Filed under: Analysis, Community Organizing, Critique, Editorials
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Stray too far and you’re labeled an “agitator” or “provocateur.” Instead of taking any risks associated with confronting bigotry and fascism, these people want to take every action except for one that matters.
“Did you feel betrayed by the Women’s Marches…the day after the inauguration?”
I was recently asked this by an organizer of a local group of liberals calling itself a “resistance.” My answer is a firm yes. I did feel betrayed as a member of the queer and trans communities. I mostly felt betrayed because I felt these marches were geared towards photo ops and spent almost no time with any meaningful focus on issues that impacted vulnerable communities. They also lacked considerations for intersectionality and frequently beat down on activists that tried to voice those concerns, calling them divisive and inappropriately invoking identity politics to silence much needed criticism.
Since November, we’ve seen a number of organizations popping up calling themselves members of a “resistance” or part of a “revolution.” Their aim is to abide by the rules and hope that they can leverage the system in an effort to unseat Trump, disband his cabinet and administration, and then replace them with an administration whose flavor of bigotry they can tolerate. It means perpetuating the attack on immigrants and refugees. It means continuing the failure to address police violence against communities of color and a complete lack of accountability in police departments around the US. It means that women will still lack bodily autonomy and open access to reproductive healthcare. It means deploying misery and oppression to other countries via military force. It means avoiding prison reform and the very idea of abolishing our system of incarceration that is unjust and racist down to the very foundation. A liberal “revolution,” their “resistance,” includes sabotaging the efforts of marginalized communities in order to maintain the status quo as well as their own positions of comfort.
A liberal “revolution,” their “resistance,” includes sabotaging the efforts of marginalized communities in order to maintain the status quo as well as their own positions of comfort.
But the betrayal goes much deeper than that and was really well-highlighted on January 21st, the day of the National Women’s March on Washington where 231 of our comrades sat in custody, awaiting their turn in court. For over 13 hours, many of us waited for friends, loved ones, and strangers to be released back to us. And for over 13 hours, we watched as people wearing pink hats walked right by the courthouse and refused to participate in jail support or stand in solidarity with the women of color, queers, and trans individuals that had not yet been released. That monstrous betrayal sums up decades of relations between liberal groups and vulnerable populations.
In my own community, there is a moderately-sized Trump/MAGA rally planned in a couple weeks. The counter-demonstration includes a “resisters picnic” across the street and a rally down the road. Any mention of confronting the demonstration is immediately shouted down by the peace police, regardless of what it means to confront the rally. Stray too far and you’re labeled an “agitator” or “provocateur.” Instead of taking any risks associated with confronting bigotry and fascism, these people want to take every action except for one that matters.
That monstrous betrayal sums up decades of relations between liberal groups and vulnerable populations.
The truth is that there has always been a resistance in this country so long as there has also been an oppressive and occupying force present. The revolution didn’t start on November 8th, 2016 and it most certainly won’t revolve around liberalism. But there’s a catch with taking this knowledge and moving forward from here. We absolutely must reach out to each other, we must take into consideration the needs of populations who are at-risk, and we must build sound strategies with the lessons we’ve learned from the successes and failures that we’ve had over the years. We also need to create viable community-based solutions to replace the systems we wish to dismantle. When we say “an injury to one is an injury to all,” we need to mean that and our actions must be more than symbolic.
PS – For the liberals and moderates lurking about, if your resistance has no representation beyond white men and women who preach non-violence and frequently invoke quotations from civil rights leaders in communities of color, it’s because people are tired of being stabbed in the back by their supposed allies who felt respectability politics and optics were more important than the lives being snuffed out around them.