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If Our Protests Against Donald Trump Aren't Strategic, They Will Fail


#1

If Our Protests Against Donald Trump Aren't Strategic, They Will Fail

Stephen Crowley

The US is now more politically divided than at anytime since the civil war. And yet, as of next month, America will be much like a one-party state. With a new US supreme court justice, the party will effectively control all three branches of government. Say goodbye to the famous checks and balances of the US political system. Now the balance, and those checks, will have to come from the streets.


#2

I wouldn't say our checks and balances is gone. The Democrats still have a lot of power in the Senate to block things. With the filibuster rule it often takes 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate. Also, there are a few Republican senators such as John McCain, Lindsey, Nelson, and Susan Collins, who are likely to side with the Democrats on a number of issues and provide a total of 51 votes. So I expect lobbying with letters e-mails, and phone calls on a number votes will play a big role in what happens in Congress. Unfortunately, these days protests in the streets tend to be ignored by the mainstream media often making such protest largely irrelevant. But depending on what happens such protests could grow to such an extent that they can't be ignored and the politics may begin to resemble the 1960s. It may at times feel like civil war is imminent. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail if things become that heated and no such disaster would actually happen.


#3

Susan Collins only sides with the Democrats when it does not make any difference.
She does this to maintain the fiction that she is a "moderate Republican".
So don't count on her vote for anything important.


#4

"Yet any protest movement against the extremes of the Trump administration must be strategic and not merely reactive. That means that the tactics must align with the movement’s strategic vision." A big Yes! to the ideas in this article. Strategic, precise, offensives instead of reactionary defense. So, how do we coalesce substantially enough into a "thinking, incisive, strategic" mind to plan and execute such nonviolent strategies? Who, where, when and how do we form the "strategic vision"? Please share your thoughts and resources.


#5

And just exactly what does the author mean by a 'strategic vision'? He certainly did not elucidate one. He speaks of the colonial revolt without mentioning the fact that there were only 13 of them - in a far smaller and less diverse area. The Viet Nam war revolts happened largely because our young men were being drafted, against their will, into a war that killed and maimed them.

This situation is different. We are a very large country with diverse priorities and points of view. Many of us have our 'hot buttons'. The entire system is broken, and no matter what our individual stances, that fact is lost on virtually no one these days. I am not so sure that an over-riding organization or leader will actually arise. That won't stop uprising against the outrages. Perhaps some coalescence will emerge - that would be great. In the meantime, to say we need a strategy without proposing a strategy is just hot air.


#6

We must not rely on the impotent Democratic Party to lead the way. The DNC's idea of political engagement is to compromise a lot in order to get a bite. We must lead the party. Embolden and assist the truly Progressive part of the party while we replace the blue-dog corporate part. We must use everything available to spreading our message. Why progressive money never has gone after a chunk of the mass media I do not understand. If the reason is because it is a dying media and not profitable, my response is that it didn't stop Rupert Murdoch. He was willing to have many years of red line budgets in order to establish a loud and ubiquitous profile. I wonder if there aren't many people of great computer intellect trying to find the real dirt on Donald Trump. We have a tiny margin to "dethrone" this despotic president-elect.


#7

OK. What is anyone actually going to do? Tell those in power that we're really, really mad?

True, the US had been in similar messes before. Each time, people ultimately came together to push back -- for the common good. Well, that can't happen this time. Newt Gingrich (remember Newt?) used to give lectures pointing out that the way to bring the real "Reagan Revolution" to fruition was to first "divide and conquer" the masses. Pit workers against the jobless, the middle class against the poor, and further split people apart by race.

This has been achieved.Then the Clinton wing brilliantly sold the corporate agenda to the beat of a rock and roll song. This split apart those who are not on the right wing, pitting liberals against the left, capitalists against socialists, and so on. Divide, subdivide, conquer.


#8

What happened in the 1960s was three movements -- the anti-war movement, civil rights, economic justice/the Poor People's campaign.


#9

Why do you need the mainstream media anyway? Also, the dems are useless.


#10

That is correct, and there were some real leaders who actually not only lead movements but were active, and kept at it beyond the photo ops or constant campaigning. People like Dr. King whose main focus was jobs with justice and fair wages.


#11

Now that a new line has been drawn in the sand, all of the previously divided groups are now on the SAME side. Thus we became a majority by default. Once this sinks in and we recognize our potentially powerful position, we can make the environment extremely inhospitable and difficult for the incoming putsch. Basically we need a vision, a coordinated plan and a disciplined organization. If that can be achieved almost anything becomes possible.


#12

That can't happen because you say so? Yes, times have changed- for instance there are no longer "bread lines" there are food stamps. However, saying that something can't happen is already envisioning a conquest. Yes, there are people who see their own agendas differently from a progressive standpoint ( such as Gingrich, Rove, et al, but that does not mean that the whole human spirit is always doomed.
Here's an example of some progress: When I was attending public schools, children who were diagnosed with autism were rarely seen in some mainstream classes. Now, depending on their abilities, they ( with support) can be included and not isolated away from the rest of the classes. Advocacy sometimes takes decades, and people hand down the reigns to others.
Yes, the US has been in messes of course because it is run by humans , and humans are fallible.
Is this a scary time for progressives and others as well? Sure it is. Perhaps brainstorming, and sticking together is a start. Reexamining what people's real priorities are. Admitting that one person can make a difference usually by acts in their own communities.
Remember, most people do not define themselves by what a politician says or does. They live their lives as best as they can surrounded by those they care about the most.
Much of the US tends to be apathetic towards politics- it mainly matters when someone is going to lose something personally. The anti war movement of the 1960s and early 1970s was huge because there was a draft, and some returning soldiers from Viet Nam joined in. The war lasted over a decade.
Would we want the spirit of the 1960s to come again? Of course- but there also has to be a focus- not just a general " I don't like this."
Would anyone want to go back to segregation and religiious bigotry in large numbers the way it was back then? Of course not. Is there still prejudice? Of course.
I think some people sometimes romanticize the 1960s because of the protests, energy, songs etc. but there was a lot of violence as well- riots, beatings, killings .
I think what people need is a common purpose. Not having a common purpose absolutely can separate people. Here are some examples of common purpose: voting, paying taxes, complaining about the weather etc. But perhaps what people need is a common purpose relating to country. For instance: when 911 happened the country came together. In fact general crime was actually down. It's like the unity of emergency.
The movements do not go away- they become expressed possibly in different ways depending on what is going on in society.
I thought about something else. Keith Elison is campaigning to run for DNC chair with a progressive platform. You can google about him and support his platform and candidacy. ( Running more with FDR values rather than Neoliberal).
If you want to get involved with change- that's awesome. Volunteer to help people in your community.
Try to get others involved as well.
Look up the website for Voices for National Service, and see what ideas they have. See what others ideas are. I would like to hear from others as well.
Remember: Back in the 1960s ( yes, I was there), abortion was illegal nationally, there was no EPA, there was segregation, a war, and no equal rights amendment. In addition , there was no national Sped law, no rights even for housing adjustments for people with disabilities, in fact many people were placed in insitutions.
When lots of changes ultimately took place, over the years some people became complacent- like we do not have to worry about that - that has been done already.
Perhaps , with enough people uncomfortable- they will rise up and demand change.
Those who are comfortable, and complacent will be okay with the status quo or they will be afraid of change.
People who do not have enough voice need others to advocate for them- it's always been like that.
Perhaps you can call congress( or write) and ask what bills they are working on currently. In addition, you can call or write the dem chair and let her know how you feel about the parties platform. Don't forget to contact state and local legislatures , and involve other people you know as well. Perhaps you do all this already. Remember "movements" do not just hatch overnight. They evolve depending on what is happening in society at the time. However, never get discouraged- eg Bernie Sanders has been a fighter for over fifty years.
You've mentioned the elderly poor for example in some of your posts. That is a population that definitely needs voices.


#18

My view is that the mainstream media is absolutely essential to democracy. It has the resources to cover stories all around the world and many of the journalists often do excellent work When Trump takes office it is essential that we defend the mainstream media journalists against his attacks. Just look at what has happened in Turkey. There are now more than 80 journalists in jail. Criticism of Trump will not be treason, it will be journalists doing their job to inform the public what the government is doing. While the mainstream media is far from what we would want it be nevertheless it is needed for our democracy to function.


#19

You might be right. I am not that familiar with the details of her record. But she did oppose Trump during the election. I think she could be an ally on some critical votes. She has never held office with Trump in power. I am holding out hope that she will come through.


#20

We can always hope - that is about all we have left.
Our Republican Governor (who is a Donald Trump clone) says that she is toast.
That could work either way. Either she will cater to Trump to get back in the fold or she will prove that she is independently minded.
Time will tell.


#21

When major change is needed- it always comes from the streets. Problem is: Do people who are comfortable actually want to go to the streets? However, it does come from the grass roots.


#22

Of course it does- ask Bill Moyers.


#23

First of all I do not have answers, but I also send a big shout to not being reactive or living in the past. Perhaps we can put our heads together and have for instance a national day of not buying in big box stores, or a national day of community giving. Does the media always have to cover this as in getting an audience? Live with your values- but I am just throwing out some suggestions. Also, what is your first priority? Is it big money in politics, is it fair wages, is it no defunding of public schools? Movements start slowly then work their way up.
I wanted to say this also: I remember protesting way back when. I remember attending meetings at college, and also marching in DC. We didn't worry about " Hey , we have to have the TV here etc." We just did it. Have a plan but don't overthink.
You guys have the internet, and social media. We did not have that. In fact we did not even have cell phones! Look at all we take for granted today. Human spirit survives, and if people are too scared then nothing changes.
I already did a little no buy from big box locally for a day with a couple of people.
How about possibly arranging something like that locally in your own community- or we can aim for national?
Remember "Rome was not built in a day". Some of the changes might not happen in our lifetime, but it does not mean one gives up. It took over one hundred years for everyone to have the right to vote in the US, and we still have issues.
There is a group called Represent US also, and they have had some success. Goal: to get big money out of politics and it spans across party lines.


#24

This Trump is already talking about a second term. I guess he forgot he'll be eighty. He's already overweight, and has mental issues.


#25

I like that- first make sure you know about it.