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Philosophy of Antifascism


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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. A Philosophy of Antifascism

1.1. The Three-Way Fight
1.1.1. Demarcating Antifascism and Liberalism
1.1.2. Demarcating Antifascism and Fascism
1.1.3. Settler-State Hegemony: Liberalism and White Settlerism
1.2. Towards a Philosophy of Antifascism

2. The Ethics of Ambiguity and the Antinomies of Emancipatory Violence
2.1. Existentialism is an Antifascism
2.2. Ambiguity and Solidarity
2.2.1. Beauvoir's Cartesian Egalitarianism
2.2.2. Beauvoir's Critique of Marxism
2.3. The Antinomies of Action
2.3.1. Discourse and Disagreement
2.3.2. The Antinomies of Emancipatory Violence
2.4. Vengeance, Violence, and the State
2.4.1 An Eye For an Eye
2.4.2 "I had my own Martyrs"
2.5. The Three-Way Fight and No-Platforming the Far Right

3. Politics That Does Not Command
3.1. Demarcating Egalitarianism
3.2. Politics Against the Police
3.3. Disagreement and Command
3.4. Why Fascism Isn't Politics

4. Punching Nazis
4.1. The Reason for Militant Antifascism
4.2. Punching Nazis Is Not In Bad Faith
4.3. Punching Nazis Is Not Anti-Egalitarian
4.4. Militant Antifascism Is Community Self-Defense

5. Fighting White Supremacy: From Antifascism to Decolonization
5.1. From Antifascism...
5.2. Whiteness as Possession and Entitlement
5.3. Whiteness as Settler-Colonial Sovereignty
5.4. ...To Decolonization


About the Author

Devin Zane Shaw teaches philosophy at Douglas College, Canada. He is author of Egalitarian Moments: From Descartes to Ranciere (2016) and Freedom and Nature in Schelling's Philosophy of Art (2010). He writes about philosophy, political theory, and social movements and co-edits the 'Living Existentialism' book series.


Shaw makes a persuasive case for why the commitment to value human freedom demands a commitment to combat fascism. Further, Shaw demonstrates that this commitment implies an imperative to limit the power of fascists, as opposed to merely accepting a liberal imperative to voice opposition. ... If decolonization is an antifascism, then those starting from antifascist commitments would do well to consider Shaw's case for the antifascist turn to decolonization. Likewise, those committed to the project of decolonization stand to benefit from considering seriously Shaw's reflections on the ethical grounding for antifascist praxis, both in order to develop broader antifascist coalitions and to work through the self-critical endeavors that genuine decolonization demands. In brief, taking seriously Shaw's work shows that a philosophy of antifascism calls for a philosophy of decolonization and vice versa.--Thomas Meagher "Black Issues in Philosophy, Blog of the APA"
Shaw succeeds in preparing the ground for antifascist movement building as well as in helping us better understand antifascism. ... The potential of his work lies in sketching links between newly emerging social forces while also providing us with an ethical frame that suggests we should in some circumstances appreciate - rather than outright dismiss - the role of violence in social movements.-- "Social Movement Studies"
One sees the word 'ethics' invoked everywhere these days, but too often it serves as a pretext for over-cautious liberalism at best, and antipolitical reaction at worst. Against the grain, Devin Zane Shaw has produced a true work of ethics: an ambitious book articulating no less than a possible synthesis of the diversity of tactics and radical egalitarianism.--Matthew Robert McLennan, Director and Associate Professor of Philosophy, Saint Paul University
Written with refreshing clarity, this insightful work is anchored in existentialism's commitment to antifascism traced from Sartre to Fanon, culminating in the possibility of decoloniality. An important read in increasingly troubling times with the rise of fascist and racist ideology in the west.--danielle davis, Research Fellow, University of New England, Australia
For too long mainstream philosophy has been content to imagine itself a neutral observer, acting as if it is the voice of reason by demanding tolerance, rational debate, and passivity in the face of the most abhorrent excesses of capitalism and colonialism. In response to such liberal accommodationism, endemic to philosophy departments and their gendarmes, Devin Zane Shaw's A Philosophy of Antifascism is refreshing in its call to renew the tradition of philosophical militancy. Through his rigorous engagement with De Beauvoir, Sartre, Fanon, Ranciere, Du Bois, and many others including movement scholars, Shaw provides us with a taxonomy of fascism and anti-fascism demarcated from liberalism. In doing so he demonstrates that philosophy does not have to resemble the snooty "give them an argument" attitude that leads to philosophers sharing platforms with reactionaries under the misapprehension that they can debate away monstrous political and ethical commitments. Rather, Shaw returns us to that radical tradition of philosophy that has no problem with isolating, marginalizing, and deplatforming those who would seek to annihilate thought itself. A Philosophy of Antifascism thus joins a growing body of literature produced by a new generation of philosophers that refuse to accept the way in which the mainstream representatives of their discipline have collaborated with reaction.--J. Moufawad-Paul, author of Continuity and Rupture, The Communist Necessity, and Demarcation and Demystification
This is a most enticing and topical book. Both philosophically rigorous and politically relevant. Its discussion of the philosophical materials illuminates the coordinates for the coming struggle against emerging forms of neo- and derivative fascism. Especially de Beauvoir's take on ethical drama and her negation of negative resignation. Thus inspired, the analysis of varieties and forms of violence in the concrete situation is innovative and very apposite. Ambiguity, understood as ethical negotiation, as taking a stand vis-a-vis the concrete situation, is necessary to fight the bastards. In between de Beauvoir, Fanon and Ranciere we learn that there is no clay-model for revolution, and yet, like this book, we must pull no punches!--Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Reader in Law and Political Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London

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