Institute for Social Justice

Sydney School for Critical Social Thought – Radical Reflection and…

Sydney School for Critical Social Thought – Radical Reflection and the Fight Against Fascism

Prof Jeanne Morefield, Whitman College

The British vote to leave the EU, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of right wing, anti-globalization parties in Europe have led to extensive hand wringing by many political commentators and foreign policy pundits over the future of liberal democracy on a global scale.  Repeatedly, these same commentators insist that, given the extent of the crisis, the best response to the rise of a xenophobic, rightwing insurgence, is a wholehearted reiteration of “our” fundamental liberal values – human rights, democracy, and (in the words of Angela Merkel) the “dignity of man.”

By contrast, I argue in this talk that a more effective response must come to terms with the role that liberal internationalism and the language of liberal values has played in setting the stage for the current crisis.  Such a fight, therefore, needs to combine whole hearted opposition to fascism with a radical critique of the way pundits, political leaders, and scholars have used the language of liberalism to deflect attention away from the deeply hierarchical, anti-democratic qualities of the American dominated global order since the end of formal imperialism.  It must also address the way Third Way liberals have used similar deflective language since the 1980’s to justify a long term, neoliberal gutting of welfare states throughout the Global North.  Through an expansive reading of the work of Edward Said, this talk explores what a radically reflective politics might look like and what role such a politics ought to play in the struggle against fascism that is to come

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Jeanne-Morefield-WR-1 (1)

Prof Jeanne Morefield

When: 26 May 2017, 4pm – 6pm

Where: Level 12, 25AB, Tenison Woods House, 8-20 Napier Street, North Sydney

Event type: Public Lecture

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