The rise of extremist is distressing.
Good people, people I know have lost their way, are vacuumed into extremist. Why? It promises a relief valve to the angst of precarity which inflicts the working class and marginalized people in our society.
The purity and simplicity of extreme ideologies fulfilling a need for purpose, a need to feel empowered, the need to feel some dignity.
Extremist is not providing solutions, and in many cases will worse the very precarity which needs solving.
I can only minimally fault the people I know, the people who I've known as good, for turning to extremism. The leaders in our society are failing to address precarity, are failing to address the challenges society is facing, and are not providing the solutions we need.
Everyone wants a purpose in life, a meaning to our lives. A place we belong. The opportunity to make a difference.
The problems are societal. Each of us can do our parts to address these problems, with whatever resources we have. It doesn't take much to start making a difference. Small acts of humanity and hospitality can make a difference, even the act of saying hello to those whose humanity is diminished makes a difference.
How do I contribute to solutions? What are some of the unique contributions which I can make?
I'm a journalist, many people read my work. Many of them trust me to provide facts, and to provide thoughtful reflection upon what is happening in our society.
I'm read across class lines. I've successfully weathered years of attacks on my credibility from those in power in both government and media. I'm able to withstand attempts to label my work as "fake news" (in the general sense of the terms usage today) because as a professional journalist, I come from an exceptional unique background for a journalist.
I'm from (and remain) working class, and I'm a Crown Ward. I experience the pressures caused by gentification and capitalism run amok. I've lived the disdain those in power have for the working class, and as dismissed privileged by those who should be allying with all in the working class to address the systemic barriers of our shared experiences.
I'm angry at the injustices in our society, the injustices I've experienced, and the injustices I've witnessed. Anger is not a solution, and responding out of anger does not lead to solutions.
What caused this post today?
Seeing a person in a yellow vest. A symbol which has been adopted by neo-Nazis in Canada, neo-Nazis who openly flout their views in public, neo-Nazis who are exploiting the angst in our society. I'm angered to see this. I need to do more to address this.
I'm going to make it a goal in the coming weeks to speak to the young men who've been enticed by neo-Nazis leaders. I need to figure out how I can stop young men from falling to these movements, how to stop Paul Fromm from expanding his membership.
I was the only Hamilton City Hall journalist to publicly denounce Fromm's mayoral campaign citing his white nationalism, whereas others reported on his concerns about traffic congestion. (Fromm's solution to traffic congestion? Stop non-white immigration.)
Extremism exploits the flaws of profit-driven journalism; it provides simple narratives with highly charged visuals (hence the now-regular clashes between anarchists and non-fascists in front of Hamilton City Hall) that fit nicely into news packages sandwiched by advertisements.
I'll continue my critical coverage of the leadership elements of both extremes, I'll continue reaching out to those afflicted by oppression, and I'll work harder to reach out to those enticed by extremist to determine how I address the causes at the root of the spread of extremist.
I need to be part of the solution, and ensure I don't contribute further to the problem.
Let's continue working to make a better society, together.