The hidden fascism

Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life
Forfatter: Natasha Lennard
Forlag: Verso Storbritannia (USA)
FASCISM: Is it possible to live a non-fascist life in a society built on fascist power structures?


In the book Being Numerous British journalist and author Natasha Lennard discusses fascism with various essays which include Nazis, ghosts, sex and suicide. Lennard promotes a more expansive understanding of the concept of fascism, inspired by the French philosopher Michel Foucault (1929 – 1984).

Foucault was the first to use the term "non-fascist" about the intellectual work needed to combat everyday fascism: "The fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, Lennard is, like Foucault, concerned with our fascist tendencies and habits: the so-called micro-fascism, or everyday fascism, which I choose to call it.

The book opens with the fateful US election night in 2016 as Donald Trump became president and the entire world wondered if he would bring fascism to the United States. The media immediately began to compare Trump to Hitler and Mussolini. In the following ten days after Trump's election victory, 900 incidents of violence against immigrants, Latinos, African Americans, women, LGBT people, Muslims and Jews were reported.


The essays are about the antifascist movement antifa, which, according to Lennard, is an aspect of a larger project to fight, and eventually abolish, all oppressive hierarchies that white supremacy (white supremacy), patriarchy, nationalism and class distinctions.

Natasha Lennard

Fascism and capitalism are connected. Already in 1935, German playwright and social radical social critic Bertolt Brecht wrote: "How can anyone tell the truth about Fascism, unless he is willing to speak out against capitalism, which brings it forth?" Psychoanalyst and physician Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) wrote about fascism in the 1930 century. He argued that society desires fascism by (among other things) choosing an authoritarian system: "Fascist mentality is the mentality of the subjugated 'little man' who craves authority and rebels against it at the same time."

The power structures in society are based on fascist ideologies, trends and habits.

Lennard is not only inspired by Foucault and Reich in his understanding of fascism, but also by philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995) and psychoanalyst Félix Guatarri (1930 – 1992), both of whom were French. They build on Reich's idea of ​​the perverted desire of the people for fascism in the book Anti-Oedipus (1972), where they write: "It's too easy to be anti-fascist on the molar level, and not even see the fascist inside of you." In other words, that means we're anti-fascists and fascists at the same time , without even being aware of it, something Lennard confirms in the fascinating essay "Policing Desire".

Love and politics

Recently, we could read about a lesbian couple who were beaten up on a night bus in London, probably because of their sexual orientation. One would think love was a private affair between two people, but unfortunately it is not. In this book it is personal political. In "Policing Desire," Lennard writes about how her popular and older New York anarchist boyfriend manipulates her into believing that sex can be revolutionized. And not any sex, but "radical" sex, which he believes is a necessary political transition rite. With this political sex project they were to challenge and develop their sexual desires. When the ex challenges her to have sex with a gay person and she refuses because she does not feel attracted to him, he calls her a "body fascist".

In "Policing Desire," Lennard emphasizes that even in feminist and anarchist activist environments there are abuses and everyday fascism. Lennard was manipulated by the fascist ex-boyfriend, who used political ideologies and love as a "lure".

The patriarchal power structures in society are based on fascist ideologies, tendencies and habits.

Is it then possible to live a non-fascist life? The answer is both yes and no. Lennard concludes that every human being has a love of power, authority and social hierarchies, and that we must work towards this every single day in order to live a completely non-fascist life.

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