Theory & Philosophy Reading Group XXV: Hannah Arendt

Friday 24 February 2017, 7pm: Old Capitol Books and The Direct Action Monterey Network are coming together for our 25th Theory & Philosophy Reading Group. This month, we’re interested in exploring some of the most important writings on the rise of fascism: The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem.


Our reading groups have been growing, and we believe that together we can help arm our minds through critical theory and philosophy.

This month we’re reading selections from The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem.

You can find the readings here.

On The Origins of Totalitarianism:

“Arendt’s first major work, published in 1951, is clearly a response to the devastating events of her own time – the rise of Nazi Germany and the catastrophic fate of European Jewry at its hands, the rise of Soviet Stalinism and its annihilation of millions of peasants (not to mention free-thinking intellectual, writers, artists, scientists and political activists). Arendt insisted that these manifestations of political evil could not be understood as mere extensions in scale or scope of already existing precedents, but rather that they represented a completely ‘novel form of government’, one built upon terror and ideological fiction. Where older tyrannies had used terror as an instrument for attaining or sustaining power, modern totalitarian regimes exhibited little strategic rationality in their use of terror. Rather, terror was no longer a means to a political end, but an end in itself. Its necessity was now justified by recourse to supposed laws of history (such as the inevitable triumph of the classless society) or nature (such as the inevitability of a war between “chosen” and other “degenerate” races).” (Majid Yar)

Come talk about theory, philosophy, and how it relates to current events with a friendly group of readers, thinkers, and intellectuals who are local here to the Monterey peninsula.


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