Monday, December 01, 2008

Anti-racist action

I'm never sure of the best way of confronting the far right.  In Europe, marches against immigrants are typically met by large numbers of anti-racist counter-demonstrators, sometimes with violent results.  In Lund, Sweden, violence broke out yesterday when over a thousand anti-racists attempted to stop a protest by only 50 "h√∂gerextremister."  

In a way, violence seems appropriate.   Fascism has at its root a heavy dose of machismo and meeting it on its own macho grounds can take the wind out of its sails.  Right wingers become no longer the tough protectors of the fatherland / motherland, knightly or viking-ly looking out for their white sisters and mothers, but a cowed minority in need of protection from the police.  

But, of course,  aggressive marches and equally aggressive counter-marches have created a self-sustaining dynamic, with everyone playing out pre-ordained roles.  A peaceful, quiet but resolute response to racism could break the pattern in a positive way.


jkd said...

I thought that one of the best political actions of our Oberlin career was when Fred Phelps' "protests" were countered with a tolerance fair featuring balloons, music, games, etc. Greet a hate-filled vision of the world with a vision of the world as you want it to be, and see what choice people make.

Old Tales Retold said...

Yeah, that was pretty cool. Good call.

Anonymous said...

Or recall the Serbian "revolution" when the opposition turned to humor and ridicule to turn out an dictatorial government. I also recall how the Czechs utterly confused the invading Russians in Aug. 1968 by turning road-signs, fraternizing with the poor Russian soldiers that expected hostility. It is really difficult to do violence to humor or kindness during a long campaign. The Christian message of turning your other cheek to the "enemy" is difficult to follow and does certainly not deliver results right away. Often times great suffering ensue because of the hardening of hearts that power causes. But in each human is a touchable kernel of kindness/empathy that even in harshest environs can be kindled. Thus I would advocate more development in the use of humor, ridicule, nuance and spectacle in face of fascism, racism and the like.

Tove E.