evil clown © jillian.e | Flickr
EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Decoding Donald Trump: The Triumph of Trickster Politics

These days the entire world is trying hard to make sense of Donald Trump’s surprising march towards the Republican convention in Cleveland. Like it or not, he is possibly also on his way to becoming America’s next president. Trump seems hard to place within any of our available categories: Is he a conservative populist? Is he a revolutionary? Is he left or right wing Republican — or is he both, or is he neither? Is he a demagogue? Is he a “charismatic” figure? Or is Trump really just a (bad) joke?

When bewildered, we search for historical analogies. To many observers, Trump resembles Silvio Berlusconi, the (in)famous tycoon who was prime Minister of Italy on and off from 1994 to 2011. Rula Jebreal was quick to point out such similarities in a Washington Post …

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Book cover of Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination by Stefan Ihrig © Belknap Press | Amazon
Essays

Review: Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination

Of all the 20th century strong men of Europe, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk [MKA] is the only remaining one whose authority and charisma is still a culturally, politically and even legally, unquestionable component of the public discourse in his country. Yet his influence on Hitler and 20th century fascism has gone unexamined. That will change with Stefan Ihrig’s chilling book, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination. His research into more than two decades of mainstream, right-wing and Nazi publications in Germany following World War I demonstrates how the founder of Modern Turkey was actually a muse and a role model for the Nazis and Hitler. …

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Anti-government protest in Kiev, Dec. 29, 2013, showing flags of The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" parties © maksymenko oleksandr | Fickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

The War on Fascism

By my title,“The War on Fascism,” I do not mean the war between the US, the Soviet Union and Great Britain, on the one hand, and Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and imperial Japan on the other, the war that took place between 1939 and 1945. Rather I mean an unspoken war on the concept of fascism that increasingly characterizes our understanding of World War Two and informs discussion of contemporary problems, such as Ukraine. Although the term “fascism” is still in use today, it generally refers to real or supposed dictatorships, such as those of Saddam Hussein or Vladimir Putin, and has lost its original connotation, that of an authoritarian but still capitalist state. Because the original meaning of “fascism” was aimed not at dictatorship, but at the relation between dictatorship and private property and market power, the term had a critical or self-reflective character. Understanding the loss of this character can help us understand the history by which present political discussions, for example those concerning Putin, have become impoverished. …

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