Around the turn of the century, anti-fascism in Germany underwent a transformation. Instead of denouncing the prevailing social order as the natural breeding ground of fascist movements, the focus of the critique shifted onto regressive, unenlightened, or "abridged" forms of anti-capitalism. Asserting that capitalism is "abstract rule," it set out to accuse its various adversaries of easily sliding into antisemitism, construed by anti-fascists as a "hatred of the abstract."
The theory behind this new type of anti-fascism was originally devised by Moishe Postone in his seminal essay "Anti-Semitism and National Socialism." However, as Michael Sommer convincingly demonstrates, Postone's arguments are based on a misreading of Marx and are theoretically unsustainable. What is more, they have provided the groundwork for an "uncritical critique", aiding in the degeneration of anti-fascism from a left-wing endeavor into an ideology that is fully affirmative of liberal capitalism.
This translation of Sommer's German-language text of 2014 comes with an extensive new introduction by Mike Macnair that links these changes to more recent developments in the Anglophone world, as well as situating Postone's theory in a broader historical context.