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'Social Self-Defense': Protecting People and Planet Against Trump and Trumpism

'Social Self-Defense': Protecting People and Planet Against Trump and Trumpism

Jeremy Brecher

Donald Trump and a powerful collection of anti-social forces have taken control of the U.S. government. They seek permanent domination in service of their individual and class wealth and power. Trump’s presidency threatens immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, workers, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, LGBTQ people, and many others. Indeed, it threatens all that holds us together as a society. We the people – society -- need to defend ourselves against this threat and bring it to an end.


THE GREAT RAPE of the American people by their own congress is beginning. Watch as the following fall under the gavels of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unless we do something about it:

Rape #1: Denying Americans affordable health care through Obamacare or any other social program while they (congress) have free socialized health care for the rest of their lives.

Rape #2: Denying American women reproductive freedom.

Rape #3: Denying Americans the Social Security and pensions earned while assuring themselves (congress) excellent pensions.

Rape #4: Denying Americans safety from predatory lending.

Rape #5: Denying Americans a free press and access to information.

Rape #6: Denying laboring Americans the right to organize and advocate for work safety, liveable wages and reasonable hours.

Rape #7: Denying Americans fair elections through poll intimidation, gerrymandering, spreading of false news, slander of Democratic candidates and electoral fraud.

Rape #8: Denying Americans social safety nets for when they fall on hard times and grow old.

Rape #9: Denying Americans protections as consumers and buyers of goods.

Rape #10: Denying American children an equal, excellent education by attempting to privatize public schools instead of simply funding them properly.

Is there anything good they plan to do for average Americans? Not that I can see.

Our recourse is to let them know this is unacceptable. Write letters, emails, and call congresspeople–especially the Republican leaders—especially Ryan and McConnell–as often as you can.


They will not read the letters.


The only “good” to come out of GOP is that more ill and aging Murkins are being put out of their misery by early deaths as a result of life expectancy declining during the past decade. We will continue to see Murkins’ life expectancy decline commensurate with the amount of GOP legislation enacted.


Dirty businessman, Don Trump and a cabal of capitalist establishment inbreeds are designing methods to devour the United States of America. The Trump team has no more patriotic sentiment for this country, than does Vladimir Putin. These people are unscrupulous, in fact sinister, and morally deficient in all manner. The true character of the GOP is easy to define by how they detest the thought of their fellow man having access to affordable health care. While there are many issues we could discuss, health care alone, spotlights the indefensible and heartless inhumanity that is the core of this ruthless cult. I honestly feel the Trump presidency will be a terrorist regime - dedicated to undermining any semblance of societal decency, with the assassinations of Medicare and Social Security in the planning, while exposing the public to increasing financial turmoil.
Trump and his co-conspirators are preparing to unleash a plague of unrest against “We the People”, we have no choice but to slam these filthy, destructive parasites with everything we’ve got. Because the truth is: we will lose representative government unless we put the fear of God into them. How we prepare for the massive push back to Trump and the reckless GOP, will save this nation and define us as a people.
This is the gut check moment to stand up and ask ourselves “what can I do for my country?” It’s ‘all hands on deck’ - let’s do it.


We’re past the point where disparate protests for/against this or that can accomplish anything. Many understood that the Obama years marked our last chance to bring people together, for the common good. It would have taken a real People’s movement to prevent the country from taking the path it ultimately took. We’re only more split apart by class and race than we were eight years ago. You might not have noticed, but Americans abandoned that whole idea of “protecting people,” etc., by the 1990s. We stripped the US poor of the most basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) of food and shelter. Liberals disappeared those masses who were pushed out of the job market, as the US continued shipping out jobs.

“Social self-defense.” No, all of this is about a hope to stop the rich from doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. Class/economic status trumps every other category by which be define people. “All that holds us together” was already destroyed; our more fortunate just didn’t notice.


I appreciate the thoughtful discussion around the need for a broad solidarity movement that must not only react to (and defend against) Trump, but equally importantly, to expand protection of people and planet. It is both insufficient and dangerously foolish to spend any effort merely to get the pendulum to swing back to DLC-style neo-liberalism. To whatever extent those wishing to lead such a solidarity movement get caught up in partisan politics and with the Democratic Party elites, the movement will fail and in any case it will fail to deliver the changes necessary to protect either people or the planet.


Right, we’ve been hearing all the popular phrases and mottos – Rise Up! etc. To do what? To say that we’re really, really mad about Trump?

For those who have time and money to protest, keep in mind that protests are simply a way to express one’s opinion. They do not equal a movement, much less a revolution. Any chance at seeing real change would have required a united People’s movement, pushing back for the common good. We’re more deeply split apart by class and race than we were eight years ago.


Unless the aging Murkins are rich.

Doing work in your own community for those in need ( even if it is an hour a week or month) is another way of “rising.” In fact that way the direct way of helping is time old tradition that works. Rising up or joining with a grass roots movement or organization is another way of connecting, and organizing with a plan.
We’re more deeply divided? The media fuels this, but really we all have more in common than we think.

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Expand protection of people? Even liberals have simply disappeared an entire chunk of the population – the truly poor. When was the last time you heard anyone call for restoring the basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) of food and shelter to America’s poor? We are 20 years into one hell of a war on the poor – those who aren’t of current use to employers/the corporate state – indicating that “protecting people” is not a priority of today’s Americans.

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Good – now how? Do middle classers even grasp how bad our poverty crisis is today? How do you help those who don’t have food and shelter, who are ill, those who are unable to work/for whom no jobs are available? It takes money and services to meet human needs. Yes, we’re great at talking about organizing, connecting, “taking action” – but over the past 20 years, none of it has translated into addressing actual US poverty. This would require a legitimate social services/welfare aid system – and we got rid of that.


Do some direct work if you feel strongly enough. When people are only concerned about making comments or feel helpless that’s what fuels this. Be happy with what you have , and you only have to give a little time ( or maybe you do already) to those in need. You will connect with others who do the same. Listen…We said much of the same when Kennedy was shot. We said the same when Dr. King was killed. Think about people who have been through the Great depression and WW2 - many who thought they wouldn’t make it did. Much of this today is due to individualism and greed ( as long as I have mine mentality) that causes instant gratification and emptiness in the long run. Will this be easy ? Of course not- but anything worth fighting for or for helping with is not.
If you have a home- be happy. If you have a job be happy. If you have a family be happy. Lots of people as you know do not.
The depression of the 1930s was also caused by bankers coupled together with a fantasy of people who took loans out so they could make a profit with stocks. The production slowed at the same time, and many people could not pay back their loans leaving banks often empty handed. There was no FDIC, no protections at all. Rich people lost their fortunes, middle lost savings, and poor lost everything. Sound familiar?
There are many good people out there still, but for some reason the media gets to people who do not always think or at least deeply enough. Plus many seemed to “forget” that the country does not come out of a depression that easily. Wall Street bankers did not go to trial for their fraud which also caused people to lose faith in the government.
The thing is that many people who do just fine still voted for Trump for some stupid reason. Perhaps it was fear, ( mostly fear of change as well as racism) .
The fact that Wall Street was not held accountable is not something I can wrap my head around which is crazy.
That’s why we need to stick together and help each other because the government won’t or is only there for the profit.

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Well, I am just a citizen like you, but actual change starts at the grass roots level. Instead of worrying about what other people do- find a cause in your community that needs help- perhaps even by donating some cans of food. Also, it’s pretty well known that one does not have to be middle class to do that kind of help- in fact people with less income are often more generous. Perhaps you could also get others together to try to educate some “middle classers” as you say about people’s situations. Also, some people hide how rough they really have it because they are embarrasses- it could even be in your own neighborhood.
Perhaps you could even give a little to a senior center - often a great place to start.
Doing direct work is often more satisfying than just talking about it.
Perhaps you and others in your own community could talk to the local newspaper about some of the organizations that need help. That is where real change takes place.
Some people believe it or not avoid talking about poverty here because it scares them .
We can’t fix everything that is for sure.

There are still many good people out there who work, have families, do some volunteering et al. Sometimes people do have their own situations especially if they are older. Some spiritual organizations also do get involved as well.
If you have concrete facts about certain situations in your community, perhaps you could talk to a town or city council as well.

What do you suggest first? I am all in, and have been an activist for decades.

Yes, that was the 3rd part of agenda proposed by the author. My own point (and the author’s) is that we can not afford merely to react against Trump / the current GOP extremism; must not simply enable the D’s to return the pendulum of power back to them, but must be consciously striving to build a just and sustainable society even as we do engage in defensive postures.

I’ve enjoyed your critiques in the past. And I certainly understand the dark mood of despair that you now project. But to dwell therein, and to give in to it is not a luxury any of us can afford. If humans are best (only?) motivated by emergency and crisis, than there is possibly never going to be a better opportunity for transformation than this darkly threatening time.

It will not be easy; it won’t happen merely by click-activism, or even by a few large protest demonstrations. It will take a serious mass of people willing to put their livelihoods and whatever shreds of financial security they may have - and even their lives and personal liberty - on the line. It will take mass direct actions including well-thought boycotts, labor actions (sick outs, mass strikes), and both a vision and set of principles upon which a conscious solidarity movement can be built.

I’m the last man on earth to be accused (by those who know me) of Pollyanna-ism. I see the reality but choose to believe that we are still capable of salvaging the best aspects of humanity from the techno-commercial-consumerism that is ravaging the planet and with it imperiling all human civilization. And I shall do my best to find avenues through which to attempt it.

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So are you saying Trumpism is the cure for what ails us? Explain, please.

Did you read the complete article?

I like your advice about satisfying actions that help locally. The essayist’s project is writ large because our problems have become glaringly conspicuous on the national level. If particularly pessimistic predictions are valid, we need to have our eyes and ears keyed in on local, state, and national arenas all at once. We need to be ready to speak to and act on a great number of issues all at one time and be willing to work effectively and peacefully with politically disparate groups at every level.

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