Responding to Hateful Times: Our Tasks Ahead

December 9, 2015

Two Anarres Project contributors reflect on what needs to be done today to respond to a fearful social environment.

Mark Naison

The thing about racism, xenophobia and ethnic cleasing that most people don’t understand is that while it usually starts out with abstractions which make large groups of people “the enemy” it ultimately comes down to what happens to your neighbor, your co worker, the student in your class,or the owner of a business you frequent who is a member of the unfortunate group being demonized. Will they be harassed, publicly humiliated, deprived of work, placed in camps and detention centers, even killed? Because that is where mass demonization of groups often heads- crosses burned, yellow stars sown on jackets, windows of businesses smashed, people taken off to camps or murdered before your eyes.

Do not think it cannot happen here. It DID happen here- to African Americans, Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans- and it is happening to religious and ethnic minorities in many parts of the world now.

What I hope for is that people think long and hard about what it would mean for their community and their networks of friends and neighbors if a group of people are singled out by race or religion or national origin as a danger to the safety of everyone else. There is no place I know of in the world where that doesn’t turn ugly really fast and present people with moral choices they never imagined when they started down that path.

Chris Crass

Our task is to both focus on the racist rhetoric of Trump to mobilize broad public protest, but to also locate Trump squarely in the mainstream of right wing politics. He has brought the voice of right wing trolls to the headlines, consistently, for months. Our task is to bring down Trump in spectacular fashion that makes him the exemplar, not the exception, of the right. Rather then Mitt Romney’s behind doors leaked speech, Trump is bringing the hate front and center. Our goal is: defeat of the right, build the multiracial, working class rooted, feminist left, win the center and as many on the right as possible and further a healthy, life affirming, democratic society for all.

2 Comments

  1. James Gore

    Sanders and Warren are making a change and without that push the racist right will keep us down. I am putting my money on a sustainable movement that is inclusive. Blacklivesmatter is essential in the movement and always close to my heart. There will be no peace without enlightened leadership.

    Reply
  2. Michael J Fitzgerald

    In my estimation racism, xenophobia, etc. are all functions of a psyche that is so fundamentally insecure in itself that it must build walls around itself to protect itself from anything that challenges its conception of self; anything that is “other” causes it to question its rigid construct of self which results in fear that it might not actually be what it has constructed itself to be. That potential for doubt produces fear, denial, anger and possibly violence. Violence against the other, i.e., the enemy, reinforces the illusion of self and externalizes and projects that doubt, via violence, onto the “perpetrator” of the inconvenient truth, “neutralizing” it. We can then slip back into our fantasy. The fantasy that we are “complete” and in no need of self reflection.
    I believe that we must cultivate that need for reflection, in a non-confrontational manner, in ourselves and all those “others”.

    Reply

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