#DesdeAbajo: “Keep perspective. It’s not the apocalypse. We’ll survive this”

Rodolfo Montes de Oca

Special Issue in English of #DesdeAbajo about the Trump presidency.  In this number Chaz Bufe, anarchist writer and translator, about the inauguration of Donald Trump in the presidency of #USA. Check it out:

  • How do you prepare for this new presidential term? We are approaching a “Misogyny Apocalypse”

No, we’re not. It’s an ongoing struggle. The fundamentalist christian right, and the Catholic and Mormon churches, have been waging a war on women, and LGBT people, since time immemorial. This is nothing new. It’s just more overt.

  • Is Donald Trump’s Choice the True American Sentiment?

Absolutely not. Only about 30% to 35% of the American public are goose steppers. And, yes, they love Trump because he’s a blustering bully, a corrupt thug. He embodies what they want to be rich, entitled, corrupt, screwing over everybody in their path.

But most people do not back Trump, most people are not would be thugs and bullies.

Most of the others who voted for him are “low information voters,” who voted for Trump simply because they’re so angry, and justifiably so. Tbe status quo Republican and Democratic party candidates (especially Hillary Clinton) promised more of the same, and people are sick of it. Real wages, adjusted for inflation, peaked in 1972/1973. Since then, productivity has more than doubled, but real wages have _fallen_ since then.

And currently well over 60% of Americans couldn’t even come up with the money to meet an emergency $500 expense. So, most people are in a chronic state of economic anxiety.

At the same time, “free trade” agreements (they’re not they’re highly managed trade agreements) such as NAFTA (passed under Bill Clinton) have resulted in the wholesale export of manufacturing jobs to countries such as Mexico, Vietnam, and China, where wages are far lower.

So, you have an entire region of the country, the “Rust Belt,” where people have lost their jobs, and where the relatively few new jobs in the service industries pay half of what their lost manufacturing jobs did.

Beyond that, Obama bears a lot of blame. He was elected as the “hope and change” candidate in 2008, and then proceeded to systematically betray the people who elected him. He had huge majorities in both houses of Congress, but all he did with them was to pass a grossly inadequate stimulus bill that kept the economy from crashing, but did absolutely nothing for the 6,000,000 people who lost their homes and 7,000,000 who lost their jobs. And he pushed a joke of a medical-care bill that left tens of millions uninsured while leaving the insurance companies and pharmaceutical industry with their fangs sunk deep into the jugular vein of the American public.

Perhaps most gallingly, none of the Wall Street criminals responsible for the financial crash, “the greatest financial fraud in world history,” were ever prosecuted, let alone jailed. Obama let them off the hook.

So, people are pissed off. The more uninformed voted for Trump simply as a way of saying “Fuck you” to Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Wall Street/Washington insiders.

They’re not Nazis. They’re just pissed off and uniformed.

  • What do you think Donald Trump’s immigration policy will be?

It’ll be horrendous. Expect mass deportations  even worse than under Obama, “the deporter in chief.” There will be resistance here and in the other border states, but expect it to be put down, probably with brutality.

NAFTA destroyed the livelihood of millions of Mexican small corn farmers (driven out by cheap U.S. agribusiness corn), which created the “immigration crisis” as these desperate people flowed north in search of economic survival. Trump will now further victimize these already horribly victimized people.

On a positive note, one good thing locally is that, 180 km to the northwest of here in Phoenix, America’s most racist sheriff, Joe Arpaio (Arpayaso) was defeated in the election. This augurs well for resistance to racist deportation policies, at least in Arizona.

  •        Several anarchist organizations like Crimethinc are calling to stop the coronation of Donald Trump, are you in agreement with this movement?

It depends on the tactics. Some work, some don’t. Deliberately violent resistance to the police, attacking the cops, plays into their hands  plays into their propaganda ploys, makes it easy for them to present themselves as the guardians of public safety, holding back the floodgates of (gasp) anarchy.

It’s far better to use tactics that might actually impede the government and make it plain who’s responsible for the violence: peaceful occupation of public buildings and public spaces — shutting down the government through sheer force of numbers.

In 1991, I took part in the demonstrations in San Francisco that shut down the federal building in San Francisco at the start of the first Gulf War. There were 15,000 to 20,000 of us there for an entire week, 24 hours a day, simply barring government employees from entering the building, or even getting near to it. It was the most inspiring action I’ve ever taken part in.

In 2011, the Occupy Wall Street occupations had an even bigger impact, they altered the entire national discourse about economic privilege and oppression.

Now, with so much more unrest, I think occupation of public spaces and buildings could have a huge impact.

But nonviolence is key make it very plain that any violence comes from the government.

  • That advises you to other anarchists in the USA?

Keep perspective. It’s not the apocalypse. We’ll survive this.

We survived eight years of Reagan and eight years of Bush the Lesser, so we can survive four years of Trump. And, of course, keep on keepin’ on doin’ all the good things you’re doin’ now. Don’t give in to despair.

Importantly, resist actively and vocally, but keep it nonviolent except in self-defense.

One final thing that’s rarely mentioned in this puritanical country, have fun! Don’t neglect the social aspects of anarchism and activism.

If you want to keep people engaged, make anarchist activism attractive. People, by and large, including anarchists, are not altruistic. They want to have their social needs met. They want relief from the crushing social isolation endemic to capitalist societies. They want mutual support. They want a social life. They want a society where they can meet lovers and friends.

Meet those needs and you’ll go a long way toward creating a better world. You’ll create an incubator for a better world.

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