By Frank Ascaso
Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and already the US seems to be in a new historic moment.
Trump is pursuing an aggressively authoritarian set of policies, and doing so very quickly. At the same time, resistance to these policies is growing, and has already successfully pushed back against some of the Trump agenda. So far, only people power has been able to slow the creeping fascist threat.
Though we are certainly not living in Nazi Germany, for those familiar with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century, there are many chilling parallels. Trump is a state authoritarian, he wants to use government power to implement a far right agenda. This includes: demonizing and attacking immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East, stigmatizing and eroding religious protections and travel rights for Muslims, attacking women, women’s health and political rights, and undermining workers and unions.
Trump pursues this agenda by promoting violence, hate speech, and racism. At his campaign rallies he encouraged supporters to resort to violence against protestors. Already, in the first hours of his presidency, an anti-fascist protestor was shot by a right wing activist in Seattle. Further, the climate of racist vitriol and verbal and physical attacks on women and minorities has skyrocketed throughout Trump’s campaign and now into his presidency. The parallels go beyond Trump’s own authoritarian personality. The consolidation of state and corporate power has perhaps never been more blatant than under the new regime. With the CEO of ExxonMobil recently confirmed as Secretary of State, the line between government and corporations has been blurred.
Against this, a dramatic resistance has emerged that has the power to stop the fascist creep.
Most importantly, this has come from the population itself, as millions of working-class Americans have come forward to stop the Trump agenda. Most dramatically this happened the day after the inauguration, when the largest protests in the nation’s history flooded cities large and small to support women against Trump’s attacks. The Women’s March humiliated the new president and made it clear that millions of people stood in opposition to his actions.
The very next week, as President Trump tried to impose a ban on travel by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, again, thousands of people descended on major airports to disrupt and block the implementation of the new rule. And they have been successful. Their success gave a boost to legal action in New York and Seattle that when combined with the protests have effectively halted the implementation of the order for the time being. Still the protests continue. In New York owners of the city’s bodegas went on strike, shut down their stores for one day, and had a major prayer action in downtown.
Popular protest is leading the way, but even figures in the government bureaucracy are taking action. Workers in the National Park system, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, and even in the White House itself, are refusing Trump’s orders, establishing rogue websites and social media accounts, joining what is now referred to as the #Resistance.
Most important to keep in mind – regular people have the power to shut down the Trump agenda! But we have to be smart, we have to get organized and take action beyond symbolic protests. We have to use the mechanisms of power at our disposal to fight back. These include refusing to work, or school, and shutting down the places where Trump tries to harm us through disruptive action and civil disobedience. Trump and those that support him will not listen to reason, or petitions, or symbolic protest. Nor can we wait for the next election cycle. We need dramatic and powerful action in the streets. If we organize and fight back we can stop this fascist creep.