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The Role of the Indivisible Movement in the Resistance


The Role of the Indivisible Movement in the Resistance

Dustin Axe

There are thousands of grassroots organizations across the country that makeup the resistance. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses based on their size, who their members are, and what brings them together. Many groups existed long before Trump, and they will exist after him. These groups are often small, but their members are close. They build one-on-one relationships between members who share the same political opinions, demographics, and identities. These groups work to enact change from outside the system; they address long-term problems and seek radical change.a


This article does a good job of laying out the problem Indivisible will have if and when it turns to elections in 2018. I don't believe these problems can be easily solved and I think the main role of Indivisible will be resisting Trump. That is what it is designed to do. The most active people in the Indivisible group I belong all seem to be Hillary Clinton supporters. Any mention of Bernie Sanders gets negative reactions. I don't know if my group is typical or not. Sanders might be very popular in some Indivisible groups. But right now the main thing is to resist Trump and I think Indivisible can play a big role, particularly in states with one or two Republican senators and in districts with a Republican representative. I am represented by all Democrats at the federal level so what my Indivisible group can achieve is very limited.


The role of Indivisible is to co-opt the left on behalf of the Lib/ProgDem wing of the Duopoly. It is working, distracting from clear-headed power organizing and political party building at all levels.


For now, in the short term getting Congress away from the absolute control of the GOP ought to be first; to elect Democrats in 2018. This will slow the more egregious actions on the table in the short term. Sorta like when Congress stalled every Obama proposal with staunch resistance and outright obstinance. Then get the proper ducks in the rows and address them each headlong. This is difficult but well worth fighting for every step of the way. A united agenda for each 'duck' will keep the focus needed for meaningful change.


Sorry, but if the Indivisible movement has nothing more to offer than just beating Trump, it may as well admit it's nothing more than a front for the Democratic party. If all it accomplishes is to put another Clinton Democrat in the White House, it just perpetuates the very system that created Trump. Progressives need to stop wasting time and resources on these faux progressive fronts and get busy building a serious challenge to both the Republicans and the Democrats. How many times have we been told to vote Democrat, first, and worry about reforming the party, later? That hasn't worked in the last forty years, but, hey, let's give it another try. Pathetic.

We can do better than this. We MUST do better than this.


I joined one of my village's indivisible groups. I went to several meetings and it was apparent that the local Democratic party was seeking to divert their activism. They made Trump the enemy. I think that much of what Trump does is a sideshow, deflection, distraction and that most of the damage to our country is being done by the Republican Congress, and the establishment Democrats. Take today's vote on the NDAA. Only 81 Democrats opposed a $92 billion dollar increase for the Defense Department and war making. That increase would basically deplete all of the rest of the discretionary budget to make more war. I won't support it.


You should realize Trump is the enemy. Who in Congress is calling the press the enemy of the people? Who in Congress has close connections to Steve Bannon? Who in Congress in a hero of the alt-right? Who in Congress praises Putin and other dictators? Who in Congress has proposed a Muslim ban? Who in Congress lies as often as Trump? Indivisible is trying to stop the Trump agenda which is partly the Republican agenda but also includes establishing a white nationalist fascist state and enriching himself and his own family through the government. We only need Indivisible because Trump was elected president. The goal is to limit his destruction by putting political pressure on members of Congress, particularly Republicans.


Without another viable left-leaning party, Indivisible will unfortunately in the end work to elect Democrats. Sometimes co-optation is intentional, but other times it just happens for the simple reason there are no other options. I see co-optation of the latter here. Without movement education and re-education around this country's founding myth, Indivisible chapters and members will simply fall into the trap of electing the lesser of two evils.

The fact is our system is working the way it is supposed to. The Constitution is a property rights document and property is ruling the roost. Using a failing system to change a failing system rarely creates a working system in the long term. If the Indivisible folks want a democracy, they should attend the Democracy Convention and start building solidarity with the many groups and organizations that have been fighting against oppression and repression and for democracy. I can tell you, I'm not wasting my time any more trying to make deals with devils--either red ones or blue ones.


The system you appear to be supporting is the same system that allowed the election of Donald Trump. It is the same system that gave us the two worst presidential candidates in recent history, perhaps all history, and it's the same system that has consistently redistributed the wealth of this nation into the pockets of the oligarchs except for the short New Deal period, which was more about giving crumbs than it was about systemic change. One thing I can say about Trump is that he masterfully played the system, but that's only because he had wealth and a microphone, yet another problem with our system. From the very beginning, our system was designed to keep the 99% in their place, and it has been pretty effective as it has taken massive social movements to expand the Bill of Rights to most of the US population, rights that are now disappearing as corporate rights expand. Suggest reading Zinn's History of the US and Godwyn's Populist Moment. In fact, those books should be required reading for all of us, especially Indivisible members.


I have no problem with Indivisible. I have a problem with the neoliberal, billionaire worshipping Democratic establishment. Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein say no to single payer, and then go to fund raisers for them set up by the health insurance industry. They are both multimillionaires. I've been fighting for a progressive U.S. since the 60s, and all I see is more and worse of the same. More wars, more regime change, more money for the rich. Unless the Democrats change, they will lose more ground in 2018, when they should sweep the elections. The Democrats need to start a positive campaign, promoting citizens' rights instead of saying, we're not them. Look at what happened to "I'm not Price" Jon Ossoff. Look at how Bernie Sanders went from 3% to 46% of the people because he talked about things that the people wanted to hear.


Let me share my experience with Indivisible in my community.
1. In the first few months after the November election, promising efforts were taken to build a broadbased, diverse, organized and unified local movement to resist the reactionary agenda of the incoming Trump administration and its allies in Congress.
2. That nascent resistance movement has collapsed.
3. The principal cause for that collapse was the Indivisible movement, an astroturf organization of the Democratic Party.
Indivisible was promoted as a nonpartisan groups working to hold our elected officials accountable to a progressive agenda. This is an obvious falsehood. It is a front group for the Democratic Party. It would not surprise me in the least to learn someday that Indivisible was created by the DNC with the conscious intent to co-opt or derail the vibrant protest movement that sprang up in response to Trump's election.
In my community (Monterey, California), Indivisible members have been markedly hostile towards anyone who doesn't toe the Democratic Party line and have acted as a divisive force overall. The group's sole purpose appears to be to keep people engaged in the Democratic Party, at the expense of building alliances with Greens, socialist, anarchists and independents. A very promising local progressive movement has become completely fragmented and ineffective as a result of their efforts.
The anecdotal evidence I've gathered suggests that, across the country, the resistance is strongest in those communities in which Indivisible is the weakest and weakest in those communities where Indivisible is the strongest. I wonder if other people have had similar experiences in their communities.
Surprisingly, I have seen almost no critical analysis of Indivisible in the progressive or left media, the only exceptions being:
"Beyond Inauthentic Opposition" by Paul Street
"Movements, Moments and Co-optation: Autonomous Resistance to Government Policies" by Jeff Smith
"What is 'the Resistance,' Anyway?" by Danny Haiphong


Couldn't agree more.