by Sarah Roark |
Editor’s note: The possibility of Trump’s removal from office has never been higher. Nor has been the danger of the fascist Trump/Pence regime barreling ahead unchecked towards even greater horrors. As two sides battle out impeachment in the Senate, people in the streets demanding #OutNow can change the whole equation.
A Fascist President is on Trial. NOW is the time to flood DC with protest! #OUTNOW! protests start at noon, daily @ east side of the Capitol in Washington, DC.
So far, we the people have been content to mostly sit back, crunch popcorn, watch our chosen gladiators go at this, and cheer our “teams.” (On the left, we’ll do this in matches against each other every bit as happily as in matches with the right, which is short-sighted as hell, but that’s another article.) So we have been watching a struggle between two forces: the fascists, and our would-be saviors.
Our would-be saviors are, well…not. We’ve raised up and watched fall any number of them, from Mueller and Comey to Pelosi and Bernie. We create narratives where brave agents of the administrative state, the armed forces, even the intelligence services, are secretly undermining the regime and we just don’t see it because we don’t have that insider knowledge. We buy tell-all book after tell-all book, just to hear some ‘repentant’ or ‘concerned’ ex-official reassure us that they were on our side all along and there are still good people in those trenches doing everything we can. (So just hang on till November!) We worship GOP who so much as mouth a few words of Grave Concern about the latest fascist escalation. We are so transparently hungry for a deus ex machina.
But look around the world at what happens when enough is finally enough and the people withdraw their consent to go on with the course of things. That course changes.
And in recent history as well as today, we see people even in decades-old autocracies successfully standing up to be that third force…having the most success when they engage in mass, nonviolent, disruptive, sustained resistance that shuts down business as usual until their demands are fully met. There is no demand more simple and clear–nor one that all decent people should find it easy to coalesce around–than “the autocrat must go!” At that point, even the most protected of elites discover that there are things they need and want in life that ultimately come from the people, and that the people do not actually have to give them without receiving the government they deserve in return.
We should be studying and emulating these success stories, from the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia forward to the Arab Spring and Euromaidan [a wave of protest in Ukraine, which began in 2013], the South Korean Candlelight Revolution of 2016, and the even more recent overturning of regimes in Armenia, Algeria, and Sudan. We should be in firm solidarity with the multiple nonviolent protest movements standing against other oppressive regimes throughout the world, and listening gratefully to the wisdom they can offer. To assume that none of the dynamics these movements experience–negative or positive–can possibly apply to Americans because “America is different!” is nothing more but exceptionalism in a slightly different guise from our triumphalist usual; assuming that you are uniquely, magnificently bad in some uniquely irretrievable way is no less arrogant than assuming the opposite.
We may be unique in the sense that every child or every leaf is unique, but we’re not unique in that fashion, which is bad news but also good news. We can, and have, fallen into the same traps as other people who ended up succumbing to tyranny, including the Germans of Weimar. We can, and must, use what other peoples have learned about deposing tyrants to spare this world the nightmare of a fully-consolidated fascist nuclear superpower under Trump/Pence.