An Ounce of Prevention

If more people took the trouble to do a little research on the Far Right in their own community, our work wouldn’t be so hard. In fact, if they bothered to educate others on what they turned up, they could scuttle the Far Right in no time.

Of course, that would require organizing (applied research), but at least communities would have an informed basis for action were they to muster the courage.

This example of open source research as a potential organizing tool might stimulate some discussion, hopefully about people producing their own rather than just consuming someone else’s work. Boycotts, lawsuits, and initiatives are all options to organized communities; local research networks are a way of moving talk to action.

It might help to think of intolerance and the associated political violence as a social pathology, or disease. If the Center for Disease Control closed shop after battling each epidemic and went on hiatus, it wouldn’t be long before pandemics were common. Likewise with the diseases of aggression and bigotry. The vectors (agents) have to be monitored, exposed, and opposed in a systematic ongoing fashion. Just because they’ve gone dormant doesn’t mean they’ve gone away.

If humanitarian groups maintained such a vigilant watch through ongoing support of local researchers, analysts and activists, the Far Right would be devastated. The advantage of using the Public Health Model of prevention is that it enables communities to avoid constantly reacting to outbreaks of aggression as though they were isolated incidents or something entirely new, rather than repetitive patterns that can be understood, predicted, and dealt with intelligently.

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~ by Jay Taber on October 17, 2008.

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