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Feb 9th, 2019
What Does an "American" Fascism Look Like?

Join us for a stimulating discussion on the history of American fascism and its relationship to the Trump Era.

Most of us have been taught, and continue to believe, that fascism is a totalitarian form of government featuring dictators like Mussolini and Hitler. All fascism in world history must resemble these two models. In his new primer, The Coming of the American Behemoth: The Origins of Fascism in the United States, 1920-1940, author Michael Roberto asks us to reconsider the nature of fascism and its American manifestations.

Taking root in the movement of monopoly-finance capital during the Great Boom of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s, American fascism differed in its particular national form from its European counterparts. In this presentation, Michael will point to the social and political character of these fascist processes as they arose from capitalist imperatives and the needs of what was then called "Big Business." The threat of fascism from finance capital will be contrasted with that of "small fry fascisiti," including Asheville's own William Dudley Pelley, who created the Silver Shirts in 1933.

Michael Joseph Roberto retired in 2016 from the faculty of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the largest historically black educational institution in the United States, where he taught contemporary world history. A longtime political activist in Greensboro, NC, he has worked as a journalist and published essays in Monthly Review, Socialism and Democracy, and other scholarly journals.