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Fascism in Our Heads (Mendiževec/Barši, Andrič, Kaluža/Okorn)


In the imaginarium of contemporary political common sense, fascism is contextualised as the climax (or one of them) of the general political catastrophe of the early 20th century. But what exactly is the notion of fascism that this view implies? We could say that in this spontaneous theory, the structure of fascism is provided by an exemplary image of a mass stadium party rally, where thousands, uniformly and without difference, salute the leader. From this image, the following typical attributes of fascism are derived: its mass character, uniformity, the expulsion of any antagonisms from public political life, the lack of individual autonomy, the cult of personality, the worship of state and nation, a combination of absolute conformist deference and total state repression.

This image lacks subtlety: not only does it enable the elision of any differences between fascism and Stalinism within the suspicious umbrella term of totalitarianism - ultimately, it barely depicts anything that would be specific to the 20th century: the image of fascism that focuses on the leader-subjects relation is so elementary that it is suddenly hard to distinguish it from any other dictatorship, absolutist monarchy or even theocratic despotism of the old world. In short, what remains of the notion of fascism is an abstract transhistorical image of some kind of tyranny, which is not only theoretically useless, but also incomprehensible.

What is actually needed to gain an insight into fascism is an account of the mechanisms that produce this effect of general deference on the level of the individual. The panel will therefore draw on the rich tradition of theory devoted to this very question. It will attempt to present and confront the perspectives provided by the Frankfurt School, poststructuralist approaches, and psychoanalysis, which all attempted to grasp the functioning of fascism on the ‘micro’ level, that is, not solely as a phenomenon of certain distribution of political and economical power, but primarily as a phenomenon of ‘spirit’, or in more contemporary terms, as a phenomenon of discourse and desire.

Speakers: Aleš Mendiževec/Izidor Barši:Small Fascism and Big FascismMiha Andrič:Structure of Fascist Discourse (Between Signifier and Desire)Jernej Kaluža/Anže Okorn:Why Do We All Want to Be Fascists?


Aleš Mendiževec & Izidor Barši – Small & Big Fascism

There aren’t many different conceptions of fascism, at least not radically different. There are many capitalisms, and there are even more different conceptions of them. The probable reason for this is that fascism is already encumbered by the generally traumatic events of the middle of the 20th century, and just the historical description of these events already carries a great affective potential. This affective potential itself, its persistence and intensity, makes the historical description seem sufficient consideration of this phenomenon. In the same way as postmodernism didn’t get rid of the question of modernism, we didn’t get rid of the question of fascism, but its relative temporal distance – although the images from the 30’s and 40’s are returning in the crisis of capitalism – brings about the possibility of distance regarding its spontaneously affective description, and therefore, the possibility of the conceptualisation of its functioning.

Mode of functioning: the question is how fascism arises, how it bites into our activity and defines it, how it reproduces and how it lasts, how it spreads among the masses or, better, how it constitutes the masses. Fascism doesn’t act with the help of an illusion, a mistake in thought or a misunderstanding of those who are not accustomed to intellectual labour. Fascism, as known by history, did not arise out of anabsence of reason or thought, fascism isn’t the banality of evil. Fascism was and still is desired; it is produced with the plurality of social practices and not only or primarily through the cult of personality, the deception of masses or something similar. Its emergence as a historical phenomenon is paradoxical: if fascism emerged, then it is necessary to explain the non-fascist birth of fascism.

Deleuze and Guattari in their seminal work Anti-Oedipus do not posit such questions explicitly, but the problem is the same: why did the masses at some point desire their own repression. Where does the desire to be ruled come from? The problem, we could call it the problem of ‘small’ fascism, concerns Spinoza’s question of power, which is an essential question of the political philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, which unfolds in persistent tension between desiring production and social production (of socius). Precisely here, various commentaries and criticism often overlook the fact that different sociuses mean different conditions and different actions of desiring production; this means, that with the emergence of capitalism (as the contemporary state) the tension between desiring production and social reproduction of socius changes as well. Or, at some point “small” fascism became “big” fascism, historical fascism that has in this way determined the conditions of possibility of its emergence and modes of functioning that can be conceptualised.

“Small” and “big” fascism do not mean pure difference in quantity, but the genesis of generally known historical fascism. Microfascism, as it is called by Foucault, is not the end of the story for Deleuze and Guattari, but without him, there would be no story. In historical continuation of this story, or better, in its discontinuity, Deleuze and Guattatri inscribe themselves with the very fact of their philosophical project Anti-Oedipus, which immediately, even though not explicitly, addresses the question of the epistemological problem: how to make philosophy, and we can add, in a non-fascist way?

Izidor Barši is finishing studies of philosophy and sociology of culture at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. He publishes articles on philosophy, art and architecture in various magazines and newspapers. He was the editor of Tribuna newspaper, at the moment he is the editor at Šum magazine. From 2010 onwards he has worked at Radio Student, the redaction for culture and humanities. Otherwise, he co-organised many theoretical and philosophical seminars in Tovarna Rog, Moderna Galerija and elsewhere.

Aleš Mendiževec is completing his postgraduate studies focusing on the political philosophy and epistemology of Louis Althusser. He publishes journalistic and theoretical articles at Radio Student, Tribuna newspaper, Šum magazine and elsewhere. Within the framework of the program and the collective of Neteorit he organised seminars and lectures on the topic of contemporary French philosophy. He is also a member of the Živko Skvotec collective, which organises theoretical and non-theoretical political events.


Miha Andrič - Structure of Fascist Discourse (Between Signifier and Desire)



Jernej Kaluža & Anže Okorn – Why Do We All Desire to Be Fascists?

At first sight it seems that the reproach, often addressed to Deleuze’s and Guattari’s conception of fascism, is justified. They do not define fascism precisely, no simple characterisation is given. This implies that there is no privileged content that could constitute a totally resistant interiority: fascism can, as an inherent anomaly, grow in “practically any cell of society”, especially in communes, self-managed communities and other idealised islands. But we believe that the “ubiquity of fascism” of Deleuze and Guattari is not a shortcoming of their theory, but a necessary consequence of meticulous conceptual derivation. The diffusion that defines the concept of fascism is, paradoxically, also its most precise definition that we can offer at this point. Fascism in contemporary discourse appears foremost as a contentless insult, which serves as a means of discrediting the (arbitrary?) other: fascism is always something external, evil and dangerous, against which we should fight. But precisely in a moment of total certainty in our own internal purity and anti-fascism, this purity merges with fascism. The latter we will attempt to think as something that has its origin in “our” own interiority. It is clear, that we therefore find ourselves at the very core of the Spinozist problem that is opened by Anti-Oedipus: “why do we desire fascism, repression, submission? Why does desire desire its own destruction?” Fascism is in this context essentially connected with specific conception of “desire” by Deleuze and Guattari: fascism is immanent to desire, and not imposed from outside (in the form of repression, law, itd.). This is desire that desires self-destruction and is always also immediately united with the suicidal reality it produces.

Thinking fascism “from within” seems necessary for more than one reason. It enables us to think concrete, heterogeneous and again and again contemporary manifestations of fascism, And above all to understand the privileged role of “microfascism”. The point is not in the opposition of micro and macro levels, but their incessant interaction. If fascism essentially takes the form of autonomism and isolation into some interiority (which is often also a strategy of resistance to capitalism), how come it does not share the problem of fragmentation and particularity with the left? It is fascinating that fascism is always on the side of “movement”: that it adapts, changes and shifts depending on the context; that it is always on the side of the “war machine” (the police, the army, the paramilitary groups) and not of the “state” (which is its essential difference from totalitarianism). In the end it is interesting that, following Deleuze and Guattari, fascism is surprisingly close to that which has the biggest creative, revolutionary and emancipatory potential.

Jernej Kaluža is a graduate student of philosophy at the Faculty of Arts and junior researcher at the Inštitut Nova Revija. His thesis focuses on the concept of habit in philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. He is an active collaborator of Radio Student, journal Tribuna and the Živko Skvotec collective in Rog factory.

Anže Okorn is a graduate student at the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. The main interest of his postgraduate research is the concept of play in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, a continuation of his undergraduate thesis From chaos to masochism: Gilles Deleuze.


Fašizem v naših glavah

Sodobni zdravorazumski politični imaginarij umešča fašizem kot vrhunec (ali kot enega od vrhuncev) splošne politične katastrofe, ki je zaznamovala 20 stoletje. Toda kaj točno je fašizem, ki ga implicira ta pogled? Lahko bi rekli, da strukturo fašizma v tej spontani teoriji priskrbi eksemplarična podoba množičnega stadionskega zborovanja, kjer tisoči brez razlike in enoglasno pozdravljajo Vodjo. Od tu je mogoče izpeljati vse atribute fašizma: množičnost, uniformnost, odsotnost agonističnega političnega življenja, odsotnost individualne avtonomije, kult osebnosti, poveličevanje države in naroda, kombinacija absolutnega prostovoljnega podrejanja in oblasti ter totalne državne represije.

Tej podobi ne moremo očitati pretirane pretanjenosti: ne le da omogoča brisanje razlik med fašizmom in stalinizmom, njuno izenačevanje pod krovnim pojmom totalitarizma; ne opisuje niti nič zares specifičnega za 20. stoletje: struktura fašizma, ki se osredotoča na odnos vodja–podaniki, je tako revna, da jo je naenkrat težko razločiti od poljubne diktature, absolutističnih vladavin in celo teokratskih despotizmov starega sveta. Skratka, od pojma fašizma hitro preostane samo abstraktna, nadzgodovinska predstava nekakšne tiranije, ki ni le teoretsko neuporabna, ampak je tudi nerazumljiva.

Pri fašizmu se je zato nasprotno treba poglobiti ravno v mehanizme, ki so pri posameznikih proizvedli podrejanje. Ta panel bo tako črpal iz obsežne teorije, ki se je posvečala prav temu vprašanju. Predstavil in soočil bo perspektive frankfurtske šole, poststrukturalizma in psihoanalize, ki so na različnih ravneh poskušale obravnavati fašizem na mikroravni, torej ne kot fenomena ekonomije ali specifične razporeditve politične moči, temveč primarno kot fenomen »duha«, oziroma sodobnejše rečeno, kot fenomen diskurza in želje.

Govorci: Aleš Mendiževec/Izidor Barši:Mali fašizem in veliki fašizemMiha Andrič: "Struktura fašističnega diskurza (med označevalcem in željo)" Jernej Kaluža/Anže Okorn:Zakaj vsi hočemo biti fašisti?


Aleš Mendiževec & Izidor Barši – Mali in veliki fašizem

Ne obstaja veliko različnih pojmovanj fašizma, vsaj radikalno različnih ne. Kapitalizmov ni tako malo, še več pa je različnih pojmovanj kapitalizma. Razlog je verjetno v tem, da je fašizem bistveno zaznamovan z nasploh travmatičnimi dogodki sredine 20. stoletja in že sam zgodovinska deskripcija teh dogodkov ima veliko afektivno zmožnost. Prav ta zmožnost afekcije, njena intenzivnost in vztrajnost, povratno povzroči to, da postane preprosta metoda zgodovinske deskripcije zadostna za obravnavo tega zgodovinskega pojava. Tako kot se postmodernizem ni rešil vprašanja modernizma se tudi mi nismo rešili vprašanja fašizma, toda polpretekla zgodovina – podobe fašizma iz tridesetih in štiridesetih let 20. stoletja se v krizi kapitalizma sicer vračajo – pomeni možnost distance do spontano afektirane deskripcije in konceptualiziranje njegovega načina delovanja.

Način delovanja: vprašanje je, kako fašizem nastane, kako se zažre v naše delovanje in ga določa, kako se reproducira in traja, kako se razširi med množice oz. kako tvori množice. Fašizem ne deluje s pomočjo iluzije, napake v mišljenju ali napačnega razumevanja tistih, ki niso vajeni intelektualnega dela. Fašizem, kakor ga pozna zgodovina, ni nastal iz odsotnosti razuma ali mišljenja, fašizem ni banalnost zla. Fašizem je bil in še vedno je dejansko željen; je produciran z mnoštvom socialnih praks in ne zgolj ali primarno prek kulta osebnosti, zavedenosti množic in podobnega. Nastanek fašizma kot zgodovinskega pojava je paradoksen: če je fašizem nastal, potem je potrebno pojasniti nefašistično rojstvo fašizma.

Deleuze in Guattari v svojem prelomnem delu Anti-Ojdip ne postavljata eksplicitno takšnih vprašanj, toda problem je isti: zakaj so si množice v nekem trenutku želele lastne represije? Od kje želja po biti-vladan? Pri problemu, ki bi mu lahko rekli problem ‘malega’ fašizma, gre za Spinozovo vprašanje oblasti, ki je bistveno vprašanje politične filozofije Deleuza in Guattarija, le-ta pa se odvija v nenehni napetosti med želečo produkcijo in družbeno produkcijo (sociusa). Prav tu različni komentarji in očitki pogosto spregledajo dejstvo, da različni sociusi pomenijo drugačne pogoje in drugačno delovanje želeče produkcije; to pa pomeni, da se s pojavom kapitalizma (kot aktualnim stadijem) spremeni tudi napetost med želečo produkcijo in družbeno produkcijo sociusa. Rečeno drugače, ‘mali’ fašizem je na neki točki v zelo specifičnih pogojih postal ‘veliki’ fašizem, torej zgodovinski fašizem, ki ima na ta način določene pogoje možnosti svoje pojavitve in načine delovanja, ki jih je mogoče konceptualizirati.

‘Mali’ in ‘veliki’ fašizem zato ne pomenita gole razlike v kvantiteti, pač pa genezo splošno znanega zgodovinskega fašizma. Mikrofašizem, kot ga po svoje imenuje Michel Foucault, za Deleuza in Guattarija ni vsa zgodba, toda brez njega te zgodbe ne bi bilo. V zgodovinsko nadaljevanje te zgodbe ali raje v njeno diskontinuiteto pa se Deleuze in Guattari vpisujeta tudi s samim dejstvom svojega filozofskega projekta Anti-Ojdip, ki neposredno, četudi ne eksplicitno, naslavlja vprašanje oziroma kar epistemološki problem: kako delati filozofijo, čemur lahko dodamo, na nefašističen način?

Izidor Barši končuje študij filozofije in sociologije kulture na Filozofski fakulteti v Ljubljani. V večih časopisih in revijah objavlja članke in daljša besedila o filozofiji, umetnosti in arhitekturi. Bil je urednik pri časopisu Tribuna, trenutno pa je urednik pri reviji Šum. Od 2010 dela tudi v Redakciji za kulturo in humanistične vede Radia Študent. Sicer je v sodelovanju z drugimi organiziral več bralnih seminarjev osredotočnih na filozofijo in teorijo v Tovarni Rog, Moderni galeriji in drugje.

Aleš Mendiževec zaključuje doktorski študij filozofije na tematiko politične filozofije in epistemologije Louisa Althusserja. Objavlja novinarske in teoretske prispevke na Radiu Študent (redakcija za kulturo in humanistične vede), pri časopisu Tribuna, reviji Šum in drugje. V okviru kolektiva in programa Neteorit organiziral več bralnih seminarjev in predavanj na tematiko sodobne francoske filozofije, tudi član kolektiva Živko Skvotec v Rogu, ki organizira teoretske in neteoretske politične dogodke.


Miha Andrič - Struktura fašističnega diskurza (med označevalcem in željo)



Jernej Kaluža & Anže Okorn – Zakaj si vsi želimo biti fašisti?

Na prvi pogled se zdi očitek, pogostokrat naslovljen na Deleuzovo in Guattarijevo pojmovanje fašizma, povsem na mestu. Fašizma ne definirata natančno, podana ni nobena enostavna vsebinska karakterizacija tega, kaj naj bi ta bil, kar povratno implicira, da ne obstaja nobena privilegirana vsebina, ki bila lahko tvorila nanj povsem odporno notranjost: fašizem lahko kot  notranja anomalija izraste »v praktično katerikoli celici družbe«, še posebej v komunah, samoupravnih skupnostih in ostalih idealiziranih otočkih. Vendar pa menimo, da »vseprisotnost fašizma« pri Deleuzeu in Guattariju ni pomanjkljivost njune teorije, temveč nujna konsekvenca natančne konceptualne izpeljave. Razpršenost, ki definira pojem fašizma je namreč paradoksno tudi najbolj natančna definicija, ki jo lahko v izhodišču ponudimo. Fašizem se dandanes znotraj diskurza pojavlja predvsem kot brezvsebinska žaljivka, s katero želijo različni politični akterji diskreditirati (naključnega?) »drugega«: fašizem je vselej nekaj zunanjega, zlega in nevarnega, proti čemur se je potrebno boriti. Ravno v momentu skrajne zaverovanosti v lastno notranjo čistost in anti-fašizem, se ta združi s fašizmom. Slednjega bomo zato skušali misliti kot nekaj, kar izvira iz same »naše« notranjosti. Jasno je, da se tako znajdemo v samem jedru spinozističnega problema, ki ga odpira delo Anti-Ojdip: »Zakaj si želimo fašizem, represijo, podrejanje? Zakaj želja želi lastno uničenje?« Fašizem je v tem kontekstu bistveno povezan s specifičnim pojmovanjem »želje« pri Deleuzeu in Guattariju: fašizem je želji imanenten in ji ni vsiljen od zunaj (v obliki represije, zakona, itd.). To je želja, ki si želi samouničenja, in je vselej tudi neposredno združena s samomorilno realnostjo, ki jo proizvaja.

Predpostavka mišljenja fašizma »od znotraj« se nam zdi nujna iz več razlogov. Omogoča nam mišljenje konkretnih, heterogenih in vedno znova aktualnih manifestacij fašizma, predvsem pa razumevanje privilegirane vloge »mikro fašizma«. Pri tem ne gre za zoperstavljanje mikro in makro ravni, temveč za vprašanje nenehne interakcije med njima. Če ima fašizem bistveno obliko avtonomizma in izolacije v neko notranjost (kar je pogosto tudi strategija zoperstavljanja kapitalizmu), kako to, da z levico ne deli problema razdrobljenosti in partikularnosti? Fascinira, da je fašizem vselej na strani »gibanja«; da se prilagaja, spreminja in premešča glede na kontekst; da je vselej na strani »vojnega stroja« (policija, vojska, paravojaške skupine), in ne »države« (po čemer se bistveno razlikuje od totalitarizma). Nenazadnje pa je zanimivo to, da je po Deleuzeu in Guattariju fašizem presenetljivo blizu tistemu, kar ima tudi največji kreativni, revolucionarni in emancipatorni potencial.

Anže Okorn je diplomiral iz enopredmetne filozofije na ljubljanski Filozofski fakulteti. Rdečo nit nadaljnjega raziskovanja, v okviru podiplomskega študija na istem oddelku, povzema naslov njegove nastajajoče doktorske disertacije Pojem igre v filozofiji Gillesa Deleuza.

Jernej Kauža je podiplomski študent filozofije na FF, kjer pripravlja doktorsko nalogo na temo koncepta navade v filozofiji Gillesa Deleuza in mladi raziskovalec na Inštitutu Nove revije. Deluje tudi v okviru Radia Študent, Tribune in kolektiva Živko Skvotec v Tovarni Rog.


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