Shelter and Solidarity: A Deep Dive with Artists and Activists

Know Your Enemy: Grasping the Nature of the Right-Wing Threat, September 3, 2020

September 15, 2020

Recent years have seen a resurgence of right-wing nationalism and authoritarian political movements, from Trump in the US to Bolsanaro in Brazil and to Modi in India. How are we best to grasp the nature of these contemporary political trends?

Are Trump and the movement to support him usefully understood as a form of neo-fascism? Right-wing populism? Something else? What are the political, economic, social, and cultural drivers of this trend, and how can they most effectively be countered and defeated?

How does contemporary right-wing authoritarianism compare with classic fascist movements of the past? What lessons for today can be found in the arsenal of historical anti-fascism, and what needs updating? How does the way we think about the threats we face shape the necessary political response? How can grasping the roots of current right-wing movements help us build the movement to defeat them, from the ballot box to the workplace to the streets and beyond?

Shelter & Solidarity (9/3/20) took a deep dive with activist-thinkers who have been studying historical and contemporary right-wing movements as well as fascism and anti-fascism for decades: Bill V. MullenChris Vials, and Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill V. Mullen and Chris Vials are co-editors of The U.S. Antifascism Reader (2020). Bill Mullen is former Professor of American Studies at Purdue University. He is the author most recently of James Baldwin: Living in Fire (Pluto Press, 2019). His other books include Afro-Orientalism (University of Minnesota Press) and (as co-editor with Ashley Dawson) Against Apartheid: The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities (Haymarket Books). He is a member of the Organizing Collective for USACBI (United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)

Christopher Vials is a Professor of English and Director of American Studies at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. He is the author of Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, the Left, and the Fight against Fascism in the United States (2014) and has appeared on public forums such as NPR, PBS, and CBC radio to discuss the history of fascism and antifascism in the United States.

Bill Fletcher Jr. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of, and is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice. Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.