Building U.S. Resilience to Political Violence: A Globally Informed Framework for Analysis and Action

Building U.S. Resilience to Political Violence: A Globally Informed Framework for Analysis and Action

Philanthropy can help address the recent rise in violence and hate speech — as well as public rhetoric that seems to encourage violence in the United States — by strengthening the long-term foundations of a healthy democracy and society, a report from New America and Over Zero argues. Funded by the Democracy Fund, the report, Building U.S. Resilience to Political Violence: A Globally Informed Framework for Analysis and Action (51 pages, PDF), highlights four risk factors for political violence, defined as "violence aimed at political ends — meant to control or change who benefits from, and participates fully in, political, economic, and socio-cultural life": elite factionalization, or distinct groups engaging in winner-take-all competition to promote their own interests; identity-based societal polarization, based not on policy differences but on how "we" feel about "them"; a rise in hateful and dangerous speech, which has become a feature of mainstream political discourse; and a weakening and loss of perceived legitimacy of democratic institutions. The report outlines five critical areas in which philanthropic interventions can help prevent further political violence: shaping group norms by bolstering inclusive, influential voices within diverse American communities; supporting targeted communities and ensuring their leaders are heard and protected; laying the groundwork for a coordinated response by building trust, infrastructure, and local capacity to mitigate violence; engaging communication strategically, including training, protecting, and supporting the news media and fostering positive social media norms; and protecting and strengthening capacities for resilience by supporting democratic institutions and reckoning with the legacies and trauma of U.S. history.

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