Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers
Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers
By Bill Quigley / commondreams.org

When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do?   Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be.  Others stand still, let their eyes get adjusted to the different environment, re-orient themselves, then cautiously and sensitively, move forward.  Some search out people who might be able to show the way.  Post-election, a lot of people are re-assessing and searching for the best way forward.  Here are some ideas on where we should be going and what we should be doing from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines.

One.  You Were Born for This Time.

My friend, Cherri Foytlin, a mother who lives in rural Louisiana in a deeply Republican area, gives her life organizing to protect our earth, water and the rights of indigenous people.  For that she has been arrested and is subject to death threats.  Right after the election she wrote: “Fear no evil.  Joy and Love still live, and it is up to us to build the shelter for the Hope that they provide.  Lower those pointed fingers, we will need them to grasp the hammer and forge the nails.  Do not give in to your righteous anxieties.  Our heroes have never left us.  All the good that ever was, it is still here.  You were born for this time.”

Two.  Join Allies.

Marisa Franco, one of the founders of Mijente, calls on Latinos and African Americans to join together with whites who didn’t go for Trump. “No one is going to build it, no one is going to give it to us. Positioning folks like the people in Arizona who built resilience and strength, positioning people who have been survivors to teach others. People in the South, in Arizona have been doing that for years,” she said. “We’ve got to build bridges across communities.”

Three.  Fight and Dig In for the Long Haul

Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, "At a time when Black women and men are murdered under the color of law, as the great Medgar Evers said, we cannot let up now!" she said. "At a time when trans peoples are murdered by homophobic hatemongers, we cannot let up now! At a time when thousands of immigrants are targeted for exploitation and deportation, we cannot let up now!" 

Patricia Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, insisted “You don’t negotiate with hate.  I don't think now is the time for diplomacy. Now is the time to stand up around what is right and what's wrong.”

Dave Archambault, Tribal Chair of Standing Rock, challenges us to dig in for the long haul.  In honor of our future generations, we fight this pipeline to protect our water, our sacred places, and all living beings….  “We’re about protecting our future. And that’s what he should be about. He should think, How can I protect my future so that 50 years from now, 100 years from now, there’s something there? And that if we continue to do what we’re doing at the pace that we’re doing it, in 50 years we’re going to see mass destruction because Mother Earth cannot sustain herself with all the activity that’s taking place.”

Four.  Humility, Grief and Hope. 

Equality Louisiana’s message the day after the election began with “We’re not sure what to say either.”  Humility is a starting point for knowledge.  Like Socrates said “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Likewise, it is OK to grieve.  That said, neither humility nor grief is an excuse for paralysis or inaction.   May Boeve, of 350.org: “It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this. Many of us are reeling from the news and shaken to the core about what a Trump presidency will mean for the country, and the difficult work ahead for our movements.  Trump’s misogyny, racism, and climate denial pose a greater threat than we’ve ever faced, and the battleground on which we’ll fight for justice of all kinds will be that much rougher.  The hardest thing to do right now is to hold on to hope, but it’s what we must do. We should feel our anger, mourn, pray, and then do everything we can to fight hate together.”

Five.  Courage.

Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network stated, “"Fear has been the driving force of this presidential election. A fear which has spurred hatred, promoted violence and created an environment where families worry about their future, about their loved ones. Fear won last night, but this type of fear can only be defeated by courage and action.”  Likewise, Justin Hansford wrote, “Woke up this morning, mind stayed on freedom.  Stop acting like we never took a loss before, then won.  My ancestors stared slavery in the face.”

Six.  Listen to and talk face to face with people.  

Social media is not a substitute for human to human communication.  As Dream Defenders suggests: “We know it can be tempting to use social media as a way to engage in this moment, to understand where our people are at and to tell people what we think they are doing wrong. But right now, we need to stay centered, to foster actual human connection and build a shared commitment to struggle together.”  Listening is part of our orientation.  We listen to pick up clues from our fellow seekers about what is the best path, the best next step.

Seven.  Solidarity. 

“Solidarity is our protection,” urged the Reverend Deborah Lee, of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity in California told David Bacon. “Our best defense is an organized community committed to each other and bound together with all those at risk. … We ask faith communities to consider declaring themselves ‘sanctuary congregations’ or ‘immigrant welcoming congregations.’”

DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving), an organization of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrants, most of whom are Muslims and most of whom are undocumented, called for action.  “In the words initially chanted by working-class youth of the British Asian Youth Movement against neo-Nazi fascism, we are “here to stay and here to fight” in solidarity with our Black, Latino, LGBTQ, women and worker communities.”

Eight.  Resistance.

The Center for Constitutional Rights election statement was stark.  “The dangers of a Trump presidency go beyond the attacks on people of color, women, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQI people, and people with disabilities. His campaign was marked by the strategies and tactics of authoritarian regimes: endorsing and encouraging violence against political protesters, threatening to jail his opponent, refusing to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost, punishing critical press. Together with all those who value freedom, justice, and self-determination, we must resist and prevent at all costs a slide into American fascism.”  They concluded “Resistance is our civic duty.”

Nine.  Continue Building Local and State Power.

Sergio Sosa, director of Nebraska’s Heartland Workers Center, reflected on their 20 year history of community and workplace organizing. "People here have to remember the power they've built on a local level and use it," Sosa says, "even in the face of a national defeat."

Ten.  Look Outward Globally.

Kathy Kelly, of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, an activist in the US and Iraq and Afghanistan, insisted on renewing our global connections.  “Many U.S. people awoke this week with a new understanding of the dangers facing our common life together. These battles we fight are not a game, and they can escalate into even direr realities.  I look to Afghanistan, I look to the simple facts faced by the Standing Rock protesters, and I know we must look back to the sorrows which so much of the world will commemorate today. These sorrows, so painfully real, can help all of us yearn above all for an understanding by people worldwide, and here in my own frightened, divided country—an understanding that we live in a real world, beset with multiple wars, and must at last turn to each other, prepared to live more simply, share resources more radically, and abolish all wars in order to build a real peace.”

Eleven.  Working People.

Adolph Reed demands that organizing has to address the concerns of working people.  “Defeating these reactionary tendencies will require crafting a politics based on recognition that the identity shared most broadly in the society is having to or being expected to work for a living and that that is the basis for the solidarity necessary to prevail and, eventually, to make a more just and equitable society.”

Twelve.  Organize. Organize.  Organize.

No doubt we have to organize.  But, a note of caution.  We are called to organize intelligently.  Unless we organize in a thoughtful and humble way that understands the dynamics of race, class, gender, and place, as my friend Ron Chisom of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond likes to say, “We will not be organizing, but disorganizing.”  There is no shortcut.  We cannot organize for peace and justice if we do not model peace and justice in our organizing.

Bill Quigley

Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans.  He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal
Mark Manson · 9,934 views today · There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, they teach us the biology of sex, the legality of marriage, and maybe read a few...
This Polish Ad Will Give You The Feels, For Reals
3 min · 7,689 views today · This is an ad for Allegro, a Polish company similar to eBay, and it's heartwarmingly lovely.
Time-Lapse Satellite Images Give a Startling Snapshot of Past 30 Years on Earth
2 min · 6,546 views today · Working with satellite images from NASA and the US Geological Survey, Google has created a searchable snapshot of the past 3 decades on Earth, creating startling time-lapses of...
Dr. Maya Angelou: Love Liberates
5 min · 4,561 views today · Words to live by from Dr. Maya Angelou. Love each other.
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 2,436 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 1,942 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
15 Easy Things You Can Do to Help When You Feel Like Shit
Maritsa Patrinos · 1,109 views today · You don’t have to tackle it all at once.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,074 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,020 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Problem with Hating Our Enemies
Charles Eisenstein · 819 views today · He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if thou gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into thee. —Nietzsche
Have You Heard of The Great Forgetting? It Happened 10,000 Years Ago & Completely Affects Your Life
Daniel Quinn · 719 views today · (Excerpted from the book, The Story of B) With every audience and every individual, I have to begin by making them see that the cultural self-awareness we inherit from our...
The Lid Is off, The Truth Is Coming Out
Charles Eisenstein · 561 views today · It is getting harder to keep a secret these days. The collective shadow of our society, once safely relegated to the dark basement of the unmentionable, is now exposed to...
Sleaford Mods on Brexit Britain
4 min · 522 views today · In early 2014 the Guardian hailed duo Sleaford Mods as ‘the most uncompromising British protest music made in years’. Here, we go backstage at a Sleaford Mods gig in their...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 454 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 423 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 353 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 347 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 307 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 271 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 255 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers