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Fascist Strongmen — with Ruth Ben-Ghiat

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Date created
Interviewer: Johal, Am
Interviewee: Ben-Ghiat, Ruth
Contributor: Aoki, Julia
Contributor: Feng, Kathy
Contributor: Bardi, Alyha
Contributor: Tornes, Steve
Contributor: Walters, Samantha
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, joins Am Johal to discuss the pertinent topic of facism and how political figures use and promote the image of “strongmen'' in their pursuit of power.

Am and Ruth explore the modern political environment through Ruth’s book, Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present, linking the style of Mussolini to politicians like Berlusconi, Orban, and Trump, and the process by which they become more corrupt, more reliant on power, and thereby more reliant on extremists.

In conjunction with our previous episode with Alberto Toscano, these two episodes give a historical perspective to understanding the rise of facism in the present.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She writes about fascism, authoritarianism, propaganda, and democracy protection. Her latest book, Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century.
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