Molly has hosted a series of panel discussions on ‘People and Power: Populism, Fascism and How to Defend Democracy’ across the South West. There have been events in Plymouth, Stroud, Gloucester, Swindon, Bornemouth and Keynsham involving journalists, experts, civil society members, and cross-party politicians exploring creeping fascism and the rollback of democracy in post-Brexit Britain.
What is the difference between fascism and populism? Rooted in today’s world, internationally and in the South West of the UK, this tour will look at the current political landscape and investigate the rise of the far-right, increased polarisation, and the rise of post-truth. It will ask what are the warning signs of fascism and what can we do to defend democracy?
“When you look into academic studies of 1930s fascism”, explains Molly, “you can see some disturbing parallels with modern political speech and behaviour. This series of panel debates will look at the current post-referendum political landscape and explore the warning signs of fascism and what can we do to defend democracy.”
You can find Molly’s slideshow from the tour here: Democracy renewed
The Stroud event is now available on soundcloud here or below:
For more on this issue, check out Molly’s piece in the Independent about the abuse of Anna Soubry MP outside parliament. She has also written about about the rise in fascist propaganda in Post-Brexit Britain, and about ‘culture wars’ and the spreading of post-truth by far-right populists.
A useful checklist from historian Benjamin Bland from the University of London provides useful lessons from history on opposing the far right today.
The tour drew upon the writings of Yale University historian Tim Snyder, specifically ‘On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century‘ (2017).
These resources provide further details about this campaign:
Please email Julia on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some beer mats and leaflets to spread around your area.
24th January: Stroud
This event was in collaboration with The Stroud Seminars at Lansdown Hall in Stroud. Molly was joined by Alim Baluch from Bath University and Adele Owens from Refugee charity Garas. Barbara Imrie from Stroud Seminars chaired the event.
The talk was recorded and can be found here.
26th of January: Plymouth
This event took place at a crowded Ocean Studios in Royal William yard in Plymouth. Molly was joined by Luke Pollard MP, Lamprini Rori from Exeter University, and broadcast journalist Sam Blackledge. The event was chaired by Patrick Holden, associate professor at Plymouth University.
1st February: Swindon
Despite the snow, the Swindon event went ahead at the Central Community Centre. Molly was joined by Alex Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy and Aurelien Mondon from Bath University. Poppy Leeder from Swindon Green Party chaired the event. Unfortunately Labour MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, Clare Moody was ill and was unable to come.
2nd February: Gloucester
The Quaker Meeting house in Gloucester saw this packed event. Alongside Molly, we were joined by Alex Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy, and Fran Boait, Executive Director of Positive Money and Labour PPC for Gloucester. Adrian Slade, chair of refugee charity GARAS, chaired the event. Unfortunately Julie Girling MEP was unable to come and both Fiyaz Mughal and James MacDougall had family emergencies that made them unable to come.
8th February: Bournemouth
Bournemouth University hosted Alongside Molly, we’ll be joined by Benjamin Bland, History Department, Royal Holloway, University of London; Dan Weissmann, Faculty of Media & Communications, Bournemouth University, and campaigner and Labour PPC Corrie Drew. The event was chaired by Dame Annette Brooke, LibDem former MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole. Audio of the event till be available here shortly.
16th March: Keynsham
Molly was joined at The Space by Dr Anna Bull, fascism expert from Bath University, Alice Cutler from Bristol Refugee Rights, Green Party PPC Fay Whitfield and local democracy reporter Daniel Mumby. The event was chaired by Steve Hyndside.