No flash in the pan protests! Sustained demonstrations are required.
Building Massive Resistance against Trump and the Alt-Right helps build a Democratic Socialist world.
Major demonstrations are being planned across the United States of America over these two days to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump as President and Mike Pence as Vice-President. Other marches and rallies in solidarity with this insurrection are planned in other cities around the world. These protests, even in the midst of winter, are expected to be huge. Already over 25,000 people took to the streets of New York City on the Thursday before Inauguration Day to demonstrate against Trump-Pence and their ugly and dangerously stupid agenda.
It would be naïve to think all these vigorous acts of defiance, resistance, unity, and courage will have much immediate effect. And with today’s technologies at our fingertips with social media, anything is possible. Even more naïve, however, is to believe we can simply pack up and go home and plop down as if OK, look how LOUD we showed Trump-Pence and the Alt-Right we roared! No. This is a long fight shaping up. We must be prepared for a long, long struggle!
Know, too, when we on the Left fight, we win in the end. To fight and win, however, we must come together to educate and organize ourselves to fight effectively.
Consider examples in American history of what efforts activists took to win. Let’s look at our own history. Struggle takes time, and the more we fight we win. Perseverance is key. The Civil Rights Movement lasted from the early 1950s all the way thru the 60s into the mid-1970s. Significant high points were the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 followed 10 years later by the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Then the Voting Rights Act and the Immigration and National Services Act passed in 1965, and the Fair Housing Act in 1968.
The anti-Vietnam War movement began protesting in 1964 and grew so vigorous President Lyndon Johnson of the Democrats was compelled to withdraw from seeking reelection in March 1968. These anti-war demonstrations also compelled the next President, Republican Richard Nixon, to withdraw U.S. forces from the Vietnam War in March 1973. These civil rights and anti-war protests merged with other movements as resistance to Nixon exploded yet again during the Watergate crisis. Nixon resigned the American presidency in August of 1974. The labor and environmental movements are other classic examples of struggles taking years to manifest a string of powerful successes.
The Anti-Globalization Revolt of 1994-2005, a term disliked by the majority of activists who championed a world without borders with fair trade instead of corporate-and-bank driven anti-democratic capitalism run amok across the planet, also took time to manifest results. It began in Chiapas, Mexico with the Zapatistas in 1994 and spread to France in 1995. In late 1999 the Battle of Seattle shut down the WTO, the World Trade Organization. Other protests erupted with increasing violence and success around the world at various gatherings of the global capitalist elites.
The multi-pronged terror attack of 9/11 in 2001 was a turning point as the Global War on Terror eclipsed the Anti-Globalization Revolt. Bush-Cheney ascended to power as the result of a bloodless coup in 2000. The passage of the post-9/11 Patriot Act in the U.S.A. with other strict crackdowns on civil rights including equating protesting with terrorism deterred demonstrators. The anti-Iraq War protests of 2003 tested this to some degree, but these efforts petered out by 2005. In the meantime the Bush and then the Obama administrations continued deep state surveillance of all Americans as well as their allies. The police became heavily militarized. Militarization of the police began as a response to police forces feeling overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of increasingly violent and rebellious demonstrators in the Anti-Globalization Revolt. Police militarization increased dramatically under the Obama-Biden regime.
With the long war on terror still going on and in the depths of the Great Global Recession, renewed struggles erupted across America again with global effect. The Wisconsin Insurrection of 2011 followed by the Occupy Uprisings of 2011-2012 followed by the Fight for 15/$15 Now movement of 2012-2015. The still ongoing Black Lives Matter movement ignited in 2013. Standing Rock built up across 2016 before peaking in November and December with government and corporate actors backing off, and that struggle still continues.
Thus it is clear success in political activism demands sustained action. We must be willing to engage is long-term struggle with sustained actions. The capitalist system keeps us working people divided, conquered, exploited, and ignorant. We must learn to work together to build a new mass movement of the Left. This is our time to build a new mass party of the working and middle classes, of the 99%, to replace the capitalist Duopoly of the Democrat-Republican two-headed snake. It’s our chance to reclaim democracy in our politics and governments. It’s our opportunity to expand democracy into the realm of work and business.
To paraphrase the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday was celebrated earlier this week by throngs of peaceful marchers around the nation, what’s the point of having political democracy without any economic democracy? What’s the value of civil rights and indeed any of our constitutional liberties as well as our human rights declared by the United Nations if you must set them aside when you cross that threshold every day to work for your boss, the state, or your vendors and clients? We don’t even need to say “democratic socialism,” really, as socialism is by its true nature social and democratic.
Friday the 20th of January is Inauguration Day. Walkouts are planned from high schools to colleges and universities around the country. Later large crowds are expected to protest the inauguration itself. Some are expected to go into the evening. The next day, Saturday the 21st, the Women’s March on Washington is expected to draw even bigger crowds. Corresponding marches are planned in other cities in America. Some crowds are expected to be in excess of tens of thousands of people in some U.S. cities. As of this late Thursday night, the Women’s March website lists 616 “Sister Marches” with 1,364,010 registered marchers across Earth.
Like many, I didn’t officially register for any of these events altho I signed up as a volunteer with my organization, Socialist Alternative, for both days. Thus the numbers of people planning to participate in the Women’s Marches alone could be far more than double the number listed. Even if many who registered didn’t show up, such events tend to draw large crowds to the sidelines anyway.
Even so, we must remember the history and sacrifices of so many who’ve come before us. Not every single protest succeeds in achieving its goals. Most take time. Already the naysayers are declaring the Resistance against Trump will fritter away into nothing, “like Occupy.” They remain ignorant of what Occupy achieved even as it morphed into multiple, more nimble mass movements already mentioned above.
Yes, we learn from our past mistakes. Yes, we can defeat the Trump-Pence regime, prevent a corrupt, elitist Democrat replacement, and build a new Leftist party of the 99%. It takes sustained action after action across extended periods of time until the dam holding back fed-up working people suddenly breaks as it did in Revolutionary Russia one hundred years ago in 1917.
The movement to overthrow the Tsarist Russian Empire and then the Capitalist bourgeoisie took 56 years from the beginnings of the early socialist revolutionary movement in 1861. It took prolonged struggle before the first successful worker’s democracy was established. The later destruction of the Bolsheviks by imperialist Capitalists from outside and Stalinist bureaucratic despotism from inside provide stark lessons, but right now we must work together to organize widespread mass resistance against Trump, Pence, and the Alt-Right. Events often appear to take on a life of their own and accelerate as racehorses out the gates. Such happens because we working folks prepared the groundwork for things to race ahead. Let’s go march!
Great resources to study and share:
“Global Resistance Against Trump’s Inauguration: CWI Organizes Protests as Millions Prepare to Fight Trump’s Agenda,” https://www.socialistalternative.org/2017/01/19/global-resistance-trumps-inauguration/.
“Inaugurate the Resistance: The Case For A United And Ongoing Mass Mobilization,” https://www.socialistalternative.org/2016/12/19/inaugurate-resistance-case-united-ongoing-mass-mobilization/.
“Seattle Socialist Students Organize School Walkouts,” https://www.socialistalternative.org/2017/01/17/seattle-socialist-students-organize-school-walkouts/.
“Trump Prepares Vicious Attacks – We Must Prepare Massive Resistance,” https://www.socialistalternative.org/2016/11/26/trump-prepares-vicious-attacks-prepare-massive-resistance/.
Women’s March: The Rise of the Woman = The Rise of the Nation: https://www.womensmarch.com.
William Dudley Bass
Thursday-Friday 19-20 January 2017
Copyright © 2017 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.