On the Radical Anti-Fascism of Georges Bataille


Shaviro notes that Bataille sees our present-day culture as a “culture of negativity and the death instinct”.[1] Bataille resists the homogenizing logic of bourgeois society, those “murderous” bourgeois logics of “appropriation, fixation, and static determinations”.[2]

The present-day culture and social order are reproduced through a fundamental domestication: “We both employ and limit violence in the interest of social order. We reproduce our own comforts … but only on conditions of reproducing the regimes of exploitation and domination that guarantee them”.[3]

Bataille realized the crucial fact that “[o]ne cannot oppose fscism by reasserting the civilized values of which fascism is only the final and most massive growth; but only by reaffirming the gratuitousness of catastrophe which the fascist rage for order strives to repress”.[4]

Bataille’s radical anti-fascism consists in his heterogeneous a-political stance, which is a stance of community. Bataille doesn’t allow for either equality or inequality to arise in community because “both of these imply a stability of positions, and a common unit of equivalence, which would allow me to measure myself against, or in comparison to, the other”.[5] ommunity is a volcanic explosion of boundaries, limits annihilated and dissolved FURTHER! FURTHER! FURTHER!

It also needs to be noted that Bataille cannot be co-opted by those neo-conservatives, paleo-conservatives, and the more fascistic type because he doesn’t care about the fact that “values have collapsed” like the right and left constantly do, but rather, he cares about the fact that values “retain their efficacy and authority”.[6]

“He aims to disrupt every equilibrium, to deny us our peace of mind, to infect society or exacerbate its disease, to make an impossible cure”.[7]


Shaviro, Steven. Passion & Excess: Blanchot, Bataille, and Literary Theory. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press, 1990.


[1]: Steven Shaviro, Passion & Excess: Blanchot, Bataille, and Literary Theory (Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Press, 1990), 101.

[2]: Ibid.

[3]: Ibid.

[4]: Ibid.

[5]: Ibid., 97.

[6]: Ibid., 102.

[7]: Ibid.

How sweet terror is, not a single line, or a ray of morning sunlight fails to contain the sweetness of anguish. - Georges Bataille