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What comes after Trump?

Much of the commentary on the possibility of post-Trump Trumpism has tended to focus on the possibility of a much more competent populist emerging to lead this movement i.e. one who is disciplined, strategic and serious in contrast to the impulsive and instinctive character of the outgoing president. However this […]

The coming fascism

The closing passage from Richard Seymour’s latest essay has been reverberating in my mind since I read it: Should we fail to posit the alternative, the constructive reworking of civilisation that is so urgently required, and that accommodates us to inhospitable nature, we do not get the boom years and […]

The promise of the populist president

From this extremely astute essay by Isaac Reed: A widespread ideational feature of monarchical societies (variably realized) is the investment of the common people in a king or queen as their protector against the predations of the aristocracy. The peasant, immediately subject to his lord, reaches to the monarch—the ultimate location of […]

The vested interests of the media in Trump

From Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth pg 386: The “Trump bump” was mostly responsible for its strong financial reports following the election as the paid digital readership began to explode. By the end of the second quarter there were 600,000 new subscriptions, bringing the total number of digital subscribers above […]

Who would be against the people?

There’s a profound scepticism running through Corbynism: A Critical Approach concerning the people and its role within Corbynism. Their concern is that a prevailing sense of socialism as natural, what people do when left to their own devices, constructs them as “inherently moral and naturally good beings, and ‘the people’ as a whole a […]

Austerity politics as reactionary populism

I thought this was an excellent account in Corbynism: A Critical Approach by Frederick Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton. From loc 627: Austerity is often taken to have caused the contemporary rise of populism. In retrospect, however, it is abundantly clear that austerity itself was a populist project –both in Chantal […]

The mundane reality of neo-fascism

There’s a really powerful piece by Pedro Rocha de Oliveira in Red Pepper placing Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to power in Brazil in socio-political context: There have been hints of fresh horrors ahead during the presidential campaign. A young woman in Porto Alegre was punched and held by a group of men […]

Donald Trump as spectacle and fetish

I’ve always been ambivalent about Slavoj Žižek, not least of all with the alt-right turn seemingly underway in his new book. Nonetheless, I think he gets to the point in his analysis of how Trump has been elevated into a fetish object within the liberal establishment, his garish buffoonery standing […]

Fascism and the liberal imagination

There’s a provocative argument on pg 81-82 of Žižek’s Like a Thief in Broad Daylight concerning the role of fascism in the contemporary liberal imagination. The invocation of the epochal enemy emerging from outside the political sphere allows the antagonism within it to be suppressed: The demonized image of a fascist threat clearly […]

When the populists inspire the ad men

I came across this extract on loc 1342-1360 of Frenemies, Ken Auletta’s new book about the declining fortunes of the advertising industry, detailing an intervention made by thought leader extraordinaire Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist at  Publicis groupe. It was in the context of a meeting between executives from a range of agencies […]

Post-Truth as Personal Incapacity

The evidence would suggest I’m not alone in being somewhat gripped by Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury. One of the central themes of the book is how no one, including the candidate himself, expected Trump would win and what we have seen since then has been a rapid […]

Daniel Bell, Transgression and the Alt-Right

The important argument I took from Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies is that the ‘alt-right’ reflect transgression detaching from progressivism. The idea that an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct is inherently progressive ceases to be tenable when progressive movements have institutionalised laws, rules and codes that serve progressive ends. […]