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Xenophobia, neo-fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day social context

Conference "Xenophobia, neo-fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day social context".

Xenophobia, neo-fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day social context.
Post-Soviet, East European, Western experiences of opposing xenophobia, racism, and the far right

The international conference "Xenophobia, neo-fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day social context" will discuss the place and role of xenophobic and racist attitudes and ideologemes, and of far right movements utilizing them, in post-Soviet and European societies in the last 20 years, and existing forms of and opportunities for combating these trends on the basis of values of equal dialogue and humanistic solidarity.

The main goals of the conference are:
- analysis of relationships between xenophobic and racist trends in the present-day society, expressions of right radicalism in politics and ideology, and the crisis (crises) of existing social institutions;
- search for new ways and methods of combating xenophobia, racism and the far right.

One of the consequences of the neo-liberal globalization that took place in the last 20-30 years has been an increase of social and cultural heterogeneity and conflict tendencies in the situation when existing social integration mechanisms become inefficient, social and political movements of the Left are in decline, and in exUSSR and Eastern Europe, there is often a clear social regression after the collapse of "really existing socialism". This encourages a "public rehabilitation" of views that were regarded as relegated to a radical right marginal niche in 60-70ths. Ideas that previously seemed to be compromised by their use in fascist/Nazi practice, presenting a human society as a collection of "essentially inequal" individuals and groups arranging themselves in hierarchies in a permanent struggle for resources and status, are now more and more openly legitimized in common everyday attitudes, intellectual and political life.
Censoring mechanisms of the past that were to prevent manifestations of that kind, including both openly authoritarian mechanisms (mostly used under "really existing socialism") and "soft" ones (characteristic, first and foremost, of Western societies), do not function now or are becoming inefficient. Official rejection of xenophobic, racist, discriminatory attitudes in their open form (typical of "traditional" ultra-right parties and groups), goes together with an expansion of the same attitudes, moderated or disguised, in mass sentiments and in activities of mainstream institutions and structures. The ideological and cultural evolution of the radical right sector, trying, among other things, to take advantage of "borrowing" some parts of traditionally leftist, or anarchist, or liberal/libertarian "pools of ideas", also deserves attention.
These processes have accelerated in the last two years due to an aggravation of crisis phenomena in the existing capitalist system that affect various (economic, ethnocultural, ecological, etc.) aspects of its functioning and are viewed by a number of authors as long-term and systemic.
Expressions of xenophobia, racism, and right radicalism depend in their character on a specific situation in one or another country. Particularly, among European countries there are large differences in living standards and levels of socio-economic development, ethnocultural situations and patterns of migration flows, functioning of institutions of political democracy, role played by grassroots civic initiatives. In this respect, a comparative analysis of Western, Central, Eastern European and post-Soviet countries is of significant interest.
Local specifics also strongly influence characteristics of resistance to xenophobic, racist, right radical tendencies offered by the part of society willing to defend the principles of solidarity and equal dialogue. Among actors of the resistance, there are institutionalized structures and informal grassroots initiatives, differing in ideological and political orientation and degree of radicalism, often with marked sub-cultural features. Their interaction with one another, with other civic and political actors, and with institutions of the state is an important topic for political discussions as well as for a scholarly research.

At the conference "Xenophobia, neo-fascism and anti-fascism in the present-day social context", we plan to discuss this range of problems with the participation of social science scholars of different specializations as well as civic activists taking part in the resistance to xenophobia, racism, and the far right.
In particular, it is planned to discuss the following topics:
- the crisis of the neo-liberal project and growth of open manifestations of xenophobia and racism;
- new forms of right radicalism, methods of its political and cultural expansion, open and latent;
- the civic society, the state, and activists’ resistance to xenophobia, racism, and right radicalism;
- efficient alternatives to radical-right projects.

The working languages of the conference are Russian and English.


3 november

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