Interview w/Shane Burley: Anti-Fascism Is Not Simply a Moral Objection — It Is a Practical One

OLYMPIA, WA - DECEMBER 12: Counter-protesters approach Trump supporters, including Proud Boys during a rally on December 12, 2020 in Olympia, Washington. Far-right and far-left groups squared off near the Washington State Capitol following violent clashes over the previous weekend. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Kevin Van MeterTruthout, May 14, 2021

Recent years have been scarred by an incipient fascism, plague and pestilence, and the violence that marked the end of the Trump administration. A renewed cycle of autonomous working-class organizing, Black Lives Matter and Indigenous struggles, and multitudinous anti-fascist resistance arose to counter this. In this interview, Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today and Why We Fight, discusses how the various histories and perspectives on anti-fascism can build a new type of moment that can answer the challenges we currently face.

Kevin Van Meter: You open your last book, Fascism Today, with a quote from Antonio Gramsci, which infamously ends with “and now is the time of monsters.” A different translation reads: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” That same sense of morbid transition is covered in your new book, Why We Fight, in the cultural pessimism, civil conflict and collapsing capitalist consensus. What is the interregnum period we are now living through?

Shane Burley: We are living in the acceleration of crisis. Obviously, the crisis is at the heart of the systems that we live in, like a DNA that proves in advance of what an animal will become. But we are seeing that maturation now, in a way that is largely unstoppable. That should not be an excuse for apathy; we fight the crisis because we have no other choice, but the radical changes in social conditions are happening in such an exponential way that we simply are going to have to conform our struggle to ever-changing conditions.

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