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Anti-fascism/Art/Theory: An Introduction to What Hurts Us

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Harry WeeksORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The article is intended as a broad contextualisation of the political concerns that underpin the special issue Anti-fascism/Art/Theory as the second decade of the twenty-first century is drawing to a close. Over a decade after the global financial crisis, we find ourselves confronted with a complex, transnational ideological and material reality where identifiable traits of fascism command fringe and mainstream milieus and where anti-fascist militancy is raising our consciousness about strategies of resistance. Our main aim has been to highlight the need for critical research in the art field that aids, and indeed becomes part of, such resistance. In acknowledging the ongoing debates about how to name the conditions of urgency that necessitate anti-fascism as a material practice but also a way of thinking against a prefigurative counter-revolution and actual supremacy politics, the article opens with three narratives around fascism, prioritising the latter’s relation to capitalism. We then address totalitarianism, populism, and liberalism as terms often implicated in relevant discussions, while we also consider the (dis)continuities of fascism and anti-fascism across the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, including reflections on postmodernism and the Cold War. We weave in the contributors’ analyses on technology, the art economy, colonial violence and fascist violence, the fraught question of heroism, concerns on how politics enter the art institution, the inconclusive if essential lessons of the avant-gardes, women’s art and anti-fascist consciousness. Finally, we consider anti-fascism in terms of a political education that can reveal the constituent parts of an enduring, systemic reality of oppression defining ‘business our usual’. Considering the dilemma of alliances that anti-fascism brings forth, and the possible concessions these require, the analysis concludes with a warning against seeing the contemporary move towards fascism as a mere historical accident.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dimitrakaki A, Weeks H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Third Text

Year: 2019

Volume: 33

Issue: 3

Pages: 271-292

Online publication date: 10/10/2019

Acceptance date: 01/05/2019

Date deposited: 06/09/2019

ISSN (print): 0952-8822

ISSN (electronic): 1475-5297

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/09528822.2019.1663679


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