If You Don’t They Will is a Seattle-based collaboration that provides concrete and creative tools for countering white nationalism through a cultural lens. This includes creating spaces to generate visions, desires, incantations, actions, memes, and dreams for the kinds of worlds we want to live in.
[Two images side by side. The image on the left shows a folded white card booklet on a beige table. Words “no. NOT EVER.” are written on the card spread over three lines. The card has a black elastic band around it with a small black, white, and red button pinned to the band. The button also reads “no. NOT EVER.” in the same font as the card. The image on the right shows a pile of several dozen of these same booklets spread scattered on a wooden table.]
…despite being fundamentally against white supremacy and white nationalism, we find some people struggle with how, when, and if to say NO. Their discomfort is palpable and sometimes contagious. We’ve seen and heard this discomfort manifest in many ways, depending on the context:
Isn’t saying NO censorship?
How can we change people’s minds if we don’t allow them in our space?
Isn’t saying NO acting like them?
Isn’t saying NO another form of intolerance that divides us?
Can’t we say YES without saying NO?
I want to be positive and saying NO feels negative.
Isn’t saying NO dehumanizing and invalidates their humanity?
If they believe in white nationalism they must be damaged and need healing support, so isn’t saying NO abandoning them?
Saying NO seems escalating—shouldn’t we just ignore them?
-If You Don’t They Will, You’ve Got to Say No to Say Yes: https://www.northatlanticbooks.com/blog/youve-got-to-say-no-to-say-yes/
The logic of these concerns underscores both a discomfort with drawing certain kinds of (very necessary) boundaries and also signals a general failure to understand white nationalism. We counter by offering a framework that recognizes white nationalism as a social movement that is intentional, strategic, well-funded, and organized. The responses above indicate, to varying degrees, a dangerous and false assumption that white nationalists are naive, innocent, uneducated, aberrant individuals, rather than activists who are organizing in a variety of ways to further a larger goal. When we understand white nationalism and white nationalist attacks, recruiting, and mainstreaming strategies as part of a larger social movement, we argue that it is impossible to do anti-racist and anti-fascist organizing when we are unable to clearly draw boundaries (NO’s) against white nationalism.