The Anti-Fascism Team is concerned that fascism and white supremacy may be on the rise. As evidence, consider that well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer moved to Alexandria immediately following the 2016 election. We are leading a series of protests in order to converse the public about policy changes or other actions that might be adopted here in Alexandria.
What can we do to oppose Fascism?
Fascism uses sophisticated propaganda techniques to arouse popular support for an anti-liberal, anti-socialist, violently exclusionary, nationalist agenda. In the USA, in 2017, it takes the form of White Nationalism. We can defeat White Nationalism by dismantling white supremacy and strengthening Democracy. Based on Timothy Snyder’s book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century, we suggest three actions.
1. Participate in local politics (Lessons 2, 3, 13: Defend institutions, Beware the one-party state, Practice corporeal politics). Democracy is a “use it or lose it” enterprise. The modern myth that politics is toxic discourages sensible voters. Manipulation of the vote, through gerrymandering and voter ID laws, limits participation. It is not difficult, or expensive, to meet and talk with your local politicians. Doing so shatters the myths.
2. Improve policing (Lessons 1, 6: Do not obey in advance, Be wary of paramilitaries). For too long, over-policing of minority communities has gone unanswered. The post-9/11 militarization of police has fostered a culture that expects violence. If your only tool is a hammer, then every citizen is a nail.
We in Grassroots Alexandria are working with Tenants and Workers United, NAACP Alexandria, and others, to ask City Council for a Police Data Transparency ordinance. We ask only that we report broad demographic data on stops and arrests, based mainly on information we are already collecting. This information will support improved policing.
Sample message to City Council: “The police and our minority communities should be able to work together. To make this happen we need information instead of innuendo. Please push back against white supremacy by supporting our minority communities. Please pass a Police Data Transparency ordinance.”
3. Support journalism (Lessons 10, 11: Believe in truth, Investigate). After years of Fox News propaganda, a tiny number of very loud Republicans now believe that Republican Party power is more important than the rule of law. With the advent of Trump News, the lies are intentionally blatant.
Blatant lies challenge us to either prove loyalty by parroting the lies or speak up in resistance. There is no middle ground. Silence is complicity.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. –Benjamin Franklin
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