Clerical Fascism

Chip Berlet cberlet at
Fri Oct 5 15:36:58 PDT 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lbo-talk at
> [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at]On Behalf Of Tanya Ramzotti
> Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 3:44 PM
> To: lbo-talk at
> Subject: Re: Clerical Fascism

> Kellner's only reference to you was to tell the reader that
> you call them "clerical fascists." However, he also referred
> to another author who describes it as "reactionary
> tribalism." It seems to me that, if Kellner gives equal
> weight to both expressions, then he isn't committed to the
> term fascism, particularly since he hasn't explained whether
> there are any differeneces between "clerical fascism" and
> "reactionary tribalism."

At the end of Kellner's article he says:

"To terrorism, I would append that progressives should be now, as previously, against fascism. The supposed perpetrators of the September 11 events were allegedly both terrorists and fascistic Islamic fundamentalists who support a theocratic state that would abrogate human rights and employ torture and murder in the name of supposedly higher theological values. In the contemporary world, such fascism should opposed and more democratic and progressive modern values and democratic politics should be defended."

I think that is not exactly what you propose he said. In Robert Antonio's article, which I admit is hard to find, he talks about "reactionary tribalism" in terms of a proto-fascist development. Antonio, Kellner, and I have had long talks over many years about this, and Kellner was my series editor at Guilford for the book I co-wrote, "Right-Wing Populsm in America" where we claim that fascism is the most mitant and zealous form of right-wing populism. It is hardly fair to expect you to know that, but I do not think you were fair in arguing that Kellner had nothing more to say about fascism in his article other than to cite me.

All of the authors I cited have argued in various ways that the left needs to undderstand the rrevival of different forms of fascism in the world, and that these fascist movements are reaching out to recruit from the left.


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