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What can I do to stop fascism?
An essay on being a progressive activist in America
A reader recently wondered what progressives could do to stop right-wing extremism from advancing, spreading, and controlling the political and legislative landscape of the USA. Let’s start by defining who we are and what we stand for.
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Progressive Left: Key political attitudes and beliefs
Progressive Left are the only typology group in which a majority (62%) says that success in life is largely outside of an individual’s control. And when asked to compare the U.S. to other countries – whether the U.S. is better than all other countries, is among the best countries, or there are other countries that are better – 75% of Progressive Left say there are other countries better than the U.S., the highest share among typology groups.1
This is the group I fall into, and this is the group with the highest political activism rate. The future progress and strength of American democracy rest on convincing more people who are moderates to see the world through a progressive left lens.
If you are unsure where you fall on the political spectrum, here is a quiz you can take to find out.
So how do we get started on this task? Join activist groups. Fund activist groups. Promote activist groups. Click the button and browse to find a group you want to support in one of these ways.
The group linked in the button has a 24-week course available that Progressive Left activists could tailor to fit their particular priorities.
If you are not inspired to join any of the 500 progressive groups above, you can visit the effective activist website.2
Why do we engage in activism? For most of us, something that we love has been stolen.
Climate change is ravaging the natural world and our communities. Jails are filled with Black and Brown men whose only crime was being born of a different skin color. Our environment is filled with harmful chemicals that poison all living beings, with 95% of humans living in areas with unhealthy air. One in five women have been the victim of attempted or completed rape, and over 80% have been sexually harassed. Billions of animals endure a torturous existence in factory farms every year. Immigrant communities are torn apart by detentions and deportations. Schools in low-income neighborhoods are funneling children of color into the criminal justice system for minor offenses. The richest 1% of the world’s population owns almost half of the wealth.
We feel unsafe when we go outside. We are worried for the well-being of our families and our neighbors. We miss being able to see the stars at night, to take a deep breath of fresh air, to sip clean water from our local stream. We watch the news in fear, anxiously awaiting the day another decision will be made that will further strip us of our rights.
Today, 150 species of plants and animals will go extinct. Today, 2,000 people will commit suicide. Today, in the world’s poorest countries, 15,000 children under the age of five will die from a preventable illness. Today, 2,000 of those children will die from diarrhea, lacking access to the simple and enormously cheap treatment of water mixed with salt and sugar.
And today, the five highest earning CEOs will each earn almost $200,000—more in one day than 99.9% of the world earns in one year. Today, the 200,000 richest individuals in the world will spend $100 million just on jewelry, watches, sunglasses, and handbags—an amount that could save tens of thousands of lives if it was donated to charity instead.3
Still not convinced you have things to do that matter? I give you another button:
Power concedes nothing without a demand.