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Winter of Dissent

By x356039 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 14, 2016

The Establishment is at war with itself. On one side you have two national security agencies, the CIA and NSA, who are claiming the Russian government used hackers to rig the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor. On the other you have the FBI who, ten days before the election, put their thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor. Tying them all together are claims FBI Director James Comey was in contact with Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, who has recently withdrawn from consideration for a Cabinet position, and NSA leaks alleging the Trump campaign was in contact with Russian government well before Election Day but that’s not all. The cherry on this fascist sundae is Senator Mitch McConnell’s von Papen-esque decision to halt any sort of bipartisan Congressional statement on the matter. His wife has since been nominated as Secretary of Transportation, a move that is most surely just a coincidence as is naming of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who recently lost half a trillion dollars in potential oil drilling rights to anti-Russian sanctions, as Secretary of State. All around this chaos and corruption the pattern of racist, classist vote suppression operations and electoral fraud is coming into sharp, clear focus.

There’s been a mixed response to this news from radicals of all stripes. Many, quite understandably, are wary of all the agencies involved feeling none of these actors are credible or trustworthy. Others are busy processing the sudden lurch of political conditions from House of Cards to Game of Thrones. None of what is being said by the CIA, the FBI, or the NSA needs to be true for it to be clear as glass they are slugging it out. Never before in American history have agencies of the national security establishment so openly gone to war over any presidential election. By the standards of American history this is a constitutional crisis in a state already suffering from a serious crisis of legitimacy.

Such times are when we must act decisively. Open battle like this never bodes well for any system and is fatally undermining the legitimacy of the American system. It is in times like these where those who act swiftly will seize the day. We must all do what it is we do best and bring this entire, rotten mess to a grinding halt by the most effective means available. Demonstrate, organize, blockade, and strike. Even if the people organizing major demonstrations across the country are not in a radical place by their actions they make it clear they are open to broader ideas and solutions than the conventional options. From where we stand all who are out in the streets right now shouting, “Not my President!” are ripe for mobilization.

As long-time participants in struggles for justice, humanity, and the climate we need to do all we can to encourage this trend. Reach out to new, inexperienced people and bring them in to organizing trainings. Contact those who are building steam, pressure, and potential for action and find ways to better combine efforts to build even stronger coalitions. After all we have a very important date to keep in January and time is running shorter every minute. On Inauguration Day the potential is there for the people to make history.

To that end we must urge those involved to do more January 20th than the usual. We need to hold public general assemblies where people can genuinely express their grievances and present ideas for solutions. When so many have been marginalized, invisible, and ignored for so long having a space for truly expressing their fears, hopes, and dreams where the powerful cannot silence them will be as welcome as a stream of fresh water. Whether you are striking on the job, taking to the streets, or shutting down a key facility make the time for such critical discussions. If the rage, energy, and passion of this moment is to become something more concrete people must feel engaged in its development, direction, and focus.

Until that day comes we need to seize as many opportunities as we can to take to the streets, engage in actions, and mobilize communities for struggle. Between actions we need to bring people together for discussion, planning, and education. The pressure must not let up no matter what happens. Injustice is mounting everywhere, people are angry, and times are more uncertain than ever before. It is now many will be seeking direction, guidance, and hope. Constant mobilizations provide this and normalize mass action, making it easier to broaden the movement. We can further build on the connections made to build networks of support, solidarity, and action ensuring what may have been ephemeral becomes concrete.

Above all else we must continue to grow our media channels, social media reach, and utilize it to the fullest in these coming months. As long as our networks, websites, podcasts, and channels are active we must keep the story of our actions alive. Some fear the exposure that comes with such strategies but these tactics have worked in far more repressive situations. Regardless of the risks every tool for broadcasting our actions to the public and the world must be pursued. As we do so we must build a new, revolutionary aesthetic that is cool, alluring, and enticing to all who encounter it.

The challenges ahead are great and grim but we are not living in 1933 Germany. Five years ago great revolutions rocked the world. At the time of this piece’s writing the people of South Korea have forced the impeachment of their highly corrupt, corporatist president. In Austria the far right tide was halted. Though the radical movement in the United States is not in an ideal situation we are far from powerless. In our ranks are many seasoned activists and allies tried and tested in struggle ranging from the Civil Rights movement to Redwood Summer, the Battle of Seattle, Occupy, Idle No More, and Black Lives Matter. Tools, techniques, and cutting edge innovations give us means for action radicals of previous times would have envied. Our foe has few in his corner and the system we oppose is widely despised. Now is the time for heroic deeds. May whatever gives each the strength to act be with them as we stand on the brink of this great clash.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

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