A Homefront Counterextremism Project: How to defeat the Far Right Insurgency

Room: 
Timeslot: 
Abstract: 
We are proposing a "Counter-extremism Playbook" for taking on the Far Right, including the Alt Right and White Nationalism. From our diverse backgrounds and experiences, we are incorporating lessons from social science, moral psychology, and some of the nonlethal skills of our veterans who understand how to build bridges with diverse cultures, and drive a wedge against extremism. These approaches are needed here in the homeland, now more than ever. We have to engage more of America’s demography and political landscape. In doing this, we have to turn more of the population against bad ideas, and towards reason and compassion. This panel talks about how social activists can reach more of the American heartland, by understanding emotionally effective communication and cultural engagement. We are at a critical juncture. These movements of white nationalism, supremacy and hate are rapidly ascending across our political horizon and rising into increasing legitimacy in wider corners of America and Europe. We must isolate these pockets of tribal ignorance and defeat them. However, this can only be done by working with the wider population. This panel will discuss some interesting and important ways we can do this.
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
John
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
Kirbow
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
Founder, Reason Revival
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
John Kirbow, a New Yorker who lived in Germany for several years, is fighting a homefront battle for a revival of reason and scientific thinking and compassion within American politics and ideology. Originally from Atlanta, GA, is a polyglot language lover and veteran of the US Army Special Operations community and Defense Department, with time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Europe, and US Central Command (CENTCOM). A long-time Arabic speaker who has read the Quran since his teen years, John was a GS-13 in Afghanistan as a cultural ‘terrain mapper’, using applied social science, language and psychology to build bridges of understanding between the Coalition and the Afghan population. As the founder of Reason Revival (www.reasonrevival.net), he focuses on bringing science and reason into politics and sensitive social issues, to help it eventually become a popular alternative to ideology and political dogma. He focuses heavily on the issue of secular dissidents, feminism and liberal-minded Muslims within Islam, in the struggle for freedom and human rights. He is engaged in a collaboration project that looks at how we can use our best tools of dynamic social science, language and cultural knowledge, behavioral understanding, media platforms, and cyber skills to help support and empower pockets of science, freethought, women's movements and dissident voices across Islamic societies. The roots of this started during his work in Iraq in 2006. A seasoned traveler, he also has a longstanding passion for anthropology, culture and human immersion, as well as the Indo-European language families (including German, Farsi, Spanish, Russian, Pashto, and Urdu), with very lapsed Swahili, Serbian, and Quechua. NOTE: Here's also a link to his MALA (Muslim-American Leadership Alliance)-featured story / bio: https://www.malanational.org/john-kirbow-implementing-human-rights-reason/ Other links: http://wbaiindycaucus.org/meet-the-candidate-john-kirbow-write-in/
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Stephen
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Last Name: 
Sharper
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
Science and philosophy advocate, and university undergrad
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Stephen is a University student with a heavy focus on philosophy and history, with a Masters in Sociology and Women's History. He has a strong passion for philosophy, logic, science and reason, and he currently focuses on how people in Universities can better connect with social issues, and with one another in meaningful dialogue. he is also a secular activist and has experience, as an African-American, with the journey that many black nonbelievers take when they leave traditional Christianity for a more liberal, secular worldview.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Michael
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Walsh
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Science advocacy, debate, philosophy, and marketing research.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Mike comes from an Indonesian heritage, and has written about his life journey and background. he is a writer, podcaster, blogger, science and reason advocate, and debate expert. He has helped facilitate debate forums in NYC, working with established spaces within the City. His focus is philosophy and debate, and how people can learn the value of logic and open-mindedness, and the need for more Americans to step outside of their comfort zone and engage liberal ideas. He identifies as a secular activist and advocates for the separation between Church and State. he has attended numerous events for the cause of keeping the Religious Right out of power and out of American legislation.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Lee
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Moore
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Progressive activist, community organizer, head of The Firebrands Podcast, and lead organizer of various efforts to oppose Trump and Pence
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Lee is a Progressive podcaster, writer, and activist. He supports a Progressive America and an openness by more Americans to Socialism.He is organizing a large project to help oppose Trump and pence, including actively fighting to help elect the first openly atheist President. He is a lifelong activist against Christian theocracy, religion in politics, and conservative fundamentalism. He was born and raised in the conservative South, and has had fought since his childhood with the stigma of being a nonreligious liberal in a fundamentalist part of the country. He is a devoted secular activist and has advocated for the separation between Church and State, through countless organizations, efforts and groups, and heads up several meetups.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
John
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
Kirbow
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
Writer and science advocate
 

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