Following the 2016 U.S. election outcome, the landscape has changed slightly for activists and progressives. Various action plans have been offered for people to reorient, refocus, united, and effectively move forward. Here are a few resources for progressives.
Some of these plans are calls for social uprisings that will produce chaos and anarchy. Other plans call for more cooperation, unification, and win-win negotiations and compromises.
“Taking on Trump won’t be easy. We have to be smart and stand together.” This video was posted to Facebook on 1 Feb 2017 and YouTube on 2 Feb 2017. The video had 2.6 million views on Facebook in 48 hours.
- “A 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump—And Make Gains in Justice and Equality” by George Lakey, Yes! Magazine, 31 Jan 2017. Excerpt: “I was among the 100,000 who marched in San Francisco’s Women’s March the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. While enthusiasm seemed high, an important question was looming: What’s the strategic plan as we head into the Trump era? Although there’s no simple answer, I offer this 10-point plan—fully open for discussion and debate. … In short, there’s good reason to see the Trump era as an opportunity not only to stop him, but to make major gains in justice and equality. It will help to learn to turn our fear into power. We’ll also need strategy and the humility to learn from successes of other movements that have come out ahead during hard times. It is not rocket science. If we’re willing to shift personal habits and priorities, support each other through hardship, and come together on a plan, we can win. That is our opportunity.”
- “Amid “Muslim Ban” Chaos, Van Jones Sends in His Love Army” by Zenobia Jeffries, Yes! Magazine, 30 Jan 2017. Excerpt: “It’s day nine. So anybody who goes, “Oh, well here’s my 97-point plan to defeat Trump” is lying. We’re in the process of an oppressive regime attacking the people, and the people are figuring out ways to fight back. Our promise is nobody’s going to fight by themselves, nobody’s going to fight alone. That’s our promise. Over time you figure out how to defeat these people. We live in this Twitter/app world: What button do I push to fix this? There is no button you can push to fix this. This is creeping authoritarianism. These fights play out over the course of years and sometimes decades. So, we don’t know how long it’s going to take to stop this guy. This will take four to 20 years to work out. People need to understand that that’s the kind of fight you’re in. When people speak up, he comes down on them like a ton of bricks with his Twitter account, [and] then angry mobs of Trumpsters start doing negative things online and otherwise to intimidate his opposition. You have to look at a Mussolini, a Hugo Chavez. You know, Chavez on the left, Mussolini on the right, Pinochet, these are the kinds of leaders you have to be studying to see what you’re dealing with. It’s not like, “If we just fix the electoral college, everything will be fine.” People are very naive in what we’re up against and how long it’s going to take.”
- “An 11-Point Action Plan for Progressives” by Greg Johnson, Resources for Life, 14 Jan 2017. Excerpt: “The 2016 election offers some very valuable lessons for anyone involved in social activism or politics. We saw many good examples of what failed as well as what actually worked to bring about change and energize public interest. For those who lost, the following is sort of a mirror opposite of what failed to produce success. It’s what we could of done, and still can do, to bring about positive change.”
- “Donald Trump Will Be President. This is What We Do Next” by Jon Schwarz, The Intercept, 9 November 2016. Excerpt: “Trump’s rise proves that whatever it is we’ve been doing isn’t working. So, let’s exhale and let go of our fear, so we can think as clearly as we can about who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish. We can start by sharing whatever educated guesses we have about what we should do for the next few decades. Here are mine.”
- “Eleven Things Progressives Can Do” by George Lakoff, from Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Excerpt: “Progressive policies follow from progressive values. Get clear on your values and use the language of values. Drop the language of policy wonks… Understand where conservatives are coming from.”
- “How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps.” by Andrés Miguel Rondón, Caracas Chronicles, 20 Jan 2016. Excerpt: “Populism can only survive amid polarization. It works through caricature, through the unending vilification of a cartoonish enemy. … Your organizing principle is simple: don’t feed polarization, disarm it. This means leaving the theater of injured decency behind. … But we failed. Because we lost sight that a hissy-fit is not a strategy. The people on the other side, and crucially Independents, will rebel against you if you look like you’re losing your mind. Worst of all, you will have proved yourself to be the very thing you’re claiming to be fighting against: an enemy of democracy. And all the while you’re just giving the Populist and his followers enough rhetorical fuel to rightly call you a saboteur, an unpatriotic schemer, for years to come. … It is the only way of establishing your standing. It’s deciding not to live in an echo chamber. To press pause on the siren song of polarization. … There’s no point sugar coating: the road ahead is tough and the pitfalls are many. It’s way easier to get this wrong than to get this right, and the chances are the people getting it wrong will drown out those getting it right. But if you want to be part of the solution, the road ahead is clear: Recognize you’re the enemy they need; show concern, not contempt, for the wounds of those that brought Trump to power; by all means be patient with democracy and struggle relentlessly to free yourself from the shackles of the caricature the populists have drawn of you. It’s a tall order. But the alternative is worse. Believe me, I know: I’m from Venezuela.”
- “Nader Calls for a New 1 Percent” by Andy Lee Roth, YesMagazine.org, 13 January 2017. Excerpt: “Citizens have allowed plutocratic forces to siphon away our political power. In his new book, Ralph Nader puts forth a plan to organize around ‘bedrock commonalities,’ which unite right and left, promising to return power to the people.”
- “Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything” by Frances Fox Piven, The Nation, 18 January 2017. Excerpt: “If movements are to become an important force in the politics of the Trump era, they will have to be movements of a somewhat different kind from the labor, civil-rights, and LGBTQ activism of the recent past that we usually celebrate. Those were movements focused on progress, on winning measures that would remedy long-standing injustices, and they were movements that some elites also endorsed. Now the protests will have to aim not at winning, but at halting or foiling initiatives that threaten harm… The anti–Vietnam War movement also had a difficult path: Years of marches and demonstrations and chants of “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” may have influenced the tactics of the war party in Washington, but the war continued and even escalated. The solution turned out to lie in the expansion of the anti–Vietnam War movement—and the escalation of its defiance. The war only wound down when resistance spread from the civilian population to the armed forces, the very instrument of warmaking and imperial power. Rank-and-file troops began to refuse orders, to sabotage military discipline, and even to shoot their own officers. The prospect of an army in disarray prompted military leaders to join the search for a way to wind down the war, in effect allying with the antiwar movement and ensuring its success, at least for a time.”
- “Twelve Ways to Resist the Trump Presidency” by Robert Reich, Newsweek, 6 January 2017. Also on RobertReich.org. Excerpt: “Trump’s First 100 Day agenda includes repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act, giving the rich and big corporations a huge tax cut, and putting in place a cabinet that doesn’t believe in the Voting Rights Act or public schools or Medicare or the Fair Housing Act. Our 100 days of resistance begins a sustained and powerful opposition. Here’s what you can do (it will take about an hour of your time each day).”
- “When it comes to Trump, think horses, not zebras” by Jacqueline R. Smetak, Press Citizen, 1 Feb 2017. Excerpt: “Once we’ve decided that the most powerful individual on the planet is a lunatic, what do we do? We can wait for the House to impeach the president and the Senate to convict him of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” We can wait for old age, bad habits and nature to take their course. We can wait for the vice president and principal officers of the executive departments to transmit to the Senate and House their written declaration that “the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” We can wait for the president to transmit that written declaration himself. Or we can hurry up the process by making it clear that we do not accept, respect or fear this president. We can use the system against him by flooding the offices of our elected representatives with letters and calls, fill the streets with ourselves, and replace those senators and representatives and mayors and governors who won’t stand up to this crazy president with those who will.”
- “Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End” by Peter Leyden, NewCo Shift, 19 January 2017. Excerpt: “I think Trump ultimately is going to do America and the world a service by becoming the vehicle that will finally take down right-wing conservative politics for a generation or two. … I think the next 4 to 8 years are going to see a serious sea change in politics — to the left, not the right. The analogy is closer to what happened to the conservative Republicans coming out of the 1930s — they were out of power for the next 50 years. … A Hillary Clinton win would not have brought about that kind of political transformation. She would have ground out some progress through trench warfare and built somewhat on Obama’s legacy— but the Republicans would have locked her down worse than they did with Obama. Hillary would not have been able to finally bring down the conservative movement and its archaic ideology. … Hillary would not have been the transformational leader that America needs right now either. We need leadership to help take the world to the next level, making the full transition to digital technologies, reshaping capitalism to rebalance massive inequalities, and making big progress on climate change.”
Comments and Feedback
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Here are some updates and revisions to the document that have been made since it was first posted.
- 2 Feb 2017 at 11:36 AM. Added the article “When it comes to Trump, think horses, not zebras” by Jacqueline R. Smetak, Press Citizen, 1 Feb 2017.
- 30 Jan 2017 at 8:15 CST. The article “How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps” was added to the list.