Saturday, June 6, 2020

'Surviving Autocracy': A search for new language

Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar said that "autocratic transformation" happens in three stages: attempt, breakthrough, consolidation.

In a new book Surviving Autocracy, Masha Gessen (they/them) says these terms apply to the current American situation. (Gessen was citing a 2019 prepublication manuscript of Magyar's The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes: A Conceptual Framework.) These terms, Gessen says, are better than "using the language of political disagreement, judicial procedure, or partisan discussion to describe something that was crushing the system that such terminology was invented to describe." What we are experiencing under Trumpism is not an ordinary political debate within the existing system. A new system is crushing the existing system, and we need new language to describe it.

These ideas, and very much more, in this book:

Masha Gessen. Surviving Autocracy Riverhead, June 2, 2020.

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