Anti-fascism/Art/Theory: An Introduction to What Hurts Us

Angela Dimitrakaki, Harry Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The article is intended as a broad contextualisation of the political concerns that underpin the special issue Anti-fascism/Art/Theory as the second decade of the twenty-first century is drawing to a close. Over a decade after the global financial crisis, we find ourselves confronted with a complex, transnational ideological and material reality where identifiable traits of fascism command fringe and mainstream milieus and where anti-fascist militancy is raising our consciousness about strategies of resistance. Our main aim has been to highlight the need for critical research in the art field that aids, and indeed becomes part of, such resistance. In acknowledging the ongoing debates about how to name the conditions of urgency that necessitate anti-fascism as a material practice but also a way of thinking against a prefigurative counter-revolution and actual supremacy politics, the article opens with three narratives around fascism, prioritising the latter’s relation to capitalism. We then address totalitarianism, populism, and liberalism as terms often implicated in relevant discussions, while we also consider the (dis)continuities of fascism and anti-fascism across the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, including reflections on postmodernism and the Cold War. We weave in the contributors’ analyses on technology, the art economy, colonial violence and fascist violence, the fraught question of heroism, concerns on how politics enter the art institution, the inconclusive if essential lessons of the avant-gardes, women’s art and anti-fascist consciousness. Finally, we consider anti-fascism in terms of a political education that can reveal the constituent parts of an enduring, systemic reality of oppression defining ‘business as usual’. Considering the dilemma of alliances that anti-fascism brings forth, and the possible concessions these require, the analysis concludes with a warning against seeing the contemporary move towards fascism as a mere historical accident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-292
Number of pages22
JournalThird Text
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2019


  • Angela Dimitrakaki
  • Anti-fascism
  • avant garde
  • capitalism
  • fascism
  • Harry Weeks
  • Jo Cox
  • liberalism
  • populism
  • postmodernism
  • the left
  • totalitarianism
  • Walter Lübcke


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-fascism/Art/Theory: An Introduction to What Hurts Us'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this