“A Hostile World”: Critical Theory in the Time of Trump


Donald J. Trump’s unexpected victory in the November 2016 American presidential election was met by a wave of shock. After first trying to come to grips with why Trump had won[1], commentators across an array of media outlets then composed “hot takes”[2] as to what Trump’s election signified; did it mark the end of neoliberalism?[3], or its culmination?[4], perhaps it signified the prescience of the 18th Brumaire[5] or the rise of fascism?[6] While the Right were emboldened by Trump’s victory, many on the Left responded to the election with outrage and defiance. Protests broke out in the urban environs of blue states: denouncing Trump’s electoral legitimacy,[7] his personality, and his prospective policies.

More than two months later Trump’s inauguration and his raft of executive orders have been met with another wave of protests. The media continues to offer prognostications, reactions to Trump’s executive orders, and the latest unverified revelations coughed up by private and public intelligence agencies about Russia, Trump and his business dealings. As things currently stand (at the start of his first 100 days in office) Trump looks to be a rare and seemingly paradoxical (not to mention uniquely quaffed infantile and narcissist) character; combining, nativist authoritarian populism and neoliberalism into a form of authoritarian liberalism or post-fascism inline with but exceeding the drift to the Right initiated by Reagan, Bush, and the Tea Party whilst also mirroring political developments in Europe. Having not only bolstered the extreme right, and signed a number of awful regressive and xenophobic executive orders, he also looks set to pass a raft of regressive cultural, social and economic legislation – from the annulment of Obamacare to tax cuts, budget cuts and his vaunted infrastructure plan[8] — that will further enrich the rich, degrade the environment, and hurt the most vulnerable; stigmatizing and degrading the status of women, immigrants and people of color as well as the aggrieved rural white working class voters many point to as his base. In times like these the 24/7 news cycle feels unrelenting: everyday brings more bad news and more reasons for pessimism.

Yet because of the peculiarity of our current social and political constellation there seem to be few resources for understanding the situation we are in, let alone how we got here or how we can get out of it. Are we really experiencing the end of neoliberalism or its culmination? Is Trump a fascist? Is he the modern day Louis Napoleon? Is he an authoritarian in the mould of Orban, Erdogan, and Putin? Does his election signify the rise of right wing populism or is it merely the fluke result of the American electoral system and the hubristic inefficacy of Hillary’s campaign? What is responsible for these developments? Was it the Brexit or the Tea Party? Perhaps it was the 2008 economic crisis or neoliberalism? Are these contingent events or expressions of an overarching social dynamic? Do we respond to them by supporting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Pulling the Democratic party to the left? Working across the aisle to neutralize Trump? Taking it to the streets? Taking it to the airports? By marshalling progressive and rational ideas to delegitimize Trump and Trumpism in the public sphere?

Frankfurt School Critical Theory would seem to be an invaluable resource for addressing these issues. For all of the thinkers associated with Critical Theory can be said to propound interdisciplinary theories that eschew reductive labels, conceiving of these sorts of events as originating in social dynamics, while pointing to their overcoming. Yet the prevalent forms of contemporary critical theory that developed during, and even in response to neoliberalism, are marked by shibboleths — such as complex societal differentiation, the opposition between the social system and the lifeworld, redistribution, recognition, and normativity – that have “domesticated”[9] the critical theory of society as a normative theory of just democracy. Consequently, despite their differences, at least as it now stands, thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas, Axel Honneth, and Nancy Fraser understand neoliberalism, the 2008 crisis and even the rise of authoritarianism and the election of Trump as “social pathologies” that have arisen when the relationship between the necessary components of any modern society become askew; resulting in a social disequilibrium wherein the social sub-systems (the market and the state) colonize the lifeworld (the realm of intersubjective reason); subordinating it to non-democratic forms of reason, leading to inequality, misrecognition, and the rise irrational politics. This, in turn, necessitates a critical theory that calls for reorienting society on the bases of the normative rational values of redistribution and recognition, decolonizing the lifeworld and establishing a social equilibrium incumbent on the democratic mediation of the system.

In a recent interview, Jürgen Habermas thus depicts the rise of neoliberalism as characterized by the spread of “untamed markets” and anti-democratic transnational institutional frameworks that have led to the erosion of the post-war global order, a crisis of political legitimacy, and the rise of inequality. The capitulation of left wing parties to the “third way”, he further argues, has led to a lack of left wing criticisms of these developments by political parties, which the Right has capitalized on by framing them in nationalist terms, leading to the election of figures such as Erdogan and the rise of the “egomaniac” Trump.

However, as reflective of his social theory, Habermas argues that these developments do not signify the rise of authoritarianism or forms of historical regression. Rather they are part and parcel of the “dynamic of social modernisation” which is “linked to functional imperatives that repeatedly clash” wherein “The trade-off between capitalistic growth and the populace’s share – only half-heartedly accepted as socially just – in the growth of highly productive economies could only be brought about by a democratic state deserving of this name.” Consequently, “the rug can be pulled from under right-wing populism” through the forthright championing of enlightenment and cosmopolitan values against right-wing nationalism and a policy of the “institutional deepening and embedding of democratically legitimised co-operation across national borders” which will seemingly reign in the gross inequalities of neoliberal financial capitalism by instituting a relationship of democratic equilibrium between the system and the lifeworld.[10]

Moreover, while Axel Honneth has so far remained silent on Trump, the brand new English translation of his 2015 Die Idee des Sozialismus, published some seven years after the crisis, comes at what might be seen as an inopportune time. For here Honneth attempts to rejuvenate socialism; breaking with its “economist” legacy to reinvision it in conjunction with his intersubjective normative social theory of recognition — itself premised on Habermas’s social theory.[11] Since Honneth’s social theory holds that rather than domains of antagonism, exploitation, domination, repression and ressentiment, the differentiated private, political, and economic spheres of modern society are nascent realms of recognition,[12] he argues that socialism can be updated and revitalized by discarding out-dated ideas like class struggle and the abolition of the market. Rather than a socialist revolution, Honneth proposes this notion of socialism can fully realized on the basis of adhoc pragmatic measures that counteract the effects of pathological types of misrecognition, such a neoliberalism, by re-embedding them within the normative orders of their respective spheres, thus achieving the social democratic rule of recognition.

Finally, even Nancy Fraser, a perceptive critical interlocutor of Habermas and Honneth, who nevertheless utilizes aspects of their work, argues that

“(neo)liberalism and fascism are … two deeply interconnected faces of the capitalist world system. Although they are by no means normatively equivalent, both are products of unrestrained capitalism, which everywhere destabilizes lifeworlds and habitats, bringing in its wake both individual liberation and untold suffering. Liberalism expresses the first, liberatory side of this process, while glossing over the rage and pain associated with the second. Left to fester in the absence of an alternative, those sentiments fuel authoritarianisms of every sort, including those that really deserve the name fascism and those that emphatically do not.”[13]

Drawing on Polyani and Gramsci, but also Habermas, Fraser thus argues that Trump’s election and Brexit signify a shift in the opposition to neoliberal capitalism; what following the 2008 crisis was expressed in ephemeral protests movement, has now entered the political sphere. According to Fraser, Trump’s election then signifies the end of ‘progressive’ neoliberalism’s hegemony to which the Left must respond by constructing a movement that draws on Bernie Sander’s legacy.[14]

Thus despite their important differences, for Fraser, like Habermas and Honneth, it then seems that unrestrained neoliberal capitalism’s colonization of the lifeworld has eroded democracy, leading to misrecognition and maldistribution, which in turn, is vented in authoritarianism. [15] Moreover, mirroring Habermas and Honneth, it also seems that Fraser holds that advocating the democratic rationality inherent to contemporary society, and its principles of redistribution and recognition, will combat and even cure contemporary society of these pathologies.

Yet if the answer to these social problems is really more democracy, more recognition and a turn to redistributive policies, then why did neoliberalism and financialization arise in the first place? And if such a democratic impulse resides in the intersubjective realm of the lifeworld, what explains Sander’s loss and Brexit and Trump’s victory? Would they have been prevented with more democracy? More legitimacy? More redistribution? More recognition? With a better normative exposition of these ideas? Or does neoliberalization, the 2008 crisis, and the rise of right wing authoritarian populism undermine such an refashioning of Critical Theory, calling its underlying social-theoretical assumptions and correlative concepts into question? Can the concept of redistribution grasp or counteract exploitation, antagonism, domination and crises? Can the concept of recognition? Or as Hoschild indicates,[16] does the latter likewise underwrite the rise of the Tea Party and the so-called “alt right” who lodge their antagonistic racist and nativist demands precisely in the language of recognition? More importantly do these pathologies originate from the system’s colonization of the lifeworld and would they be solved by subordinating the state and the market to democratic imperatives or do their malaise point to an overarching irrationality inherent in the form of capitalist society as such that is realized in and perpetuated by the dynamics of neoliberalism, crises and the rise of authoritarianism? Is it a contingent social pathology we should be concerned with or is contemporary capitalist society necessarily pathological as such?

At the very least, as a number of commentators have pointed out,[17] Trump’s election and the current wave of right wing populism call to mind the work of the early Frankfurt School. For Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm, Marcuse, Benjamin, Neumann, Lowenthal and Pollock endeavoured to understand the failure of the left and fascism’s rise in the context of the Great Depression by posing their approach to the critical theory of society in a markedly different manner: critiquing “the glue that binds society together anew.”[18] For, in contrast to the type of contemporary critical theory assayed above, early critical theory conceived of this “glue” in terms of “the economic principle even as it affects both the conscious and the unconscious of the people, the development of which defines the law of movement of society, and drives it towards catastrophe: namely the commodity.”[19] Such a Critical Theory, in Horkheimer’s seminal formulation, thus rested on unfolding a single existential judgment against the catastrophic dynamics of capitalist society, which in lieu of its internal and external tensions, and its objective and subjective properties, had finally hindered its further development and driven humanity into a new barbarism.[20] Consequently, one could not understand Nazism and anti-Semitism without grasping the connection “between the fetish character of the commodities and the fetishized character of human beings”[21] because one could ultimately not speak of fascism without speaking of capitalism.

Hence even after the defeat of Nazi fascism, the later work of the Institute was still concerned with prospect of the rise of authoritarianism within western democratic countries. This was because in eschewing a model of complex differentiation, the early Frankfurt school held that the intertwined realms of the economy, the state, and the private sphere entailed domination and shaped subjectivity so that individuals lacked autonomy and reason, becoming susceptible to authoritarianism and scapegoating. In Adorno’s words, capitalist society was thus a “society based on domination” which “has not simply robbed itself and human beings—its compulsory members—of … dignity, but rather it has never permitted them to become the emancipated beings who, in Kant’s theory, have a right to dignity.”[22] Consequently, such a society “as a relationship between human beings” mediated by the social dynamic of capital accumulation … “is just as much founded in them as it comprehends and constitutes them.”[23] This conception of society led Adorno, Marcuse, Lowenthal and others, to draw on Marx and Freud to presciently diagnose why and how irrational mass movements lined up behind demagogic figures, enunciating foreshortened critiques of society.[24] It also informed Adorno’s famous statement that he considered “the survival of National Socialism within democracy to be potentially more menacing than the survival of fascist tendencies against democracy.”[25]

Thus rather than conceiving of authoritarianism as a social pathology arising as a reaction to the irrational disequilibrium between the system and the lifeworld that can be remedied by advocating and instituting a democratic equilibrium on normative grounds, such an understanding of the critical theory of society held that authoritarianism was inherent to the irrational objective and subjective dynamics of capitalist society as such. Consequently, this notion of Critical Theory not only tried to cultivate autonomy as a bulwark against the rise of authoritarianism, but also endeavored to understand, demystify and negate the antagonistic, dominating and regressive society that brought forth authoritarianism.

In our present moment, when so many traditional and critical theoretical models seem at a loss; raising more questions than answers and thus failing to grasp its foreboding light, this early approach to critical theory seems all too pertinent. Towards this end, I have asked some of the foremost contemporary thinkers of this approach to critical theory to use the specter of the Trump presidency to reflect upon neoliberalism, the crisis, the rise of right wing authoritarianism and the task of the critical theory of society today.

In “Authoritarian Liberalism, Class and Rackets,” Werner Bonefeld utilizes his Adornian interpretation of the critique of political economy[26] as well as his work on ordoliberalism[27] to offer a critical theoretical account of Trumpism. According to Bonefeld, “Understanding the critique of political economy as a critical social theory includes the critique of so-called neo-liberalism as the theoretical expression of capitalist social relations.” Thus, In contrast to “normative critics of neoliberalism, which reject it abstractly as a doctrine of narrow-minded economic interests, especially the interests of financial capital”, Bonefeld argues that “neoliberalism did not corrupt capitalism. It is rather a theoretical expression of capitalism.” In order to unfold such a constellation, Bonefeld first turns to Adorno’s understanding of the class character of bourgeois society. He then expounds the neoliberal conception of class, presents its argument that the free economy amounts to a practice of government, and explores the meaning of authoritarian liberalism. This sets up Bonefeld’s discussion of how “Authoritarian liberalism recognizes the state as indispensible for the free economy, a conception that is well understood by Trump.” The conclusion “bespeaks the time of Trump” as that of the governance of an authoritarian (neo)liberal racket at the behest of capitalist social relations.

John Abromeit’s “Right Wing Populism and the Limits of Normative Critical Theory” assesses the applicability of Habermas’s critical theory in our current conjuncture, ultimately arguing that early critical theory can provide a more fruitful approach to the latter. To do so, Abromeit contextualizes Habermas’s work as an attempt to sure up the democratic institutions of the German state in the decades that followed World War II. At the same time he calls into question the suitability of Habermas’s normative notion of modernization for criticizing neoliberalism and the rise of right wing populism. From here Abromeit moves to pointing to the relevance of Adorno and Marcuse’s work on authoritarianism. To do so, he supplements his argument in “Critical Theory and Right Wing Populism”[28] — which drew on early critical theories’ analysis of ideas such as “producers and parasites” and “pseudo conservatism” to show how “Trump has appropriated the communitarian elements of the Tea Party ideology, while at the same time intensifying them, by combining them with his own appeal as an authoritarian leader who allegedly possesses the power to enact them and to punish those “enemies of the people” – both domestic and foreign – who are responsible for America’s decline”[29] — by arguing that “early Critical Theorists’ greater attention to irrational underpinnings of modern bourgeois society and to the ways in which social domination reproduces itself within the institutions of liberal democracy make their model more appropriate” than normative critical theory ‘to grasping the return of crisis tendencies, massive inequality and right-wing populism that have emerged in Europe and the U.S. during the new historical period of neo-liberal globalization.’

Finally, Samir Gandesha suggests that second and third generation Critical Theory lacks a proper theory of crisis as is exemplified by Axel Honneth’s interpretation of the conception of “reification” which he understands as the subsumption of persons under the category of “thing” made possible by a failure to ground “knowledge” in “acknowledgement.” He then suggests that the first generation is worth revisiting. Of particular value is Adorno’s notion of the “identification with the aggressor,” which, he suggests, can help us, in part, explain the appeal of President Donald J. Trump.[30]

In so doing, these contributions not only raise questions about appropriateness of the predominant approach to critical theory, but also point the applicability of returning to and further developing early Critical Theory in the hopes of combating barbarism in its newest manifestation.



[1] See, for instance, the following examples of these positions: Joseph Stigliz, “The Age of Trump”, https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/the-age-of-trump-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2017-01?barrier=accessyef; German Lopez, “Study: racism and sexism predict support for Trump much more than economic dissatisfaction,” https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/4/14160956/trump-racism-sexism-economy-study; Juan Cole, “Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing them (literally) “


[2] For my own hot take see Chris O’Kane, intervuju, Vreme, 24, novembar 2016

[3] See, for instance, Cornel West, “Goodbye American neoliberalism. A new era is here” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election; Cornel Ban, “Will Trump Bring Neoliberalism’s apocalypse, or Merely a New Iteration?” https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/will-trump-bring-neoliberalisms-apocalypse-or-merely-a-new-iteration; Conor Lynch, “Neoliberalism’s Epic Fail,” https://www.salon.com/2016/11/19/neoliberalisms-epic-fail-the-reaction-to-hillary-clintons-loss-exposed-the-impotent-elitism-of-liberalism/

[4] Zymunt Bauman, “How Neoliberlism Prepared the Way For Donald Trump”, https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/11/how-neoliberalism-prepared-the-way-for-donald-trump/; Catherine Rottenberg, Trumping it up: Neoliberalism on Steriods, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/12/trumping-neoliberalism-steroids-161215144834626.html; George Monbiot, Neoliberalism: The Deep Story that Lies Beneath Trump’s Triumph, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/neoliberalsim-donald-trump-george-monbiot

[5] John Quiggan, “the 18th Brumaire Everywhere”, https://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/27/18th-brumaire-everywhere/; Matt Ford, “A Thermadorian Reaction”, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/sanders-trump-french-revolution/493349/.

[6] Robert Kagan, “This is How Fascism Comes to America,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-how-fascism-comes-to-america/2016/05/17/c4e32c58-1c47-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html?utm_term=.b2bacb0ff185;Gianna Riotta, “I know Fascists; Donald Trump is Not a Fascist,” https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/01/donald-trump-fascist/424449/; Isaac Chotner, “Is Donald Trump a Fascist? Yes and No” https://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/02/is_donald_trump_a_fascist_an_expert_on_fascism_weighs_in.html. This particular label became the subject of such debate it also led to the following John Macneil, “How Fascist is Donald Trump? There’s actuality a formula for That” https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/21/how-fascist-is-donald-trump-theres-actually-a-formula-for-that/?utm_term=.92762d0cf2b9, as well as a Guardian roundtable “Should we even go there? Historians on comparing fascism to Trumpism”, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/01/comparing-fascism-donald-trump-historians-trumpism

[7] Some held out faint hopes that the US constitution, which was responsible for Trump’s victory, would also annul it when the Electoral College met. It didn’t.

[8] Despite its New Deal style rhetoric at present it seems that the infrastructure plan is a fitting example of Trump’s peculiar brand of authoritarian liberalism: consisting in a typically idiosyncratic combination of a raft of privatization and tax cuts coupled with a few token public works projects, most notably the wall and oil pipelines, that at best will only create 240,000 jobs, at the same time as it stigmatizes and harms people of color and propagates the type of corporate welfare typically associated with neoliberalism. See Ronald A Cain, “Trump’s Infrastructure Plan? Its a trap” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-big-infrastructure-plan-its-a-trap/2016/11/18/5b1d109c-adae-11e6-8b45-f8e493f06fcd_story.html?utm_term=.02d4c4a9311a and Holly Warfield, “Three Charts that show the Surprising Scope of Trump’s Infrastructure Plan.” https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/datadesign/2017/01/31/3-charts-that-show-the-surprising-scope-of-trumps-infrastructure-plan/&refURL=https://www.forbes.com/&referrer=https://www.forbes.com/#

(in addition, it should also be noted that other infrastructure projects, such as the construction of electronic smart grids, promise to create the sort of technologically sophisticated infrastructure that require a smaller and less expensive workforce, a point that seems to be missing in the commentary on the proposed plan)

[9] Michael J. Thompson, The Domestication of Critical Theory, New York: Rowan and Littlefield, 2016.

[10] Jurgen Habermas, ‘How to Pull the Rug from Under Right Wing Populism: https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/11/democratic-polarisation-pull-ground-right-wing-populism

[11] see Anti Chari, A Political Economy of the Senses, New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Thompson, Domestication.

[12] For Honneth’s ambivalent treatment of neoliberalism see Anita Chari. For a critique of his conception of the market as a realm of recognition see Timo Juetten, “Is the Market a Sphere of Social Freedom?”, Critical Horizons, 16:2 (2015): 187–203

[13] Nancy Fraser and Andrew Arato, American Elections: a Dialog on the Left. https://www.publicseminar.org/2016/09/american-elections-a-dialogue-on-the-left/

[14] Nancy Fraser, ‘The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/progressive-neoliberalism-reactionary-populism-nancy-fraser.

[15] As I read it, the analysis Fraser presents here rests on her fusion of Polyani, Habermas and Gramsci and her notion of the economic and political crisis of financialized capitalism provided in Nancy Fraser, Legitimation Crisis? On the Political Contradictions of Financialized Capitalism, Critical Historical Studies, vol 2 no 2, fall 2015. Here the Fraser provides a more theoretically sophisticated account of neoliberal financialized capitalism, its twin economic and political crises, and the need to redress these crises with public power. However, although she links these crises to capitalism as such and acknowledges that social democracy and public power will have to be rethought, both of these issues are outside of the purview of her paper. One hopes she will focus on them in the near future.

[16] Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in their Own Land, New York: the New Press, 2016.

[17] Alex Ross, ‘The Frankfurt School knew Trump was Coming” https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-frankfurt-school-knew-trump-was-coming and Stuart Jeffries, “If you want to understand the age of Trump, you need to read the Frankfurt School”, https://www.vox.com/conversations/2016/12/27/14038406/donald-trump-frankfurt-school-stuart-jeffries-marxism-critical-theory

[18] Theodor W. Adorno, “A Letter from Adorno to Fromm,” November 17 1937, https://logosog.chrismordadev.com/adorno_letter.htm

[19] Adorno, “A Letter from Adorno to Fromm.”

[20] Marx Horkheimer, “Traditional and Critical Theory”, in Critical Theory: Selected Essays. London: Continuum, 1972 available at https://www.heathwoodpress.com/max-horkheimer-traditional-and-critical-theory/

[21] Adorno, Letter to Fromm.

[22] Theodor W. Adorno et al. The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, 14

[23] Theodor W. Adorno et al. The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, 14

[24] Peter E Gordon, “The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: reading Adorno in the age of Trump, https://www.boundary2.org/2016/06/peter-gordon-the-authoritarian-personality-revisited-reading-adorno-in-the-age-of-trump/ as well as John Abromeit, Douglas Kellner’s, and James E. Freeman and Peter Kolozi’s contributions Diagnosing Right-Wing Populism in the previous issue of Logos were prescient enough to draw on these figures to analysis Trump and right wing populism over the course of the presidential campaign.

[25] Theodor W. Adorno, “The Meaning of Working Through the Past” in Critical Models, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, p. 90.

[26] Werner Bonefeld, Critical theory and the Critique of Political Economy, London: Bloomsbury, 2014. Negative Dialectics and the Critique of Economic Objectivity, History of Human Sciences, April 12, 2016. …https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0952695116637294

[27] Werner Bonefeld, Authoritarian Liberalism: from Schmitt via Ordoliberalism to the Euro Critical Sociology, August 7, 2016. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0896920516662695 The Strong State and the Free Economy, London: Rowan and Littlefield, forthcoming 2017.

[28] John Abromeit, Critical Theory and Right Wing Populism, Logos, Summer 2016: vol. 15 no. 2-3. https://logosog.chrismordadev.com/2016/abromeit/ Abromeit’s piece also draws on “Genealogy and Critical Historicism: Two Concepts of Enlightenment in the Writings of Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno,” Critical Historical Studies, vol. 3, no. 2(Fall, 2016), 283-308 as well as Abromeit’s earlier work on Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas.

[29] Abromeit, “Critical Theory and Right Wing Populism”

[30] Samir Gandesha, “The Political Semiosis of Populism” Semiotic Review of Books Vol. 13, 3, (2003): 1-7, From the Authoritarian to the Neo-Liberal Personality,” paper presented at “Der aufrechte Gang im windscheifen Kapitalismus” conference at the Nietzsche Kollege in Weimar and at the Freud Museum in London in January, 2016. It will be appearing in the journal Constellations later this year. Samir Gandesha and Johan Hartle (eds.) , Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press: forthcoming) and Samir Gandesha and Johan Hartle (eds.) Aesthetic Marx (London:Bloomsbury: forthcoming)


Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

By Judith Stein: Wall Street v. Main Street within the Trump Cabinet

By Dan Krier: Behemoth Revisited: National Socialism and the Trump Administration

By James Block: Beyond the Collapse: Clearing the Ground for What is to Come

By Harriet Fraad: Women, Class, Gender and the Trump Agenda

By Chip Berlet: Alt-Right: A Primer on the Online Brownshirts

By Jefferson Decker: The Ends of Reform: Liberalism, Trumpism, and American Politics

By Mark Worrell: The Twilight of Liberal American Imperialism: Trump, Debt, and War

By Stephen Eric Bronner: Back to Basics: Trump’s Counter-Revolution, Resistance, and Solidarity

By Chris O’Kane: “A Hostile World”: Critical Theory in the Time of Trump

By Werner Bonefeld: Authoritarian Liberalism, Class and Rackets

By John Abromeit: Right-Wing Populism and the Limits of Normative Critical Theory

By Samir Gandesha: “The Neoliberal Personality”

By Darren Barany: Explaining ‘Cult45’: What Can WWII-Era Research on Authoritarianism Tell Us about the Political Rise of Trump?

By Kim Scipes: Black Subjugation in America

By George Lundskow: White Like Them

By Geoffrey Kurtz: Andy Blunden, The Origins of Collective Decision Making. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016.

By Aidan J. Beatty: Stuart Jeffries. Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School (London: Verso, 2016)

By Brian Caterino: Martin Jay, Reason After It’s Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

By Matthew H. Bowker: Henry A. Giroux, America at War with Itself. City Lights Books, 2016

By Nate Liederbach: Vincent Czyz, Adrift in a Vanishing City, Rain Mountain Press, New York City 2015