Listen, left. We need to talk. You aren’t going to want to hear this. You aren’t going to want to feel this. But we need to sit down, take a few things in, and get the ever-living fuck out of this bigot fueled, Russian waxed, white nationalist driven, fire engulfed, Trump branded garbage truck to hell that we’re stuck in before it’s too late.
So, here’s the thing. We’re getting our asses kicked. Hard. Like, back-to-the-Civil-War-except-we-lost-this-time hard. And that’s not OK.
It’s not OK in general, but it’s really just kind of extra that we’re losing to a bunch of bigots that think the earth is flat, Nazis just have a bad rap, and their white Jesus is cool with child molestation but not people from the Middle East.
It’s also not OK because we’ve been here before. We’ve been here before as a nation fighting to end slavery through a Civil War. We’ve been here before as part of a global network waging a war to end Nazism during World War II. We’ve been here before as a network of oppressed communities during the Civil Rights Movement. And every single time we’ve won. So, what in the hell is going on, America?
Well, I’ve heard a lot of excuses.
I’ve heard that the Democrats are outnumbered in Congress. True. But they have authorities that extend well beyond those that are Congressional. They have legal teams that they can use to challenge the GOP’s policies in court. They have the authority to counter the GOP at the state and local levels. They have economic authority and social capital. There are many tools that the Democrats have at their disposal. So, lack of political capital isn’t the real issue here.
I’ve heard that the Resistance is fighting the GOP as hard as it can, but the GOP Tax Scam — a piece of legislation which literally dismantles every right and program we’ve fought for in the past 50 plus years in one fell swoop — faced little more than a slew of annoying phone calls and snarky tweets. So, too much effort clearly isn’t the problem.
I’ve heard that Robert Mueller will stop Trump even though he has no authority whatsoever to unseat a President. Only the GOP-dominated Congress can do that. I’ve heard that we are going to vote the GOP out in 2018, but my colleagues fighting to re-enfranchise tens of millions of suppressed voters and mobilize voting blocs of color have been actively shut out of the strategic dialogue. So, it’s not that all our energy is being directed into other long-term strategies to unseat Trump.
So, what is it? Why can’t the best minds in this nation develop a strategy to defeat the host of Celebrity Apprentice?
The answer is pretty simple: We’re not even trying.
Let’s just take a look at the GOP tax plan. The bill functionally starves the federal government, transfers all of its funds into the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations and destroys the economy with insurmountable debt. Debt to be paid by the middle and lower classes to the wealthy people that despise us.
The GOP tax plan has been described as devastating, a disaster, a travesty, and a scam by those restricting themselves to only the politest of terms. But it passed without so much as one sustained direct action. It passed without one lasting mass assembly. It passed without one single act of civil disobedience.
It passed without the resistance deploying a single strategy that has been used time and time again to put an end to the forward progression of white supremacy, neo-Confederacy, and Jim Crow. Not. One.
The problem is us.
Somehow, somewhere the Democrats and the Resistance decided to toss out every single strategy that’s ever worked for us, redefine what it means to fight federalized white power, shout out every professional activist and strategist in the field that knows what they’re doing, and replaced all that with…. phone calls.
Fucking phone calls.
OK, this is the part where people that live and die by the Indivisible Guide get really upset, but I’m going to ask you to stay with me for a moment. Just step back and think about this. The question is: How do you stop the advancement of a white nationalist network? And your answer is: call em up!
Ridiculous, right? Right.
Gandhi’s Salt March, was a 25 day walk to the sea that was directly connected to clear policy demands and supplemented with civil disobedience. In response to the British monopolizing the salt trade, placing high taxes on the good and outlawing the Indian people from producing salt from their own sea water, Gandhi organized a march. A real march. Not the bullshit you see today. A real march. One that lasted over a month, included a sustained mass civil disobedience, and ended in the arrests of over 80,000 people.
All this so that people could have salt.
It took 5 months, 3 weeks and 3 days of consistent nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to desegregate the lunch counters at a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina. The first day, four black students sat down at a segregated lunch counter. They were denied service. The second day more than 20 students joined in on the direct action. On the third day, the number grew to 60 and on the fourth day 300 people showed up to Woolworth’s for lunch. The direct action/civil disobedience was replicated in 55 cities in 13 states. And 5 months later, the movement succeeded.
All for the right to sit at a lunch counter.
The Selma March was a series of three marches that was the culmination of years of policy work at the national level over a year of strategic organizing in Selma specifically. Marchers travelled 54 miles under brutal attacks by white supremacists, the KKK, law enforcement, and their hoses and dogs. It ended in the with over 50,000 people in front of the state capitol gathered to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. It was at the end of the Selma Marches that he said, “I Have a Dream.”
All so black people could vote.
But somehow, somewhere, the left convinced itself that it didn’t need to put in the policy work. It convinced itself it didn’t need to organize sustained protest. It decided it didn’t need to engage in civil disobedience.
The left convinced itself — beyond all logic and historical evidence — that it could unseat Donald Trump and stop the GOP agenda without doing anything that is necessary to accomplish those goals, that Martin Luther King, Jr spoke the words I Have a Tweet, and Nazi’s could be stopped with a phone call.
It sounds ridiculous. And it is.
But that’s what’s up right now. The only obstacles that the left has placed in the path of the Trump Administration and the GOP time and time again can be countered with an answering machine and a street permit.
That is ridiculous.
If we’re going to lose, I want to go down fighting. I want my communities and my peers and my family to know that I did everything that I could to stop this genocidal white power takeover of the GOP and the Trump Administration.
I want my kids to know that when it came down to putting up or shutting up, their mom gave everything she had to stop fucking white nationalists and rapists from hurting them. I want them to know I love them enough to fight for them. I want them to know I didn’t sit and eat popcorn and make phone calls and tweet while the last chance to save their lives slipped away.
I want them to know I wasn’t alone.
I want them to look back and see and endless stream of organized legal counters and sustained mass assemblies. I want them to know what civil disobedience looks like so they can teach their kids how to make sure this never happens again. I want them to live in a world that isn’t run by Nazis, pedophiles, pussy grabbers, homophobic steak salesmen and shitty golfers.
I want them to be proud of us.
And I can’t expect them to be proud of us if all we did was make a few phone calls, tweet our disgust and pretend that is what a political revolution looks like. Because it’s not. And that’s what we are talking about here. We are talking about unseating the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States. We are talking about taking Congress and the White House back from network of Russian traitors and neo-Confederates. We are talking about potentially bringing federal charges on a sitting Administration and incarcerating what is now the 45th President of the United States.
What we are talking about is potentially the most important social movement in modern history.
We have to get this right.
And we can.
Just not with phone calls and one-day marches.
We have to do better. We have to try harder. And we don’t have much time. Over the past year, a number of windows of opportunity to stop the Trump Administration have come and gone. As the GOP continues to strip our rights, replace our judges, attack our Senators, and dismantle our federal government — those opportunities become fewer and farther between.
We don’t have the luxury to fuck up anymore.
If we don’t get our shit together by the 2018 Mid-term elections, the Republican Party will control Congress for at least another 2 years. Every piece of Trump’s white Russian agenda will be implemented. And we might never be able to recover. But as of right now, we couldn’t stop the most dangerous piece of legislation in modern history and it looks like a neo-Confederate pedophile is about to beat us in a Senate Race.
That’s because we are relying on strategies that don’t work. Strategies that were never designed to work. Strategies that sound pretty ridiculous when you think about what they are attempting to accomplish.
I’ve had this conversation in many public, private and professional spaces. One of the most common responses I receive is: Well, what are we supposed to do then?
And I don’t have a problem laying out what I consider solid strategies. I have decades in the field, a PhD and feel like I have earned my right to speak on the subject. But the problem is not that other strategies that come from experts in the field aren’t available. They are. The problem is that they are being shouted out and shut down by an organized hive of activists with claims that all we have to do is make phone calls.
And believe me. No one would love that more than I would. I’m a mom with two kids under 2 years. I’m living with disabilities. I do this work with no funding. I’m pretty freaking tired. I would love to be able to pick up my phone, make a phone call, end white supremacy, and order a pizza. Done and done. Sign me up.
But that’s just not how it works. And before the Resistance is going to be able to identify those of us doing the really exhausting, often boring, almost never gratifying and frequently life threatening political and community work that needs to be done to push back on the Republican party, it needs to acknowledge and deeply understand that what it has been doing for the past year is not enough.
So, after you’ve sat with that for a while, realized that we have some serious Nazi ass to kick, and are ready to put your boots on, then click a few of the links below. Look for peer run civil rights organizations and professional strategists to support. Focus on the 2018 Midterm Elections like your life and the world depend on it — because they do. And then get the fuck back out there because we have a lot of work to do.
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To learn more about the battle for Congress in 2018, read the following:
End Voter Suppression by 2018. Re-enfranchise 50 Million People. Destroy the GOP. #WeAllVote2018
To learn more about the path to impeachment, read the following:
To learn more about social reform and how it works, read the following:
To find all of SIIP’s articles and learn more about our work, visit:
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