Global Eastern Europe Stream – Authoritarianism and Anti-Fascist Strategies, Past and Present

The recent wave of right-wing authoritarian movements and governments in Eastern Europe has made the region a point of global traction. But the common responses to this right-wing or “post-fascist” surge have been either to see it as an unexpected “backslide” from the alleged gains of capitalist transformations since the fall of state socialism in 1989-1991; or to explain it by using the tired Cold War and colonialist orientalizations of Eastern Europe as a semi-civilized, backward, and isolated region, “cursed” by communism and its historical “totalitarian” legacy.

We invite papers that challenge these dominant responses and explore the social and political economic dynamics of right-wing authoritarianism and fascism in Eastern Europe from an international, theoretical and social-historical perspective. Eastern Europe is not only a site of nationalist or fascist surge, but has been historically formed through revolutionary class struggles and radical political experimentation and their defeats, which lend crucial theoretical and historical insights into the current discussions of Marx and critical Marxian traditions and de-colonial engagements. In light of this historical experience and theoretical practice, we want to focus on these questions: how may we understand the current surge of the Right in Eastern Europe, with respect to the longstanding uneven, colonial-imperial relations of capital, labor, and military and political power between and within the West and the East/South? What does the shift in the balance of forces toward the Right reveal about the changing composition of the ruling classes and their hegemonic strategies at this global conjuncture? How can we make sense of the surge of the Right and its popular base in Eastern Europe by focusing on the problems of social reproduction and inequalities of class, gender, sexuality, and race or ethnicity and their co-articulations? With respect to anti-fascist strategy, what historical and contemporary experiences of anti-fascist struggles, popular movements, and grassroots action may we consider to refashion ways of countering and transforming the right-wing offensive and the neoliberal authoritarianism that gives rise to it?

Papers engaging these and related questions, from the situated viewpoint of Eastern Europe, are particularly welcome. Below are some of the themes around which papers may organize their intervention. This list is by no means exhaustive.

— Critical international approaches that connect Eastern Europe with the Middle East or Global South more generally in the context of right-wing authoritarianism and revolutionary struggles   

— Historical and contemporary right-wing authoritarian or fascist movements in Eastern Europe and anti-fascist struggles

— Authoritarian legal strategies of power and domination and social/class struggles around the law in Eastern Europe

— Migration and border politics, especially the so-called “refugee crisis”

— Contradictions of “postsocialist/post-Soviet” liberalism and neoliberal capitalism, class struggle, and gender and sexuality politics

— Anti-Semitism, whiteness/“white nationalism,” and religious- and ethno-nationalist populism

— Politics of history and memory regarding communism and fascism including anti-communist legislations and memory institutions, critical Marxian (Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, and so on) and anarchist traditions and their legacies in Eastern Europe, and the global history of socialist internationalism