ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Anatomy of ‘Alt-Right’ Politics

Ipsita Chatterjee has gone through an arduous task by documenting the painful and divisive politics of the United States (US) Alt-Right in her book Alt-Right Movement: Dissecting Racism, Patriarchy and Anti-immigrant Xenophobia. Her concern in the book is the US, but the account mirrors the right-wing upsurge in most other parts of the world. One can easily identify with the issues and dangers she has raised with what is unfolding in India, Turkey, Brazil, and many other countries. The right everywhere has few common identifiers and one of them is hatred and anger for ‘‘the other.’’ It cannot survive without this paranoia. It has to remind its adherents that they are under perpetual siege and need to fight back.

This hatred also has its philosophical underpinnings which the author brings out in one of the chapters of the book. She emphasises an important fact that philosophy and praxis are never separate because it is only the thought which leads to action in the end. Chatterjee explores the ideas of Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, Martin Heidegger, and Nietzche to study the influence on the Alt-Right’s philosophical praxis. Evola, the Italian philo­sopher, was ragged with the mundane and mechanical modernity and thus looked for a spiritual consciousness that will place the real worthy men in command of the nation and protect it from inferior men and women. The Alt-Right is inspired by Nietzche’s idea “that happiness rests on the claim to power through terror, the most terrifying being is the most powerful being.” However, the same groups revel in condemning terrorism in the name of Islam and rightly so, while justifying terror in their own arsenal. Richard Spencer, who coined the term Alt-Right, was deeply influenced by Heidegger’s claim that liberal modernity pushes us into an inauthentic existence based on mediocre, banal, and stupefying nothingness.

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Updated On : 6th Sep, 2022
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