In Times Like These
Yesterday, across the United States a majority of Americans found themselves dismayed by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Of these, many were left feeling shocked and stunned, many scared and angry, and some felt nothing at all, already disillusioned by a political system which has repeatedly failed our interests at a regular interval. In the wake of a sociopathic serial rapist becoming the president-elect of the United States, there is no time like the present to begin the fight to defend ourselves, our communities, our values and perhaps even life as we know it. It is incumbent upon all of us who are appalled at everything he stands for to take the offensive and fight back using whatever means are at our disposal. For some of us, this has been a fight that we have been engaged in, in some capacity or another, for a very long time. It may be daunting to be faced with such a monumental backlash. It may be frustrating to feel like we have regressed by decades, overnight. For others, this fight for our self-defense, our communities, our values and our lives is new and confusing terrain. It may be very difficult to even envision what it could mean to stand up to the dominant powers of federal politics in this new and frightening moment. Navigating landscape of political resistance can be a wondrous odyssey, but it can also be very confusing and uninviting for one unaccustomed to existing communities of resistance.
Moving forward, We must make every effort to recognize that a majority of Americans, whether they voted for Clinton, voted for a third party or refused to vote at all, stand against Donald Trump. Whether this broad majority of Americans has any further shared interests beyond his defeat and dismissal remains to be seen. However, in this shared interest, we must come together as never before to form a united front acting in a multitude of ways to work to defeat those who would seek to subdue the bodily autonomy of women, block access to basic healthcare for the sick and the poor, sequester the self-determination of the LGBTQ community, seek the physical harm and destruction of communities of color, immigrant and religious communities, commodify our public lands, and destroy the natural resources we rely on to survive. In this, we must stand united.
To this end, I propose a handful of tactics. These ideas are not the be all and end all, and frankly, they aren’t all that original. Originality, and finality of struggle, however, are not my aim here. My aim is to help begin to build a toolbox. Not every worker at the table will require the same tools at the same time, and many will prefer some tools over others. That’s perfectly fine and normal. This is not a prescription of which tactics are superior to others. I do not believe that we have the luxury of debating such things at this juncture. Rather, we should embrace a multi-tiered approach. These include electoral fights as well as feet-on-the-pavement active engagement approaches. Not all of these tactics are likely to be successful, and it is only through attempting many of them (as well as many more) and seeing what gains we may make that we are likely to see victory. They are as follows:
1. Entryism into the Democratic Party: Given the historic performance of Social Democrat Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary this year and the meteoric success of Donald Trump’s blend of right-wing populist nationalism, it is safe to say that politics as usual has broken down and fallen apart in the United States completely. Hilary Clinton represented, in her bid for the presidency, the most professionally qualified and poised candidate the Democratic Party could possibly muster given the traditional parameters of presidential politics. That she was toppled by a former reality TV host and general charlatan demonstrates that the time is ripe for the voices of the American Left to which have been traditionally situated outside of the Democratic Party to overthrow the old guard of establishment center-left/center-right and bring the Democratic Party to the people. Progressives, Greens, Socialists, Communists and Left Libertarian pirates, this is your chance to take the reigns of power and create the political landscape which can be respected by a younger generation of Americans which thirsts for more than money- and profit-obsessed Democrats have ever been able to deliver before. #newdemocrats
2. Establishing and enforcing the “Party of ‘NO!’”: We must actively encourage all sitting federal level Democratic legislators to obstruct Donald Trump at every possible turn. If they do not do everything in their power to resist this megalomaniacal rapist, we must do everything in our power to remove and replace them. No Senator or congressperson must be allowed to feel invulnerable to the political mandate which a majority of the American people have given them. Of the millions of us who are in this fight, there are plenty of viable and capable potential legislators waiting in the wings who are game for the fight ahead. #nounity
3. Community Defense/Self-Defense: We must seek to build, maintain and expand networks of community self-defense to those who will be hurt the most by the coming Trump presidency. That means establishing networks of community support to maintain the bodily autonomy of women, medical support for those left unable to afford access to healthcare, physical and legal defense for our LGBTQ communities, communities of color, immigrants and religious minorities. We must be willing to put our lives and livelihoods on the line to protect and defend ourselves and each other through what means are available to us. #wethepeople
4. Electoral reform: We must seek to establish the mail-in ballot in every state in order to guarantee the rights of millions of voters to their franchise, regardless of work hours or physical disability. We must abolish unnecessary and unreliable gatekeepers unduly influencing our elections. We must demand a return of the franchise to those who have had it taken aways from them due to a felony conviction in those states where this practice is allowed to continue. We must fight for ranked choice voting in every state, so as to expand our electoral options beyond the 2 parties. Finally, we must fight to establish and maintain the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, so that the will of the majority of the people is what is heard during elections to our highest national office. #popthecollege
5. Feet in the Streets: We cannot let up in our persistence in making our voices heard and letting the world know that we will not take a Donald Trump presidency sitting down. At every opportunity, and in response to every slight and wound he deals the American people, we must be prepared to engage in ongoing and sustained non-violent protest and civil disobedience. #feetinthestreets
6. Left-Coast-Secession: We, on the left coast, must fight to make certain that Washington knows that we are serious in our resistance. Thus, it is imperative that we seek to promote a breaking away of bonds with the United States of the territories of Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. We must first seek to promote this aim through the political avenues which are presently available. This means writing State Governors, State Legislators and promoting ballot initiatives aiming at secession from the United States. Where we go from there will be up to the voters to determine. #pacifica
7. Mass Emigration: While many millions of Americans are needed to build and maintain this movement, we must recognize that there is no guarantee for the physical, psychological or financial safety of many Americans trapped in the nightmare of a post-Trump America. Many Americans may seek to wait out a Trump presidency outside of the United States. To these people, I respect your choice, and only ask that you do what you can to help publicize the resistance which is ongoing within the United States to whatever point on the globe you may find yourself inhabiting. Echo our voices to where they cannot reach without your help. #exitstrategy
8. Shut it all down: Following the call to action by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant to hold a nationwide general strike on January 20th, 2017, in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump, we must make our plans to organize and facilitate this strike in our communities and demonstrate to the world that if Donald Trump becomes president, America stops. Further, if you have the means and the capacity, let us join together in Washington DC on that same day to declare loudly, and as one great multitude, that we will not accept this sociopathic rapist as the president of the United States of America. #120strike
In the coming days, I will be sharing more material in regard to several of these points (for instance, templates for letters to elected officials or resources for who to connect to in terms of drafting ballot initiatives). In the meantime, let’s hold it together, folks. This is going to be a wild ride.