How to Stop Fascism by Paul Mason: More polemic than playbook

The former journalist identifies the problem well but falls down on a workable solution

A woman carries a poster reading “Never Again!” and depicting AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke making a Nazi salute in Dresden. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty

A woman carries a poster reading “Never Again!” and depicting AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke making a Nazi salute in Dresden. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty

January 6th, 2021, will go down in history as a day of infamy. Although Trump supporters’ storming of the US Capitol doesn’t make its first appearance until a few dozen pages into How to Stop Fascism, author Paul Mason flags it as a “potentially historic turning point”. It is proof positive that leading liberal democracies are set for a fascist turn.

Correctly, Mason draws a sharp distinction between the populist far right and overt fascists. Trump is presented not as a fascist himself, but rather as an enabler, a “useful idiot”. Indeed, explicitly fascist parties are thin on the ground. Greece’s now-outlawed Golden Dawn is a notable exception, although fascist revivalism has been making its mark in both Italy and Spain of late.

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