Henry Giroux, in an article in Salon.com writes:

The designers of a new breed of fascism increasingly dominate major political formations and other commanding political and economic institutions across the globe. They have infused a fascist ideology with new energy through a right-wing populism that constructs the nation through a series of racist and nativist exclusions, all the while feeding off the chaos produced by neoliberalism.

Their nightmarish reign of misery, violence and disposability is legitimated, in part, in their control of a diverse number of cultural apparatuses that produce a vast machinery of manufactured consent. This reactionary educational formation includes the mainstream broadcast media, digital platforms, the Internet and print culture, all of which participate in an ongoing spectacle of violence, the aestheticization of politics, the legitimation of opinions over facts, and an embrace of a culture of ignorance. Under the reign of this normalized architecture of neoliberal ideology, literacy is now regarded with disdain, words are reduced to data, and science is confused with pseudo-science.

Now, neo-liberal fascism is a very broad term - what I'm interested in is a more precise identification what is meant by this term. Fascism, after all was a specific polity identified with Mussolinis Italy. To use this term for every outbreak of fascist-like behaviour is to do words and political analysis a disfavour. How then to identify specifically who and what means by this?

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    I'm going to write an answer, but reading the full article answers your questions about who and what the article writer means, and half of the answer is in your quote. They do use (overly?) refined language to get their point across, though, which does obfuscate their point significantly.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 8, 2019 at 17:41
  • Possible duplicate of is fascism left or right wing? The quote is interesting however, perhaps there's another somewhat different question in it...
    – agc
    Jun 11, 2019 at 21:46
  • ...more specifically a "dictatorship of ignorance" needn't imply any specific underlying system, it just needs ignorant dictators, or de facto dictators, as well as perhaps a general ignorance, or sufficient distractions with which to seriously diminish the civic public's available mental resources.
    – agc
    Jun 11, 2019 at 21:56
  • I recommend you check out the book "The Anatomy of Fascism" by Dr. Robert Paxton. He's a historian at Columbia. His perspective seems similar to the one in this question and you may find it answers this question well. Jun 11, 2019 at 22:45
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    Neoliberal fascism seems to be a contradiction in terms. Does he ever define what he means by neoliberal?
    – Grault
    Jun 14, 2019 at 4:50

1 Answer 1


If you read his 2nd article in the series, Giroux says, eventually

One challenge is to confront the horrors of capitalism and its transformation into a form of fascism under Trump. There will be no real movement for change without, as David Harvey has pointed out, “a strong anti-capitalist movement.” In addition, no movement will succeed without addressing the need for a revolution in consciousness and values, one that makes education central to politics.

Giroux seems to be advocating some kind of Marxist-like revolution without daring to be more explicit about it. I think that's why he lumps fascism with (neo)liberalism. In contrast, David Harvey (whom Giroux is quoting) is an avowed Marxist.

Basically, for nowadays Marxists, Trump is a big part of the proof that capitalism/neoliberalism was destined to fail...

  • That's close to the what. But why not also mention the who? They name several people explicitly, comprising most right wing authoritarians worldwide, with a seeming (and notable) omission of Putin.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 8, 2019 at 17:58
  • @Obie2.0: I don't know if Giroux has a thing for Putin. If it's not an innocent omission, you could expand on that in an answer.
    – Fizz
    Jun 8, 2019 at 18:00
  • I don't know whether it's innocent or not. It's notable because Putin also fits the qualifications and has ties to lots of the others on the list. Plus he quoted the person who talked about "Russiagate".
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 8, 2019 at 18:03
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    @Obie2.0: I'm still not sure about this Russia issue, but apparently Harvey finds TV time on RT. youtube.com/watch?v=D-YO5EROH-I
    – Fizz
    Jun 8, 2019 at 21:02

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