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    Anti-Fascism, anti-art, doubt and despair

    Leslie, Esther (2019) Anti-Fascism, anti-art, doubt and despair. Third Text 33 (3), pp. 293-313. ISSN 0952-8822.

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    Working through the artistic and theoretical contributions of anti-fascists Franco Fortini, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, the article explores the ways in which a world lorded over by Donald Trump and his alt-right associates mobilises a Benjaminian ‘aestheticisation of politics’ alongside a populist manipulation of popular culture. Strategies developed by Brecht in 1934 to ‘restore truth’ to Nazi speeches by Goerging and Hess are used to correct the outrages of those who are shifting the atmosphere towards demagoguery, as a speech for Trump is ‘corrected’ to reveal its elitist contempt. Fortini’s poetics of doubt are also drawn on to remind the anti-fascist intellectuals of the contradictions of their positions and the dangers of dogmatism as it has been experienced historically in the communist movement. If the question is posed, through this, of the capacities of the avant garde, it should also be noted that its attitudinal elements of pranksterism, confusionism, irony and mockery are well embedded in the fascist camp, even if the avant garde’s chief theorist, Theodore Adorno, has become the poster boy for ‘Cultural Marxism’ and ‘snowflakes’, not least through his apparent writing of all the Beatles music. The starting question of the article is how these fragments can be accumulated and, under pressure, re-constellated to make practical sense for contemporary antifascist thought.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Esther Leslie, Theodor W Adorno, anti-art, Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, doubt, Franco Fortini, Trump, cultural Marxism, alt-right
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Esther Leslie
    Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 10:06
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:46


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