Fighting fascism and building a movement
November 3, 2018 6:34 PM   Subscribe

I am terrified about where the Trump administration is leading us and I want to build, or join, a movement to support democracy in the USA, even if it's just a leafletting or letter-writing campaign I do with my friends. Even if the Democrats win in Congress I believe we're going to have to be hypervigilant about not letting the white supremacist authoritarians hold and keep power. And I have some ideas.

I need feedback from you, my fellow travelers, about whether or not these ideas are good. Here are some of the ideas I've come up with: Writing letters to journalists and editors in the MSM asking for them to report on fascism and call it by name; putting up flyers; leafletting; getting a coalition of people across the country together for a letter-writing campaign to their representatives--not just in the House but in their state legislatures on down to their city councils; finding a canvassing organization to work with; posting on Medium or some other platform. The people I feel need to be reached are those who aren't rabid Trumpsters but also aren't fully informed about how fascism is taking over (and about the dire climate change warnings of late). How can they be reached?

I was reading about how white supremacists recruit disaffected young men and I wonder if there is a way of finding people vulnerable to this sort of recruiting and preventing it or inoculating them against it...or something.

I'm working on a GOTV texting campaign right now and I'm hoping for the best. But I don't intend to stop once the election is over. What do you guys think? Can you help me figure out a plan, or point me in the direction of people who are already doing this who I can join?
posted by Beethoven's Sith to Law & Government (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Check out your local Indivisible chapter.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:39 PM on November 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

The good news is that there are tons of people already trying to do this, pretty much everywhere in the country, and they need more people like you to join them! If you are comfortable posting your location, someone might even be able to point you towards a good group in your community.

Otherwise, start asking around, with friends, people you know who are civically engaged and on the same wavelength, politically. The Indivisible suggestion is a good one. Look for something volunteer-driven. Even if the group you find isn't your ideal perfect organization, it'll help you connect with other people who are taking action, and you'll build relationships with them, learn a ton, and maybe even make an impact.

Oh, another idea: progressive religious congregations. Unitarian Universalists are notorious for this (with the benefit of being welcoming to people who aren't religious), and sometimes Reform Jewish synagogues, some Lutheran churches, and many UCC churches are as well.
posted by lunasol at 7:14 PM on November 3, 2018

Basically, what I'm saying is that I like all your ideas, but you need a community. Partly to make them work, but also to find people to work with you, to bounce ideas off of, etc. It's great to pull your friends in (do that!) but it's also really good to have "activist friends" who have experience and things to teach you and that you can call on each other for things.
posted by lunasol at 7:16 PM on November 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

There is definitely a ton of organizing like this going on, although a lot of it is through pre-existing social networks and might be a little hard to tap into. Definitely ask around, or maybe start organizing people you know and then see if any of them know of people with whom you should collaborate. I really like the idea of focusing on local and state officials. One of the really pernicious effects of the decline of local media is that people are paying a lot less attention to local and state politics. Those are also elections in which a small number of people can make a big difference.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:23 PM on November 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

As I mentioned on another post today, the culture wars take no prisoners.

There’s certainly lots of noisy things going on, it might make you feel better, but if it’s change you want I’m not sure adding to the noise really helps - you’re one of millions when the real power is as an individual.

It’s a little left field, but perhaps you could think of a way to channel that into a specific thing, specificallly in your community.

You’re concerned about tolerance? Find opportunities to mentor young people, support youth groups, libraries, that sort of thing, “be the change is a cliche” but it’s true.

Calling fellow citizens hatefull names is a waste of time and a waste of energy and will only make you feel worse - and make people hate you back.

Fight injustice with love and you and everyone else will benefit.

“The world is tired of hate” - that’s Mahatma Gandhi - he knew a few things.
posted by Middlemarch at 8:01 PM on November 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

(Hence Gandhi channeled his feelings into a specific thing, specifically in his local community...??)

The Gandhi mention isn't terrible, though: part of what made his movement (which relied on mass action) work was that he understood that many people and organizations are motivated primarily by costs of one sort of another. He didn't just try to convince the British they were wrong about colonialism: he helped make it too much of an expense and a hassle to keep up. So that is another approach to keep in mind: not just to try to inoculate, but also to look for the groups working to make it more expensive in one way or another for tech companies and the media to keep providing a platform for hate and basically serving it up on a platter.

And Middlemarch's point about not letting yourself get consumed by hate is important - so check in with yourself every now and then.
posted by trig at 8:47 PM on November 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

I like Stand Up Republic for this.
posted by corb at 6:04 AM on November 4, 2018

Building strong mutual aid allows your community to fight off fascism and also makes people less likely to be recruited into those movements. e.g. Mutual Aid toolbox.
posted by andoatnp at 10:25 AM on November 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

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