Love might just save us, but that doesn’t mean we have to be nice to people who want to cause harm and spread hatred.
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One of the most popular political cries right now (which isn’t related to snowflakes) is to call for peace and to be nicer too each other. The left are called too uptight about the right and are told we should be more patient. No sodding way.
This insipid take completely misses the point that they claim to push. They hide behind the idea that they believe in radical love, and that by working together and co-operating we can restore peace. The problem is, these naive Nazi-apologist fools have absolutely no idea what the concept of radical love really means.
No doubt they’ve read a few inspiring quotes from legendary activists and taken them to heart, while not actually studying the profound legacies of such figures. The great activists we think of – whether disabled, queer, people of colour, and/or women – often did push for love, but that did not mean they pushed for peace or complicity.
Giving a platform to a Nazi or hearing out their views is validating the idea they have a right to say hateful things about marginalised people who are already targets in society. To say the left is equally as bad, and must work equally as hard as the right, is ludicrous and disingenuous. Someone who is sick of Nazi crap is not equally as bad or as problematic as someone who is a Nazi pushing for the eradication of people of colour, Jews, disabled people and/or queer people. I’m sorry if we sound shrill to you, but that’s only because we actually understand the problem and are committed to fighting it – what are you doing? Drinking tea from fascists? That will not bring change.
“Giving a platform to a Nazi or hearing out their views is validating the idea they have a right to say hateful things”
Radical love isn’t about being nice to the people who wish marginalised people harm. It is not remotely about being nice. Radical love is about self respect and respect and solidarity to those who face oppression in society. It is about overcoming our own prejudices, reflecting inward and taking accountability. It is about using love to propel ourselves forward so that we may stand as an ally in the face of hate and say that the forces of malevolence are wrong and we will not tolerate them. Radical love is not asking those who are being attacked to please, watch your tone.
It takes love, humanity and a commitment to empowerment to be able to truly challenge hateful attitudes, whether they are from Nazis, fascists, incels, MRAs, TERFs or however bigots want to brand themselves. It’s not about hearing out their concerns. We know what their bullshit is about. It’s about saying enough is enough, people are hurting and are being targeted because of the callousness of the right. When a kid gets punched in the playground by the school bully, the teacher should not then ask the victimised child to listen to the reasons the bully did this. There is no justification.
Everyone wants to use cool quotes on love but none of them are actually really committed to the true meaning of the word. Love is about letting it guide us so that we may face down hate because it is the right thing to do. Love is not about allowing hatred to flourish. Being kind to Nazis is what brought us this mess in the first place.