Mon 18 January 2021

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, Byline Times has a ray of light in all the doom and gloom.

This Editorial is based on a thread by our US Correspondent Caroline Orr.

There’s a lot of doom and gloom around about how everything is broken, our systems are failing, and we can’t trust our institutions to save us. Although Byline Times agrees most of these warnings are warranted, those warnings aren’t very helpful if you don’t offer practical solutions.

It’s important to talk about how our institutions have been compromised, but unless this is paired with talk of actionable items to work around those systems, those warnings will fail.

There’s an entire field of research on ‘fear-based messaging’. The evidence quite clearly shows us that scaring people without offering solutions not only fails to motivate action but often induces helplessness and resignation.

Fear-based messaging is the last thing we need.

So if we can’t trust institutions like the courts or Congress or Parliament to save us: What is there to rely on? Well, for one thing, antifascism offers a model for working outside the system to organize, build coalitions, stop fascist mobilizations, and protect our communities.

In the era of Trump and Brexit, it has become popular for pundits to act like prophets because they recognized our countries are vulnerable to authoritarian impulses. But antifascists have always recognized this as a historical continuity with a high propensity for recurrence. Antifascism isn’t based on alarmism about the future; it’s based on a sober assessment of history, an understanding of the conditions that allow fascism to emerge and take hold.

So, during this festive season, as the longest night of the year arrives, think twice before amplifying fatalistic narratives and consider giving voice to those who’ve always understood the threat and actually offer solutions to counter it.


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