The Possibility of Fascism by Ugo Palheta - Toledo Translation Fund

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The build-up to France’s presidential election again showed an alarming reactionary turn, in which fascist conspiracy theories increasingly dominate media-political life. The rival right-wing candidates competed to insist that they alone could prevent the “great replacement” of the white, Christian population. Even in the so-called liberal camp, Emmanuel Macron’s ministers appeared on far-right panels to denounce the growing “Islamo-leftist” threat to French civilisation. The mainstream has sunk so far into its anti-immigrant, identitarian obsession that Macron’s interior minister even condemned Marine Le Pen as having gone “soft on Islam.” This is not just a matter of angry polemics: rather, it goes hand-in-hand with the growing impunity for the street gangs who beat up migrants and the near-unanimous praise of police who demand free rein to crush protests. 

In The Possibility of Fascism, Ugo Palheta argues that the fascist threat in France doesn’t just come from the chance that Le Pen will one day claim the presidency — rather, it’s the end point of a fascisation process that’s underway already. An increasingly authoritarian form of neoliberalism, ever less able to accommodate popular demands, is converging with a racist and exclusionary French identity which demonises dissent as well as whole populations deemed outside of the norm, Muslims in particular.

Palheta insists that the French Republic is not, as many historians claimed for decades, allergic to fascism. Rather, today's embryonic fascisation shows that a lurch into fascist rule is a concrete possibility in the twenty-first century.

Yet, sociologist and activist Palheta argues, this process is not inevitable. Examining the contemporary far right and the mainstreaming of its ideas — inextricably linked to the wider disasters of neoliberalism — The Possibility of Fascism argues for a renewed anti-fascism able to fight both fascist organisations and the destructive policies that legitimise them and aid their rise. This crucial work thus offers a sobering account of how far the French far right has advanced — but also critical insights into how we can stop the new white identity politics gaining further traction, in France and beyond.

We need your support to help translate this vital work into English. Verso Books are looking to raise €4,000 toward the costs from readers like you who understand the critical stakes of publishing French anti-fascists like Ugo Palheta in English.


All donations over €100 will receive a free copy of the book. If you’re able to donate €500 or more we’ll also thank you on a donors’ page for the project, and donations of €1,000 or more will also be acknowledged in the book.