Late Fascism

Late Fascism:Race, Capitalism and the Politics of Crisis

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In a world shaken by ecological, economic and political crises, the forces of authoritarianism and reaction seem to have the upper hand. How should we name, map and respond to this state of affairs?

The rich archive of twentieth-century debates on fascism can steer a path through an increasingly authoritarian present. Developing anti-fascist theory is an urgent and vital task. From the ‘Great Replacement’ to campaigns against critical race theory and ‘gender ideology’, today’s global far right is launching lethal panics about the threats to traditional political, sexual and racial hierarchies.

Drawing especially on Black radical and anti-colonial theories of fascism, Toscano makes clear the limits of associating fascism primarily with the kind of political violence experienced by past European regimes. Rather than looking for analogies from history, we should see fascism as a mutable process, one anchored in racial and colonial capitalism, which both predates and survives its crystallization in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. It is a threat that continues to evolve in the present day.

Reviews

  • There are no unearned claims here. Rather, one feels that Toscano has thought through the political stakes of every single sentence in this crucial book. Late Fascism is painstaking in accounting for, differentiating, and connecting the many historical contexts and iterations of fascism - from the onset of colonial modernity, through the mid-twentieth century, to the present day.

    Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
  • Alberto Toscano's Late Fascism brilliantly elucidates what Adorno once called 'the meaning of working through the past' to grasp fascism's capacious aptitude for untimely reappearances to resolve crises, real or not, to save capitalism from itself and restore the necessary political order such rescue operations require. Rather than drawing upon fascism's past in his approach, Toscano 's account persuasively lays to rest an interpretative scheme that explains such unscheduled repetitions by appealing to analogical comparisons of past and present as if they were the same. His own strategy positions history and memory against the present to disturb one another, unveiling uneven historical differences and incommensurables removed from an everyday dominated by exchange. Toscano's lasting achievement is the program of watchfulness he so carefully constructs to uncover the contemporaneity of late fascism in our midst, but never too late to recognize its ever-present morbidities.

    Harry Harootunian, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Chicago
  • In this bold book, Alberto Toscano argues that the old checklist for identifying and understanding contemporary fascism won't work. To apprehend its present-day manifestations, we must consult writers from the Black radical tradition and critical ethnic studies. With his characteristic erudition, Toscano combines innovative readings of Western Marxism with insightful interpretations of the genealogies of anti-racism. This is an indispensable book for a distressing time.

    Roderick A. Ferguson, Yale University