Our best hope against fascism
Dialogue as resistance
You have probably noticed that Brazil is not in the international news only for the Olympics. Last week, President Dilma Rousseff was removed from her post and now she faces the final path of a long-troubled process for her impeachment. Meanwhile, Michel Temer (Rousseff’s vice-president) is her replacement. The whole thing has been dividing opinions among Brazilian people for months and, naturally, social media has been on fire since then.
Besides the political debate itself, something caught my attention, and it is called hate speech/fascism. A few examples from Facebook interactions…
- I’ve read posts of friends who had their professionalism questioned and even derided in face of their political ideas;
- I’ve seen people publishing threats, ironies, and aggressive comments when they couldn’t construct a proper argument to convey an opinion;
- I’ve realized that, suddenly, some people became politic “experts” trying to attract likes, shares, and comments that could inflate their egos.
All of this made me think that regardless of the freedom that the Information Era offers us, the possibility of dialogue still seems to be distant.
“We have unlearned talking and we are unable to build a different ethical-political scenario. The problem is, after all, in this discursive context, always the other.”
So, what can we do about it?
That’s what the book Como conversar com um fascista (How to talk to a fascist) intends to answer. The author Marcia Tiburi understands fascism as a systemic problem, which must be fought inside-out, in everyday life, through the exercise of dialogue. Below, I selected some points from the book which I believe are the most interesting to understand Tiburi’s proposal.
Who is the fascist
Someone who is not willing to listen. Someone who does not speak to dialogue, but only to rule and dominate. Someone who became a priest of the truths of his life and the lives of others . Someone who knows everything in advance and is closed to the other.
In this matter, Tiburi also differences speech to dialogue.
- A dialogue needs to be built (because it isn’t ready). So, in order to happen, a dialogue needs the other, which relates to a democratic mentality.
- A speech is something ready, therefore, it denies anything/anyone out of its beliefs, which relates to an authoritarian mentality. This is where fascism fits.
“The other” and hate speech
This lack of openness, which in everyday life is the simple inability to dialogue is easily transmuted into denial of the other, hate for the other, speeches and humiliation practices, symbolic and physical violence and, in the extreme, the will to exterminate the other.
- In the words of Tiburi, “the other” is one that, if exists, is already condemned and doomed to be punished.
- As for hate speech, it is the cultivation of hatred through language in everyday life.
How to talk with a fascist
In other words, the question may be: how to present the experience of “the other” to those who have not yet conceived it?
If these are unapproachable people, how to talk to them? What Tiburi proposes is trying to dialogue anyway. For her, the dialogue is not a salvation, but a political and linguistic act of resistance that can promote changes. A practice of non-violence and symbolic production of democracy — not because we are all equal, but because we respect ourselves in our differences.
All our inability to love in a way that values the other is a source of fascism, she says. That’s why Tiburi believes that if this experiment does not succeed in the art of how to talk to a fascist, it can at least help us ward off fascism of our own self.
Como conversar com um fascista — Author: Márcia Tiburi. Ed. Record, 3rd edition, 2015. Free translation.