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Using a range of critical perspectives, On the Question of Truth in the Era of Trump closely examines notions of “truth in crisis” leading up to and after the election of Donald Trump. The authors explore how truth is constructed along the lines of race, social class, and gender as filtered through the self-referential characteristics of social media in particular. The authors assert that the US left has shown itself inadequate to the task of confronting right wing ideologies, which have only intensified since the 2016 election, resulting in increased mobilization of white supremacist and nationalist groups.

Whether underestimating Trump by downplaying the threat of his candidacy during the primaries, trivializing the concerns of women and minorities as “identity politics,” or rushing to prioritize the free speech rights of the far-right, left academics and the media have found themselves unable to use their traditional arsenal of evidence, rational discourse, and appeals to diversity of viewpoints.

The authors assert that political resistance to the right is not a matter of playful use of signs and symbols or discourse alone and has to be fought directly and in solidarity. At this point, it is clear that Trump and his supporters have not just deployed relativism as a form of strategy, but have fully weaponized it against their perceived enemies: women, immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ people along with educational, scientific, and journalistic institutions. It is hoped that this in-depth, critical dissection of truth in the current political reality will assist in the project of resistance.

Contributors are: Faith Agostinone-Wilson, Mike Cole, Jeremy T. Godwin, Jones Irwin, Austin Pickup, Daniel Ian Rubin, and Eric C. Sheffield.
This text explores the re-assertion of right-wing populist and fascist ideologies as presented and distributed in the media. In particular, attacks on immigrants, women, minorities, and LGBTQI people are increasing, inspired by the election of politicians who openly support authoritarian discourse and scapegoating. More troubling is how this discourse is inscribed into laws and policies.

Despite the urgency of the situation, the Left has been unable to effectively respond to these events, from liberals insisting on hands-off free speech policies, including covering "both sides of the issue" to socialists who utilize a tunnel vision focus on economic issues at the expense of women and minorities. In order to effectively resist right-wing movements of this magnitude, a socialist/Marxist feminist analysis is necessary for understanding how racism, sexism, and homophobia are conduits for capitalism, not just ‘identity issues.’

Topics addressed in this text include an overview of dialectical materialist feminism and its relevance and a review of characteristics of authoritarian populism and fascism. Additionally, the insistence on a colorblind conceptualization of the working class is critiqued, with its detrimental effects on moving resistance and activism forward. This was a key weakness with the Bernie Sanders campaign, which is discussed. Online environments and their alt-right discourse/function are used as an example of the ineffectiveness of e-libertarianism, which has prioritized hands-off administration, allowing right-wing discourse to overcome many online spaces. Other topics include the emergence of the fetal personhood construct in response to abortion rights, and the rejection of science and expertise.

Abstract

This chapter presents a fierce defense of the need for science in the era of questioning of expertise and knowledge. An examination of the political functions of conspiracy theories, which serve up the target of the “big guy” to take the pressure off of capitalism and its effects, is included. The dislike and distrust of “big government” with its emphasis on isolationism and individualized solutions is part of an ongoing attack on the public commons.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

An overview of socialist feminism and the rationale for this dialectical approach is presented, along with support for its use in critically examining media. The history of feminism(s) in this chapter will illustrate different competing narratives in terms of fighting capitalism.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

Online spaces are a socialist feminist issue that must be addressed, especially since the structure of the tech industry itself impacts attitudes toward women and minorities. This chapter outlines the abuse that women, minorities, LGBTQ people, and the disabled face as they inhabit online contexts. A major contributing factor to this environment is a form of “hands off” e-libertarianism, where those who fight back against toxic discourse are told to “log off if you don’t like it.” The fact that the Internet and social media are now essential spaces for one’s livelihood only heightens the need for a militant response. An overview of authoritarian and fascist organizing within online spaces is presented as well.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

The conclusion will tie together the concepts from the prior chapters along with making a final appeal for a determined and militant resistance to right-wing populism and fascism.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

This introductory chapter opens with the assertion that the left has been woefully inadequate in combatting the recent rise of fascism and right-wing populism, primarily because it retains faith in tenets of liberalism (unrestricted free speech, including racist speech; belief in rationally presenting the facts; and clinging to a colorblind economic analysis). Several examples from current events/media will be presented to orient the reader to the rest of the book.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

There is much conflation of fascism with authoritarian populism, which makes fighting these movements more challenging. An overview of characteristics of right-wing movements are presented, including rampant misogyny and racism. This chapter discusses what each has in common, but also presents important differences. The common media approach of equating historical events to the present will also be critiqued for its role in hyperbole and spreading confusion.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

One of the major media talking points about Trump supporters was that deep down they were anxious about the economy, thus driven to right wing movements. Endless articles and blogs investigated the plight of the white, male, rural, heterosexual worker, with few pieces devoted to the majority of people who rejected Trump. This de-racialization of the working class in particular flies in the face of reality, which is a multicultural, female young, urban workforce occupying service industry jobs. A major assertion of this chapter is that unless labor movements and the media acknowledge the diversity of the working class, it will be impossible to fight what is happening under capitalism.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media

Abstract

This chapter examines what went wrong with the promising Bernie Sanders campaign. In particular, the insistence on a colorblind economic message meant to appeal to young college students and white male workers at the expense of what were dismissed as “identity politics” is critiqued. Much of what was seen from Sanders followers was similar to what women and minorities experienced in the leftist activist movements in the 1960s, so a historical overview of these activist movements will be presented.

In: Enough Already! A Socialist Feminist Response to the Re-emergence of Right Wing Populism and Fascism in Media