Retracing Toledo's Radical History
It is not difficult to sense the alienation and demoralization that impinges upon so many people as they drive through the streets of Toledo, Ohio. These are streets that were constructed to be driven on and nothing else. Unlike many of the cities in Europe, or even some in the United States, it is not a walkable city. The haphazard urban planning, or lack thereof, and the complete lack of any public transit system, with the exception of TARTA buses and private cabs, combine to make Toledo more than inhospitable to those without their own private vehicle. Those who can afford it have spent the past five decades fleeing to outlying suburbs, and those who cannot remain trapped within the confines of a "Little Detroit" which, after the 1970s, has witnessed the gutting of its manufacturing base. Since 2000, Toledo area poverty has risen faster than any other U.S. city. In Toledo, isolation is the rule rather than the anomaly. While the Occupy Wall Street movement rocked the United States in 2011, Toledo's Occupy Wall Street was anemic and enervated. Responses exist but they are individual, small-scale, and incapable of drawing the numbers that such dire conditions warrant. Aside from a few key activists and organizers, most individuals, even those who have lived here their whole lives, have taken the state of things for granted, or at least feel powerless to change them. No mass movement exists, in spite of the abject conditions, that people can plug themselves into. Toledo, as someone recently put it, is "a hard place to love if you didn't grow up here." This has not always been the case, however. Toledo was once a center for economic activity, a hub of material exchange through which goods and labor moved rapidly. More importantly, however, Toledo has a long and radical history, one that has often been hidden away by the quotidian drudgery and daily grind of life. From the 1934 Auto-Lite Strike to the Black Panther Party headquarters on Door St., the city has not always been bereft of a culture of resistance.
Institutionalizing Lone-Wolf Terrorism
How Fascist Organizations Inspire Mass Violence
As Mulugeta Seraw and a friend hopped out of their ride's car, they didn't notice the pack of three skinheads wearing tight Levi's tucked into leather boots, laces tied from toe to ankle. The gang were members of East Side White Pride, affiliated with the larger White Aryan Resistance. Seraw was a student who had come to Portland, Oregon from Ethiopia, likely expecting Portland's long reputation of diversity and liberal values. It has another history, one that is caked in the KKK revival in the Northern USA and would later be marked by white expansion and gentrification. When the three men saw him on the corner of SE 31st and Pine street, a flurry of racial slurs were thrown before they took a baseball bat and caved in his head. This was just one of the many violent attacks that marked the war on the streets of Portland in the 1980s and 90s, where Antifa and anti-racist skinheads went literally up in arms with Volksfront, Hammerskin Nation, and other white pride gangs. The blood was visible on the corner of that street for weeks, and some swear you can still see it at night. This story resonates as we are inundated with recent horrors like the Dylan Roof massacre of nine church-goers after reading the Council of Conservative Citizens website, or the two men who beat an older hispanic man in south Boston after listening to Donald Trump's speech of racial arson. The radical right can fundamentally be dropped into two camps. There are the above ground operations that focus on propagating "ideas" or political programs. These would be things like the "HBD" scientific racist organizations like American Renaissance, Mankind Quarterly, and the Pioneer Fund. There are the neo-fascist cultural and "radical traditionalist" organizations like Traditionalist Youth Network, Occidental Observer, and The National Policy Institute. There are vague political parties and organizations like the American Freedom Party and Council..
Said the Slingshot to the Bomb
What some called the period beginning at the end of World War II and ending in the early 1990s, at the fall of the Soviet Union-the Cold War-others, with wider-ranging views, called the Atomic Age. Not only was industrial life irrevocably transformed on a scale coincident with the turn from stone to bronze, with its polymers, transistors and transmitters, and space travel, its plastics and its consumables; so was the concept of collective fear which centered on the atom bomb. Einstein once quipped that a war after World War III would be fought with sticks and stones. Theodor Adorno wrote in Negative Dialectics that the march of human history leads from the slingshot, with our warring ways from infancy onward, to the megaton bomb: if there truly was some internal logic guiding the events of history, it was the horseman, one of four, who called himself War. The Bible references these harbingers of doom because nomadic horsemen were the natural enemies of settled agrarian life, of course, and any literal reading of a mythopoetic book fits one for the dunce's cap. But whether one reads history in terms of metaphor or cold logic, the abundance of war, and the deficit of peace, provides its silhouette every time. Human life is a tragedy on par with Schopenhauer's imagination, only its nihilism manifests itself in the machinery of violence far more often than with the depression of its psyche. Contrary to the wishful thinking of conservatives and liberals alike, our affairs have ever been thus. Rather than homo sapiens, or the rational animal of Aristotle, we might better be referred to as the warmakers of the universe, part affliction and part sure foresight. But the fashion these days is not to cower before an unseen bomb, or sniff the air for the reek of mustard gas. The fear of this century is dispersed, unsure, sprawled from the subject outward in every direction. Fear, itself, has been decentered, overdetermined: it is not a point of attention; it is an economy unto itself. I confess I am a fearful man..
Trumph of the Will
Taking Donald Trump's Fascism Seriously
Justin C. Mueller
The GOP presidential candidacy of Donald Trump has been seen by many as a hilarious farce. How could this former reality TV star, a multiply-bankrupt billionaire, an all of a sudden family-values champion with four failed marriages, whose official politics have shifted loudly with the political winds NOT be seen as a ridiculous indictment of the spectacle of American electoral politics? As some have noted, his very appeal to some people is in his willingness to say things that normal politicians just don't usually say… at least, out loud. As several commentators have observed, however, Trump is simply not funny any more. What has changed? Some have alluded to the eerily fascist-like character of his rhetoric and policies. Many people may consider this to be a ridiculous, hyperbolic, or unthinkable comparison. After all, Hitler killed millions. While Trump may have destroyed communities through his business practices, such a comparison must be wildly inappropriate, or even disrespectful to the victims of early 20th century fascism. In internet culture, this common sense manifests itself in the idea of Godwin's Law, which argues that "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1". The implication of this is that such comparisons are toxic, abused and overused rhetorically, and intended more to de-legitimize an opponent rather than say anything of worth. While comparisons to fascism can certainly be over-used in rhetoric, they are under-used in actual analysis. Fascism, and Hitler in particular, have generally been treated as exhausted signifiers of the kind described by Roland Barthes - drained of metaphorical, conceptual, and descriptive utility.