Newsletter - Unite To Change The Status Quo

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Above: Silence is complicity, The World is Watching, Trump Inauguration protest by Eleanor Goldfield for Art Killing Apathy

The broad social movement in the United States has been growing for a number of years, most visibly in recent years with the Occupy Movement and then immigrant’s rights, Indigenous, workers’ and Black Lives Matter movements, to name a few. As the inauguration protests, the Women’s Marches and the GOP protests in Philly showed this week, the broad social movement seems to be growing exponentially and some are escalating their tactics.

American Nightmare, militarized police at Trump Inauguration protest by Eleanor Goldfield of Art Killing Apathy

Militarized police at Trump Inauguration protest by Eleanor Goldfield of Art Killing Apathy

During the inauguration, there was a wide range of tactics used from permitted marches to peaceful blockades to property destruction. Eleanor Goldfield and Jason Yawn discuss black bloc tactics that included breaking windows, turning over trash cans and setting a limo on fire. They discuss why all tactics require consideration of whether the it will help to grow the movement or create blow black that strengthens the police and pushes people away from the movement. They raise the question of why people seem more concerned about broken windows than broken lives. To us, the use of tactics must always serve a strategy and goal. 

Photo courtesy Greenpeace

Photo courtesy Greenpeace

With daily assaults on our rights and the waning possibility of a livable future, one thing is clear: It is time for all of us to resist. That was the message seven Green Peace activists sent to Donald Trump on Wednesday with a 70 foot-wide banner hung from a crane within sight of the White House.

Resistance can and should be for positive changes. It’s not enough to fight against the status quo, we must change the systems. That’s why we are announcing a new campaign for National Improved Medicare for All. We choose this campaign because urgent change is needed with 30,000 people dying annually due to lack of access to healthcare. It is an issue that cuts across all races, genders and classes. And, it is an issue that has not been solved, despite obvious and simple solutions, because of the deep corruption of both parties. When we enact National Improved Medicare for All we will know the power structure is weakening. More information about the new campaign is below.

Fighting Back on Many Fronts

Trump protest in Philadelphia at GOP retreat January 26, 2017 from Twitter

Trump protest in Philadelphia at GOP retreat January 26, 2017 from Twitter

There is no doubt that we will have to continue to engage in struggles on many fronts in the days, weeks and years ahead. Daily Executive Orders, Trump’s nominees and the plans put forth by Paul Ryan show that the movement will have to stop a lot of damage being planned by Trumpism.

Right from the start, the Trump administration made it clear where they stand on critical issues. The White House website expresses intolerance for dissent and praises the military and police. It says, “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.” This presents a clear threat to all protesters, but appears to be specifically directed at Black Lives Matter and other movements for police accountability and justice system reform.

Trump has declared a war on the media. It isn’t only the administration’s outright lies, which is actually not unusual from the White House, but also their refusal to answer reporters questions. And journalists are being arrested for  covering protests and are being given felony charges.

Military vehicles in DC during Trump Inauguration by Eleanor Goldfield for Art Killing Apathy

Military vehicles in DC during Trump Inauguration by Eleanor Goldfield for Art Killing Apathy

Trump loves the military. He wanted to have tanks and missile launchers in the Inauguration Parade, but the Pentagon refused. He told the Washington Post that there will be military parades in Washington, DC and New York City. If this glorification of militarism happens, let’s make sure that either nobody shows up or there are more antiwar protesters than spectators. Think of the great antiwar protest images that could be a message to the world other than Trump’s effort to glorify the military.

The Trump administration is also cracking down on federal agencies, freezing their hiring and funding and even banning information about climate change on federal websites and the use of social media. In response, federal workers are using social media anonymously and scientists are organizing a “Scientists March on Washingtonto say “There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action…”

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard overlooking Sacred Stone Camp. From whitewolfpack.com

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard overlooking Sacred Stone Camp. From whitewolfpack.com

When it comes to dealing with the climate crisis, President Trump is driving in the wrong direction. The White House released a memorandum calling for the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines to be expedited. As the tribal council called for protesters to leave Standing Rock, the local police and national guard became more aggressive by stepping onto tribal territory and attacking media with rubber bullets. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a founder of the camp,along with others  is refusing to retreat and is going ahead with plans to build a green energy camp on her property. Students escalated their resistance to fossil fuels this week by walking out of class nationwide to encourage further divestment.

Crowds gathered at Washington Square Park Wednesday night to protest President Donald Trump’s executive orders about immigration. DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

Crowds gathered at Washington Square Park Wednesday night to protest President Donald Trump’s executive orders about immigration. DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

The Trump administration is going after sanctuary cities to strong arm them into enforcing deportations. This sparked a huge rally in protest at Washington Square Park in New York City. So far, elected officials say they will not comply.

It is a positive sign to see so many people rising up in resistance and supporting each other. History teaches us that creating social transformation requires a broad movement that reflects the national consensus on the changes that people support. The power structure is held up by various pillars such as youth, workers, civil servants, employers, churches, the media, police, the military and more. An effective mass movement will draw people from those pillars into the movement, thereby weakening the power structure. When a mass movement is united against the power elites it is unstoppable.

And Creating Visionary Changes

It is critical in this time to resist the attacks on our rights to protest, on our communities and communities all around the world, but it is also just as important that we build new systems to meet our basic needs and bring transformative changes.

Chris Hedges writes this week that we must revolt to stop the rise of  fascism. “Our only hope now is an unwavering noncooperation with the systems of corporate control. We must rebuild … democratic institutions from the ground up. We must not be seduced into trusting the power elites….”Ungovernable

While revolt is necessary it is not sufficient. The power of the movement must be focused on creating change. Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg admonish us that a united movement is not enough, if it does not work for revolutionary changes. They write, “We have to counter the narrowness of the standard ‘united front’ approach and build a political force and a social movement that aims for social and economic emancipation, and not just a restoration of the ‘good ole bad days’ of the Obama era or the 1950’s and 60’s.”

George Lakey of Waging Nonviolence similarly advises us that going on the defense is not enough. The Democrats would be content to let there be no positive changes in the next two to four years and hope that they regain power. While Senator Sanders calls his followers to defend the Affordable Care Act now and work for a National Improved Medicare for All (single payer health system) later, we agree with Lakey, who says, “Instead of defending Obamacare, let’s push for an even more comprehensive health solution, like Medicare for all.” We cannot delay health justice when almost thirty million people are without health insurance and tens of thousands are dying as a result of that every year.

Health Over Profit for Everyone

Sign up at www.HealthOverProfit.org

Popular Resistance is launching a new campaign for National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) next week called Health Over Profit for Everyone (HOPE). We have been active in this struggle before, particularly in 2009-10 when we formed the Mobilization for Healthcare Reform. We believe that this is the time to fight for a healthcare system that has health for everyone as the bottom line, not the profits of a few. And we are joined by a strong team of advocates. Advocates from other movements are also pushing for National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA), such as Mariame Kabe of Project NIA, which works to end youth incarceration. Like our more than five year campaign to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this is a long term campaign. We know NIMA is the only practical solution to the US health crisis, now our task is to make it the only political solution. Any politician opposed to NIMA needs to pay a political price.

Click here to join Health Over Profit for Everyone. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Health Over Profit Public SupportThe Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign will provide tools, educational and organizing calls and coordinated days of action to shift the political culture so that the only politically viable solution to the healthcare crisis is NIMA.

The new Health Over Profits for Everyone campaign strikes at the heart of a corrupt system. When we put in place this single payer system we will be defeating corporate-domination of government and the corruption that is rife in the two parties. We will transform from the selfish ethic of profit even if it costs tens of thousands of lives to working together as a community for the good of each of us. We will be defeating the false idolatry of privatization and recognizing their are public goods that are essential for all. And with that transformation, we are taking a large step toward shifting to an economy and societal structure that values people and protection of the planet over the profit of a few.

 

  • sheilagoldmacher

    medicare for all expanded and reformed to include all. everybody in, nobody out!

  • Aquifer

    “Any politician opposed to NIMA needs to pay a political price.”

    Does that include any politician who “defends the ACA” – which amounts to the same thing – you can’t have both, to support one is to oppose the other …

    And i still would like the know why the Sioux Tribal Council not only called on protesters to leave, but called on the Feds to help clear them out …

  • mmckinley

    Margaret and Kevin, many thanks. This is the perfect issue to unite the movement behind broad coalitions for an overwhelmingly popular, MAINSTREAM cause. Among other organizations, Our Revolution should join with us in this effort to make this priority number one for the movement. Do you have any good ideas how to best enlist their support? Who else should come to the table? NIMA is too important for any one organization to “own” it. In my opinion one of the biggest things holding the progressive movement back is an organization having a great idea, a massively popular issue like this, and then “owning” that issue as their private domain (and, frankly, fundraising vehicle), not trusting other progressive organizations to join in because they’re afraid of losing control, and voice, and credit. Can we let this be the first real test of progressive organizations dropping their ownership of a progressive issue and truly working together to build a mass movement, instead of a collection of private solos? I’m active in Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement here in Des Moines (we are an official laison for Our Revolution in Iowa), and I’m also the membership chairman and on the leadership committee of the newly-formed Progressive Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party. We are committed to organizing progressive Iowans around progressive issues, and bringing the revolution home to the Democratic Party where it belongs (Quixotic, perhaps, but I believe important to never give up on). I mention Our Revolution as a potential partner here particularly since NIMA was first proposed by Sanders, and was a central issue of his campaign. Unfortunately, in my experience the Sanders organization has not shown an especially open mind to playing ball with others. Back in, I think it was Fall 2015, when you had organized the Flush the TPP march, I tried to convince the Sanders campaign (which I was very active in) to send a large national Bernie contingent to join in your march. I failed to convince the leadership to get behind this, I think mostly for the reasons I mentioned above. I wanted to show the world that Bernie was part of a massive progressive movement that transcended his campaign. They feared diluting and distracting our efforts from his election. In my opinion that was the central flaw in his campaign. Isn’t it time for Our Revolution (and Bernie), as well as all progressive organizations that should be allies, to show that they are part of a social movement that is bigger than any one organization or person?

  • Margaret Flowers

    Thank you. We are not interested in owning this issue. We are collaborating with any group/person interested in pushing for NIMA now and providing tools and guidance to those who do. There are many groups working on this and that is a good thing.

    Sanders should be pushed to introduce a senate companion bill to Conyers’ HR 676: Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. That would be a great task for Our Revolution.

    If Our Revolution groups can’t join the HOPE campaign because of their politics or restrictions, perhaps individual members would like to get involved and take action.

    People and groups can sign on here: http://healthoverprofit.org/about/

  • DHFabian

    What we’ve seen is a predictable outburst of special interest groups, some working against each other. Protest is good, and necessary, and it’s just as necessary to be realistic. Protests don’t necessarily make a movement. A movement can’t move without a unifying idea, a sense of direction. Any concept of “the common good” has long been rooted out out of the public discussion,. the American consciousness.

    Participation in a large protest can be exhilarating, giving one a sense of being heard, even of broad support. But a protest march is the equivalent of the opening statement of a speech. If nothing follows that opening statement, what’s the point? Progress isn’t possible without realistically assessing our situation. Don’t mistake the various protests against “Trumpism” for unity. Those who aren’t on the hard right have only been more deeply split apart by class and race over the past eight years.

  • DHFabian

    Universal health care. That wouldn’t sense. There would be no logic in providing more than emergency room services to our poor, just to dump them back out the door. Deprivation of adequate food and shelter take a very heavy toll. Consider that since we ended actual welfare aid, the overall life expectancy of the US poor has fallen below that of every developed nation.

  • DHFabian

    Understand that what matters the most to people at the proverbial end of the day is whether they have the means to keep their families together, housed and fed. Many don’t. We’re some 20 years into our war on the poor, and middle classers are utterly oblivious to the consequences. This has been the equivalent of being unaware that your roof is on fire. Many knew the years of the Obama administration marked our last chance to turn things around.

  • kevinzeese

    Not sure what you mean by the ACA amounts to the same thing. In fact, the ACA is the opposite as it is build around the insurance industry and for-profit healthcare while NIMA would rid the nation of the insurance system and take a nonprofit approach to healthcare. They seem like opposites.

    On Standing Rock, I don’t think we know the whole story. Hopefully, those involved will bring whatever is going on behind the scenes out into the public so we can understand the different approaches. I saw that the governor had a long meeting with the Standing Rock Tribal Council the day after the council called for protesters to leave.

  • mmckinley

    Excellent, thank you for the link, Margaret. Please understand I was not accusing you of wanting to own this issue. Nor do I in any way speak for Our Revolution. I am a member of that organization, but so far that seems to mostly consist of being on a fundraising list and occasionally being solicited by some national board of unidentified leaders in an anonymous email. What I want is to figure out how to get other organizations on board with you in a big way. I agree that Sanders should be pushed to present a senate companion bill to HR 676. I am very disappointed that he seems to be hesitant to do that; I don’t understand why. Is it ridiculous to suggest a possible alternative tack: convince the Republicans that Medicare for All is THEIR IDEA. Let them steal this issue, show the world that they really actually after all have the public interest in mind, that, unlike the Democrats who couldn’t get it through when they had a majority, only they have the balls(!) to stand up to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. Let’s convince Trump this is HIS idea! If only we had a little birdie to whisper in his ear. Okay, you can stop laughing now. Oh well, I can dream. At the very least this should be a bipartisan solution that eventually is inevitable. Are the Republicans so drunk with power, so utterly beyond the pale of decency, that not one among them can see that?

  • Aquifer

    Defending the ACA amounts to the same thing as opposing NIMA…. politicians who do need to pay a political price …
    So what is going on in the meantime – is the drilling under the river/reservoir proceeding – are there no more actions to stop it – is no one covering this anymore?

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