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Mystified Consciousness: Rethinking the Rise of the Far Right with Marx and Lacan

Claudia Leeb
Published Online: 2018-11-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0022


This paper brings core concepts coined by Karl Marx in conversation with Jacques Lacan to analyse some of the mechanisms that have mystified subjects’ consciousness, and contributed to a scenario where the (white) working-classes in the United States and elsewhere turned to the far right that further undermines their existence, instead of uniting with the raced and gendered working class to overthrow capitalism. It explains that the money fetish, which we find at the centre of the American Dream of wholeness (on earth), serves as the unconscious fantasy object petit a to deal with the desires and fears subjects fundamental non-wholeness creates, which have been heightened by the insecurities of neoliberal capitalism and exploited by the far right. It also shows how religion offers the illusion of wholeness in the sky, which produces subjects who endure rather than rebel against their suffering. Finally, it explains how the far-right brands the sexed and raced working-classes as inferior to uphold the illusion of the white working-class subjects as whole, which further undermines the creation of a revolutionary proletariat.

Keywords: far right; Marx; Lacan


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About the article

Received: 2018-03-31

Accepted: 2018-09-02

Published Online: 2018-11-10

Published in Print: 2018-10-01

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 236–248, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0022.

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© by Claudia Leeb, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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