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Why The Resistance Must Do More Than Resist


Why The Resistance Must Do More Than Resist

Ira Chernus

The resistance is a huge movement—yuge! At least that’s how it feels when you are in it. And it’s true that the United States has not seen anything like this since the Vietnam war days. Still, Trump and the Republicans in Washington roll on, with some new horror every day. Maybe the resistance isn’t yuge enough yet.

It has plenty of chance to grow, though. The potential is clearly there. Let’s look at the numbers.


Good idea Ira!

Let's begin our Movement by all of us telling the White House, and the Congress that if any bill they pass transfers huge sums to the wealthy, as they are currently attempting to do now in their repeal and replace of the Affordable Healthcare Act whereby they intend to give $300 Billion in tax cuts to the top 2%, we will not only work to insure everyone who votes for passage of such inequality, we will flood the streets and demand their resignations.


If only some people tell them that, they will ignore it and characterize as the chatter of some minority of malcontents who cab be ignored for being not of sufficient consequence To make people believe in change,. If a Green Jesus hits thevscen and has celebtiyptu


I fully agree that the languaging is important. The word 'resist' implies that the power is all on the other side. While that is true at present, it is a long way from the empowering message that needs to be sent. The concept of Creating an alternative system and world view is much more powerful.


"Resistance is Futile".....
History amply shows that just "marching" even by millions will not really give enough "incentive" for the pols to change anything.
It will take some burning streets to effect real change.
What comes after is the question.
But, no. Just "resist" will get you nowhere; and that's just what those in power love.


Indivisible: A Social Action Startup for Democracy is the gathering place for all individuals and groups who would like to dump Trump and his flunkies.

This is probably the beginning of a real, sustained movement with the potential to change the US political landscape (if it teams up with a progressive third party).


Resisting/being against something is a negative activity.
We need to have a positive activity. What do we want in place of that which we are resisting? How are we going to put that in place? You can't just be against stuff. You have to be for something too. Resisting is easy; building/creating is much more difficult. How are we going to organize and create that which we seek to have? We have to cooperate somehow.


The Republicans are close to bringing about their paradise. Ever since Reagan, or even earlier, they have been focused single-mindedly on their objectives and are all on the same page, or should I say in lockstep, with what they stand for. Their goal has been simple, to shrink all government small enough to flush down the toilet. Their paradise? A corpocracy, because we all know that corporations, as opposed to government, have our best interest at heart. That the public has bought into this BS is a credit to the reich's massive propaganda machine and framing of the issues, not to mention the massive influx of corporate money to influence elections.

The progressives may have the numbers, but unless we come up with a clear message that resonates with the American people, nothing is going to change. Like the Republicans, our message too should be simple: Corporations do not have our interest at heart. Capitalism is not a form of government. It's a system for accumulating, er...capital. The role of a democratic government, by, for and of the people, is to ensure the welfare of ALL it's citizens, not to protect and ensure that the capitalists amass more and more wealth at the expense of the people (and the environment), which is basically what we have now.


i believe that most people -- in "the movement," in "the resistance," but also pretty much everywhere else across any political or economic spectrum -- most people do not want to look hard at the whole system, what it is doing to people and the Earth, and think about what we actually need, and what we actually want.

If we face the ACTUAL crisis that is crashing down on us, we see ecological and civilizational breakdown, and the end of human society as anyone has ever known it. "Resistance" and "movement" do not capture the depth and immediacy of THAT crisis.

Resistance and movement against Trump do not capture it. But resistance and movement for "demanding that government actually give us all a better life" -- in Chernus' phrase -- also does not capture the actual crisis we face. So it does not address what actually needs to be faced, and what actually needs to be done.

Like i said, i believe that the vast majority of everyone, of every political stripe -- including "liberals" and "progressives" and "leftists" -- does not want to just look at the reality of what the economy and society are doing to the living Earth and to humanity, and consider what we need from the economy and society.

We need to COMPLETELY OVERTURN the foundations of "the economy" as they exist today. The whole thing is built on the legacy of colonialism, theft, enslavement, and genocide. The greatest crimes in history are not in the past, they are ONGOING, and they must be addressed at their root. Not through "demanding that government actually give us all a better life," but through ENDING the legal fiction of investor-owned "limited liability" corporate ownership as the primary organizational model for economic development and wealth-building.

Time is way past short. The ecology IS DIS-INTEGRATING. World population of animal wildlife has been reduced by more than half, just in the past six decades. Climate chaos is accelerating, as are extinctions. Ocean ecosystems are collapsing, and ice all over the world is collapsing. All this happened WITHOUT TRUMP at the helm. The system crisis is WAY BEYOND TRUMP. A Clinton Presidency would NOT have seriously addressed ANY of this.

We need to end war, end fossil fuels, end industrial agriculture, end "consumerism," end corporate supremacy. Institute agroecology, worldwide wealth reform, worldwide land reform, and direct all investments into humans and the Earth, rather than into privatization and war. Fun stuff. But seriously, that is the task of "our movement." Otherwise we are spitting into the wind.


That's what indivisibleguide.com is all about.


Today's present systems of oppression are build upon the consent and collaboration of the population who are, to a large extent, treated poorly but have a sense of stability and predictability from the present system and can not conceive of viable alternatives.

But, at some recent protests, I saw encouraging signs. I noticed police giving demonstrators the thumbs up and words of encouragement.

Some folks are working on alternatives such as grassroots community based cooperatives and social support structures. If we are to do more than superficial change of leadership, we need to get to the point at which large numbers of people choose to put faith into alternative community based social structures rather than continue to support the oppressive governance system maintained by Democrat/Republican Parties.


Thanks Steve. i see signs of hope too.

i'm involved with the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, growing toward 7 acres of Permaculture food forest grown on Seattle municipal land, so not "owned" by anyone, and open to anyone to take food, open community harvest. Also serving as a model for other similar grassroots community-driven urban agroecological projects.

There are many signs of hope for real system change, not just modest reform. i spent 13 years in the co-op movement in the US. Despite serious problems with co-ops adopting standard corporate operating systems and competing in the consumer marketplace for market share, the basic structure of democratic community ownership is there, attracting many people whose interests are for the benefit of people and the Earth, not their own personal profit. We need to grow these models, and work to infuse them with the reality of the actual crisis we face, so that market-driven compromises do not debilitate the potential.


Thanks webwalk.

I'm going to look into Beacon Food Forest. Right now, I'm working with a farmworkers group to build an year-round organic farm for the farmworkers (documented and undocumented).

Due to the profit motive of the banking industry, many of the people in my community find it difficult to maintain savings accounts and get loans. Do you have any links to grassroots banking?


Chernus is absolutely right, particularly in saying that people need to know WHAT we want to create so they're ready when the opportunity is there. I think a lot of people marching and chanting "Resist" just want to be able to go back to sleep and are annoyed at having to worry about anything. If Clinton had only won, they could have stayed asleep. The lack of changes that are needed would have been so much less obvious.


My only immediate suggestion is to look into Credit Unions. Without the extractive profit motive they are more likely to maintain user-friendly policies and practices, although like other co-ops, Credit Unions are also susceptible to "market pressures" to adopt standard corporate practices, so it's no guarantee.

If you or your team are near the Seattle area, the Tilth Alliance has programs for immigrant farmers to get started, they may also be able to point you toward other resources.

If you are nearer Bellingham, contact Community to Community for possible opportunities and resource options. Maybe that's who you are already working with!


The focus should be on resistance. Right now sanctuary cities are resisting Trump's attempts to use local police to deport undocumented immigrants. And Trump is fighting back big time. He is threatening to withhold funding from these cities, putting out a list of crimes by undocumented immigrants in these cities, and in Austin Texas has increased ICE activity as punishment. Of course marching alone is not enough although protests are needed. But the people resisting need to fill town hall meetings and bombard members of Congress with phone, calls, letters, e-mails, and even make personal visits. And working at the local level is critical because local governments have a degree of sovereignty as of course do the states. And it should be clear what we are resisting. It is a white nationalist dictatorship. But perhaps it isn't. So what. By the time we are sure it will be too late. The time to act is right now assuming the worst.


GCan't edit these things any more so I'll just have to poke very carefully with my stylus. What is needed is a group of activists with good communication skills, particularly public speaking.

We need people can get across a believable picture of how the society can be moved from what we have now to what we need to have, to do more than urge us to "resist" -- we can "resist" till this hell freezes over and unless people can find a story of how to be part of change that can really hsppen, we will "resist" till we run out of energy and we decide to accept a less screwed up leader who will do, what Barack Obama did, and be nicer and non threatening about leading us to the same sorry place,

If the Green Jesus or a number of them can get people to see real "change we can believe in," not just a slogan but a believe in-able path to a future, then there might be some real not just sloganeerred change.


The missing part of the movement is a framework that centralizes the unique, irreplaceable value of every human being on the planet, and the environment that supports us all. The goal of life is to become a full human being, not a rich one. In the United States, we tend to believe that becoming rich will make you happy, even though happiness studies show again and again that once a person's basic subsistence needs are met for food, shelter, clothing, medical care and such, that happiness does not go up with increases in income.

The reason we are spending half our federal budget on planning for wars, execution of wars and caring for the wounded and dislocated in the aftermath of wars, is because we don't believe enough in the value of people. Trump said "America First," whose core message is not what it says, but instead implies that there are leaders among us who don't believe our own needs are primary. A compelling phrase for a movement such as the one that exists now would be "Human Needs First." This is a powerful notion because it says that human beings are more important than wars, corporate goals and political intransigence. And the second is like it: "Planetary needs second," because the planet is what supports us all. The two simple phases are all we need.


The main point I try to make about Tar sands is its basic crude value,
that is as for big engines, fuel oil for shipping/trucking global trade.
Thus we can assume KeystoneXL means more global trade 'Middlemen' devising new ways to exploit cheap labor abroad and pay lip service to a car-dependent airplane-resorting economy of the lower classes and poor.


Ira Chemus is so right. Resist is negative. How about UNITE NOW.---?