We Need Popular Participation, Not Populism

The former mayor of Porto Alegre, Olivio Dutra, campaigning with the people of Bento Goncalves. Photo by Emilio Pedros.

By Hilary Wainwright for Red Pepper – The struggle for the vote for workers and for women was resisted at every stage, and when universal suffrage was finally won, every effort was made to blunt and control its impact through institutional devices. These included second chambers, disproportional electoral systems, executive powers and, most importantly, a rigid separation of politics from economics. Any historical study shows us that the elites, political and economic, fear the demands, desires and collective power of the people. Hence it must be mediated and dissipated before it touches on the centres of power. The end result is minimalist democracy: periodic votes choosing different leaders.

Reason And Justice Address Realities

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Ralph Nader for The Nader Page – Consider the immense public attention to health insurance and health care and the recent struggles over Obamacare and now Ryancare. Conspicuously absent from the dialogues that pundits, politicians and reporters carry on is that the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is “medical error.” According to a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report last May, over 250,000 people lose their lives yearly in U.S. hospitals from “diagnostic errors, medical mistakes and the absence of safety nets” to stop hospital-induced infections, incompetent personnel, dangerous mixes of prescribed drugs and more. Yet in the debate surrounding the health care industry…

Why The Resistance Must Do More Than Resist

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By Ira Chernus for Common Dreams – The resistance is a huge movement—yuge! At least that’s how it feels when you are in it. And it’s true that the United States has not seen anything like this since the Vietnam war days. Still, Trump and the Republicans in Washington roll on, with some new horror every day. Maybe the resistance isn’t yuge enough yet. It has plenty of chance to grow, though. The potential is clearly there. Let’s look at the numbers. Over 4 million people showed up for a Women’s March somewhere in the U.S. And I know plenty of people who totally sympathized with the March but never got there. Let’s assume that for every Marcher there was one person who wasn’t there but is involved in some kind of resistance action now.

The Resistance Must Be Digitized

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By Joseph Torres for Freepress – Over the past two months, millions of people have taken to the streets to challenge our nation’s authoritarian new president. From the women’s marches that took place across the country and around the world to the mass protests against the Muslim ban and immigration raids, people are resisting the neo-fascist agenda President Trump is unleashing on our nation. A primary reason why millions have been able to mobilize so quickly is because they have the ability to use the open internet to communicate to the masses and organize a resistance. That’s why protecting the Net Neutrality rules that keep the internet open is more critical than ever. As authoritarianism rises…

Sustaining Fires Of Standing Rock: A Movement Grows

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By Roy Eidelson for Counter Punch – Over the past year, a remote area of North Dakota has been the improbable and prophetic site of a struggle with profound ramifications for us all. The confrontation has pitted the Water Protectors — the Standing Rock Sioux, other Native American tribes, and their allies — against the oil profiteers of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. The source of conflict is completion of the $3.8 billion, thousand-mile Dakota Access Pipeline — the Black Snake — that Energy Transfer Partners has built to carry fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The current planned route for the pipeline takes it beneath the Missouri River treacherously close to the Standing Rock and other Sioux reservations.

A Movement For ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape

Joe Frazier/ Flickr

By Dulce Morales for Other Words – With spring midterms on the horizon, this time of year is often stressful enough for college students. Yet for some students this year, the stress goes far beyond the normal pressures of tests and quizzes. For many immigrant students and their families, it’s now an issue of safety. Two executive orders recently signed by Donald Trump are to blame. The first is an updated version of the so-called “Muslim ban,” which restricts travel from six Muslim-majority countries. The other gives local officials more power to detain undocumented immigrants and makes it easier to deport them. Travel bans will do next to nothing to keep out terrorists…

8 Lessons From Barcelona En Comú On How To Take Back Control

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By Oscar Reyes and Bertie Russell for Open Democracy – After 20 months in charge of Barcelona, here are eight things we have learned from Ada Colau and Barcelona en Comú. We’re living in extraordinary times that demand brave and creative solutions. If we’re able to imagine a different city, we’ll have the power to transform it.” – Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona. On 24 May 2015, the citizen platform Barcelona en Comú was elected as the minority government of the city of Barcelona. Along with a number of other cities across Spain, this election was the result of a wave of progressive municipal politics across the country, offering an alternative to neoliberalism and corruption.

This Is Not Your Grandparents’ Resistance

Flickr/ teofilo

By David Swanson For Let’s Try Democracy – I want to disagree, in part, with a recent recommendation that John Steinbeck’s The Moon Is Down be used as a guide to resisting the outrages of the Trump regime. I think you could present the basic plot to an average middle school student today, and they would point out the fundamental flaw quite quickly. Here’s the plot. Nazis armed with machine guns take over a small Norwegian town that has a 12-member army, instantly killing 6, injuring 3, and sending 3 into hiding. The Nazis want all the townsfolk to cooperate, including by working in a coal mine so that coal can be shipped out to help the Nazis in the war, as well as — of course — generally providing food, shoveling snow, and keeping things running in the town. The townsfolk bitterly resent the occupation.

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By David Swanson for World Beyond War – Global corporations and international government alliances are pushing war, environmental destruction, economic exploitation, defunding of schools and housing, hateful divisive ideologies, and reductions in rights and liberties as a package wrapped in shiny foil, tied with a bow, and advertised in hundreds of different advertising media. . . and in this corner we have local and national organizations, segregated by race and other demographics, raising pitiable sums to fund nonprofit work, each to work against one or another particular item out of the package. Occasionally a movement will propose to take on two or three items at once but be shouted down with cries of “WHAT IS YOUR ONE DEMAND!?”

A Mood Is Not A Movement: Five Ideas For The Anti-Trump Forces

From thehill.com

By Richard Rubenstein for War Is A Crime – Comrades and friends, I am not writing to advise you how to resist the Trump regime. There are as many action proposals in circulation as there are anti-Trump groups, with “resistance” the buzzword of the moment. But resistance against what, exactly, and for what purposes? Most of the tactical proposals I have seen are strangely devoid of political content. It seems that anti-Trump is more a mood than a movement with shared aims. It is a negative sentiment shared by most of the identity and interest groups that formed part of the Democratic Party coalition (or, as the President himself would put it, by the losers) during the 2016 election. The spread of public protests against the new regime’s immigration ban and other initiatives is heartening to those who oppose these measures. Yet, protest by itself doesn’t create a movement.

It’s Time To Claim Our Highest Vision: Let’s Embrace The Great Turning

In the face of the new administration's systematic dehumanization, the strength and clarity of purpose needed in order to break free of our defensive posture is going to require us to very thoughtfully and intentionally knit our movements together. (Photo: Joe Piette / Flickr)

By Chris Moore-Backman for Truth Out – Across the nation, activists, organizers and newly enlivened social change onlookers are hungry for a shared, coherent sense of direction. George Lakey’s recent 10-point strategy for nonviolent resistance to the new Trump administration offers an excellent beginning to an absolutely critical conversation about comprehensive movement strategy. But our many social change movements, which together have begun to comprise the macro “movement of movements” Lakey describes, may have a short window of time to get our strategic ducks in a row. The new administration has demonstrated a determined will to consolidate power, and to do so quickly. Fascistic executive orders; the systematic delegitimization of existing institutions, checks and balances; unfettered propaganda (aka “fake news”); and the normalization of bombastic and hateful rhetoric are stark early-warning signs of totalitarian takeover.

A Global Counter-Trump Movement Is Taking Shape

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By John Feffer for Foreign Policy In Focus – The American system has been sick to its stomach for some time. Then along comes Donald Trump, America swallows him (hook, line, and sinker), and the system experiences gut-churning convulsions ever since. According to the most hopeful medical prognosis, America will eventually expel Trump from its system and feel so much better afterwards. Reminder: The whole world is watching. How we deal with this president’s fundamentally anti-American policies will have tremendous international ramifications. In fact, the rest of the world is already dealing with the “Trump effect.” After all, while Trump is our emetic, he’s the rest of the world’s smelling salts. Some key countries around the world are already coming to their senses about the threat of dangerous populists. The test cases will be France and Germany. But a progressive backlash appears to be building elsewhere as well.

The New Merchants Of Death

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By Jeremy Kuzmarov for ROAR Magazine – In August 2016, the Pentagon announced that Six3 Intelligence Solutions, a private intelligence company recently acquired by California Analysis Center Incorporated (CACI), which was implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal, had won a $10 million no-bid army contract to provide intelligence analysis services inside Syria. They were to work alongside the roughly three hundred US troops fighting against the so-called Islamic State and to depose Russian-backed Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad. Hiring a company with as checkered a record as CACI is bound to ignite a backlash against US interference within Syria, and may empower the very forces the US is fighting.

With Trump, Resistance Movements Must Bring People Together Beyond Digital Realm

Lauren Hurley/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved.

By Anne Kaun for Open Democracy – When I reached over to switch off my alarm on the morning of 9 November, I wished I had stayed asleep. In the few seconds that I searched for the snooze button, my phone’s notifications had revealed that Trump would almost certainly be the president-elect of the US. I was paralysed. Today, I still feel helpless and unable to respond to this threat to the values I believe in. I should have known better, I shouldn’t be depressed, but agitated, ready to protest and mobilize. But I am not. I am still trying to hope that Žižek and other pundits turn out to be right and that this is a deeply disruptive moment that shakes the grounds of representative democracy…

#Earth2Trump: Campaign Kicking Off To Galvanize Resistance

"When we all speak together with a single voice of resistance, our power grows—and so do our chances of defeating the Trump administration," said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. (Photo: Lori Shaull/flickr/cc)

By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – Sixteen-city tour will ‘rally and empower defenders of civil rights and the environment. Under the banner of #Earth2Trump, a campaign to resist the upcoming administration’s “dangerous agenda” is gearing up to take its message nationwide. The “resistance roadshow,” spearheaded by the conservation organization Center for Biological Diversity, kicks off Jan. 2, 2017 in Oakland, Calif. and Seattle, and will bring speakers and musicians to 13 other cities before ending on Jan. 20—inauguration day—in Washington, D.C.. It’s aimed at “rallying and empowering defenders of civil rights and the environment” to galvanize a network of resistance.