The Far Right Ascendant: Links that Speak to our Emerging Global Crisis

In time for the annual celebration of all things frightening, Erstwhile contributing editor Graeme Pente brings together several recent pieces that address aspects of the rising tide of the far right around the world.

Who Loves War? You Guessed Wrong

In this podcast episode of Scheer Intelligence on KCRW in LA, University of Rochester PhD candidate and ex-marine Lyle Jeremy Rubin discusses his recent piece in The Nation “The Forever War’s Cheerleaders” with host Robert Scheer. Rubin touches on the history of the military-industrial complex, the way the United States propagates violence in the world, and how the mainstream media keeps questioning of US foreign policy out of the public discourse.

The Cruelty is the Point by Adam Serwer

Staff writer for The Atlantic Adam Serwer examines the myriad cruelties the Trump administration perpetrates and how Trump’s supporters revel in the harm the government does. The carnivalesque atmosphere of Trump rallies reminds Serwer of the white community building depicted in lynching photographs and postcards of the early twentieth century. The list of cruelties and hypocrisies, when compressed into one or two paragraphs, is staggering. In the sequential breaking of stories in the twenty-four-hour news cycle, it is easy to lose sight of the whole: a laundry list of all the administration has done to this country in the last year and a half.

America’s Next Civil War by Stephen Marche

The fraying social and political fabric in the United States has some commentators north of the border nervously wringing their hands. Marche suggests that the United States shows many signs of impending civil war and insists that Canada should begin to disentangle itself from the economic and political dependence the country has long had on its southern neighbor. Marche doesn’t seem to know that the hate is already spilling over the border.

The Dig: Explaining Brazil’s Crisis with Alfredo Saad-Filho

In this episode of the leftwing podcast, Dan Denvir interviews Alfredo Saad-Filho, a professor of political economy at SOAS University of London. Saad-Filho delves into Brazilian history and how the country’s decentralized constitutional structure led to rampant political corruption. Brazil has only enjoyed democracy since the mid-1980s when two decades of military rule finally came to an end. Last weekend’s news of the victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, whom some commentators have denounced as a fascist, suggests the country will slide back toward authoritarianism.

Central European University makes last stand in Hungary by Nick Thorpe

There is not much history in this news item, but it serves as a reminder that political conditions in Central and Eastern Europe—particularly in Hungary and Poland—are becoming increasingly illiberal. The Orban government in Hungary has spent several years attacking George Soros’s Central European University in Budapest as a source of tolerant opinions regarding immigration. The attacks on Soros highlight the general trend of rising intolerance and anti-Semitic rhetoric on the political right from Central Europe to the United States.

The left and the right cry out for civility, but maybe that’s asking for too much by Elizabeth Bruenig

Washington Post opinion columnist Elizabeth Bruenig analyzes a recent survey that addresses how Americans feel about their fraying political discourse. She gestures briefly toward the history of contentious politics in the United States and suggests that the civility and consensus so many long for may simply be the anomaly of the immediate post-WWII years.


A Look Back at Erstwhile‘s Coverage of the Far Right

Martin C. Babicz, “Against the Second Amendment as a Tool for Popular Insurrection” (January 2016): In the context of the Bundys’ occupation of federal lands in Oregon, friend of the blog Marty Babicz offered a history lesson on the foundations of the Second Amendment and how gun advocates misinterpret and misuse the constitutional provision.

Caroline Grego, “Reasserting White Supremacy: Ben Tillman and the 2016 presidential election” (November 2016): In the wake of the presidential election, contributing editor Caroline Grego drew connections between the resurgence of white supremacy at that time and the political career of Ben Tillman, the racist populist governor of South Carolina at the end of the nineteenth century.

Graeme Pente, “Historicizing Fascism, Part 3: The Present” (February 2018): Last semester, contributing editor Graeme Pente hosted a conversation with historians whose work covers fascism. In the third and final part of their conversation, they discussed comparisons with the present. Nine months later, the far right is even more powerful.

Travis R. May, “The Colossus in the Room” (October 2018): Contributing editor Travis May recently examined how resurgent white supremacy and the far right have affected depictions of alternate American histories in both The Man in the High Castle and the Wolfenstein video game franchise.

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