Building Resilience Against Fascism

Part IV: Community Care

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Individualism during a time of inequality leads to shame and an increase in authoritarianism. Community care is a salve against the rise of fascism.

In Case You Missed It: Stepping into Healing through Community Care

Community has been a central topic in this newsletter since the beginning. It was the central theme in the very first series after all! While it may feel redundant, thereโ€™s a reason community is so central to understanding our society in order to create change.

Simply, you canโ€™t enact sustainable change by yourself!

Community is where deep connections are made, movements are built, and lives are saved. Thatโ€™s why itโ€™s so difficult to see the stubborn doctrine of individualism stick so deeply into the public consciousness in the United States still to this day.

Despite the myth of the American Dream, we have always been able to do more together than alone.

The Shame in Individualism

Weโ€™re living in a time when many of our institutions are breaking down, while the cost of living is soaring. Our basic necessities like housing, food, and energy are unaffordable. These factors are making it nearly impossible for anyone not already successful to succeed by themselves.

Housing, for example, is unaffordable due to a lack of public investment and an increase in private equity and foreign money in rental properties. The affordable housing scarcity is pushing many people onto the streets or into their cars. In turn, cities are criminalizing being unhoused, ripping down unhoused peopleโ€™s tents, and destroying the little possessions they own. The dehumanization of unhoused people leads to shame, mental health issues, and substance abuse.

Do you know what tends to rise up around times like these?

Our good ole pal, fascism!

As the basic rails of society continue to rust, more people are driven into poverty, which can lead to shame. In the U.S., your worth is often tied to employment or wealth. Itโ€™s only natural that people who fall into poverty through no fault of their own will still feel like a failure. Shame can be an incredibly powerful emotion to influence. When you feel worthless or powerless, youโ€™re more likely to want an authority figure to come in and fix it. Three recent studies from Germany show that feelings of shame can lead to a rise in support for authoritarianism.

Sadly, this is exactly what we are seeing today. Itโ€™s a shame cycle that begins to feed on itself. Authoritarians destroy democratic institutions and social safety nets, then living conditions worsen, and people feel shame and are more likely to support authoritarianism. Itโ€™s a vicious cycle.

Community Care: A Salve Against Fascism

Itโ€™s no secret that there has been a precipitous rise in fascism in the United States in the last few years. Extremists have become more blatant about their racism, misogyny, homophobia, and a general disdain for people that are not like them.

These fascist forces are attempting to divide us down ideological lines. They are hoping that cis people (non-trans people) will look the other way when they criminalize our trans friendsโ€™ right to live, be in public spaces, and get the healthcare they deserve. They are hoping that working-class white people will be angrier at the immigrant accepting lower wages than at the corporations that are laying off people to cushion their already record profits and give shareholders some extra โ€œhard-earnedโ€ cash. And they are especially hoping that men do not stand up in solidarity with women after losing the rights weโ€™ve had for 50 years.

Recently, right-wing GOP officials are echoing laws that were passed mere years before the Nazi regime in Germany began rounding up Jewish people, but now theyโ€™re focused on trans people.

Just this week, Florida introduced a bill that would allow the โ€œlegal kidnappingโ€ of trans children, while South Dakota, Tennessee, and others are ย trying to forcibly detransitioning trans kids (and in some cases adults). Thatโ€™s absolutely insane!

Whether we get to the point of Nazi Germany or not, we are already in very treacherous waters.

Thereโ€™s no time to wait. We need to be organized and come together to support and protect each other. The most successful movements for change in history have always included a broad coalition of people. In order for us to push back against fascism and begin to advance a positive, climate-forward vision for America, we must move together.

For more on the rise in anti-trans hate, check out an article I wrote on how the media can rethink what advocacy means.

๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


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