Open Cultural Studies 2 (1):236-248 (2018)

Authors
Claudia Leeb
Washington State University
Abstract
Why did the white working classes in the United States and elsewhere turn to the far right instead of uniting with the raced and gendered working class to overthrow capitalism? In this paper, I bring core concepts coined by Karl Marx in conversation with Jacques Lacan to show how the far-right exploited desires and fears around subjects' fundamental non-wholeness, which the insecurities of neo-liberal capitalism have heightened, for its political gain. I explain how the far-right offered its followers several unconscious fantasy objects petit a to cover over subjects' non-wholeness: first, the money fetish, which is also at the center of the American Dream, serves to secure the illusion of wholeness on earth; second, religion offers the illusion of wholeness in the sky, producing subjects who endure rather than rebel against their suffering on earth. Finally, it brands the sexed and raced working classes as inferior to uphold the illusion of the white working-class subjects as superior and whole, which further undermines the creation of a revolutionary proletariat.
Keywords Karl Marx   Jacques Lacan  United States  Far right
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