Year 1 under an authoritarian regime.

Jan 29, 2017

UPDATED: 20170217

In response to reading this tweet, I thought I'd type up the following list, and add links to some stuff I've observed.  I'll update it as necessary.  List beneath the cut.

1. They will come to power after a campaign based on fear, scaremongering, distorting the truth and blatant lies. Nevertheless, they will win democratically, which they will keep using as an argument everytime you defy them or question the legitimacy of their actions.Remember - gaining power through democracy does not give them permission to undermine said democracy.

2. They will divide and rule. Their strength lies in unity, in a single leader or party, in one voice and one ideology, and so should yours. They will call their supporters patriots, only "True Americans." You will be labeled as traitors, enemies of the state, unpatriotic, a "worse sort" of citizens, the old regime trying to regain power.  You will be the corrupt "elite" while their supporters will be "the people," "the soverign" who chose them as their eladers. Don't let them divide you - remember you are one People, one Nation, with one common good.

3. Through convoluted laws and threats they will try to slowly take over mainstream media and limit press freedom. They will ban any critical press from their briefings, calling them "liars," "fake news." They will brand those media as "unpatriotic," acting against the People (see point number two). Fight for every media outlet, every journalist that is being banned, censored, sacked, or labelled an "enemy of the state" for exposing the truth - as long as there's free press, there's hope.

4. They will create chaos, keep a constant sense of conflict and danger. They will use this as an argument to enact new authoritarian laws, each one further limiting your freedom. They will disguise them as being for your protection, for the good of the People. See through the chaos, the fake danger, expose it before you wake up in a totalitarian state.

5. They will distort the truth, deny facts.  They will make people forget what facts mean, sedate their need to find the truth. They will feed "post-truths" and "post-facts", replace knowledge with emotions. Always fact-check and point out the truth, fight emotion with facts.

6. They will create and leak fake, superficial scandals.  They will smear opposition with trivial accusations, blowing them out of proportion and then feeding the flame. This will be the smokescreen for the legal steps they take towards totalitarianism. See through the superficial topics in mainstream media (see point number three) and focus on what they are actually doing.

7. They will propose new, "scandalous" laws to provoke your outrage. You will focus your efforts on fighting them, and they will back off to give you a false sense of victory. In the meantime they will push through less "flashy" legislation slowly dismantling democracy (see point number four). Focus your fight on what really matters.

8. They will try to take control of the judiciary. They will assault your highest court. This way they can remove the checks and balances system, be able to enact unconstitutional laws, and threaten anyone that defies them with prosecution, including the press (see point number three). Fight for the independence of the courts, they are the safeguard of the rule of law and the democratic system.

9. They will try to limit freedom of assembly, calling it a necessity for your security. They will enact laws prioritizing state events and rallies, or those of a certain type of ideology. This will let them choose who can demonstrate legally and give them a legal basis to forcefully disperse or prosecute the rest. Oppose any legislation trying to change freedom of assembly for any reason.

10. They will distort the language, coin new terms, labels, repeat the same phrases until you subconsciously associate them the way they want. A "thief," "liar," or "traitor" will automatically mean the opposition; a "patriot" will mean their follower (see point number two). Their slogans will have double meaning, giving strength to their supporters and causing disgust or fear in their opponents. Fight changes in language in the public sphere, remind the true meaning of words, guard them for the people.

11. They will take over your national symbols, associate them with themselves, make them into attributes of their power. Your flag, your anthem, and your symbols belong to the People, to everyone equally. Don't let them be hijacked. Use and expose them in your fight as much as they do. Wear your national symbols with pride, let them give you strength, not associate you with shame brought by them.

12. They will try to rewrite history to suit their needs and use education to support their agenda. They will smear any historical or living figure who wouldn't approve of their actions, or distort their image to make you think they would. They will place emphasis on historical education in schools, feeding young minds with the only "correct" version of history and world view. They will raise a new generation of voters on their ideology, backing it with a distorted interpretation of history and view of the world. Guard the education of your children, teach them critical thinking, ensure their open-mindedness, and protect your true history and heritage.

13. They will alienate foreign allies and partners, convincing you don't need them. They won't care for the rest of the world, with their focus on "making your country great again." They will omit the fact that you're part of a bigger world, and the world's development depends on cooperation, on sharing and on trade.  Don't let them build walls for your "security" instead of bridges for your prosperity.

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