Our guest is Professor Nancy MacLean. We discuss her latest book, DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: THE DEEP HISTORY OF THE RADICAL RIGHT’S STEALTH PLAN FOR AMERICA, published by Viking Press. It is a thoroughly researched, to my mind shocking, exposé of the man and the ideas behind the billionaire-funded, relentless campaign to suppress voting, privatize everything from education, prisons, social security and Medicare, eliminate unions, curb democratic majority rule and change the US Constitution in order to make democracy safe for capitalism and plutocracy. Most reporting of the rise of the extreme right focuses on the Koch brothers and their money – but who created the blue print for their decades long, stealth campaign that has been all too successful – at least so far? Our guest, Nancy MacLean, has spent a decade investigating the origins, tactics, strategies and goals, of that campaign, that have brought us to this crisis point in our history.
Nancy MacLean is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. She is the award winning author of BEHIND THE MASK OF CHIVALRY: THE MAKING OF THE SECOND KU KLUX KLAN and FREEDOM IS NOT ENOUGH: THE OPENING OF THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE. Professor MacLean’s scholarship has received more than a dozen prizes and awards. In 2010, she was elected a fellow of the Society of American Historians.
White supremacists clash with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (Sipa via AP Images)
With us for the hour is Mark Bray, whose book, ANITFA: THE ANTI-FASCIST HANDBOOK, published by Melville House Publishing, came out on August 22, 2017 – one week after the incidents in Charlottesville, VA, in which Neo-Nazis, KKK, and other white supremacists, wreaked havoc, including the death of Heather Heyer and the injury of 19 others, when one of them drove his car into a crowd of counter demonstrators at high speed. White nationalist demonstrators use shields as they guard the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photograph: Steve Helber/AP
As has been happening since the inauguration of Donald Trump in January, 2017, media attention has been focusing on a formerly obscure network, Anti-fa, or Anti-fascist Action, and in particular their tactics of property damage, physical violence and what some consider un-American interference with free speech on college campuses. But beyond the sound bites, disturbing photos and videos taken out of any meaningful historical context, just what IS Anti-fa?
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists march in Charlottesville on 11 August. The rally and subsequent death of a counter-protester were decried as real-world consequences of far-right online movements. Photograph: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mark Bray is an historian of human rights, terrorism, and political radicalism in Modern Europe. He completed his PhD in Modern European and Women’s and Gender History at Rutgers University in 2016, and is currently finishing his manuscript “The Anarchist Inquisition: Terrorism and the Ethics of Modernity in Spain, 1893-1909.” “The Anarchist Inquisition” explores the emergence of groundbreaking human rights campaigns across Europe and the Americas in response to the Spanish state’s brutal repression of dissent in the wake of anarchist bombings and assassinations. He teaches at Dartmouth College, where his recent statements about Anti-fa have generated a good deal of controversy, with Dartmouth’s president denouncing them and more than 100 professors denouncing the denouncing. Mark Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Melville House, 2017) and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street (Zero Books, 2013), as well as the co-editor of the forthcoming Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School (PM Press, 2018).
From left: Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Lisa Sharon Harper, Rev. Carlton Smith, Cornel West, and others (including Seth Wispelwey wearing a white robe and red stole) protesting white supremacy in Charlottesville. CREDIT: Heather Wilson, @aNomadPhotog / Dust & Light Photo