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Book Review of Against the Fascist Creep by Alexander Reid Ross and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book Review of Against the Fascist Creep by Alexander Reid Ross and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Article by Kirbie Bennett Photo by Allison Anderson

Thursday, March 30, 2017 | Number of views (480)

Against the Fascist Creep by Alexander Reid Ross

Fascism as an ideology and revolutionary movement is often viewed as vehemently pitted against the values of liberalism, democracy and multiculturalism, going to great lengths to dismantle institutions that promote such ethics. This perspective overlooks the historical tendency of fascism's ability to creep into left-wing and socialist movements. In his latest book, Against the Fascist Creep,  the journalist Alexander Reid Ross explores in-depth the "fascist creep" that left-wing movements for social justice have fallen prey to around the world since the late-nineteenth century when fascism came into being.

From the way Eurpoean right-wing intellectuals seized the ideals of anarchism and socialism in the build-up to World War II, taking each philosophy's criticisms of the state and capitalism as a means to create a hyper-masculine white civilization, to the misohynistic occultism of post-WWII Italian fascist Julius Evola, whose mystical spirituality acted as what Ross calls a "rebirth" of fascism, one that advocated more "blood, sacrifice and ultraviolence" -- Ross takes the reader on a whirlwind of a journey through the ruins of Europe after the war where right-wing extremists carefully crafted a sense of psuedo-solidarity with left-wing movements, only to end up taking them over and using their base to further fascist nationalism. Such strategies continue today, as Ross copiously documents, with Eurpoe's New Right forces continually posing as left-leaning groups, catering to disenfranchised white populations, feeding off their resentment and revenge. The same can be said in the U.S. with the "alt-right" using left-wing intellectualism to spread the creep of fascism.

Given the fact that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon once proclaimed to be a "Marxist-Leninist" and also speaks admirably of figures such as Julius Evola, tha fascist creep continues to rise. By connecting the dots and naming the names between fascist movements of the past and present, Ross' book is an urgent read for those keeping a watchful eye on the state of the world.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

In what is beign hailed as the "Black Lives Matter novel," Angie Thomas makes a bold debut into the Yound Adult literary world with her politically charged novel, The Hate U Give. The story focuses on 16 year-old Starr Carter, an African-American girl who witnesses the death of her friend Khalil at the hands of a white police officer. While processing the trauma of that experience, Starr witnesses the media demonize Khalil for his past involvement in gangs and drug dealing, implying the shooting was justified and his life didn't matter. Such biased media spotlight causes her to take a step back and ask whether or not she could come forth as the witness that would help bring justice to Khalil.

Through raw prose that doesn't hild back, Thomas is able to pull the reader into the story, drawing otu the tangled webs of race relations, class and gender issues that people of all backgrounds experience on a daily basis. One of the most unique aspects of The Hate U Give is Thomas' attempt to humanize people the media woudl write off as thugs and criminals -- young people who, due to the limited options in their community, become caught up in gang life as a way to make ends meet. Khalil in the novel is no different from Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner: people of color caught up in an anjust system where, to paraphrase James Baldwin, they realize it has not evolved a place for them. Thomas seeks to remind the reader and the world that their lives matter.

The novel excels in its attempt to paint an honest picture of African-American life and community-- one that is not romanticized, but humanized with all its ups and downs, complexities and conundrums; Thomas paints a portrait of the careful walk in the balance beam that people of colorendure in a society where their skin is a weapon, with arms up and heads down. It's a novel that sings the blues of suffering and loss, while also singing the sould and funk of the love and life that persists. 

 
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