The night that Donald Trump was elected, about a hundred people marched through the streets of Oakland. By the next night, the crowd had swelled to thousands, many with different political views but all with a shared sense of outrage at the election of a fascist such as Donald Trump. Night after night the streets were taken, and day after day, Oakland high school students have walked out of their classrooms demonstrating their opposition to the newly elected regime.
For those of us who are tired of being forced to choose between fascism and neo-liberalism, it is a crucial time to band together to work on projects that will support the needs of those who our government has abandoned. When millions of people are locked up behind bars, refugees are being targeted, trans* people are being murdered, immigrants are being held in deportation centers, and hundreds of thousands are homeless, the fear we all experience is all too real.
The convergences in the streets have been heartening, but the real work happens every day. If we are to steer ourselves away from fascism the left must be able to offer security that rivals that of the state. Whether this means setting up free clinics, blocking ICE busses, turning our homes into Safe Houses, or offering free therapy, building infrastructure can help our people feel safe enough to take action against the current system. Do you have a car you could lend to friends? Do you have a spare room where you could host a refugee or homeless person? Do you have a garden with extra veggies you could use to cook someone a meal? These offerings mean so much in times of turmoil.
If you are wondering how to plug in, the best way to start is to get involved with an organization. Look for groups that aren’t working with large budgets (or any budgets), as they usually are doing the best work. Look for groups that are led by people of color, queers, women, as they are usually doing the best work. Talk to your friends and families and see if you could join a project, or start a project, together.
We all need to take responsibility for protecting our communities, because it is becoming very clear that no one else is going to do that for us. Here are some thoughts from folks working on doing just that.
“It is important for those of us holding on barely to the margins of this stolen land to understand and innerstand that our dribble-down experience of the monsterule is really just an intensified hate, oppression, and terror of what we are already experiencing. To preserve our human and mental bodies we need to stay sane and realize this is nothing new. Next, we need to take action and, yes, that is protest for reparations. Poor People Don’t have Presidents or Governors or Mayors. We have ourselves.”
TINY, POOR MAGAZINE
“Elections revealed that within deeply divided nation. There are those facing the future and those trying to hold to ghosts of the past.”
VLAD K., STREET SHEET WRITER
“The greatest trick that the Devil ever played was making people believe that he did not exist” is a quote from the Usual Suspects. America played the part when it told the world that racism here no longer mattered and offered as proof the election of Barack Obama in 2008. And so now the gloves come off; the battle can be rejoined; the line drawn in the sand crossed, for ‘our President’ now ‘belongs to the ages’.”
BILAL ALI, HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZER
“I watched as the adults of my country decided my future. A future of hate and intolerance. Youth refuse to stray from the human values of love and unity. Our walkouts represent our refusal to accept Trump’s bigotry and have empowered those under the voting age to have their voices heard.”
LIORI AMI, SAN FRANCISCO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT