- Against the Fascist Creep by Alexander Reid Ross
Alexander Reid Ross
Edinburgh, Scotland: AK Press, 2017; 400 pages. $16.95 (paperback), ISBN 9781849352444.
Against the Fascist Creep argues that right-wing forces borrow leftist techniques to gather support from disaffected groups as part of destabilization processes. To articulate contemporary concerns that the left is often guilty of ceding the space for fascism within these narratives of resistance, Alexander Reid Ross offers historical accounts of how populists use political rooting cultures of masculinity and racism to link with more powerful forces from the top-down para-fascists, who manipulate rhetoric about scarcity, status, and nationalism. For politically engaged readers, Against the Fascist Creep shows again how postmodernity opened a space whereby truth is constructed as a mean. Despite the inherent understanding that fascism lacks academic intellect, many fascists came to understand that truth could be manipulated by moving the discursive average through the transposition of rhetoric about economic opportunity. Because of these prescient dialogues, Against the Fascist Creep is a necessary volume, especially as right-wing dialectical manipulations are now common.
Especially within early chapters, Ross explores a history of fascism through a synthesis of secondary sources and memoirs. These are necessary chronological analyses, situating the reader into common themes developed by fascist groups. Chapter one searches links between ecological movements and early fascism. These relations are also explored later in the work, as Ross belligerently points to a trend within modern “deep ecology” to assert fascist ideals of blood and soil as part of accounts relating to the rise of a new man. Of course, early fascism also centered upon anti-Semitism, which Ross pursues through the writings of Georges Sorel. [End Page 197]
Ross next discovers ideological connections that led to the rise of political fascism with Benito Mussolini in Italy, who used his own leftist past to gain power through vigilantism. For Germany, Ross explores the role of gender in the writings of Ernst Jünger as an entrance to understand the rise of Adolf Hitler. In the United States, these forms of fascism were often praised before World War Two, both from corporate powers who participated in the Spanish Civil War and among more popular celebrities like Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh. After the failures of political fascism, the movement was forced underground, but gained ideological strength in that cavernous space due to the siege mentality of its conspirators. Out of Italy, the writings of Julius Evola became vital for the continuation of fascism as a deeper spiritual quest. In the United States, fascism continued as a subculture of similar ambitions through the figure of Francis Parker Yockey, who worked transnationally to construct ideas of fascist rebirth.
Many fresh fascist philosophies took on otherworldly qualities related to Odinism and Satanism, often moving from a focus on uniting the masses to a more intensive acceptance of the focused leadership of the racially divine. Ross continues into broader discussions of how fascist movements continued as subcultures during the latter twentieth century, especially through analyzing the writings of Jean-François Thiriart. In the political realm of decolonization, fascism found much force from anti-Marxist aspects of the Cold War, whereby the CIA explored numerous alliances with ex-Nazi forces in Europe and created fascist groups in Latin America as part of containment doctrines. A more popular fascism was retained in Italy, where the rise of the Nouvelle Droite and their leader Alain de Benoist gave tangible and ideological force to the remembrance of fascist leadership prior to World War Two.
Ross also searches the American radical right in the late twentieth century through a narrative of subterfuge and mainstreaming, whereby the John Birch Society, Willis Carto, and operations like Reason magazine laid the groundwork for later inroads of white nationalists to enter politics through the Patriot Movement, Minutemen, and the modern Ku Klux Klan (KKK) of David Duke. These groups amalgamated their discourses often with militia rhetoric articulated by groups like The Order, leading to outbreaks of violence at places like Ruby Ridge in 1992. Ross offers a reading of when these grass-roots organizations were first merging their racial...