About us

The International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies (IRGAC) is an initiative of the-Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung that brings together more than 20 scholar-activists from across the Global South to share and exchange ongoing research on the rise of the Right and strategic responses from the Left. We seek to combine in-depth studies of national and regional political processes with a global perspective that recognizes and analyzes the universal manifestations of authoritarian capitalism and universalizing processes that lie beyond the “rising tide” of authoritarianism. As the project progresses, we will regularly publish our collective and individual analysis, articles, findings and excerpts here.

IRGAC blog on #authoritarianism worldwide

Check out our #publications section with articles, interviews, reviews and lots of other material on global authoritarianism

New Research Cluster: MENA@IRGAC

Our new MENA research cluster is composed of six scholars and activists who bring research, journalism, and art together to study authoritarianism, political contestation, and counter strategies in and from the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), and beyond.

MENA@IRGAC is a cooperation between the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and “Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe”, a research programme at the Forum Transregionale Studien.

State, Police, and Counter-Strategies in the Contemporary Middle East: Insights from Egypt and Turkey

Roundtable Discussion | Friday November 12, 2021 | 17:00–19:30 | Speakers: Deniz Yonucu (Newcastle University / EUME Fellow 2015-17)
Hossam Elhamalawy (journalist)
Adham Youssef (journalist / Freie Universität Berlin) Chair & Discussant: Erol Saglam (Freie Universität Berlin / Istanbul Medeniyet University / Fellow of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation / IRGAC 2021-22)

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Political Crisis in El Salvador and the Millennial Authoritarianism of Nayib Bukele: Interview with Fuerza Solidaria por El Salvador

El Salvador is experiencing an accelerated authoritarian drift at the hands of its eccentric president Nayib Bukele, which has led to widespread demonstrations. Bukele´s image is that of a millennial president, spontaneous, young, and cool. Yet this style goes hand in hand with the persecution of social activists, the removal of the entire Supreme Court and the militarization of society. To learn more about the current situation and ongoing protests, we spoke with activists from Fuerza Solidaria por El Salvador.

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2001 as a Murmur, Looting as a Project, and New Promises for Social Change

The economic crisis and the pandemic tinge the 2021 election campaign in Argentina. 20 years after the events of December 2001 it is worth asking about their imprint, lessons, and projection for the future. Is a cycle coming to an end?

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Knowledge Production During Revolutionary Times: Reflections From, In, and On West Asia and North Africa

Roundtable Discussion | Friday October 29, 2021 | 17:00–19:30 | Hybrid (register for details)

Speakers: Nader Talebi (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Nafiseh Fathollahzadeh (EUME Fellow of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation / IRGAC 2021-22), Oula Ramadan (Badael), Sana Tannoury-Karam (EUME Fellow 2020-22), Walid El Houri (OpenDemocracy / EUME Fellow 2013/14), Yasmeen Daher (Febrayer), Chair & Discussant: Jeffrey G. Karam (LAU / EUME Fellow of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation / IRGAC 2021-22)

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“Impossible Is Not So Easy”: An Interview with a Political Analyst from the Philippine Left

After more than five years of authoritarian rule, rent-seeking, and a kind of ‘gangster’ neoliberal economic policies, the strongman rule of Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has begun to unravel as the Philippines gears up for the national elections in May 2022. Realignments of social and political forces are beginning to reconfigure the political landscape amidst the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. Progressive and traditional social forces are drawing their political lines as the mounting opposition against Duterte expands. This conversation with Joel Rocamora, a renowned author, political analyst, and progressive governance practitioner, seeks to examine the rise of Duterte’s authoritarian governance, the reconfiguration of the Philippine elite and other social classes, the political/ideological debates within the Philippine Left, and the political realignments towards the Philippine presidential elections in 2022.

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Florestan Fernandes: Explaining Authoritarianism Beyond the Fascist Experience

One of the main challenges for understanding the concept of authoritarianism is the many different meanings it has. Already in the 1970s, Brazilian sociologist and political militant Florestan Fernandes analysed the ambiguity of the concept of authoritarianism and its use in political mainstream discourse. He assessed that if we explain authoritarianism only through the liberal lens – as being in opposition to “democracy” -, we ignore the inherent authoritarian tendencies of liberal democracy and its everyday abuse of power. Florestan proposed a different understanding instead.

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The Struggles against Authoritarianism in Brazil: An Interview with Raimundo Bonfim of the National Campaign “Out Bolsonaro!”

Raimundo Bonfim, national coordinator of the Centre of People’s Movements (CMP), talks about the current political situation in Brazil and gives perspectives on the struggle against Bolsonaro and the challenges currently posed to the Brazilian left.

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How to Achieve Transnational Solidarity in the Age of Neoliberal Authoritarianism and Border Securitization?

In this essay, I want to address the complications stemming from the political economy of transnational solidarity networks and the power asymmetry in them, mainly through discussing the Turkish case. Neoliberal globalization and its political geography built upon colonial divisions have become the framework for cross-national solidarity as well as the recent authoritarian turn, while at the same time bringing in structural setbacks to the former. Furthermore, the recent migration “crises”, that are caused by imperialist interventions, have been met with heightened border securitization in the Global North, limiting the field for international human rights activism. This introduces a serious additional challenge to the conception and practice of transnational solidarity.

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