Ethan Weinstein in 3:AM Magazine:
Through his political and theoretical writings he confronted the fascism and bigotry he saw in his native France. Living in occupied Paris, Bataille gathered a group of anti-fascist intellectuals working to fight totalitarianism. He was a staunch supporter of European Jews, vowing never to shake hands with an anti-Semite. In light of the political and historical turmoil he witnessed in twentieth-century Europe, one might wonder how a thinker with such diverse interests would understand the unlikely rise of a politician like Donald Trump who echoes dictatorial rulers in an uncomfortable, if seemingly haphazard fashion.
By feeding on the bigoted beliefs and economic struggles faced by white, working-class Americans, Trump’s governing style is in line with a wave of fascism rising across the globe. His words fuel his supporters hate, justifying discrimination and causing the Republican party to swing even further to the right. In response to dictators he observed who appeared to wield power more like monarchs than political leaders, Bataille defined a new form of sovereignty fit for his own times: “Let us say that the sovereign (or the sovereign life) begins when, with the necessities ensured, the possibility of life opens up without limit.” The sovereign life cannot exist when one is consumed by the economic struggles of the average citizen. The working man slaves away all day in order to ensure necessities whereas the sovereign man need not work—everything is already guaranteed.