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The 4 Syndromes of Passivity in the Face of Pending Tyranny


The 4 Syndromes of Passivity in the Face of Pending Tyranny

Robert Reich

As the era of Trump approaches, some of you are succumbing to the follow four syndromes:

"Millions of others feel equally powerless. But taking action—demonstrating, resisting, objecting, demanding, speaking truth, joining with others, making a ruckus, and never ceasing to fight Trump’s pending tyranny—will empower you."1. Normalizer Syndrome. You want to believe Trump will be just another president – more conservative and pompous than most, but one who will make rational decisions once in office.


In my opinion, Americans have been very passive and have accepted their lot compared to other nations. When the world banking system collapsed in 2008, the people of Iceland took to the streets in large numbers and banking officials responsible went to prison. Other nations have similar examples in recent history.
Americans have not protested in large numbers since the Vietnam era and the Bonus Army during the Great Depression. One has to wonder if it will take another Great Depression before people become seriously engaged and enraged.


If Dr. Reich feared Trump he would never have shilled for HRC; he would have forced a showdown at the convention and rallied the troops for Bernie or bust


Mr. Reich, are you subscribing to the story that Russia was the source of the WikiLeaks leaks? And that Russia tried to thereby subvert our election? I haven't been following you on a daily basis, but I kept wanting to ask this as I read your syndromes of passivity. According to my research, there has not been hard evidence offered beyond conjecture and supposition. I would hate to get dragged into another war just because we are trying to unify in our resistance to Donald Trump.


He did.


The CIA is a very secretive organization. When they speak out, I think we can assume that there is a certain amount of evidence. Evidence that your "research" would not necessarily turn up.


I would like to thank the Jimmy Dore Show for some great commentary.

Obama did one thing right--he didn't balance the budget--it will be interesting how the republicans will continue the theft from the common people----Notice wall street is having one big party since Trump won.

It was interesting to watch a town hall meeting in Wisconsin .Bernie Sanders on the Chris Hayes show. Bernie would talk economics and Chris Hayes would always go back to race---Bernie would bring up the role of the media and Chris Hayes would change the subject.

Jimmy Dore should have a interview with Norm Chomsky


Shocking because of the shared "DNA" of revolutionary spirit that people seemed to have forgotten. The banksters robbed the country , and the most the country could do was to produce the Occupy Movement. Also, people blamed anyone but the banksters- they'd rather blame people who lost their jobs, houses and even lives. Too much worship of the golden ring. Also, what is the shared purpose of the US? Soldiers go off to war, civilians get maimed and killed, and much of the country remains distant or self involved. Shocking even more so since 911.


I agree. HRC was unpopular in 08 and even more so now. Yes, she won the popular vote, but she was not popular enough. A Wall Street neoliberal who talks about social but not economic justice.


Couldnt be said any better. Mr. Reich could also have pointed out that those were the 4 traits displayed by decent Germans during the early 1930s.

On the other hand, anything resembling Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy could never happen here because we are the United States of America.


Another point I would add to the article: When Trump's and the Republican policies are enacted, they are done with the purpose of impoverishing as many people as possible. When Americans have to spend more time and energy on the business of economic survival, there is less time for political activism. And that helps Republicans.

Its no coincidence that the decline of living standards over the last 40 years have coincided with the rise of neo-fascist conservatism. BECAUSE WHEN THE MIDDLE CLASS DECLINES, IT HELPS THE REPUBLICANS WIN ELECTIONS.

And of course the gradual de-education of the public along with the easy access to right-wing media makes for a core of an easily manipulated electorate.

You see this in third-world so-called democracies like India. Too many people just trying to survive. Others so ill-educated in critical thinking that they are easily manipulated.

A thriving middle class is the enemy of American oligarchs.


Hello Robert,

I agree with what you say. I am glad that you state that Democrats who abandoned workers are also to blame.

I hope that in your future articles you will state, in unambiguously forceful terms, that the Clintonesque Democrats are no longer viable and must now be marginalized and retired. To put it another way, the progressive agenda must be fully incorporated into the Democratic party platform, without compromise with corporatism. And, if that will not be the case, then the Progressives should split from the party and form a new party of the 99% alongside the Greens and Socialist Alternative. I am sickened by the corporate Democrats, and I voted Green out of conscience. My gut fully rebelled against voting for Clinton. As an individual, I need to respond, not on a macroscopic level (with my intellect) but on the level of my individuality (with my conscience).


Silk, I at least could vote Green Party here in Oregon without indirectly helping Trump, but if I was in a battleground or a rust belt state, I would have voted Hillary out of conscience and puked afterwords.

I totally agree that the Clinton/Corporate Democrats are a cancer. And they would rather lose with Hillary than win with Bernie.


My personal experience as a social change agent supports Reich's analysis. Coming to terms with the pack of lies generated by our government and the two major parties throughout our history can and does immobilize many folks. Unfortunately, most folks don't have the tools, resources and knowledge required to take action in a prolonged struggle, a topic studiously avoided in schools. Without the understanding of struggle most Americans have had to endure to become recognized as people with inherent rights under the US Constitution, it's hard for those who are upset but remain inactive to pick up the lamp of resistance and solidarity. The fact is that this pending tyranny has roots that extend deep in our history, and only fully manifested itself in the 2016 election. A lot of US people have a lot of catching up to do before they can embrace effective action, and that takes time and effort. We are generations beyond the original Revolutionaries who fought for the creation of these United States, but that DNA courses through our veins. It appears both the Republican and Democratic leadership are flush with it, and are not above lying, rewriting history and law to keep any opposition frozen in place.


Number one is extremely important. Donald Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder and he is not going to get over it. If you read through the symptoms and characteristics that define the disorder or even better, if you have known or been forced to work with such a person you will know that his being a clear and present danger to America and the rest of the world is no over statement.


Blame the messenger and avoid the message....aren't you getting tired of hearing yourself sink into the same ole rut of coulda shoulda woulda....perhaps you'll need to sink even lower in order to wake up to a brand new empowered and empowering thought that moves us all into a next step.


Thoughtful, insightful, even moving. Thank you for it. Please put your good mind and wisdom on "the tools, resources and knowledge" required to "pick up the lamp of resistance and solidarity"..... Although I've been a protester on the street, with letter writing and petition signing, I'd sure like your know more about the structure and patterns needed for sustained protest and resistance. Good books, essays, personal reflections and creative thoughts - what has stirred you?


An interesting angle that I'd not encountered before. Additionally, I'm thinking that activism (viz. Iceland-like, on the street, in numbers actively protesting) could also increase as the middle class awakens to their descent and decrying it, gets fueled to show up in organized resistance.It'd be like moving from the stands down onto the field, itself. We seem enthrall to the gladiator spectacle of NFL games. Perhaps, the fascination can shift into actual involvement and contention.


Very insightful. Remember how viciously the federal and local governments were in trying to destroy the Occupy Movement. The power structure in America doesn't want any resistance. Write them a letter - they throw it away, ignore it or send some kind of canned piece of mail that doesn't even give an answer to your issue.

They, of course, expect families to send young men and women off to fight illegal and unnecessary wars frequently based on lies. Then the families are supposed to wave the flag when their child comes home in a casket or is mentally or physically destroyed.

The people in power much prefer that we watch major league sports, fade out on drugs or alcohol or any other addiction. The last thing they want is us to learn, become intelligent and understanding and to unite for a better life for all of humanity. The power elite and their sycophants in the political class will do everything to prevent that from ever happening.


I agree with you entirely. Writing a letter brings a canned response, and often an incorrect one. A few years ago I wrote a letter to Senator Amy Klobuchar here in Minnesota and received a canned response about Social Security, although the issue about which I had written had no relationship to Social Security. Money is their major concern, which means we have little or no political clout.