Sonya Faure's interview with Enzo Traverso on post-fascism, left melancholy, and the memory of defeat was first published in Libération. Translated by David Broder.
A new edition of Christopher Hill's classic The Experience of Defeat is out from Verso this week.
Gustave Courbet, Un enterrement à Ornans, 1849–50.
Enzo Traverso has published two books in quick succession, which he himself sees as two parts of a diptych. In Nouveaux visages du fascisme ("Fascism’s New Faces," to be published by Textuel in February) the historian of ideas gives his definition of the concept "post-fascism" as he works to reveal the still-changing nature of the new populist and xenophobic currents from Le Pen to Trump. In Left-Wing Melancholia. Marxism, History and Memory (Columbia University Press, January 2017), he explains why the Left must draw on its inherent melancholia, a force for its own self-reinvention. Born in Italy, Enzo Traverso — a former far-Left militant and formerly an academic in France, today professor at Cornell University in the United States — places French political passions back at the heart of global debates, from the reconstruction of the Left to the populist temptation.
Via Mediapart. Translated by David Broder.
19 March 2017: A March for Justice and Dignity
One a month. That is the average number of fathers, brothers and sons we lose because of the brutality of the forces of order. This brutality takes many forms: from beatings, bullets or Tasers to "stress positions" that lead to the victims’ asphyxiation. In the worst cases the results are fatal.
That is how our loved ones have regularly been killed by the French state over the last 40 years or more, at the hands of those ironically called the "guardians of the peace." For 40 years or more, criminalisation campaigns and the most abject impunity have been the official response to those mobilising to demand truth and justice for the dead. The stubborn police, judicial and political response to the Traoré family, to whom we extend our total solidarity, is proof enough of this. Every time, the same story.
Jean Birnbaum's profile of Enzo Traverso first appeared in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.
The leftist ferment of the 1960s–70s is unthinkable except in the context of a certain Communist "bath water." Often the generation becoming alive to politics at that moment had been radicalised in response to their Communist parents — parents that "not everyone was lucky enough" to have. Later, in 1989, the old ‘68ers who had revolted against their "Stalinist" mums and dads would see it all disappear — not only the bath water but its babies and even the babies of its babies… In the moment that they were themselves meant to take over responsibility as parents, they found themselves orphaned twice over. Both their revolt and the world they had railed against were no more.
With the recent passing of Germany's most acclaimed revisionist historian Ernst Nolte, the question of how we assess the revisionist moment has reappeared. Why did the revisionist historians gain such fame in the 1980s and '90s? What is the place of historical scholarship today? And how do we reconstruct a Marxist historical scholarship after revisionism?
In this essay by Enzo Traverso (taken from History and Revolution: Refuting Revisionism), he takes aim at Nolte, Furet and a host of other revisionists who studied Communism in the twentieth century. Traverso sees that these historians placed the conflict between fascism and communism as the central conflict of the twentieth century - yet the ultimate aim of this was to remove communism as a force from the present day. How, then, do we reclaim the tradition of communism after revisionism? As Traverso says, "the Stalinist legacy, made up of a mountain of ruins and dead, did not erase the origins of communism in the tradition of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century rationalist humanism."