Spectres of Fascism

Spectres of Fascism

Historical, Theoretical, and International Perspectives

Edited by Samir Gandesha


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Concerns over the rise of fascism have been preoccupied with the Trump presidency and the Brexit vote in the UK, yet, globally, we are witnessing a turn towards anti-democratic and illiberal forces. From the tragic denouement of the Egyptian Revolution to the consolidation of the so-called Gujarat Model in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the consolidation of the power of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, fascist ideology, aesthetics, and personalities appear across the globe. Spectres of Fascism makes a significant contribution to the unfolding discussion on whether what we are witnessing today is best understood as a return to classic twentieth-century fascism or some species of what has been called “post-fascism.” Applying a uniquely global perspective, it combines analyses of historical contexts, theoretical approaches, and contemporary geopolitics.


Spectres of Fascism illuminates the terrifying resurgence of right-wing populist politics around the world, examining a variety of case studies from different critical theoretical perspectives. Essential reading for anyone interested in the uncanny return of fascistic tendencies within contemporary capitalist democracies.

– John Abromeit, author of Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School

This timely book provides profound insights into the rise of fascism that is currently taking hold, once again, in our world. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of fascist populist rhetoric will find in this intelligent work a satisfying richness of thought that gives us hope in these times of darkness.

– David Morgan, Psychoanalyst

Like a specter, fascism is protean in form yet more than a return of the past. Spanning from history to critical theory, from aesthetics to politics, and approaching fascism on a global scale, this book argues for a mindful commitment to the struggles of the present.

– Enzo Traverso, author of The New Faces of Fascism: Populism and the Far Right

Drawing on a variety of disciplines and theoretical foundations, this volume offers a profound and multifaceted account of political formations marked by perplexing and paradoxical sets of motives, commitments and aims.

– Ato Sekyi-Otu, author of Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays


1. Introduction
Samir Gandesha
2. The “Hope of the Hopeless”: Contemporary Lessons from Marxist Struggles Against Hitler and Mussolini
Ingo Schmidt
3. The Future of Futurism: From the Avant-Garde to the Neo-Avant-Garde, or, How to Imagine Communism by Other Means
Jaleh Mansoor
4. The Aesthetics of Totalitarian Salvation
Alec Balasescu
5. Are the Alt-Right and French New Right Kindred Movements?
Tamir Bar-On
6. The Post-Democratic Horizon: Friend and Enemy in the Age of New Authoritarianism
Am Johal
7. Which Came First, Fascism or Misogyny? Reading Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies
Laura U. Marks
8. “A Composite of King Kong and a Suburban Barber”: Adorno’s “Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda”
Samir Gandesha
9. So, You Want a Master? Psychoanalytic Considerations on the Intellectual’s Responsibility in Light of Traumatic Repetition
Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez
10. Micro-Fascism in the Age of Trump
Gary Genosko
11. Fascist Neoliberalism and Preventive Counter-Revolution: The Second Round of the Latin American Laboratory
Vladimir Safatle
12. Decolonizing the “Contemporary Left”?: An Indigenous Reflection on Justice in the New World Order
Patricia M. Barkaskas
13. The Outsider as Insider: Steve Bannon, Fourth Turnings, and the Neofascist Threat
Joan Braune
14. Populism, Fascism, Neoliberalism: Theorizing Contemporary India
Ajay Gudavarthy and Vijay Gudavarthy
15. Art Contra Politics: Liberal Spectacle, Fascist Resurgence
Johan F. Hartle
Notes on Contributors