The former Channel 4 News broadcaster on writing at 4am, reading Carlo Rovelli and the danger posed by the new wave of fascism that’s on the rise across the world
Paul Mason was born in Lancashire in 1960, the son of a headmistress and a lorry driver. He started his career as a music teacher before becoming a journalist in the early 90s. He joined BBC’s Newsnight as a business editor in 2001 and he later worked for Channel 4 News, jobs that took him to China, Gaza and across Bolivia. In 2016, Mason quit broadcasting to pursue writing full time. His latest book, How to Stop Fascism, draws from his own anti-fascist activism in the 1970s and 80s and explores how a new wave of fascism in the 21st century can be prevented from rising.
What prompted you to write the book at this particular moment?
In September 2019, I was on a peaceful pro-remain rally in Whitehall that got surrounded by quite violent Brexit supporters, who turned out to be Tommy Robinson fans. They were shouting: “Paul Mason, you’re a Marxist… you’re a traitor to our country.” Ten years ago, such people would have been talking about migrants taking our jobs, and now they’re worried about Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. I realised something had changed: rightwing populism has been given intellectual coherence by the thought architecture of fascism. As someone who’s been involved in anti-fascism on and off for four decades, it made me think, I need to go back and relearn what fascism is.