Tomorrow, Donald Trump will officially be inaugurated as the President of the United States. Yup. That’s right. A racist Oompa Loompa with a Twitter addiction is going to officially be in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world. If that doesn’t fill you with dread, then I don’t know what will.
The inauguration of Donald Trump will undoubtedly be a turning point in history. The kind of turning point that history students will write dissertations about in years to come. We’re already seeing the far-right rise again across Western Europe (ahem, Brexit), and Donald Trump’s presidency is only going to fill those fascists and their followers with more confidence.
It is, therefore, more important than ever for liberals and lefties (and even non-fascist conservatives) to stand up against these tyrants. And no, I don’t think tyrant is too strong a word.
Changing the world and dismantling oppressive structures can be difficult and incredibly overwhelming, however. I mean, it took an entire World War to stop fascism last time. So to help you along your way, I’ve created a handy little guide to fighting fascism and oppression – on both an individual and national (or even global) level. So if you want to see Donald Trump and his ilk burn in flames, I hope this post gives you a little extra fuel for the fire.
1. Use your privilege
This won’t, of course, apply to everyone – but I’m willing to bet it applies to a lot of you reading this.
If you’re white, use your privilege to stand up for people of colour. If you’re straight, stand in solidarity with your LGBT+ counterparts. If you’re able bodied, do what you can to elevate the voices of disabled people. If you’re male, challenge other men’s misogyny so women don’t have to. Whatever your privilege, use it for good.
The important thing to remember about using your privilege and being an ally, however, is to stay in your goddamn lane. Using your privilege doesn’t mean shouting over minorities – it means amplifying their voices, speaking out in instances when it might not be safe for them to do so, shifting the spotlight away from yourself and towards people who need it more. It means listening to minorities when they tell you to shut up or speak out. It means asking questions about people’s lived experiences – but not expecting them to relive their trauma or educate your ass when Google exists.
Women and minorities will be the people who suffer the most under Trump and other far-right leaders. So if you have even an ounce of privilege, it’s important to use it to help those more vulnerable than you.
2. Money talks
This is related to using your privilege, but letting your money talk for you can be a powerful thing. In a world where billionaire businessmen win elections and fund the media, it’s clear that money talks.
If you have any disposable income to spare, consider directing towards causes that need it. Donate to Planned Parenthood instead of buying your Starbucks coffee. Buy a subscription to Teen Vogue instead of The Daily Mail. Support local charities that are fighting for the vulnerable.
There are so many people doing amazing work, but they can only carry on doing that work if they have the money to support themselves.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of shit going on in the world right now. Fighting back against it all is not only an overwhelming prospect, it’s also unrealistic.
If you want to have the maximum impact, focus on one or two issues, and throw your everything into them. Most worried about the fate of abortion rights under Trump? Focus on that. Will the rise in homophobia impact you directly? Focus on that. Find your cause, do your research, and make a difference.
It’s also important not to feel guilty for not doing everything. Just because you’re not actively fighting against Islamophobia doesn’t mean you don’t care. Just because you’re spending all your energy on one thing doesn’t mean you don’t care about another. You are one person. You cannot do everything. That is okay.
4. Call people out
Fighting fascism doesn’t have to be all grand protests and donating shed loads of cash. Sometimes, the best way to change the world is to start small. If you can change one person’s mind, you’ve done something good and important.
Key to this, therefore, is calling people out on their bullshit. If someone’s being racist, tell them. If someone’s being transphobic, tell them. Hate thrives when good people are silent – so don’t be silent.
(If you want some advice on calling people out, I wrote this handy guide for you!)
5. Find a support network
Changing the world, fighting evil, and standing up for what’s right is exhausting. There’s no two ways about it.
It can be tempting to keep fighting 24/7; to never take a break from being the ultimate Social Justice Warrior. But all that will do is burn you out. And do you know what you can’t do when you’re burned out? Change the world.
So if you want to fight fascism and Nazis and terrible people, you need to surround yourself with the good people too. Find a support network, and cling to it. Whether it’s a group of friends on Twitter, your family, or friends you can have a coffee with, find your people and let them support you when you’re exhausted.
So there you have it, my five step guide to fighting fascism. Let me know in the comments if you have any more tips for making a difference in the world – whether it’s big or small!
Side note: if you want an infinitely better guide to activism, this video by the glorious Rowan Ellis!