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Natasha Lennard on How to Avoid a Fascist Future

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Anti-fascist counter-protesters form a circle around the helmeted members of a right-wing group during the Women’s March at Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19th, 2019.

In the introduction to her new book, Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life, Natasha Lennard, an activist and a contributing writer at The Intercept, introduces the late Paul Virilio, a French cultural theorist, and his concept of the accident. In Virilio’s formulation, the accident is something written into the fabric of progress itself: “When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck,” and so on. From here, Lennard extrapolates: “If the current growth of fascism is an accident … it is not because it is a diversion antithetical to liberal capitalism. The accident was baked into the concept.”

This idea runs through Being Numerous, a collection of essays that seek to demonstrate and enact a means of non-fascist thinking. Lennard approaches a range of subjects as part of this project, from the controversy over someone punching Richard Spencer, to representations of dead bodies in media, to suicide. Each essay is rooted in Lennard’s foundational argument that “liberal, capitalist ideology … fails to address its own potential accidents and limitations.”

The first essay, “We, Anti-Fascists,” is a forceful piece in favor of anti-fascist organizing and thinking. Lennard opens the essay with an endorsement of the on-the-ground counter-violence of Antifa, and makes a convincing case for the necessity of such violence when traditional institutions cannot be trusted to protect counter-protesters. She also argues against the overreaction to Antifa by mainstream American media after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, after which, Lennard says, newspapers spent more page-space condemning anti-fascists than they did the white nationalists who had murdered the civil-rights activist Heather Heyer.



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Thanks !

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