Monday, November 13, 2017

Scholarly Voices: Mobilizing for Resistance in the Age of Trump

By Bill Quigley, Loyola New Orleans

Wherever there is injustice, there is resistance.   A resistance based on anger, courage, hope and collective action.

Our current injustice is not just Trump.  Trump is the symptom, not the disease.

Our disease started with the building of our nation on the foundation of two genocides.  One against millions of the original inhabitants.  The other against millions of people originally bought and brought as property and labor.  

And yet there was resistance.  Millions of Native Americans and millions of slaves and damn few allies fought fiercely for the right to exist as humans and for human rights.  Their struggles inspire us today.

So how do we take today’s anger and turn it into real resistance?

For those who wish to resist today, it is important to understand how social change comes about.  Study shows us that true resistance that results in social change is based on collective movements.   People together voicing their anger while reclaiming their rightful dignity and power.

So if we really want to resist, we have to commit ourselves to partnering with groups of people struggling for justice and human rights. 

As Judith Browne, the Director of the Advancement Project, advised me recently, ““Our work is to build power in communities that have unjustly been marginalized.  That was our work before Trump and that is our work after Trump.”

In order to fight for the long run, our hearts must be totally open to tragedy and pain but also totally open to hope and love.  That will take some work, but it can be done.  How?  By focusing not just on issues, which will wear us out, but also focusing on the people in the communities subject to injustice.

Because wherever you find tragedy and injustice, if you take the time to meet and learn from the people involved, you will also find resistance and inspiration and courage and love and hope.

Patrice Cullors recognizes this when she describes the challenges of organizing.  “#blacklivesmatter is a movement attempting to visibilize what it means to be black in this country.  Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation.  Rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams.”

So, in the age of Trump, our anger at injustice is real.  But, in the spirit of all those who came before us, we will not give up our courage nor our commitment to collective action.  Energized by the hope created by movements for justice we take part in the real resistance.

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Oppressed classes have a fragmented vision that has been imposed onto them, that there is not enough, and that each group must fight to get what is out there. They have been taught that each class has to pull toward their own side to survive, and that it is not in their best interest to trust others. Divide and conquer. It has been this tool that the powerful have used to keep the people from using the awesome power of working together. They know that only this way can meaningful changes be made. We must change that mentality with action. We need to lead by example and ingrain the power of pushing together in the same direction. It is time we see how we are all in the same boat and we must row together. This is what the oppressors do not want the oppressed to know, because if the oppressed wake up and act together, there will be an avalanche toppling the tables in favor of dignity, security and justice for all, not just the few.

Posted by: Terry Miguel | Nov 14, 2017 10:57:28 AM

The highlight of the article for me was, “Our current injustice is not just Trump. Trump is the symptom, not the disease.” This statement speaks volumes to the current political climate we are currently in. I absolutely agree that true resistance that results in social change is based on collective movements. For example, the Women’s March was a monumental movement that essentially sparked the day after the inauguration of President Trump and had such a worldwide impact that showed the strong resistance of misogyny and sexist notions. The Black Lives Matter movement has had similar impacts. Creating movements like this does not mean that the social problem in these marginalized groups is automatically resolved but rather it is a step to partnering with these groups of people that are struggling for justice and human rights.

Posted by: Michelle Baptista | Nov 19, 2017 9:28:25 AM

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