A XENOPHOBIC HATEMONGER IS ABOUT TO TAKE OFFICE AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. For marginalized people in our society — the undocumented, African Americans, Muslims, Native Americans and many others — life has always been precarious. Now, all Americans are experiencing threats: to our healthcare, our basic rights, our principles of community and justice, and, for many, our physical safety. How to respond?
One urgent task, as Zack Exley writes, is to harness the legitimate grievances that carried Trump to victory. Many Trump voters, like the voters inspired by Bernie Sanders, were responding to economic populism. They are not to be shunned, but engaged as potential members of the resistance. And we must retire the current Democratic establishment in favor of one that represents the needs of working people.
At the same time, strong multiracial alliances must be forged to protect those most vulnerable under the new administration: the Muslims Trump wants to surveil, the black and brown neighborhoods he wants to aggressively police, the immigrants he wants to deport. We must take to the streets and stand with those who refuse to go back into the shadows, as Prerna Lal urges. Every day, our voices and our bodies will be needed.
The mainstream media and the political establishment pretend all is well. Hillary Clinton enjoined us to grant the next administration “an open mind.” No, we won’t. As Rick Perlstein writes, a Trump presidency cannot be normalized.
Here’s our counterproposal. Let’s instead keep an open mind to the new ideas and alliances rising out of the urgency of this moment. Let’s dare to imagine how our movements can emerge from this dark time stronger and less isolated. Let’s resist the urge to cocoon ourselves in our usual echo chambers. Let’s engage everyone we can to join us as we organize to protect the rights of immigrants, women, people of color, workers and LGBT people. Let’s advance our shared interest in economic justice.
Welcome to the resistance.
In this new book, longtime organizers and movement educators Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes examine the political lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, including the convergence of mass protest and mass formations of mutual aid. Let This Radicalize You answers the urgent question: What fuels and sustains activism and organizing when it feels like our worlds are collapsing?
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