“Authoritarianism. Perspectives from the Global South”

Workshop and Jour Fixe in Cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Academy in Exile, in cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter‐Strategies (IRGAC), organized a collaborative workshop on “Struggles under Authoritarianism” on September 30, 2021. Twenty fellows from both institutions, together with guest speakers, convened for a full day of presentations, textual analysis, and discussions about the challenges that authoritarian populism has meant for liberal democracy in recent years. The aim was to develop a deeper understanding of recent and current struggles against authoritarianism in different parts of the world, starting with a critical assessment of conceptual links between neoliberalism and authoritarianism. Discussing current trends in authoritarianism research in (German) academia, the workshop then focused on recent developments in the Middle East and Latin America. The workshop established that there was interest in continuing the conversation and in future collaboration and joint research.

The workshop will be followed by a regular Jour Fixe that focuses on the regional and global interconnections between authoritarian capitalism and reactionary populism. The planned meetings will take up the point that even in the heartlands of liberal democracy burgeoning crises and changing forms of resistance have led to an increasingly authoritarian statist form of neoliberal regime, characterized by a condition of permanent austerity that necessitates increased surveillance and policing. Leftwing movements and governments often struggle to overcome their own legacies of authoritarianism, factors that contribute to the Left’s political vulnerability in current struggles.

The planned monthly Jour Fixe will promote critical dialogue between progressive scholars and activists who seek to better understand the global tide of authoritarianism. The Jour Fixe aims to contribute to the development of democratic counterstrategies and viable political alternatives. Each session will focus on a certain aspect of authoritarianism and/or struggles against authoritarianism, combining a short input by one of the participants with a joint discussion of prepared readings.