J20 has come and gone; the Resistance has begun.
In the weeks and months since November 8, the terminally optimistic have been telling us to wait and see. Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t judge too soon.
Six journalists on assignment charged with felony rioting, facing ten years in prison just for reporting on a protest. One protester shot and the shooter released without charges. Many pepper-sprayed or tear gassed or attacked with flash-bang grenades. DAPL and Keystone XL revived with the stroke of a pen, condemning our children and our children’s children to the apocalyptic consequences of uncontrolled climate change. Native sovereignty dismissed. Refugees told to go die somewhere else. Immigrants targeted to be hunted down, not only by federal agents but by local police forces. Lie after lie after lie after lie, the sheer number of them intended to be confusing more than convincing.
Ten days of the new regime, and the warnings of the optimists sound naïve at best. If you were half-convinced, if you wanted to be convinced because you wanted to stay safe, wake up while you still have the chance. The only safety for any of us is solidarity.
The basic strategic goal of Disrupt J20 was to turn the inauguration into a chaotic mess, demonstrating implacable public defiance. To some degree, this was achieved. Several of the entrances leading into the inauguration were blocked for hours, compounding the humiliation of an already low turnout for the new regime’s “National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” Images of an antifascist punching Nazi scumball Richard Spencer on camera have captured at least a portion of the public imagination.
So far, so good – but there’s a downside too. Major media outlets like the New York Times completely ignored the blockaded entrances and described the J20 protests as a mere footnote, a minor annoyance. If not for the massive propaganda victory of the Woman’s March (three times as big as the inauguration itself!) the more confrontational protests of the previous day would already be forgotten.
We need the sheer numbers our less-radical allies can provide, even if we disagree with their analysis and find their tactics of “polite protest” ineffective. We don’t have to work together or agree with each other on anything except one issue: uncompromising opposition to the Trump-Pence regime.
Here are the testimonies of a few resisters, some from the militant protests on J20 and some from the much larger Woman’s March on J21. There are no leftist purity tests at Popular Front – we support the full spectrum of active resistance, from black masks to pink hats.
*I was in DC for Disrupt J20. It was an amazing experience. Despite the SS trying to filter in more Trump supporters to the protest area we outnumbered them 12-1. It was wonderful to see such a diverse group of people standing up against fascism and all the various expressions of resistance. I feel so proud to have been a part of it.
*I was the organizer for a local protest. Two weeks before the event I funneled the donated money I had available into a newspaper ad. When I arrived, one person had been there for an hour already. People trickled in very slowly over the next four hours, coming and going. Some peace and love activists brought buckets for drums. They were not afraid to make noise. Although I asked them to and mentioned it in every ad, I was actually intimidated by the amount of noise they were ready to make! I laughed nervously turning on the megaphone. They didn’t care it was illegal. Cops circled off and on, I shut the megaphone off when they drove by. We didn’t have enough people to piss those guys off. A couple of passersby actually joined us. We got a lot of thumbs up and waves.
*I was in DC. Lots of marching, lots of chanting. The protests covered a lot of ground, but there were huge gaps in between the protest locations. Sometimes you had to walk for half an hour to get from one protest to another. We saw something burning at one point and went to check it out, but could never get close enough to even see what it was. We only found out later that the smoke had been from a little trash fire, and that someone used it to set a nearby limo alight a few minutes later – and the limo actually blew up! By the time any of that happened, we were long gone. (PHO Action Committee)
*I was there for Disrupt J20. I almost got caught in a kettle when the riot police attacked. Sirens and motorcycles on every side, people screaming and running, small booming explosions. Riot cops leaping out at me. I dodged one and then another, always getting forced back into the running crowd. Realized I was falling behind everyone else and could get picked off at any moment. Decided to make a break for it and bolted through a little break in the lines, then escaped with a few others through the back alleys. That was a close one.
*From the Belly of the Beast, the resistance to the Trump regime appears strong and coordinated. As part of #Disrupt J20, my affinity group conspired with the Climate Bloc, and successfully shut down access ALL MORNING to the inauguration proceedings by human-blockading the VIP “Red Gate”. Simultaneous hard and soft blockades prevented entry at 5 other access points: courageously held by Standing Rock Water Defenders, the Anti-war and Palestine Solidarity bloc, Movement for Black Lives, and other clusters. Space held and actions taken Thursday and Friday were empowering and a morale-boosting show of non-violent people power in action, capped with the epic turnout on Saturday for the #WomensMarch. (Agent SimpleGreen)
Ten days on from the inauguration, and events are developing so quickly we can’t write fast enough to keep up with them. The Resistance is here, and it’s getting bigger every day!