Monday, November 28, 2016

Join the Resistance

If we do this right, we won't have to resort to violence, even in self-defense.

The French Resistance (French: La Résistance) was the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. Résistance cells were small groups of armed men and women (called the Maquis in rural areas),[2][3] who, in addition to their guerrilla warfare activities, were also publishers of underground newspapers, providers of first-hand intelligence information, and maintainers of escape networks that helped Allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines. The men and women of the Résistance came from all economic levels and political leanings of French society, including émigrés; academics, students, aristocrats, conservative Roman Catholics (including priests) and also citizens from the ranks of liberals, anarchists and communists.

The French Resistance played a significant role in facilitating the Allies' rapid advance through France following the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, and the lesser-known invasion of Provence on 15 August, by providing military intelligence on the German defences known as the Atlantic Wall and on Wehrmacht deployments and orders of battle. The Résistance also planned, coordinated, and executed acts of sabotage on the electrical power grid, transport facilities, and telecommunications networks.[4][5] It was also politically and morally important to France, both during the German occupation and for decades afterward, because it provided the country with an inspiring example of the patriotic fulfillment of a national imperative, countering an existential threat to French nationhood. The actions of the Résistance stood in marked contrast to the collaboration of the French regime based at Vichy,[6][7] the French people who joined the pro-Nazi Milice française and the French men who joined the Waffen SS.
The rhetoric is familiar: the demands to take the country back. The railing against an out-of-touch elite. The anger at a rigged economic system.
But now the insurgent cries that propelled Donald Trump to the White House have been taken up by stunned opponents as they try to galvanise anger and fear over his election into a strategy to resist his policies and remake the left as a credible political alternative.
“People came out on the streets because they were in shock,” said Gregory McKelvey, an experienced activist who founded a protest group, Portland’s Resistance, as thousands joined spontaneous demonstrations in the liberal west coast city within hours of Trump’s victory. “Now we are seeing a rising up of people to say it’s supposed to be our country. The government’s supposed to fear us, not the other way around.
“The majority of Americans feel like it’s time for a big change and Donald Trump is pushing for one form of drastic change. We are pushing for another.”
The tide of protests that swept US cities was matched by a wave of individual acts of resistance. Some rallied on the streets and online under the banner Not My President. Facebook groups popped up to plan how to challenge Trump over climate change and misogyny. Donations to civil liberties groups surged in defence of Muslims, immigrants and freedom of speech.
An online petition demanding delegates to the electoral college switch their support to Hillary Clinton because she won the popular vote has received more than 4m signatures. Activists in California and Oregon began the legal process for their states to declare independence from the US, albeit an unlikely prospect.

But as shock and protest gave way to more considered strategies, the focus shifted from the twin issues of opposition to the more egregious of Trump’s proposed policies and how to build a liberal political movement more representative of working Americans, with or without the Democratic party.
Social justice organisations supporting immigrant rights, fighting for the environment or tackling institutional racism have been abruptly forced to shift their attention from long-term policy to defence of existing rights in the face of Trump’s threat of mass deportations, climate change denial and attacks on Black Lives Matter.
The environmental group called Trump’s election “a disaster” and said: “The climate movement will put everything on the line to protect the progress we’ve made.”
Latino organisations are laying plans to shield young undocumented immigrants who benefitted from an Obama presidential executive order protecting them from deportation. Trump can abolish it with the stroke of a pen.
Some cities have promised to remain places of “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. In Portland, the public schools board passed a resolution limiting immigration officials’ access to campuses. The city’s schools superintendent warned of a rise in racism tied to Trump: “We have seen a number of incidents of hate speech over the last several months, and it has risen significantly since (the election).” Other parts of a state sharply divided between liberal cities and strongly Republican rural areas, groups opposing discrimination say there has been a sharp increase in attacks on minorities.
The Nation says Welcome to the Fight:

If we withdraw into our grief and abandon those most threatened by Trump’s win, history will never forgive us.

Though the full extent of the damage is still unclear, there is no denying the magnitude of the upheaval: a man who campaigned on a platform of hostility to immigrants, contempt for women, and disregard for civil and religious liberty has now been elected president of the United States. The same Republican Party that successfully stymied progressive legislation for the last eight years, and obstructed President Obama at every turn, now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives. And the Supreme Court, for so long the bulwark of our liberties, is likely to become a rubber stamp for economic privilege and social reaction—possibly for a generation.
Citizens United, it seems, may just have been the beginning, unleashing a torrent of corporate money that buried Russ Feingold, Zephyr Teachout, Ted Strickland, and the California ballot initiative to control rising drug prices. With Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the White House, and a conservative majority again on the Court, decisions that seemed like settled law only a few days ago—gay marriage, legal abortion, the right to join a union, indeed, the very right to citizenship itself for all born inside this country—may now well come under attack. These are all fights we cannot afford to lose.

And so, despite the temptation to mourn, we have to organize. Because if we can’t rely on the president, or the Congress, or the courts, we have no choice but to rely on one another. Not just for comfort but for strength—and survival.


The Democratic Party is in deep disarray. American women have learned that even a buffoon with no experience in government or history of public service is more likely to be elected president—so long as he has a penis, a television program, and a billion dollars (more or less). And so many of our hopes—for free public college, a livable minimum wage, expanded Social Security, a path to universal health care, paid family leave, an end to private prisons, the abolition of the death penalty—now lie shattered, along with the prospect of an administration that, whatever its limitations, had been shown to be open to pressure from the left.
Which means we have to apply even greater pressure from the left: to march in greater numbers, to shout out louder against injustice, and to summon and be prepared to sustain everyday massive nonviolent civil disobedience on a scale not seen in this country for decades. Not because we refuse to acknowledge the results of the election. But because, as we would have written no matter who won last night, elections are only the beginning of the contest for power. And because in the coming contest there are some in immediate peril, who need our help, our energy, and our solidarity.

 History will judge this country—our leaders, our media-entertainment complex, ourselves, and our fellow citizens—harshly for electing Donald Trump. But if we withdraw into our private grief and abandon those who, this morning, feel most threatened by the result—Muslim Americans, Hispanic Americans, LGBTQ Americans, women, inner-city youth—history will never forgive us.

Instead, we have to stand up, and fight back. And to realize that we are not without resources, and advantages, and potential leaders, in that fight.


But when—as will far more often be the case—they offer pretend solutions, we should expose them. And when they pose a threat to our rights, our fellow citizens, or the health of our planet, we must oppose them by every peaceful means at our disposal, from filibuster in the Senate and endless amendments in the House to physical obstruction of the machinery of repression, including massive mobilization and demonstrations on our streets and in our cities.
Given Trump’s rhetoric, we would be foolish not to expect repression in return.
So we must be prepared for that, too, politically, by strengthening groups like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and the immigrant-rights movement; emotionally, by practicing solidarity; and practically, by picking our battles and not wasting precious time and energy on infighting and sectarian hair-splitting. If we’re going to survive the Trump regime, and have any hope of blocking it in 2018 and overturning it in 2020, we’re going to have to work together: Clinton and Stein voters, gay and straight, black and brown and white, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, socialist and liberal (and even some libertarians).
The next four years will test our country—and our movement—like nothing else we have seen in our lifetimes. Welcome to the fight.
How to do it?  More from The Nation:
 Citizen movements—the Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter, the Dreamers,, and others—drove reform in the Obama years. Now these same movements will have to mobilize to fend off reaction. Progressives in the House and Senate need to take over the Democratic Party’s agenda and message. New populist energy can drive important reforms at the state and local level, and recruit and train a new generation of populist candidates. Democrats don’t need to abandon their social liberalism; they need to develop their economic populism. If they do, the Trump era may turn out to be as short as his attention span.

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