Image from the Spanish Revolution - 'They shall not pass - Madrid will be the tomb of Fascism'
“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire
Since we have started working in Stroud many people have been encouraging us to speak with The Beacon and those with similar viewpoints such as ‘Stroud Infohub’ and distributors of 'The Light'. This has been an uncomfortable experience for us, with people citing that they think the RYSE has things in common with these groups. We feel we differ on fundamental issues, and for these reasons will not support their work or collaborate with them.
This letter is explaining why we actively choose this path, and why we want to avoid both Stroud Info Hub, The Light, The Beacon and associated groups which we find are not aligned with our values. As The RYSE we align ourselves with the radical ancestors of ‘Europe From Below’, the ancestors which have resisted oppression and imperialism for centuries alongside our global majority siblings and fought against fascism in all its forms, not welcomed it in.
We acknowledge that many good individuals we know have at some point been involved with these groups and we are happy to chat with those of you we know about why we are distancing ourselves since we believe that dialogue across differences is an important part of creating change.
However, we are not up for debating our opinion with organisations which we think are not committed to upholding every person's full humanity. While we stand against the mainstream media and fight for self determination, we find that the message of ‘free speech’ is often used to defend those with bigoted opinions that support oppressive systems and violence to have their voice heard above any other concerns.
We have felt this way with conversations in Stroud around The Light newspaper especially - and like the Paulo Freire quote above says: there is no neutral position, to pretend to be neutral is to side with the oppressors, and this is the way we see the role of The Light, Stroud Info Hub and associated groups, as one of siding with the oppressors.
We want to be clear- we’re not here to argue about people’s stances on vaccines. Our issues are with the underlying stories that we see these groups backing up their opinions with.
We have seen climate deniers, conspiracy theorists and holocaust deniers being invited to speak at anti-lockdown rallies in Stroud and this makes us extremely cautious about engaging with groups aligning with these messages.
We are also very worried about a larger dangerous trend where alternative worldviews, spirituality and ‘wellness’ gets entangled with far-right extremism and conspiracy theories, creating a gateway to white supremacist ideas and values, the so-called ‘Cosmic Right’.
We object to any form of activity supporting the newspaper ‘The Light’ which promotes people and literature with extremely anti semetic views, climate denialism, homophobia, and positions that are continually rooted in white supremacy.
As a group we want to be working alongside those who agree that antisemitism, racism, climate denialism and the far-right need to be challenged in order to make the world a place free from oppression. Stroud Info Hub, The Light and associated groups appear to feel comfortable with these violent ideologies in their midst. Until they show a clear commitment towards challenging them we have no common ground to work on.
We fully support the statement calling for an end to the distribution of The Light and encourage you all to sign it.
Love from us
For and end to supremacist ideologies
The RYSE team