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Cool, crazy fascism

New fascism has cast aside the seriousness of old fascism – it is loose and relaxed, it is fun. 

One of the striking features of the various reactionary and post-fascist phenomena – Brexit, Trump, Alternative für Deutschland, Pegida, Le Pen, Wilders and the Danish People's Party – is the extent to which they are more cultural than they are in a narrow sense. Post-fascism is very much a cultural phenomenon, and contemporary conflicts play out less as regular class struggle than as different forms of cultural struggle.

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Of course, it makes good sense to regard these cultural struggles as a kind of deputy wars where underlying economic developments remain hidden – but they are more than that, and, following Fredric Jameson's analysis of postmodernism, they should also be seen as symptoms of a more general culturalization of economic struggles and society in general.

At Jameson, postmodernism was a description of this evolution, in which basis and superstructure, culture and economy merge in a completely different way than before, and where culture takes the form of a whole social structure. There is a form of symbolic appropriation in which society represents itself in a far more comprehensive way than before, and does not refer to anything other than itself. Postmodernism was for Jameson this self-representation – what Guy Debord described before him as the spectacular or behold game society, where everyday life is subject to a constant burst of slogans, jingles, brands, logos, false promises and virtual realities.

translation Art

The political-economic background of post-fascism is important: an economic crisis of more than 30 years. But the new fascism is precisely characterized by offering identification and identity beyond socio-economic categories. In this way, contemporary fascism is postmodern in the sense of Jameson: Unemployment, secession and the slow erosion of the welfare state translate into Islamophobia and xenophobia.

More than parties with programs, goals and principles, politics has become one atmosphere.

"We are building a wall that can keep immigrants out," he said. . .

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Mikkel Bolt
Professor of political aesthetics at the University of Copenhagen.

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