Jordan B Petersen and the Fascist foothold in Canadian Academia

Having thrown itself headlong into the struggle to confront, expose, and disarm fascism and misogyny, the MER-RSM in Ottawa and their comrades were successful in shutting down the screening of the MRA funded The Red Pill at Mayfair Theater. The anti-Muslim demonstration (organized by the Soldiers of Odin, an organization with documented Neo-Nazi ties) on the 15th of October was also confronted by the MER-RSM of Montréal. An important and latent attempt by the fascists to gain inroads into organizing in Canada, however, is in the form of attacks on people’s self-identification of gender that is now taking place in the sphere of academia as opposed to the street level activity of cleaned-up boneheads. As the saying goes; Keep watch only for the giants and you’ll be eaten by the ants.

Recently it was spoken of in the news: a professor of the University of Toronto refused to abide by his contract as an employee of a publicly funded university (despite of numerous warnings of the university). The principles informing the refusal of this professor, Jordan B Petersen, constitute the fascist reterritorialization of liberal “freedom of speech”. Petersen represents a flagrant case of backwards ideology subsidized directly by the government.

Petersen’s views can be summed up in his statement, in reference to being asked to refer to a fellow professor by their correct pronouns: “If you aren’t a man or a woman, I don’t see what the options are.”[1] Given Petersen’s position and the subject of his field of study we can begin to ask the question: is Petersen really unaware of the numerous genders that exist in many cultures (both in the past and today)? He claims that his research is intended to find ‘universals’ in mythologies of many cultures[2], yet his sincerity in this task and the relevance of his own work is cast in doubt as the professor blithely professes ignorance of the rigorously and extensively documented history of gender variety within ancient and modern cultures of the present, past, and every known continent. Instead of recognizing and studying the anthropological and social research behind this phenomenon, Petersen absurdly blames a conspiracy of a “coterie of… ideologically motivated… left-wing radicals” for the “invention” of these genders and ridiculously assumes that people’s genders are something which is up for debate[3].

None of the above is an idiosyncratic theory of Petersen’s. It is rather his pushing of a gender binary which betrays his own ideological motivation—Fascism. Fascists have blamed the chimera “Cultural Marxism” for the phenomenon of gender variance, assuming that societies with no knowledge of Marxism that existed long before the birth of Marx were somehow subject to his influence. This is a clear echo of the Nazi era “Cultural Bolshevism”. Petersen is canny enough to avoid terminology directly associated with fascists. The absurdity of his claim, however, is in no way diminished; applying political distinctions such as Left and Right (which originated in the parliamentary systems after the French Revolution) to societies without such political bodies is scarcely less risible than applying the name and current of thought of a 19th century political economist to phenomenon which spans far past either. Rightists blame Marxism itself for the “inventions” of non-binary genders, in contradiction of the fact of such genders existing before Marxism and in societies without any knowledge of that subject. Trans people have always existed and Petersen is a fraud.

Petersen’s storied ability to lecture without notes is not the result of an eidetic memory; his ignorance of elementary facts on his field of study are simply a case of naked and unabashed charlatanism allowed to go rampant in academia. Applied post-modern idealism taken to its conclusions reveals the unmistakable recrudescence of obscurantism and mystification. The dilettantish mixture of mythology with psychology serves a greater purpose of social conformity in capitalist reproduction. In an interview Petersen stated that the genders man and woman are “fundamental axioms” that are not to be “watered down”[4]. The “inherent” social function of these is a crucial component of the fascist view of strict binary gender roles corresponding to exterior anatomy. Essentialism with regard to binary gender roles corresponding to an assumption of sex based on external anatomy is a universal component of Fascist ideology, serving the propagation of the nuclear family of bourgeois society. The research of Magnus Hirschfeld, who had uncovered and documented gender variance, was burned by the Fascists in order to bury the truth scope of gender expression in German society. Petersen’s influences are nearly a who’s who of the principle fascists in academia today. His premier intellectual antecedent Mircea Eliade was an unremitting supporter of the Iron Guard. Two more of his ideological predecessors, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Carl Jung, were known crypto-fascists; both had much praise for the Nazis and demonstrated anti-Semitism. Indeed, Solzhenitsyn wrote an anti-Semitic work and had praise for every 20th century Fascist leader under the sun[5].

Jung certainly had choice words for the Jews that also betrayed his retrograde stance on gender in very stark terms:

The Jew who is something of a nomad has never yet created a cultural form of his own and as far as we can see never will, since all his instincts and talents require a more or less civilized nation to act as host for their development. The Jews have this peculiarity with women; being physically weaker, they have to aim at the chinks in the armour of their adversary.[6]

Elsewhere, Jung held great praise for Mussolini: “The huzzahs of the Italian nation go forth to the personality of the Duce, and the dirges of other nations lament the absence of strong leaders.” The greatest praise, however, was saved for Hitler, who he described in nothing less than divine terms as “a medium […] the mouthpiece of the Gods of old…” and as “a demi-deity or, even better, a myth.”[7]

Returning to the subject of gender we find throughout Jung’s work a typical psychopathology of gender traits which leads itself to essentialism (in the explicit gendered form of “anima” and “animus”). It is also worthwhile to add that the chief popularizer of the work of Carl Jung in North America was Bill Moyers who, as press secretary of the Johnson Administration, had the job of obfuscating the atrocities of the imperialist invasion of Vietnam. Such unscientific theories lends itself all too easily to the lowest of purposes. As Mao Zedong said, “dogma is like cow dung, it can be used to make anything, even Revisionism.”

Petersen’s views certainly do not occur in a vacuum as some moment of clarity that struck an enlightened member of liberal society; they are carried as part of the historical mission of fascism to cow mankind in obedience to atavism. His claims for his own free speech are claims that the origins and consequences of the ideas he is expressing to be ignored. The fascists of the present day themselves know the people’s hatred for fascist ideology and thus make every attempt to conceal it through novel though recognizable insignia and labels such as “Identitarian” or “Alt-Right”. It is through tracing the genealogy of fascism and being familiar with its tenets that we are able to recognize and combat it.

Liberals, on the other hand, are only too readily fooled by this chameleon’s trick. The claims by liberals to an individualism is one sided, as its ideal notion of the individual is one which is devoid of the characteristics which would individuate it from others and their historical provenance (class, gender, ethnicity, etc.). Those who find themselves made distinct by the concrete characteristics of their identity and a target for fascists are told by liberals they must put themselves at risk for the greater good of society and its expression of free speech. The content of the fascist ideology—the desire for cleansing “undesirables” —is ultimately not so different from the mission of liberals in their project of Capitalism, which is the cleansing of any poor people without any interest in spending most of their lives sustaining the bourgeoisie’s wealth.

Liberals, despite their professed belief in the historical flourishing of truth in the wake of the free expression of all views are incapable of seeing Fascism for its reactionary objective—its unthinking acceptance of the superiority of a imaginary status quo ante—the state of purity untouched by historical processes such as modernity. The fascist offensive to erase the colonized peoples, the gender nonconforming, and a militant, partisan, and independent labour movement is an offensive against the living bearers of a history, the latter of which is an affront to the former’s mythological conception of history. Fascism in Europe was a movement with the middle class as its mass base directed by finance capital; it was concerned with the excision of the history of class struggle in that continent. The bitter and brutal history of primitive accumulation, the enclosures, the Peasant War in Germany, the working class uprisings of the Springtime of Nations in 1848, and the Paris Commune in 1871 are the ultimate affront and repudiation of their idyllic and flatly ignorant vision of Western Civilization as harmonious.

The humanities have too long been perceived as a place where left liberals have popular hegemony (in opposition to the sexism related with STEM and the technical fields that was unearthed during the “GamerGate” episode). The retreat and reversal nonetheless requires a tactical shift in combating fascism wherever it appears. During the Cultural Revolution the Criticise Lin Biao Criticise Confucius campaign represented a struggle against elitist and misogynistic feudal ideology that had reared its head even within the Communist Party of a socialistic society. Scientific findings have dispelled the notions of binary sex characteristics in human beings. However, the contrary attitude persists in the popular imagination and must be combatted by revolutionaries. Reactionaries in academia and the arts serve to reinforce these notions while playing into vulgar and stereotyped images instead of equipping the masses with scientific understanding of topics which apply to their daily lives (as was espoused by the revolutionary Jiang Qing who made the point of popularizing on the basis of raising the level of understanding). If this development has a positive counterpoint, it is that reactionaries have run aground with their project of archaic distortions of science and fact in service of backwardness and now dip into mythology and fiction. If a proletariat is to challenge and uproot false understandings of human biology it must be armed with a scientific understanding of anatomy and the world changing power of modernity to wield it for the cause of winning their freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, and the overt bridge between the two embodied in fascism.


6 Collected Works of CG Jung X, para. 353.
7 The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism. Richard Wolin. Princeton University Press, 2009. p. 75-76.