South Florida Autonomous Left

For a world free of capitalism, oppression, and exploitation.

Beyond Protest in the Age of the Trump

IN THE EARLY DAYS of the Trump administration, we are seeing Trump’s utilization of executive orders to initiate and/or implement a wide array of right-wing policies. He is starting to make troubling organizational moves, such as the appointment of Steve Bannon- the former executive chairman for Breitbart News, a platform for the Alt-Right- to his National Security Council. We are seeing the emboldenment of the far right and the rising possibility of international warfare with nuclear capable countries such as China. Many are feeling overwhelmed and questioning the best way to resist. None of us has the power to resist these attacks individually; but we do have the power to resist collectively.

We have been engaged in protest actions across the nation mobilizing large numbers of people; but this is not enough. Now is the time to build and strengthen groups in our schools, communities and workplaces to not only resist the far right agenda, but to move on the offensive while building bottom-up popular power in the process. There are three ways we can do this and all of them are necessary: 1) maintain the protest mobilizations, 2) engage in efforts to criticize the right and put forward alternative ideas, and 3) build collective sites of popular power for resistance, as well as going on the offensive towards a more free and egalitarian society.

1) Protests are useful for the morale of those who feel alienated and isolated, for an expression to the elites of our willingness to take to the streets to express our discontent, and to build connections with others in struggle.

2) The development of the critique of the right and the putting forward of our ideas must also be part of our resistance — we must look to communicate with others, not at others, and get our ideas into the mainstream. There’s little sense attempting to communicate with the elite or far right militants; but by engaging working people like ourselves in communication about our ideas, we can win more adherents to the movement and grow our own ideas in the process of dialogue.

3) Whether in our schools, communities or workplaces, we all should start to dialogue and develop relationships with like-minded individuals to develop directly democratic, anti-oppressive, direct action oriented, popular power. We should be developing communication infrastructure (utilizing encrypted communication such as Signal when possible) to be able to quickly dialogue and mobilize our groups for resistance when necessary.

These groups can be utilized to build relations of solidarity with other groups as part of the broader resistance;

They need to be platforms to agitate, to put forward our critiques and argue for our alternatives;

Students should look towards building student unions or student collectives;

Workers should get involved in their union where there’s democratic participatory practices or build a tendency within their workplace where a union doesn’t exist or the union doesn’t allow for participation;

Communities can build neighborhood associations or issue-based groupings around areas that affect them and others around them (from anti-deportation, to housing struggles, to anti-fascist organizing, to anti-police brutality, to various other struggles).

We must act directly to force the hands of the elites where we have power – whether through non-cooperation, strikes, boycotts, sabotage, obstruction and/or other forms of resisting strategically at the sites where power operates. The power of the elites depends on all of us; we don’t depend on the elites for power. However, we must organize ourselves and identify how we can undermine their efforts by building our solidarity, organization, consciousness and capacity to resist and act collectively.

If we are to effectively resist, we must take this moment seriously and resist where we are and how we can. The elites and those within institutions of power will not save us; their power comes from our compliance. Now is NOT the time to be overwhelmed by helplessness and isolation, now is the time to mobilize, educate and organize together to build the resistance and move our society towards the free and egalitarian society which we all deserve.