FASCISTS AMONG US: Online Hate and the Christchurch Massacre.

AuthorHoverd, Wil
PositionBook review

FASCISTS AMONG US: Online Hate and the Christchurch Massacre

Author: Jeff Sparrow

Published by: Scribe, Melbourne, 2020, 151pp, $19.99.

Outside rare exemptions, New Zealanders have been unable to read the Great Replacement Manifesto of the Christchurch mosque attacker due to its ban by the New Zealand Classification Office 'because it promotes and encourages acts of terrorism in a way that is likely to be persuasive to its intended audience'. But Melbournian writer Jeff Sparrow's latest book is fully informed by a close reading of the globally available Great Replacement Manifesto. Sparrow explores the wider ramifications and history of the attacker's self-identification as a 'fascist' within the manifesto. (The 'Great Replacement' refers to the work of Frenchman Renaud Camus, who claims that there is a global conspiracy to replace white populations with nonEuropeans --a theory that has proved popular with the far and extreme right.)

Following the logic of the attacker himself, Sparrow is careful not to equate this fascism with the historical regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. Rather, Sparrow portrays post-1945 fascism as an evolving and mutable subjective ideology, characterised by a reactionary politics to community change and/or economic decline, which valorises Anglo male hierarchy and eschews diversity. These views result in forms of repressive politics opposed to equality, egalitarianism and popular democracy and favour nationalism, militarism and traditional gender roles. Inherent in Sparrow's understanding of this reactionary fascist politics are leanings towards racism and violence, exemplified in the 20th century by anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

Arguing that the spectre of the Holocaust effectively nullified any mass fascist politics throughout the late 20th century, Sparrow suggests that in the 21st century a post-9/11 world has substituted institutionalised Islamophobia into government practice and the popular imagination. He asserts that the 'War on Terror' valorised, normalised and institutionalised key tropes of pre-Second World War anti-Semitism into an anti-race, anti-immigration agenda (particularly typified by Islamophobia) without any historical link to fascism or nazism. He suggests that within liberal Western democratic states, this implicit fascist agenda has been typified and legitimated by preoccupations with Islamic radicalisation/terrorism and particularly today through forms of border enforcement focused on the...

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