Kindness and Solidarity as Political Acts

Raffaella Baccolini


In this article I reflect upon human (re)actions in times of crisis. A series of crises mark our present (Brexit; the election of Trump; the rise of populism; femicides; the migrant crisis; ongoing conflicts and wars; and ethnic and racial hatred). Conflict, violence, and fear are predominant, while rage, selfishness, and the new kind of “keyboard-hate” are rampant, and they all contribute to the formation of exclusionary discourses, which in turn bear an impact on policies as well as on the culture produced. Dystopian fiction is flourishing and is the preferred artistic and literary response. To counter the “enormous rage” of the times, I argue that solidarity, kindness, as well as a feminist education are the political acts needed today. A reflection on these notions is followed by an examination of these themes in some utopian and dystopian works: Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein (1831), the film, Cloud Atlas (2012) by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, and Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction story, “Speech Sounds” (1983).


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