Mocking, Marching, Stopping Hate, Dumping Trump Are Not Enough

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Above photo: Inauguration Day by John Zangas of DC Media Group.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump #NotMyPresident – as if any of them ever was. Show up and show out in DC this week, or in your own home town. If there’s no march or demo near you, get on social media (and the phone) and organize one. Sure. We at Black Agenda Report are down with all that. It’s pretty much necessary. But dumping Trump and stopping the hate are far from sufficient. Why?

Our brother and friend Cornel West published a piece last week that spelled out the popular fallacy. He was talking about Obama, but he could have meant the next president too. Cornel said that “character is destiny,” as if we were ruled by replaceable characters rather than a replaceable system.

The truth is that if Hillary was being sworn in Friday instead of Big Cheeto we’d still be spending half the nation’s wealth yearly on a murderous global military empire with over a thousand overseas bases. We’d still be bombing seven countries and operating networks of global torture, kidnapping and secret prisons. If Hillary was president the US would still have the two biggest air forces on the planet, the first being the USAF, the second being the US Navy.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident and most of the meme stashes and joke repositories do not scare the Pentagon because they offer no door for people to recognize, let alone question the system, not the personalities it throws up. They DO allow the lazy and credulous among us to imagine as Democrats tell us, that “character is destiny,” and Democratic operatives to reinforce that message.

But if a Democrat were installed in the White House till 2020 the black unemployment rate would be about the same as it’s been the last half century, about double the white rate. If a Democrat were in the White House hundreds of thousands with full time jobs would still be homeless and millions more an arbitrary paycheck from it. If a Democrat were in the White House we’d still have 2 million plus people in prisons and jails, mostly black and brown, and gentrification of inner cities and privatization of public education and public resources would continue apace. Big Pharma and Big Insurance, military contractors and corporate media monopolies and parasitic hedge funders would get still fatter off privatized nature, racketeering and theft of the commons.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident don’t scare the Democrat billionaires who who backed Clinton or the Republican ones behind Trump. None of them offer ordinary people a handle to recognize the capitalist system as the problem rather than the despicable character of Donald Trump.

If somebody other than Trump were being sworn in the banksters who targeted millions of low income families with predatory loans and were rewarded with bailouts while the homeowners got millions of evictions – thieves would still be too big to fail or jail. Median black family wealth, as consequence of the housing meltdown fell from a tenth to a twentieth the median for white families. Thousands of water shutoffs per week would continue in Detroit, Baltimore and other places. #StopTrump and marches with big puppets don’t encourage us to remember any of that.

Nearly 95% of all the jobs created in the Obama era were part time and/or without benefits. Does anybody believe Hillary “America is already great!” Clinton has any problem with that? Employers steal more of workers wages than the total of all armed robberies, and annually force millions of workers to declare themselves “independent contractors” ineligible for unemployment and other benefits, and not counted among the unemployed when their jobs end or they are fired. That’s one of the reasons the White House can claim a phony 4.5% unemployment rate when only 66% of the eligible workforce is employed and the real rate may be in the 20-25% range.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident don’t invite us to dive into any of the crimes committed by Democrats, only into the character of Trump. Even #SaveOurHealthCare allows Democrats to pretend that the Affordable Care Act was NOT a blanket full of holes that offered skimpy expensive insurance NOT health care to only half the uninsured and fat subsidies to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. It doesn’t lead us to fight for #SinglePayer which Obamacare was actually engineered to prevent.

Ridicule Is Not Enough.

If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats again and again, our hashtags, memes and messages have to educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. Sure denouncing and hitting the streets to make fun of Big Cheeto is just that. It’s fun, and maybe theraputic too. But as good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent two presidents Bush or Clinton either. Our mocking of “W” didn’t hold Obama accountable either.

Big protests, especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now. Mass protests don’t have magical powers. Ten million people hit the streets the weeks before Bush unleashed bombs over Baghdad, and those bombs still fell. Even street actions without permits are not going to trigger anything like general strikes and uprisings. We just are not there yet. And even Hillary Clinton has learned how to use the word “intersectionality” in a sentence.

These are the limitations of #StopHateDumpTrump and a hundred other hashtags, petitions and meme stashes. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular president in US history, and he hasn’t even been sworn in. Fixating on Trump’s despicable statements and personal history doesn’t help us target the system that produced him and the next ones after him.

Worst of all are Democrat stooges, especially black ones like John Lewis and Donna Brazile, who claim without need of any proof, that the Russians hacked the presidential election to install the Donald. These folks are clearly fronting for another, equally reprehensible faction of the US ruling elite, one that knows it can make a lot more money off a cold or hot war with Russia than they do off the shadowy “war against terror.”

It’s crystal clear that Democrats need us to limit ourselves to throwing figurative and personalized rocks at Big Cheeto. When Democrats focus on impeachable offenses they trot out his conflicts of interest, but not the mass surveillance state, the drone wars and the many other offenses he will share in common with Democratic occupants of the White House.

So while mocking Donald Trump is big fun, just like it was with Reagan and “Dubya” Bush, we gotta go deeper. If we aim to change the system and not just the personalities, our hashtags, memes, activism and messaging must do more than just mock the persons and selected stands Trump and his minions. We have to attack the positions he shares with Democrats. Ridicule is indispensable, but targeting persons doesn’t change systems. We need to educate while we eviscerate. If we can’t do that, we’re just warming up crowds for Corey Booker or the next Democrat.

It ’s just #NotEnuff2DumpTrump

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.
  • I beg to differ. You can try to educate all you want, but the fact is that most people aren’t swayed by evidence. There is plenty of research that bears this out. Most people, of whatever political stripe or personal leaning, don’t respond well to facts. Their eyes glaze over, they do the metaphorical equivalent of stamping their feet, shaking their heads, and sticking their fingers in their ears.

    Ridicule is a powerful, powerful tool. And it cuts to the heart of the matter. It exposes fallacies and stupidity and brutality more effectively than any well-reasoned argument.

    Just two sources:

    http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

    http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/i-dont-want-to-be-right

  • DHFabian

    Too late. We’re more deeply divided by class and race than we were a decade ago. Liberals no longer acknowledge the existence of those who are far worse off than the working class, and black people have redefined all white people as well-off elitist swine. We’ve built so many walls that none of us can find the way out of this maze.

    On where the most poverty is: 9.1% of white people are in poverty, and 24.1% black people are in poverty. However, this translates into 17.8 million white people in poverty, compared to 10 million black people in poverty.
    (see:http://federalsafetynet.com/us-poverty-statistics.html)

    Years of work went into pitting the poor against each other by race. Why? Learn about the Poor People’s Campaign. Divide and conquer.

  • Jon

    Above all, ridicule and satire undermine the legitimacy of their rule. When everyone laughs at them, thee will be like the “emperor with no clothes.,” but one who carries a gun. Satirists of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your Cheneys!

    One other point Lisa, I recently saw your correct comment about the bozos in black smashing windows. That action had “provocateur” written all over it. No doubt a few well paid but the rest being essentially thugs who had never read Lenin’s fine booklet ” ‘Left-wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder.”

  • mwildfire

    You missed the point. Did you read this? He repeatedly said that ridicule is fun and necessary–his point was that as long as we’re allowing the message to focus exclusively on Trump–and avoiding his many faults and crimes that are shared with Democrats–we won’t change anything. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be co-opted by the Democratic Party!

  • I understand we need to stop allowing ourselves to be co-opted by the Democratic Party. That’s obvious. I’m saying that ridicule and mocking are more than fun. They’re a powerful tool for change.

    I can tell you that not one of my establishment Dem friends — not one — gets it. They’re impervious. As impervious as the rightwing they love to excoriate. All they know, all they believe, is “Blue Team Good! Red Team Bad!” That’s it. Just like Republicans who believe the opposite. Two sides of the same coin.

    You can educate, inform, press, try to persuade, present evidence all you want — god knows I’ve tried — and none of it gets through. So good luck with that.

  • Jon, it might well have. Of course agents provocateurs are always in the mix. But as you know, Black Bloc adherents are also entirely capable of doing this sch1te themselves. In fact, I can only guess that that’s why there wasn’t a single one of them messing things up on Saturday, during the Women’s March, because they were all in jail, having been rounded up the day before.

  • mwildfire

    But my point was that the author never said ridicule wasn’t worthwhile. In fact, I think often graphic approaches and humor are much better educational tools than abstract statements of fact. Especially in the context of demonstrations, where you depend on corporate media to get your message out–yet they are at bottom, hostile and will try to distort your message or just leave it out, make it all about violence with cops or delays for traffic. The way to get around that is to SEDUCE THE CAMERAS–have some colorful, fascinating imagery that the camera people can’t resist filming, the editor can’t resist running, but it carries your message in a glance…which may be all you get. As Jon says below, undermining legitimacy is a key objective. BUT as the author said, we really won’t achieve much if we buy into the notion that everything was fine and good under Obama and would have been under Hillary. We desperately need REAL change, and that requires honesty.

  • Jon

    Thanks Lisa, and glad to hear your voice on mainstream media once again. You are appreciated! Jon
    PS A short favor to ask. Please check out the reviews (not many) on Amazon for my book, Liberate Hawai’i! This story is one that is deep and broad in Hawai’i, but few outside know of it–the utter illegitimacy, “statehood” notwithstanding, of the US claim to Hawai’i. Control, absolutely! Sovereignty? Not at all–just dormant like some volcanoes.

  • Well, I wouldn’t say my voice is on mainstream media. Barely. NPR screwed me six ways to Sunday. They blacklisted me, trashed my reputation, and made it almost impossible for me to get work. And all based on a lie.

    Let’s put it this way — if I weren’t married, I’d be waiting tables to make ends meet.

  • Jon

    Wow! Sorry to hear that! I knew there had been a rupture back awhile, presumably having to do with a mild pro-resistance stance of some kind, but thought “They” had gotten over it when I heard your voice again, probably on NPR. Tried RT or Real News Network? Always happy you to see your comments here on PR. (not to be confused with NPR, whose political perspective is to the real spectrum as the yellow–how appropriate–line down the middle of the road compares to the whole road.) I wish you well.

  • Yes, I tried The Real News. They’re right here in Baltimore, three miles from my house. They weren’t interested.

  • Jon

    This is a time we are all needed to do our part. The system is literally unsustainable–meaning that it will fall. When and how is partly up to what we do and we are all called upon in whatever capacity we can muster. I’ve been at it since SDS days myself. My aloha to you–you deserve much better.