The CAN Antifascist Syllabus

The CAN Antifascist Syllabus

The CAN Antifascist Syllabus

The openly fascist Golden Dawn’s terrorizing of refugees and immigrants in Greece and the revival of the National Front in France in recent years have made eminently clear that the fascist threat has never left Europe. In India, the rise of Narendra Modi and the far-right Bharatiya Jana Party has resulted in violence against Muslims and Dalits, with left-wing faculty and students on Indian campuses also among the most common targets, a symptom of fascism’s re-emergence in Asia. Across the Atlantic, white nationalist organizations like Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute and its advocacy of “peaceful” ethnic cleansing, talking heads like Milo Yiannopoulos advocating violence against undocumented and trans* college students, and white supremacist Jeremy Christian fatally stabbing two men and wounding one other for defending a Muslim woman of color, have demonstrated that the U.S. is no less immune to fascist provocation. Indeed, key figures in U.S. movements actively court transnational relationships with far-right organizations outside the country. And the election of Donald Trump only appears to have emboldened fascists and fellow travelers. Fascist, neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, white nationalist and other self-defined “alt-right” groupings have emerged globally, in combined and uneven fashion, to produce what can only be described as a renaissance of world fascism.

This syllabus puts these developments in historical perspective, analyzes past and present contours of fascist thought and organizing in their various forms, and provides tools for understanding and for fighting fascism today, with a primary focus on the US and Europe. Primarily, the syllabus articulates fascism as an historical expression of capitalism’s tendency to exploit and dominate poor, working class, and oppressed people. It also explores the current fascist resurgence’s relation to ever-growing neoliberal crises, treating it as an extension and expression of neoliberal policy and the ideologies of oppression and exploitation upon which neoliberalism relies. The syllabus is thus intended for students, activists, teachers, unionists, workers, and communities that fascist hate targets: Muslims, indigenous peoples, Jews, women, LGBTQI+ individuals, socialists, communists, anarchists, people of color, working-class people, and the alternatively abled, and is an act of solidarity with these communities’ struggles for self-defense.

Finally, the syllabus is meant as a toolkit for organizing reading groups, study groups and anti-fascist political collectives. It is a living document, meant to be adapted, extended, revised, and fitted to local and national political contexts, especially as it is useful for combatting distinctive fascist formations unique to those locales.

I. Understanding Fascism/Classical Fascism in Europe and the US

i. What is Fascism?

Leon Trotsky, “What is Fascism and How to Fight It” Bauer, “Essence of Fascism,” American Socialist Quarterly, 1939

Robert O Paxton, “The Five Stages of Fascism.” From France in the Era of Fascism: Essays on the French Authoritarian Right. 2005.

Roger Griffin, “What Fascism Is Not and Is: Thoughts on the Re-Inflation of a Concept.” 2013. =P0vf1WffD1i4eggqUa42LrLu.x-brill-live-02

ii. The Origins of Fascism ( Asian and European)

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part II: Imperialism. 1951.

Sylvia Pankhurst, “The Truth About the Oil War”

Sylvia Pankhurst, “An Anti-Jewish Pogrom in London”

Nicos Poulantzas, Fascism and Dictatorship: The Third International and the Problem of Fascism. 1974.

William Pelz, “Economic Collapse and the Rise of Fascism, 1920-1933.” From A People’s History of Modern Europe. 2016.

Lloyd E. Eastman, “Fascism in Kuomintang China: The Blue Shirts.” The China Quarterly. 1972.

Reto Hoffman, The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952. 2015.

Alan Tansman (Editor), The Culture of Japanese Fascism. 2009.

Aime Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism 1950.

Clara Zetkin, “Fascism Must be Defeated”

iii. Neo-Fascism/Right-Wing Nationalism (Asian and European)

Diethelm Prowe, “‘Classic’ Fascism and the New Radical Right in Western Europe: Comparisons and Contrasts.” Contemporary European History. 1994.

Liz Fekete, “Neoliberalism and Popular Racism: The Shifting Shape of the European Right” Socialist Register. 2016.

Kanishka Jayasuria, “Nationalism Marries Neoliberalism to Fuel Rise of Asia’s New Right.” The Conversation, 2014.


iv. Case Studies in International Fascism (Historic/Modern)

George Padmore: “Hitler, Mussolini, and Africa,” The Crisis 1937.



Stanley G. Payne, “Spanish Fascism.” Salmagundi. 1988.

The Far Right in Britain, The Guardian UK

Angry, White, and Proud. 2015. Dir. Jamie Roberts.

Hate in Europe: PEGIDA Comes to Britain, Vice Magazine

Vasileios Migkos, “The Rise of the Golden Dawn: Right Wing Extremism in Greece.” Economic and Political Weekly. 2012.

GeorgiosPapanicolaou and Ioannis Papageorgiou, “The Police and the Far Right in Greece: A Case Study of Police Voting Behavior in Athens.” Crime, Law, and Social Change. 2016.

Ludivine Benard, “A History of the National Front,” Vice Magazine, 2017.

Inside Australia’s One Nation Party. Journeyman Pictures. 1998.

Ben Reid, “Understanding Hansonism.” Marxist Left Review. 2017.

Aditya Nigam, “Fascism, Indian edition,” Outlook India, 2017.

Pranav Jani, “How do we stand up to India’s far right?” Socialist Worker, 2017.

II. Fascism and Neo-Fascism in the the US

i. The Origins of Fascism (American)

Devere Allen, “Fascism’s Challenge and Socialism’s Answer.” 1934. ASQ.

Vincenzo Vacirca, “Essence of Fascism” 1933. ASQ.

William Foster, “Fascist Tendencies in the United States” The Communist

James Whitman, “Why the Nazis Loved America,” Time Magazine, 2017.

Edwin Black, “The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics,” 2003.

David Swanson, “How US Race Laws Inspired Nazism,” Consortium News, 2017.

Chris Vials, “European Precedents, American Echoes: Fascism in History and Memory” From Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, The Left, and the Fight Against Fascism in the United States. 2014.

ii. Pre-WWII and War-Time Movements/Tendencies

Richard Stiegmann-Gall, “Star-Spangled Fascism: American Interwar Extremism in Comparative Perspective.” Social History. 2017.

Chris Vials, “From Margin to Mainstream: American Antifascism to 1945” From Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, The Left, and the Fight Against Fascism in the United States. 2014.

William Kerland, “Coughlin, the Jews, and Communism,” The Nation, 1938.

George Britt, “Poison in the Melting Pot,” The Nation, 1939.

Hal Draper, “The Truth About Gerald Smith: America’s No. 1 Fascist,” 1945. Ken Lawrence, “The Ku Klux Klan and Fascism.” Sojourner Truth Organization. 1982

Sharon Smith, “Letter from the US: Cops and Klan Hand-in-Hand.” Socialist Review. 1994.

Kristian Williams, “Cops and Klan, Hand-in-Hand” From Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Police Power in America. 2015.

Ken Silverstein, “Ford and the Führer,” The Nation, 2000.

iii. Post WWII Movements/Tendencies

Chris Vials, “The Invisibility of Fascism in the Postwar United States,” Solidarity, Jan/Feb, 2014

Civil Rights Congress: “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against Negro


Alston Smith, “The McCarthy Falange,” 1954, Christian Century.

Jeffrey Nickel, “The Fascisms of Patrick Buchanan.” New York Native, 1992.

Nazi America: A Secret History, Dir. Greg DeHart, 2000.

Jairus Banaji. “Trajectories of Fascism: Extreme-Right Movements in India and Elsewhere” The Fifth Walter Sisulu Memorial Lecture. Jamia Millia Islamia, 2013.

III. Understanding Antifascist Struggle in Europe and the US

i. Understanding Antifascist Struggle in Europe (Historic)

R. Palme Dutte, “The Question of Fascism and Capitalist Decay.” The Communist International. 1935.

M. Testa, Militant Antifascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance, 2015.

Karel Ludenhoff, “In the Ocean of Crisis: Right-wing Populism and Awakening Fascism Versus

Marxist Humanism and Freedom”


Suyin Hanes, “The Enduring Lessons of the Battle of Cable Street, 80 Years On,” Time Magazine, 2016.

Sylvia Pankhurst, “Education of the Masses”

Gabriela Liszt, “The Trotskyist Struggle Against Nazism in World War II,” Left Voice, 2017.

David Widgery, “Carnival Against the Nazis.” 1978.

ii. Antifascist Struggle in the US (Historic)

Chris Vials, “From Margin to Mainstream: American Antifascism to 1945” From Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, The Left, and the Fight Against Fascism in the United States. 2014.

Joe Allen, “It Can’t Happen Here: Confronting the Fascist Threat in the United States in the

1930s.” International Socialist Review. 2012.

James P. Cannon, “Fascism and the Workers’ Movement,” The Militant, 1954.

Kathleen Cleaver, “Racism, Fascism, and Political Murder,” Black Panther 1968.

Julius Falk, “McCarthy and McCarthyism: The New Look at America’s Post War Reaction,” The New International, 1954.

Bobby Seale, “Message to All Progressive Forces,” Black Panther, 1970.

Penny Nataksu, “A Japanese American Speaks Out against Fascism,” Black Panther, 1969.

Stuart Marshall, “The Contemporary Political Use of Gay History: The Third Reich.” From How Do I Look? Queer Film and Video. 1997.

Chris Vials, “United Fronts against Genocide: African American Antifascism, The Black Panthers, and the Multiracial Coalitions of the Late 1960s” From Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, The Left, and the Fight Against Fascism in the United States. 2014.

iii. Antifascist Struggle Today

“The Politics of Antifascism,” Socialism Today. 2004.

Alexander Reid Ross, Against the Fascist Creep. 2017.

Don Hammerquist and J. Sakai, Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement. 2017.

Redneck Revolt, “To Other Working Americans: An Open Letter from Redneck Revolt.”

iv. Strategies and Tactics

K., “On the Role of the Black Bloc: A Critical Look,” First of May Anarchist Alliance. 2017.

Ray Cunningham, “After Genoa—Bashing the Black Bloc?” Workers’ Solidarity Movement. 2002.

Branko Marcetic, “Whose Violence?” Jacobin, 2017.

Shane Burley and Alexander Reid Ross. “Lessons on Defeating White Nationalism from the Anti-Racists Who Stopped David Duke.” Waging Nonviolence. 2016.

IV. Contemporary US Fascism: Forms, Key Figures/Organizations, Case Studies

i. White Nationalism/ White Separatism/Neo-Nazism

George Michael, “Twentieth-Century White Supremacist Groups,” C-SPAN

“Terror from the Right: A History of Far Right Acts of Terrorism,” Southern Poverty Law

Center (SPLC)

Andrew Anglin and The Daily Stormer

The National Socialist Movement

“A Detailed History of the American Patriot Movement,” SPLC

The Oath Keepers

Justin Sharock, “Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason” Mother Jones. 2010.

Southern Poverty Law Center, “The Second Wave: Return of the Militias.”

Lisa Marie Paine, “Under Trump, US Militias Not Ready to Lay Down Arms,” Associated Press



Felicks Garcia, “White Nationalist Movement Growing Faster than ISIS on Twitter,” The Independent. 2017.

ii. Third Position Fascism

Chip Bertlet, “What is the Third Position?” Political Research Associates, 2016

Matthew Heimbach and The Traditionalist Worker Party

iii. The Alt Right

Lyons, Matthew N. “Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The Origins and History of the Alt-Right,” Political Research Associates, 2017.

Shane Burley, “Defining the Alt-Right and the New American Fascism” Counterpunch, 2016.

Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute

Graeme Wood, “His Kampf: Richard Spencer, a Troll and Icon for White Supremacists” The Atlantic, 2017.

Gavin McInnes and The Proud Boys

“Identity Evropa: Mapping the Alt-Right Cadre,” It’s Going Down, 2017.

Josh Harkinson “The Push to Enlist Alt-Right ‘Recruits’ on College Campuses” Mother Jones, 2016.

Daniel Penny, “#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism,” Boston Review, 2016.

iv. Related Ideologies, Allies, and Fellow Travelers

Michael Hill and The League of the South

Jared Taylor and American Renaissance

Nicole Hemmer, “Scientific Racism is On the Rise on the Right,” Vox, 2017.


“Red Ice Creations and the New Fascist Media,” Antifascist News, 2016.

Sam Miller, “Lipstick Fascism,” Jacobin, 2017.

“Queer Fascism,” Antifascist News Network, 2017.

V. Fascism, Trump, and Twenty-First-Century Neoliberalism

i. Contemporary Fascism and the Neoliberal Moment

Geof Eley. “Fascism Then and Now” From The Politics of the Right, 2015.

Alberto Toscano “Notes on Late Fascism,” 2017.

“Mutations of Fascism: An Interview with Enzo Traverso.”

Steve Martinot, “The Question of Fascism in the United States.” Socialism and Democracy. 2010

“Trumpism: It’s Coming from the Suburbs,” The Nation, 2017. Interview with Charles Post,” Left Voice, 2017.

Robert Brenner and David Harvey: “The Economy Under Trump,” CUNY Graduate Center, 2016.

ii. Trump, Fascism, and the Alt Right

Spencer Sunshine. “The Growing Alliance Between Neo-Nazis, Ring-wing Paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans,” Colorlines, 2017.

Jacobin, “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?” 2016.

Tithi Bhattacharya, “Donald Trump: The Unanticipated Apotheosis of Neoliberalism,” Cultural Dynamics, 2017.

David McNally, “Understanding the US Election and the Rise of Fascism” 2017.

Enzo Traverso. “Trump’s Savage Capitalism.”

John Bellamy Foster “Neofascism in the White House.” Monthly Review.

Amanda Taub, “White Nationalism Explained,” The New York Times, 2016.

Jason Wilson, “Making Sense of the Alt-Right,” The Guardian, 2016.

Shane Burley, “Anti-semitism in the White House: Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump and the Alt Right,” Truthout, 2016.

Lois Becket, “Is a Neo-Nazi Storm Brewing in Trump Country?,” The Guardian, 2017.