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We are the 99 percent

Protests won't stop Trump. We need a movement that transforms into a party

Posted 5 months ago on Feb. 2, 2017, 4:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: trump

The astonishing triumph of Donald Trump can be traced to the bitter defeat of Occupy Wall Street, a pro-democracy movement that transcended left and right, sparking unrest in hundreds of cities and rural towns in 2011. Occupy’s consensus-based encampments demanded that President Obama get money out of politics. Instead, we got mercilessly smashed by his progressive administration. Now the dark irony of history is bashing back.

Trump – an uber-wealthy, partially self-financed candidate who promises to “drain the swamp” – was elected president just one week before the fifth anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s eviction of the Zuccotti Park encampment. President-elect Trump, a charismatic strongman with an autocratic temperament, is not what millions of Occupiers were dreaming of when we took to the streets against the monied corruption of our democracy.

Now, as the nation experiences a disturbing rise of hate crimes against the groups singled out by Trump during his campaign, protests descending into riots are rocking our cities. These visceral protests will undoubtedly continue into 2017. Celebrated progressive Kshama Sawant, a socialist councilwoman in Seattle, has already called on people to disrupt Trump’s inauguration in January.

At the same time, despite the excitement of seeing militants marching in the cities, leftist activist networks are buzzing with the painful realization that contemporary protest is broken. The dominant tactic of getting people into the streets, rallying behind a single demand and raising awareness about an injustice simply does not result in the desired social change.

Nominally democratic governments tolerate protest because elected representatives no longer feel compelled to heed protest. The end of protest is not the absence of protest. The end of protest is the proliferation of ineffective protests that are more like a ritualized performance of children than a mature, revolutionary challenge to the status quo.

Activists who rush into the streets tomorrow and repeat yesterday’s tired tactics will not bring an end to Trump nor will they transfer sovereign power to the people. There are only two ways to achieve sovereignty in this world. Activists can win elections or win wars. There is no third option.

Protest can play an important role in winning elections or winning wars but protest alone is insufficient. Just think of the three years many activists spent on Black Lives Matter versus the 18 months it took Trump to sweep into power. It is magical thinking, and a dangerously misguided strategy, for activists to continue to act as if the masses in the streets can attain a sovereignty over their governments through a collective manifestation of the people’s general will. This may have been true in the past, but is not true today.

What is to be done now? American activists must move from detached indignation to revolutionary engagement. They must use the techniques that create social movements to dominate elections.

The path forward is revealed in the rallying cry of the people in the streets: “Not My President!” This protest slogan is eerily similar to the one used by Spain’s 15-M Movement of indignados who set up anti-establishment general assemblies in May of 2011 and chanted “No Nos Representan!” (“You Don’t Represent Us!”) during their election. Their assemblies inspired the birth of Occupy. But when the refusal of the indignados to participate in the election resulted in a shocking victory for Spain’s right wing, the movement’s activists and supporters quickly internalized an important lesson that Americans must now embrace.

Realizing that new forms of social protest are better equipped to win elections than disrupt elections, many of the indignados transformed themselves into Podemos, a hybrid movement-party that is now winning elections and taking power. A similar story can be told of the Pirate party in Iceland, or the 5 Star Movement in Italy or the pan-European Diem25. Focus on the form, not the content, of these hybrid movement-parties: their organizing style is the future of global protest.

Concretely speaking, activists must reorient all efforts around capturing sovereignty. That means looking for places where sovereignty is lightly held and rarely contested, like rural communities. Or targeting sovereign positions of power that are not typically seen as powerful, such as soil and water district boards or port commissions. Protests will remain ineffective as long as there is no movement-party capable of governing locally and nationally.

This is a struggle for sovereignty. The endgame is a populist movement-party that wins elections in multiple countries in order to carry out a unified agenda worldwide. The spark for this electoral movement is bound to emerge from an unexpected place.

It could start from a women-led backlash against the pack of patriarchs governing the globe: Putin in Russia, Erdoğan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines, Xi in China and now Trump in America. Or maybe activists will start moving into neglected rural cities – low-population areas of America – and prepare to sweep city council elections. That is the strategy I’m pursuing in Nehalem, Oregon, where I recently ran for mayor. In any case, avoid falling for the exhausting delusion of endless urban protest or the nihilistic fantasy of winning an insurrectionary war.

The difficult path of merging innovative protest, social movements and electoral parties is the only viable way forward. And with only two years until the next election in America, there is no time to waste.

— Micah White is the author of THE END OF PROTEST. This article originally appeared at The Guardian

20 Comments

20 Comments


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[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 weeks ago

Too bad the idea got shot down here when Occupy had the following to do something.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 2 months ago

Yes we do .. ''need a movement that transforms into a party''! Ergo, please avail the links herein..

ad iudicium ...

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[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8802) from Phoenix, AZ 4 months ago

Comparing the US system to European systems causes confusion and provides opportunity for people like Drumpf to win. In the US the path to revolution is by taking over one of the two parties, something which has happen several times in our history, the emergence of "third parties" only serve to empower the opposite policies than those desired, as we saw in 2000 when the Green Party elected W Bush President. We need a revolution and I believe something big will happen but will it be led by a unified Right under the GOP against a fractured and weak opposition or will it rise from a united left?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33083) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 months ago

Protests alone "may" not stop Drumpf.

Public Protests demanding action from their representatives in opposing Drumpf may well make a difference - if the difference is only that unresponsive representatives finally get the boot due to their lip service and opposite actions!

The sad state of both the republicans and the Democrats may well fuel solid public support for another party/movement!

[-] 1 points by grapes (4919) 1 month ago
[-] 1 points by gsw (3016) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 5 months ago

So is there a sight like this one in heyday, but better and more fresh and current?

How come site here not supported, open anymore?

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33083) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 months ago

A site like this? Not that I've seen. But there is a movement happening - it is just a question of whether or not it can gain enough support to make real change "for the public" (imo) because the DNC screwed Bernie & instead of continuing the race as an independent - he mistakenly folded to the DNC and supported sHillary! Bernie's Movement | The Huffington Post Further - this resulted in Democrats losing more seats instead of gaining them as the public was infuriated by the DNC's theft of the nomination for sHillary! Millions of people did not participate because they couldn't in good conscience vote for sHillary or Drumpf and either did not know there was an alternative for them = Jill S or couldn't vote for her anyway because she was not on their state's ballot.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3016) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 5 months ago

On a Sunday morning show meet the press this week SANDER's wouldn't commit to starting another party, he still hopes democrat can get selves away from moneyed interests, and focus on working class,

What was up with the Dems party elite on Hillary bandwagon so unanimously?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33083) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 months ago

What was up with the Dems party elite on Hillary bandwagon so unanimously?

The Elite? They figure she is one of them and will toe the line on their issues.

SANDER's wouldn't commit to starting another party

He really has a blind spot as too how seriously flawed the dem party currently is - he should realize that the dem party's best shot at reforming (?) would be to give them competition that actually starts out working for the people. But - on the other-hand (imo) the people would be better off with no political parties - just have representatives that work on issues rather than on party lines.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8802) from Phoenix, AZ 4 months ago

I think Sanders see clearly how dangerous the GOP is and how important it is we defeat them, if more people understood this Drumpf would not be POTUS.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (8802) from Phoenix, AZ 4 months ago

Starting another Party would be such a gift to Drumpf he would never stop laughing!

[-] 1 points by grapes (4919) 5 months ago

There were historical examples of enforcing purity leading to the death of the beloved target of affection. This site may have suffered from enforcing ideological uniformity.

The death of Latin as a language for the masses was an example. Latin was guarded too well for purity that it could Not incorporate new developments needed for the advancements of the masses. Its grammar was not simplified enough to accommodate the masses. Realistically speaking, how many Catholics actually comprehend what their priests recite in Latin during Masses? Not many!

Another example was the Spartans. They were truly "The few. The proud. The no more." They imposed such stringent requirement on being a full-fledged member of their community that they had essentially culled themselves to extinction. They did have a custom(also in ancient Scotland) that enhanced their genetic diversity such as their queen mating with (a redhead in ancient Scotland who would be beheaded afterwards) select distinguished visitors. It didn't always go well though. There was the time when Helen, Queen of Sparta, ran away with (perhaps her abductor but they were in Sparta so she might have gotten help) Prince Paris to Troy triggering the Trojan War. Spartans died.

Contrast that with the founding of Rome by the Rape of the Sabine Women. Yes, the neighbors to Rome, the Sabine women were probably Both abducted and raped by the ancient Roman bachelors but they won out by courageously halting the war when their fathers and brothers fought their by-then(probably rapist) husbands. Gaining in-laws and with peace, the Romans(perhaps bastards from the rapes) thrived. Kudos to the women!

You can well bet that the Trojan War was a (rather stupid) male idea. Women seemed to know the genetic diversity issue far more intimately than men and when they chose, things often turned out well for the offspring. Only an extremely little bit of hanky-panky is needed because the genes go a long way(Eurasians [including me, being of Eurasian descent] still have the Neanderthal genes after tens of thousands of years). It was just too bad that Helen of Troy didn't have the courage and influence of the Sabine women to halt the Trojan War. Some women of Rome enjoyed high social ranks despite Roman society being patriarchal.

What's the most bastardized language? I think it's English but it has truly great global reach across the entire world. It's easy to be picked up but ridiculously hard to acquire all of its quirks, nuances, and nooks-and-crannies that are still evolving but spatial and temporal knowledge of these let one practice nominal, sexual, racial, class(leisure or working), educational(public- or private-schooled), age, nationality, ethnic-origin, religious, and cultural(e.g., Ebonics') discriminations clandestinely, in a private setting such as inside of a (hire-or-fire?) boardroom. English just keeps on growing, unlike Latin with its complicated grammatical straitjacket.

I also count us, the Americans, as one of the most, if not the most, bastardized people in the world but our so-called racial impurity didn't stop us from becoming a great global power and it has actually contributed to it because we could work as one people despite our having so many different kinds of peoples(i.e., e pluribus unum). The Übermenschen of Germany and the racially pristine Yellow Aryans lost to the Bastards! So much for "racial(fictional) superiority."

[-] 1 points by grapes (4919) 5 months ago

I think this site's participants could not achieve self governance due to people getting into heated exchanges that basically burnt the social fabric away. Moderators started imposing their own political views on commenters so many of them disappeared. Without new participants, this site slowly withers away as interests drift to tweeting, for example.

Figuratively speaking, we have never achieved a common and shared prayer that our colonial founding fathers achieved for the U.S.A. because there was no British Empire hunting for us to hang us. Benjamin Franklin said it well in something like this, "We either hang together or we'll be hanged separately." Good living is a balance between cultural uniformity and chaos. Both ends are dead-ends. Growth requires some chaos in the same way as persistent life itself is built upon the immortality power of cancer.

Being open created a deluge(flame war). Being closed yields slow suffocation. The asphyxiation induces hallucinations of cruelty and the ecstasy of mercy and understanding before death sets in. A sexy death.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 5 months ago

OF COURSE ''Protests won't stop Trump"!

So, should we all ''STOP PROTESTING''?!!

Where will a 99% Movement come from?!!!

IF you'd have put a ?, Question Mark - after your ''The End of Protest'' it would have showed a li'l humility and NOT sounded so like Fukuyama's ''The End Of History'' - which frankly, turned out to be very wrong!

The Global 99% are not in a position to ''either / or'' strategies .. they need all strategies .. old and new!! Protests empower people with Solidarity - they feel common purpose & then theory/strategy will follow!!!

The National Women's March in USA was THE Biggest Coordinated Event in US history. If nothing else, it showed what people can do IF they can give enough of a shit. Sure many were there pining for Hellary Rotten Clinton but the point is the many hundreds of thousands who, had a wider perspective & learned something. IF only 10% of those take the next steps & get active & educate themselves & others & join the dots necessary for a/The Movement to emerge? The HUGE anti-tRUMP demos in UK, EU, Australia and many other places are NOT useless or merely symbolic; they have real & tangible effects, I believe!

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 4 months ago

''Protest and Persist: why giving up hope is not an option'':

''The true impact of activism may not be felt for a generation. That alone is reason to fight, rather than surrender to despair.'' Also, for urgent attention - click on and consider this ... https://draftbernie.org/

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] 0 points by JPB950 (2254) 3 months ago

It would have been helpful to transform the occupy movement into a political party when the movement was vibrant and growing. It stagnated waiting for a collapse that never came. There aren't enough people left to throw much of a birthday party let alone launch a political party.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4919) 3 months ago

Would you rather have experienced a collapse that would have hurt most innocent people? It's better(I believe my elders who went through much living hell in the last century) Not to have the Systemic Collapse, well, I hope, at least in my lifetime until I give back to the mushrooms. In any case, as with the Second Coming of Christ, the Systemic Collapse is staved off but not averted.

We have benighted drunkards at the helm trying to "simplify" things(every "simplification" of our tax code in my lifetime has complicated it instead due to the required transitional rules and fixing a systemic problem requires a systemic solution but the U.S. polyticks have no vision other than to suck more sap from the grapevines). As a good Christian looking forward to Armageddon, I have Faith that the Systemic Collapse will come. Folks have been going to church worshipping God for two millennia and Jesus has not returned yet. What's the big deal about coming to this virtual altar day after day and praying for justice, peace, joy, and the greatest of all Love(through mercy), the various fruits of the Spirit? Did you see in the clip that the tides ebbed and flowed as the world turned and a bird flew across the sea? See the 》Hoffnung《 in the thorn bird and 》Gesundheit《 in the "wine-dark" sea.

Just because the grapevines lie seemingly dormant in the hot hot sun doesn't mean the sap isn't filling up the grapes of wrath. The Harvest will come. God's winepress will be busy.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 3 months ago

No I would have rather have preferred people have this epiphany back in 2011 when it could have been helpful. The idea was debated and dropped. Now it's too late. Your metaphorical grape vines aren't just dormant, they've been cut and mulched. You need a few decades to regrow.

[-] 1 points by grapes (4919) 3 months ago

It's never too late if my people still are. We can be sad (》traurig《) but an olive tree takes forty years(Same number of years as the wandering in the Sinai wilderness took! - one must believe in what one will Never see and what one will Never eat) to grow from a seed to a tree bearing olives. 《管子·權修》: 十年樹木,百年樹人。草蜢仔, the Truth of the Matter is: My Grandpa planted a "seed" and I picked the "olives." (It takes much due time to fruition) Corollary: By destroying olive trees, Israel is cursed and so, are we?

[-] 0 points by factsrfun (8802) from Phoenix, AZ 4 months ago

You Sir are as responsible for the Drumpf Presidency as much any other! Since its inception I have pleaded with members of OWS to acknowledge the simple fact that the GOP work to make the rich richer and the rich are too damn rich. To accomplish anything we must kill the GOP first. But because people like you wanted to hold hands with everyone, pretend like there were no enemies or pretend that "they" were all the same prevented OWS from accomplishing anything. Now you seem to actually care about WHO is elected, maybe you have discovered it makes a difference.

Of course my writing this will mean nothing because the high holly leaders don't give a crap what us little folks think.