Fascism Reading List

As we discussed not too long ago in our January dialogue:

Here we are at the start of unpresidented 2017, after the largest inaugural protest in US history, joined by marches around the world. Community organizing and outreach is happening in every state as people prepare for the worst, brace for scary realities on the horizon and work to keep them at bay. This is also a time when many are humbly realizing how much we have to learn from communities around the world about what it means to live resisting fascism.

These are a few readings that we used to fuel our January dialogue:

#Trump: Notes to self and Lefty friends
¡Nunca Mas! People Powered Strategy in the Time of Trump
Interview with Kali Akuno on preparing to be ungovernable
Guiding vision and principles of the Women’s March on Washington 

And included below is an a very thorough reading list compiled by our friend, Lindley Mease, as part of a reading group with the goals of “collectively 1) learning the what, where, when of fascism to ground the current context in global and historical trends, 2) distilling guidelines and values we wish to uphold for ourselves under our new fascist government, and 3) cultivating community with non-U.S. folks who have lived through/are living with authoritarian regimes.”  :

Fascism and Resistance: Reading List

The Threat of Fascism

Priority Readings

  1. A fantastic long-form legal analysis of how our constitutional democracy could implode. It describes two models of destabilization: “authoritarian reversion” (collapse of institutions) or “constitutional regression” (slow process of eroding elections, rights, rule of law…more likely in our case). Although very long, I found this extremely helpful in understanding the weaknesses in our current governmental structure to autocracy and evidence of retrogression already occurring. Check out the table on page 54.
  2. Extremely wise guidance from a man who resisted Chavez for decades. He offers what not to do–many of which I want to glue to my mirror to remind myself every day.
  3. This is a phenomenal read from the Atlantic about Trump’s behavior, our government’s weaknesses, and authoritarian patterns we are already seeing.

Less priority

  1. This article describes the weaknesses of presidentialism. Parliamentary governments are much more stable, and the U.S. is the only democracy that has maintained stability this long in history. Oof.
  2. A long read but well worth the conclusions: key learnings from how the nazis rose to power and what resistance worked (thanks, Dan!).
  3. Garry Kasparov on what we can learn from Putin. His main thesis is that reactionary and polarizing backlash against Trump will only play into his hands.
  4. This is a pretty badass list of things happening that indicate our country’s steady decline into fascism.

The Role of Media

Priority Readings

  1. A fascinating read by Ryan Holiday about his own media tactic: scarcity and sensationalism, and how the alt-right is using it to pump their celebrity status and nation-wide attention. He paints a clear picture of how right-wing lies and left-wing protests help compound Trump’s popularism.
  2. Free speech and how the alt-right is using that banner to propagate their platform of violence and hate.

Less Priority

  1. Short and sweet deconstruction of why Trump is a fascist and how that word has been co-opted and reduced by the media.
  2. Chinese propaganda isn’t about convincing people of opinions and issues, it’s about demonstrating the government can exert social control (and thus, has social control), which translates into less political dissent among the populace. The veracity or trustworthiness of propaganda is less important than the hubris of its intent.

On Resistance & Movement Building

Priority Readings

  1. New World Foundation’s great review of social movement process and the broader movement moment we are in right now. (it has a funding angle, but the first part is dynamite).
  2. A fantastic read about the long-game of building a powerful oppositional movement.
  3. An article about strategic frameworks to become ungovernable, featuring Kali Akuno.

Less priority

  1. Movement Net Labs has a really nice ‘movement cycle’ methods section: http://movementnetlab.org/movement-cycle/
  2. David Frum (R) provides a conservative perspective on protests: how they don’t work.
  3. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this article argues how our cities will save us from Trump.  
  4. This article highlights the disparate responses of the right and left to violence–using the protester shot at a Milo protest in Seattle as an example of how who and what is ‘violent’ is skewed by media.
  5. Alicia Garcia’s humble take on using this moment of mass mobilization to build a movement of movements.
  6. A friend of mine, Farhad Ebrahimi, wrote this fun article comparing this moment to sci-fi and the opportunity a fascist government gives us to reinvent our government.
  7. A thoughtful piece, drawing from the Indivisible Guide, on ‘within the system’ resistance.
  8. This reading list from the Resistance Manual looks fantastic. If anyone digs into this in the near term, please give a shout-out to any great reads.
  9. Although somewhat outdated, the rules outlined in this article are gems – skip right to them at the bottom.
  10. And finally, in the spirit of lists, here is one more by a guy who’s studied authoritarian governments. I particularly liked “Practice corporeal politics” and “Take responsibility for the face of the world”.

While no list can hope to be complete, and there are a few sections we hope to add, such as the connections between Neoliberalism and Fascism (here, here and here, for starters!), we share this incomplete list publicly in hopes of supporting others to come together to learn and discuss together.

And as Lindley reminds us, please make sure to balance this with reading good news, looking at elephant gifs, and turning off your computer!

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