online magazine dedicated to the politics of space and bodies. He is also the author of four books: Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence (dpr-barcelona, 2012), Topie Impitoyable: The Corporeal Politics of the Cloth, the Wall, and the Street (punctum, 2015), La politique du bulldozer: La ruine palestinienne comme projet israélien (Politics of Bulldozer: The Palestinian Ruin as an Israeli Project, B2, 2016), and États d’urgence: Une histoire spatiale du continuum colonial français (States of Emergency: A Spatial History of the French Colonial Continuum, Premiers Matins de Novembre, 2021).
Joe Lowndes is a professor of political science at the University of Oregon and a scholar of race, populism, and right-wing politics. He coauthored Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity with Daniel Martinez HoSang (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), is the author of From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism (Yale University Press, 2008), and coedited Race and American Political Development with Julie Novkov and Dorian Warren (Routledge Press, 2008). He has published extensively on populism, presidential politics, political culture, and social movements, and writes frequently for public venues including The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Dissent. His current project seeks to explain the growing authoritarian trend in U.S. politics in the United States and its implications for democracy.
Allan E. S. Lumba is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Tech. His research explores the historical entanglements between racial capitalism and U.S. colonialisms in the Philippines and more broadly the Pacific from the late nineteenth century to the present. His first book, Monetary Authorities: Capitalism and Decolonization in the American Colonial Philippines, will be out in April 2022 from Duke University Press. Dian Million (Tanana Athabascan) is an Associate Professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the author of Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights, along with several enduring poems and articles: “There is a River in Me: Theory From Life,” “Intense Dreaming: Theories, Narratives and Our Search for Home,” and “Felt Theory: An Indigenous Feminist Approach to Affect and History.” Million centers her work on the effect/affect of racial capitalism/settler colonialism on Indigenous family and community health in North America informed by two generations of Indigenous Feminist scholarship and activism. Million seeks to illuminate the ways in which Indigenous life reorganizes and resurges, making intentional life and kin in the face of colonial violence.
Nicole Nguyen is associate professor of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is author of A Curriculum of Fear: Homeland Security in U.S. Public Schools (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Suspect Communities: Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror (University of Minnesota Press, 2019).
Keisha-Khan Y. Perry is the Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is focused on race, gender and politics in the Americas, urban geography and questions of citizenship, intellectual history and disciplinary formation, and the interrelationship between scholarship, pedagogy and political engagement. Her first book, Black Women against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil, won the 2014 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize. She is currently at work on her second book, which is focused on the ways in which state violence limits activist research and writing.
Vaughn Rasberry is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, where he teaches and researches literature of the African Diaspora. He is also the author of Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination (Harvard UP, 2016), recipient of the Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Zoé Samudzi is a writer whose work has appeared in The New Inquiry, Verso, The New Republic, Daily Beast, Art in America, Hyperallergic, and other outlets. She is a contributing writer at Jewish Currents. Along with William C. Anderson, she is the coauthor of As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation (AK Press).
Nikhil Pal Singh is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University, and Founding Faculty Director of the NYU Prison Education Program. A historian of race, empire, and culture in the twentieth-century United States, Singh is the author, most recently, of Race and America’s Long War (University of California Press, 2017). He is also the author of the award-winning book, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004), and author and editor with Jack O’Dell of Climin’ Jacob’s Ladder; The Black Freedom Movement Writing of Jack O’Dell. A new book Exceptional Empire: Race, Colonialism and the Origins of US Globalism is in-progress, and forthcoming from Harvard University Press. Singh’s writing and historian interviews have appeared in a number of places including New York Magazine, TIME, the New Republic, and on NPRs Open Source and Code Switch.
Anne Spice (she/they) is a Tlingit member of Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University, and an Associate Fellow at the Yellowhead Institute. They have been actively supporting Indigenous land re-occupations since 2015, and their work dwells in the intersection of Indigenous geographies, histories and futures of Indigenous resistance, poetry and art. Their writing has been published in Environment and Society, Jacobin, The New Inquiry, and Asparagus Magazine.
Cristien Storm is an antifascist and antiracist cultural organizer, writer, and politicized healer. In 2006, Cristien and Kate Boyd cofounded If You Don't They Will, a Seattle-based collaboration that provides concrete and creative tools for countering white nationalism through a cultural lens. This includes creating spaces to generate visions, desires, incantations, actions, memes, and dreams for the kinds of worlds we want to live in.
Alberto Toscano is Professor in Critical Theory in the Department of Sociology and Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Visiting Faculty at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University. He is the author of The Theatre of Production: Philosophy and Individuation Between Kant and Deleuze (Palgrave, 2006), Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (Verso, 2010; 2017, 2nd ed.), Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle, Zero Books, 2015), Una visión compleja. Hacía una estética de la economía (Meier Ramirez, 2021), La abstracción real. Filosofia, estética y capital (Palinodia, 2021), and the coeditor of The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics (with Lorenzo Chiesa, re.press, 2009), the 3-volume Handbook of Marxism (with Sara Farris, Bev Skeggs and Svenja Bromberg, SAGE, 2021), and Ruth Wilson Gilmore's Abolition Geography: Essays in Liberation (with Brenna Bhandar, Verso, 2022).
Simón Ventura Trujillo is an assistant professor in the English Department at New York University. He is the author of Land Uprising: Native Story Power and the Insurgent Horizons of Latinx Indigeneity (University of Arizona Press 2020).
Sónia Vaz Borges is an interdisciplinary militant historian and social-political organizer. She received her Ph.D. in History of Education from the Humboldt University of Berlin. She is the author of the book Militant Education, Liberation Struggle, Consciousness: The PAIGC education in Guinea Bissau 1963-1978 (Peter Lang, 2019). In September 2021 she joined the History Department as assistant professor in Africana Studies at Drexel University. As part of her academic work, Vaz Borges is developing a book proposal focused on her concept of the “walking archive.”
Yazan Zahzah is a community-based researcher and organizer from Southern California. They hold an MA in Gender Studies from San Diego State University and currently work as a lecturer for the California State University system. Yazan’s research examines the relationship between war, migration, surveillance, and social welfare programming. In particular, their work dissects the use of progressive rhetoric to further political violence, like with Countering Violent Extremism. Yazan is the Community Organizer at Vigilant Love in Los Angeles, CA. They are a longtime member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, a grassroots organization dedicated to the self-determination of the Palestinian People.
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Reframing and pluralizing fascism through a cartography of anticolonial and decolonial struggle that does not take Europe as the center is a challenge that asks us to reckon with the emergence of fascism as shaped by continuities and ruptures among feudalism, industrial capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, and liberalism. We are thus less concerned in this special issue with the “proper” historically delimited event of fascism in Europe between 1919 and 1945 than with the broad resonance and rhetorical salience of fascism.[i] Acknowledging that fascism as such is always shaped by the dynamics of particular places and conjunctures, most salient in this regard is an analysis that simultaneously de-exceptionalizes fascism and seeks to comprehend its specificity in an expanded global context. In her 1923 address and resolution for the Enlarged Plenum of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, Clara Zetkin argued that “fascist forces are organizing internationally, and the workers’ struggle against fascism must also organize on a world scale.”[ii] She contended that fascism emerged as a “sham revolutionary program” in response to “the imperialist war and the accelerated dislocation of the capitalist economy,” and as a necessary counterforce, “in contrast to the Second International, the Comintern is not an International for the elite of white proletarians of Europe and America. It is an International for the exploited of all races.”[iii] The global arena of racialized violence, plunder, and exploitation was in this sense an arena extended through imperialism and colonialism.
Between the end of the First World War and the early Cold War, numerous anticolonial writers of color emphasized the direct connection between the atrocities of imperialism and fascism. They persuasively argued that fascism was fundamentally entangled with the form and practice of colonial rule, racialized organization of dispossession and death, and insatiable imperial aspiration in order to insist that defeating fascism required ending all manner of colonialism and imperialism. George Padmore first wrote about what he called “colonial fascism” in How Britain Rules Africa (1936), further developing this analysis in publications over the next two decades.[iv] In his 1938 address to the conference on Peace and Empire, Jawaharlal Nehru observed that “the essence of the problem of peace is the problem of empire,” declaring that fascism is simply an “intensified form of the same system which is imperialism.”[v] Writing in 1949, Claudia Jones called attention to the “growth of militancy among Negro women” as having “profound meaning, both for the Negro liberation movement and for the emerging anti-fascist, anti-imperialist coalition.”[vi] In the wake of the Second World War and rising tide of anticolonial independence movements, in Discourse on Colonialism (1950/1955) Aimé Césaire described the “decivilizing” consequences of colonialism for colonizers themselves as a root cause of Nazism and other Euro-American fascisms.[vii] During the present conjuncture, when the question of fascism appears resurgent, genealogies of anticolonial and anti-imperialist critique are indispensable for understanding and dismantling the far-reaching entanglements of rightwing authoritarianism.
Fascism as a heuristic in this sense can be thus important for several reasons. First, an analytic of fascism situates rightwing reaction within the historical and material crises of imperialism of which fascism is in some fundamental sense symptomatic. To invoke fascism is to place various iterations of authoritarianism and state and extralegal violence directly in relation to racial and gendered capitalist crisis and the expanded reproduction of imperialism. Second, the mass appeal of authoritarian nationalism and white supremacy has been historically galvanized during moments of accelerated insecurity and potential displacement of the so-called middle class. For instance, Trump’s base was and remains primarily middle-income white people as well as particular fractions of corporate capital and is not principally a movement of working-class or impoverished white people, even if it has also successfully recruited from these sectors. Third, fascism as an embrace of punitive governance partially animated by a politics of fear, cruelty, racism, and heteropatriarchy is essentially reactionary. This reactionary appeal to the certainty of authority and order against demonized and otherized groups emerges in opposition to the promise and popularity of a radical politics of redistribution (for instance, in relation to anarchist and communist revolutionary movements during the interwar period and Cold War era) and abolition (as against the Movement for Black Lives and initiatives to defund the police today). During the current moment, it is also a revanchist alignment against the momentum of trans* and queer liberation, climate justice, migrant and asylum seeker assertions of life against border imperialism, and Indigenous peoples’ demands for the return of stolen land. This reactionary disposition is of the utmost significance, especially in that it requires a focus on that against which it is organized and defined — although horrific, raw power and rule by violence in this sense are in many ways the least stable basis of authority and control.[viii]
Without overstating continuities or equivalencies, we contend that naming fascism often serves to index the relationship among state power, imperialism and colonization, religious/racist nationalism, and white supremacist terrorism as the reactive conditions of counterrevolution and racial capitalism. The racial terror and genocide wrought by slavery and colonialism preceded, were co-constitutive of, and continue after Mussolini’s Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, and Japan’s Shōwa nationalism. There are multiple valences for an expanded frame of fascisms. Among the most frequently referenced examples of links between European fascism and colonial policy are Germany’s 1904-1908 genocide against the Herero and Nama peoples in South West Africa (now Namibia) and U.S. policy toward Indigenous peoples and Jim Crow laws as models emulated by the Third Reich.[ix] In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, African American petitions to the United Nations, such as W. E. B. Du Bois and the NAACP’s 1947 An Appeal to the World: A Statement of Denial of Human Rights to Minorities in the Case of citizens of Negro Descent in the United States of America and an Appeal to the United Nations for Redress — which condemns the U.S. as part of “the imperialist block which is controlling the colonies of the world” — and the 1951 Civil Rights Congress’s We Charge Genocide: The Crime of the Government Against the Negro People were exemplary of a burgeoning Black antifascism.[x] In turn, similar demands for redress and liberation framed in relation to fascism extended through the 1955 Bandung Conference, the 1966 Tricontinental Conference, and the growing momentum for worldwide decolonization.[xi]
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Panther Party likewise called out as fascist the constitutive white supremacism and imperialism of the United States — brutally enacted by the everyday actions of the police, counterinsurgency operations, and the military — and sought to build a broad coalition of activists with such initiatives the United Front Against Fascism conference in 1969.[xii] Activist groups such as the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Anti-Racist Action in the United States and the Anti-Nazi League and Anti-Fascist Action in Britain were explicitly organized against the fascism of the racist New Right and skinhead gangs of the 1970s and 1980s.[xiii] More recently, a heterogeneous group of antifascist organizations, initiatives, and actions sometimes collectively referred to as Antifa — or, in the case of Donald Trump’s “anti-Antifa” campaign, conjured into a single vilified and violent organization — have mobilized against rightwing and white racist terrorism. In each of these instances, the continuities, tensions, and disjunctions of what gets named fascism in particular times and places matter within and across national and international frames. We aim to think with such genealogies to further question how fascism as a heuristic can be further situated with respect to imperialism and settler colonialism as well as what such a heuristic might offer with regard to anticolonial thought and action as one especially salient arena of struggle.
[i] Matthew N. Lyons, Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2018).
[ii] Clara Zetkin, Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win, ed. Mike Taber and John Riddell (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2017), 73.
[iii] Zetkin, Fighting Fascism, 34, 67, 61.
[iv] George Padmore, How Britain Rules Africa (1936; New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969).
[v] Quoted in Michele Louro, Comrades against Imperialism: Nehru, India, and Interwar Internationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 230.
[vi] Claudia Jones, “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women” (1949), in Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment, ed. Carole Boyce Davies (Oxfordshire: Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2011), 74.
[vii] Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism, trans. Joan Pinkham (1950; New York: Monthly Review, 2000).
[viii] Kyle Burke, Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018); Gerald Horne, White Supremacy Confronted: U.S. Imperialism and Anti-Communism vs. the Liberation of Southern Africa from Rhodes to Mandela (New York, NY: International Publishers, 2019); Daniel Geary, Camilla Schofield, and Jennifer Sutton, eds., Global White Nationalism: From Apartheid to Trump (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020).
[ix] Zoé Samudzi, “Reparative Futurities: Thinking From the Ovaherero and Nama Colonial Genocide,” The Funambulist 30 (July-August 2020); Jürgen Zimmerer and Joachim Zeller, eds., Genocide in German South-West Africa: The Colonial War of 1904–1908 and Its Aftermath (London: Merlin Press, 2008); James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017); Edward B. Westermann, Hitler’s Ostkrieg and the Indian Wars: Comparing Genocide and Conquest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016); Jens-Uwe Guettel, German Expansionism, Imperial Liberalism and the United States, 1776–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). For a generative resituating of the Nazi Holocaust in relation to the context of decolonization see Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).
[x] Highlighting the significance of Black antifascism, Christine Hong argues that “Black radicals during World War II wielded the term fascism to expose the illegitimacy and counterrevolutionary nature of the racial capitalist state, including waging its domestic war” against Black people. Christine Hong, A Violent Peace: Race, U.S. Militarism, and Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020), 183.
[xi] See Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019); Luis Eslava, Michael Fakhri, and Vasuki Nesiah, eds., Bandung, Global History, and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Quỳnh N. Phạm and Robbie Shilliam, eds., Meanings of Bandung: Postcolonial Orders and Decolonial Visions (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); Christopher J. Lee, ed., Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010); Anne Garland Mahler, From the Tricontinental to the Global South: Race, Radicalism, and Transnational Solidarity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018); John Munro, The Anticolonial Front: The African American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonisation, 1945-1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New York: The New Press, 2007); and Robin D. G. Kelley, “A Poetics of Anticolonialism,” in Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism, 7-28.
[xii] Robyn C. Spencer, “The Black Panther Party and Black Anti-Fascism in the United States,” January 26, 2017, https://dukeupress.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/the-black-panther-party-and-black-anti-fascism-in-the-united-states/. See also Robyn C. Spencer, The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016); Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr., Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016).
[xiii] Hilary Moore and James Tracy, No Fascist USA!: The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Lessons for Today’s Movements (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2020); David Renton, Never Again: Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 1976-1982 (New York: Routledge, 2018). For an excellent primary source survey of the U.S. context, see Bill V. Mullen and Christopher Vials, eds., The U.S. Anti-Fascism Reader (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2020).