When Fear Lights Torches

Power and Fear.

In Charlottesville, VA, the night of Friday August 11 at the University of Virginia, hundreds of white men (were there any women?) demanded the streets were theirs, demanded that they would not be replaced by Jews, chanted "blood and soil." The next day they chanted "fuck you faggots."These straight white men were moved to demand and prove they have power.

In a nation where for hundreds of years straight white men have been the sole proprietors of power, something has changed to the point that this exact demographic feels so under siege that they must prove their power. But why now?

photo credit:  © Paul Joseph Greene, 2017

It sure looks like their main motivation is fear. Fear they have lost their status. Fear they have lost their future. Fear they have lost their advantage. Fear they have lost their power.

What kind of power is rooted in fear? Fear lashes out with the most fragile kind of rigid, breakable power. Fear lashes out with the most embarrassing kind of impotence. Fear lashes out by inflicting fear in others. Fear wages a campaign of terror. The pictures speak for themselves. The demonstrators are inflamed with fear: hundreds of straight white men motivated by their fears, banding together, brandishing torches, and chanting angry slogans to inflict terror on everyone else. Their fear makes them dangerous. Their fear makes them deadly. But being dangerous and being deadly are the opposite of being powerful.

Do we also want to be dangerous and deadly? Do we want to make them even more afraid in the hope that their intensified fear will pacify them? I'm not sure that'll work.

An even worse response is to be afraid.

But, what are the best responses to that dangerous and deadly fear? What does it mean for the resistance (there is no such thing as 'alt-left,' by the way) to be powerful-- and powerfully effective in counteracting the fear-laden movements of white supremacy, Nazism, KKK, white nationalism, anti-immigration, anti-homosexuality, anti-Black-Lives-Matter, misogyny, and Anti-Semitism-- summed up in the term Alt-Right?

What should we do?

How do we keep from igniting our fear as well?

How do we keep from lighting everything on fire?

p.s. If you haven't seen the 21-minute episode of VICE News from Monday, August 14, 2017, please watch. I applaud VICE News for making that entire episode free to the public.