A MONTH OF MASSIVE RESISTANCE TO STOP THIS FASCISM
The Basis, The Conception and Strategic Approach
I. The Situation and the Possibilities
There exists today in this country a profound contradiction. Among huge numbers of people there is a deep anxiety, alienation, disgust and anger in relation to the recent presidential election and its outcome. Like the election process itself, this is unprecedented, certainly in modern times. At the same time, however, these sentiments and the people holding them are diffuse and, to a significant extent confused, particularly about why this has happened and what, if anything, can be done about it. After the initial outpourings of protest in the aftermath of the election, a certain resignation, accompanied by depression and fear, has begun to set in among many—consciously and deliberately fed by politicians, the media and other institutions and representatives of the established order, along with a number of “commentators,” “pundits,” and others, who have been working to “normalize” the fascism that has prevailed through the election.
Even though Trump decisively lost the popular vote, he proclaims that he has been given a “clear mandate,” and we are repeatedly told that there is no alternative but to accept what has happened through the election and just “hope” that things will not be as bad as feared, that the fascist regime that is poised to take power will not actually implement its program. Still, it would be a very serious error to underestimate the breadth of the angst and outrage which continues to be felt among so many people in this country (as well as many others around the world) regarding what has happened through this election. It is true that the current widespread opposition to this fascist regime could end up becoming deeply disoriented, demoralized, and decimated through repression. But it is also true that the current angst and outrage could be transformed, in a very short, telescoped period of time, into resistance which reaches such massive proportions, and is characterized by such a depth of determination, that it actually creates a “crisis of rule,” and prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.
For this possibility to be real, there must be, starting now, a significant core of people that is firmly united around the orientation and determination of refusing to accept a fascist America, and is doing everything possible to give the most powerful organized expression to the mass sentiment that exists in opposition to this fascist regime—to transform this mass sentiment into massive resistance, bringing forward growing waves of people, numbering in the millions and millions, in a very short period of time, stepping outside of and going up against the “established norms” of “how things are done,” determined and daring to actually prevent this fascist regime from taking over and implementing its program. There is no “guarantee” that these efforts, even if manifested in a truly massive resistance, will succeed. But there is the possibility. And it can be said with certainty that, if such massive resistance is not built, if this fascist regime is able to consolidate its hold over society and begin implementing its program, the consequences of this, not only for people in this country but for the masses of humanity—indeed for humanity as a whole and for its future—will be nothing short of disastrous.
II. The Illegitimacy of the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime
Trump’s election itself was illegitimate and his ascension to power would be even more so, and must not be allowed.
Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Not even close, he lost by 2.5 million votes. He won the Electoral College which is the product and legacy of slavery. James Madison, arguably the most influential of the founders, argued that direct popular election for president would give states without a huge population of slaves too much sway, as it would bypass the “compromise” that had allowed the southern states to count slaves as part of their population in apportioning representation in Congress. The fact that Trump was decisively defeated in the popular vote and that, moreover, Republican Party representatives and operatives have over the years, especially since the overturning of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 by the Supreme Court, systematically suppressed the votes of Black, Latino and poor people, further highlight the illegitimacy of this election. The will of the people was NOT expressed in this election.
More fundamental is the illegitimacy of such a fascist regime. As many have noted, Hitler himself came to power through the process of elections and established legal procedures. We can see in retrospect the profound and terrible error of those who hoped it would blow over, who believed that Hitler would expose himself and fall from power on his own, who had faith that the “wise leaders” of the system would somehow intervene, or even those who confined their resistance to helping others survive until the regime would somehow fall on its own.
This is not an exaggerated comparison. Trump has made clear through his campaign and now in his appointments and behavior in its aftermath that he intends to radically attack the rights of immigrants, Muslims, Black people, women, gay and trans people, the disabled, and many others who have been historically oppressed in this society. He has made clear that he will pursue a geopolitical policy that will be very short on facts and long on aggression, threats of aggression, insane nuclear proliferation, torture and threats of torture, and continually going to the brink of war and no doubt beyond, and all while stoking the fires of xenophobia and scapegoating. He has made clear that not only has he no respect for the freedom of the press and expression, but that he intends to attack it – both through threatened legal prosecution and suppression, and through unleashing his newly empowered and extremely toxic minions. As for academic freedom, the “watch list” is an early warning sign of what is in store. Trump and his top operatives, like Flynn, take lying to a new level, trampling on facts and even the very idea of objectivity and truth. He has already begun to seed the government with Christian fundamentalist theocrats and breathed new life into anti-Semitism. He has not only threatened to overturn Roe v. Wade and continued to hold out the threat of punishing women (and Pence’s state, Indiana, prosecuted and actually imprisoned a woman for a miscarriage during his time as governor), but – using his “bully pulpit” – Trump has created an atmosphere around women that has further empowered rape culture and already damaged the lives and chances of every woman and girl in this country. His views, policies, and appointments on the environment will seriously and qualitatively exacerbate a situation that is already heading to disaster. He has, perhaps most egregiously of all, super-charged the notion that this is a “white man’s country,” in which the rights and existence of Black people and other people of color count for nothing and he has put proven white supremacists – people of the ilk of Bannon and Sessions – in positions of power to use that force of the state to directly back that belief up; while he has, at the same time, given impetus to every fascist, neo-Nazi and bigot to directly express themselves by violently going after people who are not white, male, Christian or straight. There will not only be no checks whatsoever on the white supremacy and vile racism that permeates the police departments and prison guards of this country, the very worst within them will be given carte blanche and encouragement from the highest offices of the land – as they have already. The days of white vigilanteism and, yes, lynch mobs – days that never really went away, as the terrible cases of Trayvon Martin and the Charleston massacre remind us – will now be back with a vengeance and, again, with encouragement from the highest offices of the land.
To treat such a regime as legitimate, to allow it to come to power, to do so when the historical precedents are so plentiful and fraught with lessons – this would be the height of moral and political irresponsibility. Talk of making Trump a “one-term president,” or of building for the 2018 elections is foolishness. It discounts the damage that will be done to real people, in their billions, in the meantime. It further takes on faith that the already distorted and weighted procedures that gave Trump the presidency will still be in place – when there is nothing to suggest that Trump will not act further to cut down and cut off even those rights that do exist, and plenty to suggest that he will. Hopes in checks and balances in an era of virtually unbridled executive power and at a time when Trump himself will not only make at least one very decisive Supreme Court appointment and will be able to fill, very quickly, the 30% of the federal bench that now lies vacant is similarly vain.
It is the moral duty of us all to seriously confront the potential consequences of what this regime could do in power, and then to act accordingly.
III. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
What must happen: not just thousands, or tens of thousands, but literally millions and millions of people must be mobilized now in determined, defiant, massive political resistance and refusal to allow fascism to come to power.
NOW is the Time to STOP this Before it Starts!
And this must be done before this regime officially takes power, isolates and crushes opposition, and moves forcefully to implement its fascist program.
The aim must be nothing less than to create such a profound political crisis before the intended inauguration (January 20, 2017) that the fascist regime is actually not able to take the reins of government.
Imagine if people, in the tens of millions, filled the streets, powerfully declaring that this regime is illegitimate and demanding that it not be allowed to rule! The whole political landscape would be dramatically transformed, every faction within the established power structure would be forced to respond—and all this could well lead to a situation in which this fascist regime is actually prevented from ruling. This is not some idle dream but something which could be made a reality if all those who hate what is represented by this fascist regime translate their outrage into firm determination and massive mobilization to create the conditions which make this possible.
For this to happen, everyone who is opposed to what this regime stands for, and what it will do, must throw themselves into taking part in, and actively building, this resistance and refusal—now, and in an ongoing way: A Month of Massive Resistance to Stop This Fascism!
This massive outpouring and uprising of millions must be built through ongoing, and increasing, acts of defiance and resistance, in every corner of society. We propose that this month officially begin with acts of resistance on December 19, the day of the electoral college voting and extend to the inauguration. What follows are particular points and steps to do this.
- We have drafted a unifying Call that we feel can rally the needed tens of millions. This Call should be signed by people of moral authority – including yourself! — from every walk of life in this country and must be spread through many diverse media and channels throughout the country (and the world) as a whole, with a major impact on public opinion. We are also reaching out to graphic artists to condense the basic message here into a simple but profound graphic design that could quickly “take off” and become a mass “symbol of defiance” (this could, for example, be something as simple as the single word NO!, with a striking and easily recognizable design). We propose that this Call be mass-released going into December 19th, and that the period directly after the 19th be a time in which this is spread throughout all of society, and that people take the time of the holidays to hold parties, salons, discussions, gatherings of all kinds to discuss this, and to make this a part of their holiday religious observances and celebrations.
- On the basis of this unifying orientation and stand, we should reach out to all those now taking up ways to fight this regime and encourage people in all parts of society to increasingly take initiative to carry out acts of defiance and political resistance of many different kinds and on many different levels (in terms of size and scope, etc.), including such things as walkouts from schools, and from jobs; protests against particular outrages against people of color, women, LGBT people, immigrants, Muslims, and other “targeted” groups; major mobilizations on the Martin Luther King holiday that link this to the fight against this fascist regime; and other actions that people, all over the country, take the initiative to organize. This defiance and resistance must increasingly put its stamp on and set the terms of political debate and activity in society, in determined opposition to the forces which are carrying out, supporting, or working to “normalize” this fascism and promote capitulation to it. As part of this, we propose manifestations on New Year’s Eve itself, of many different kinds, including demonstrations at Trump properties all over, here and around the world.
- We encourage people everywhere to take initiative to build organization of various kinds to promote and carry out this defiance and resistance, in line with this basic orientation and stand. Organization must be quickly built that is capable of acting as a national coordinating center to link together, around the common orientation and stand, the many diverse actions of defiance and political resistance. This must be combined with a great deal of initiative by people in local areas, and in all different spheres of society, all over the country.
- We who sign this commit to reaching out to others, urgently and in a sustained way, not only putting our names and reputations on the line to help build this resistance, but also actively taking part in building it—from here forward. We should not only encourage but be part of initiating events of different kinds, including major artistic performances and presentations, and utilize every venue and means we have for reaching the people, to promote this stand and mobilize people into the ranks of the resistance.
- We will need to raise huge sums of money, now and in an ongoing way, from donations big and small, to provide the financial basis that is needed for this to become a reality. Efficient, not overly bureaucratic and cumbersome, organizational means must be quickly developed and utilized to allocate and utilize these funds in the best ways in line with the goal of developing the mass resistance that is urgently needed to actually stop this fascism.
- All this must be building toward a massive mobilization of millions at a key concentration point (or points) as well as in some other key areas, before the scheduled inauguration, united around the clear and firm stand: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America! and This Fascist Regime Must Be Stopped Before It Starts–It Must Not Be Allowed To Take the Reins of Government!
We send this to you with open arms and open hearts. The times demand unprecedented breadth, diversity and determination and a movement of integrity, largeness of mind and generosity of spirit. Let us all rise to that.