I’m seeing a lot of opinion pieces in news outlets about how the left should
protest and organize. Most of these articles misunderstand what protest
should be and also seem to come from a place of privilege. Especially when I
see articles that say things like “You want to scare Trump? Be orderly,
polite, and visibly patriotic.” Privilege that is obvious when police show
up to Black Lives Matter and labor marches and anti-trump marches in riot
gear with batons and rubber bullets, but show up to the women’s march to
shake hands. This cowed orderly, polite patriotism is exactly what the
‘establishment’ would like.
In terms of effective protest I disagree with the notion that the left should
reign in the radical elements that may or may not cause property destruction
and other forms of violence. These articles betray a fundamental
misunderstanding of why protests work and how effective they can be when done
properly. Protest is unrest. The main threat that the state has from unrest
is violence. Falling into the trap that a lot of mainstream or establishment
democrats have of worrying about ‘optics’ is wrong. Just look at Trump’s and
the Tea Party’s success for proof. They say whatever they want regardless of
validity or regard for how it will play on the news stations.
A lot of groups on the left right now are seeking to emulate the success of
the Tea Party. Lets face it, we are living in a Tea Party wet dream right
now. Deregulation, white nationalism, fascism. The Tea Party was rude and
it was vocal. It didn’t rely on protest violent or otherwise, but they
didn’t have to because the Tea Party’s power base was extremely wealthy
businessmen willing to put up millions and millions of dollars across the
country to push their agenda by supporting far right candidates and policies.
With the potential loss of life and general suffering due to climate
change(and US politicians on both the left and the right dragging their feet
on making concrete change on the issue), when I go to meetings for various
groups and I hear people say that without the ACA they could die because they
might not be able to afford their medication, when I think about how the
republican party thinks Trump should have the power to at will make it so
members of mine and other families simply can’t return home if they were to
leave the country or even be deported after living here for decades… We
should be in the streets, not marching on some pre-set route playing by the
rules of a state that has decided that it values profits over human lives, we
should be in the streets agitating and demanding that the government at least
pretend it gives a shit by any means necessary.
I’m not saying everyone should be burning things down or breaking things.
What I am saying is that instead of policing or casting off our brothers and
sisters in black, we embrace them. They are our warriors, they are our
heroes. They are on the front lines putting their lives’ and their freedom
at risk so that those of us who do want to protest peacefully can do so while
maintaining the direct threat of violence and unrest that protest relies on
to be effective. We need to develop a system to protect them and to rally
around them not demonize them. Court support, donations for legal defense
and even other more radical ideas including putting pressure on judges and
elected officials to leave our warriors alone.
Make no mistake, without radical, extreme change in the US, where we are
heading right now with the Republican party is very similar to where the
(establishment) Democratic party would like us to be. The Republicans are
just doing it faster and with greater disregard for human life.