Youth Practitioners Can Counter Fascism: What We Know and What We Need

Miriam R. Arbeit, Sarah L. F. Burnham, Duane de Four, Heather Cronk

Abstract


Fascist, White nationalist, and misogynist groups are actively recruiting adolescent followers both online and in person. Youth development practitioners can play an important role in mitigating the influence of fascist ideologies on young people’s behavior and reducing the proliferation of youth-perpetrated harassment and violence. In this paper, we present a theoretical integration that draws on empirical research from multiple disciplines and youth development best practices to examine how youth practitioners can counter fascist recruitment of youth. There is much that youth development researchers and practitioners already know and do, or have the capacity to learn and do, that can mitigate the threat of fascist recruitment and deter young people from developmental trajectories leading them towards harmful ideologies and actions. In order to support youth development practitioners in effectively embodying this potential, we detail 3 sets of activities: (a) immunizing youth to reduce susceptibility to fascist recruitment, (b) intervening in fascist recruitment of specific youth, and (c) counter-recruiting youth into community organizing for social justice. For each set of activities, we describe the goals of each component, propose concrete actions it may entail, and highlight existing research and best practices in the field that can be applied to this current challenge. We then propose next steps in research–practice integration to further improve relevant strategies and point to existing resources for supporting youth in resisting fascist recruitment.


Keywords


youth development; violence prevention; fascism; antifascism; social justice

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.936

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