“A crucially timely volume . . . essential for all concerned citizens.” —Chris Lebron, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins and author of The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of An Idea

“It’s one thing to deplore the events at Charlottesville and another to probe the circumstances that rendered them possible. This book admirably fulfills the second need without ever losing sight of the first.” —Nancy Fraser, Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research, author of Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis

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About the Book

When white nationalists and their supporters clashed with counter-demonstrators in the college town of Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue, resulting in the death of one anti-racist activist and the wounding of thirty-five more, a signal moment in American history was reached.

Suddenly, U.S. citizens who had previously thought of themselves as moderate began to wonder whether violence in defending their values against fellow citizens was not only an option, but a necessity—whether the way American history has been commonly presented is not only unfair but inaccurate; whether the current President is to blame for the sudden visibility of white supremacist groups; and finally, whether a surge in racism and ultra-nationalism is irrevocably re-shaping the country.

#Charlottesville: White Supremacy, Populism, and Resistance untangles the meaning of the events that unfolded in August, 2017. Part One of the book documents and comments upon the immediate aftermath of the violence. Part Two addresses the context, both before and after, for interpreting the violence: essays reflect on the social and cultural landscape of the nation, the role of the media, and the logic of “punching Nazis in the face.”

Including writing by Eric Anthamatten, Nicholas Baer, Wes Bellamy, Keval Bhatt, Vaughn A. Booker, Andrew Boyer, Maria Bucur, Jordan Dunn, Mindy Fullilove, Laura Goldblatt, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Maggie Hennefeld, Christopher Howard-Woods, Jeffrey Isaac, Michael Sasha King, Mitchell Kosters, Jared Loggins, Gordon Mantler, Marcus McCullough, Rachel McKinney, Julia Ott, Claire Potter, Isaac Ariail Reed, Neil Roberts, Melvin Rogers, Sanford Schram, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Michael Weinman, Leonard A. Williams, and Deva Woodly.

224 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-682191-61-3 • E-book 978-1-682191-62-0

About the Editors

Chris Howard-Woods is the Media Editor at Public Seminar, and a B.A. candidate in philosophy at Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts.

Colin Laidley is an editor at Public Seminar and a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism at The New School.

Maryam Omidi is managing editor of the New School’s publishing initiative and an editor at Public Seminar. She is a graduate student in psychology at the New School and the author of Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums (2017).

Public Seminar is an online publishing project of The New School. PS publishes articles that provide useful, constructive, illuminating or thought-provoking contributions to the conversation of the times. Using the broad resources of social research, PS seeks to provoke critical and informed discussion by any means necessary in order to confront the fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day.

Read an Excerpt

from the book:

Charlottesville and Trump: David Duke Explains Neo-Nazi Violence to You by Jeffrey Isaac

There is fire and fury today on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, some bearing guns, are violently protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and attacking anti-racist counter-protestors.

David Duke has declared that this is the fulfilment of President Trump’s vision for America.

“We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said from the rally, calling it a “turning point.” “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

David Duke was a neo-Nazi/racist long before Trump became a political figure. He is no doubt seeking to exploit this situation. More importantly, he is stoking embers and flames of white racial and racist resentment that have a long contemporary history (the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and a much longer history (slavery; Jim Crow; structures of institutionalized racism that persist into the present). What is happening today in Virginia is not due to “Trump,” and combating both right-wing extremism and underlying structures of racism, and also the structures of economic dislocation that generate a politics of resentment, requires much more than criticizing Trump.

At the same time, electoral politics matters, and executive politics matters, and these are not mere “expressions” of underlying social and economic causes. Trump ran an extremist, right-wing populist and xenophobic campaign, against the political establishment in general. His campaign centered on mobilizing white racism and resentment and normalizing and legitimizing the so-called “alt right.” As President he has installed a set of powerful far-right figures—Bannon, Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller, the crank who wrote the NSC memo—at the highest reaches of political power, many in the White House. He has actively attacked all establishment media in favor of Breitbart-style “truth.” He has regularly employed violent rhetoric about his opponents. He has invited violence against protestors and encouraged police violence against suspects. He has vilified Black Lives Matter. Trump has done all of this and more. And so David Duke is not “wrong” when he claims to be “true” to the Trump agenda. Because Duke, Spencer, and the rest, have been encouraged, mobilized, and normalized by Trump.

To that extent, it is impossible to understand, and to combat, what is happening right now in Charlottesville, Virginia without recognizing the danger that Trump and Trumpism poses to social justice and to liberal democracy.

Saying this is not “hysterical” or “tyrranophobic.” And it does not reduce everything to Trump, or insist that other dynamics and institutions are not also responsible. In my opinion saying this is a precondition of serious political analysis right now. There are other things worth saying too. But to avoid THIS is, I am afraid, mistaken.

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