The essential Frances Fox Piven on throwing sand into the gears of everything in the fight against Trumpism. Most Americans are unused to this kind of resistance, but we need to get up to speed fast. Our nominal representatives, the corporate Democrats, are only showing backbone because we are demanding that they do so. Marches are good, but they’re only a piece of the struggle to come. Read Piven on the tactics of refusal and disobedience.
Sunday at the Battery, NYC, under the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. Frankly, what this country needs is a good national strike. [Things are happening so quickly: Francine Prose had a call for a general strike yesterday.2/17 is being bandied about.] And fewer personalities: we’ll make this road while walking it, and if politicians want to grandstand, fine, but we must make them sweat for it.
On Saturday night, taxi drivers at JFK stopped picking up passengers in solidarity for those protesting the Trump-Bannon Muslim ban, and Uber — CEO-ed by a Trumpet — promptly broke the strike. This led to a lot of people deleting their Uber accounts, although I’m not sure why anyone would have one to begin with, considering how insidious that corporation is. (And what a creepy name!) [Since then, they promised to give $3 million to the cause of immigrant rights; compare that with the advertising budget, if you dare; it’s chump change public relations.] The “sharing economy” is a libel on the word “sharing.”
This raises the moral calculus: some innocent airline passengers were undoubtedly inconvenienced at JFK and other airports around the country. That’s not a good thing. But a much greater evil was being protested, because those pulled out of line by Customs and Border Patrol were innocent, too. This isn’t a pure world; there are degrees of evil, and sometimes struggling against the greater evil comes at a cost. You should be expecting inconvenience now. It’s a small price to pay for liberty.
Study the abolitionists, who boycotted slave sugar. The more radical violated the loathsome Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 directly and indirectly (you could be arrested for simply not aiding a slave-catcher). The boldest helped with the Underground Railroad (the Thoreaus of Concord, MA, did).
Remember the people in Montgomery who walked miles and car-shared for months during the bus boycott. Sacrifices will be necessary. Remember the long struggle against apartheid, with damn little of it officially coming from the U.S., to our lasting shame.(Check out the epic documentary Have You Heard From Johannesburg.)
This is hard, and dangerous. I do not doubt that the likes of Bannon would welcome a coup. And the state controls the machinery of incarceration, torture, and death. But we’re not there yet. This is just a full-blown constitutional crisis, with the executive disobeying federal courts. (Just! And this is just the second week of that addled orange monster’s reign of excrement.) So stay strong, with the people you love. And work to build communities. Sharing is a mutual act of kindness; it is not an economic activity. But above all, stand up any and every way you can.And keep a weather-eye out for owls. You never know when they’ll show up.