Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Community Organizing, Critique, Northeast
From No More Presidents
Since Election Night, the atmosphere of New York City has shifted significantly to a state of normalized social unrest. The Day After, thousands took to the streets to protest the formal ascension of neoreactionary leader Donald J. Trump to the Ameriklan throne. Marches left from Union Square every hour, filling 5th avenue with a horde of resistance not seen since December 2014 and Occupy 2011 before that. These crowds occupied blocks of 5th avenue outside Trump Tower for over eight hours, bringing a broad coalition of liberals, progressives, socialists, Occupy veterans, Black Lives Matter organizers, radical queers, and indigenous resisters into the streets.
Despite the numbers, social conflicts in the crowd erupted between three loosely distinct factions: Trump supporters, pacifist liberals, and radical organizers. Women from various Black Lives Matter affinity groups reported tone-policing by old white protesters who aggressively harassed them for using “violent rhetoric.” Other comrades reported being sexually harassed and even assaulted by Trumpists and liberals alike. An anticapitalist bloc was assaulted by a group of liberals for burning an Ameriklan flag, the aggressive pacifists stealing comrades’ masks.
Flag burning on 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower right now. pic.twitter.com/1LAGHCNjxL
— Patrick deHahn (@patrickdehahn) November 10, 2016
On Saturday November 5th, over 100,000 people took over Manhattan, the crowd occupying 56th street, in front of Trump Tower, all the way to 17th street at Union Square. Even though this is considered by the media to be the largest demonstration in New York City history, the protesters where overwhelming white, cishet, and liberal. The violence and aggression experienced by comrades of color from so-called liberal “allies” drove the more radical elements away. It’s clear the majority of these protesters were most likely not even Bernie Sanders progressives, but remain steadfast in their commitment to Hillary Clinton. Chants such as “Love Trump’s Hate” and “Not My President” reflect a deep misunderstanding of the social forces that led to the election of Donald Trump.
Because of this, anticapitalist, anticolonial, and antiauthoritarian forces have begun to organize independently. Comrades have already tackled swastika graffiti in Crown Heights, countered police violence in Harlem, and pulled off a flag drop over the Manhattan Bridge. It’s been an exhausting struggle of countering pro-Trump violence and propaganda, as we find more and more comrades in the streets. After a long slumber, it finally seems Gotham is waking up.
Not that these comrades oppose the masses or don’t see a tactical purpose in reaching out to progressives, but the cultural clashes over different modes of resistance left our comrades deeply scarred. Until the #NotOurPresident movement changes its offensive, aggressive, and violent pacifying behavior, radicals will refuse to organize with them. The Left needs to build resistance infrastructure and that requires numbers. Radicals hope to win over more liberals to our side, and perhaps opportunity lies in the more militant Bernie Sanders supporters.
Whether these “allies” can become full-fledged comrades, only time will tell. In the meantime, we organize.