Sunday, February 12, 2017

True Progressive Protest Talking Points

1. Beginning before his inauguration as president, Donald Trump has been the focus of protest.

2. He has not had a honeymoon and has record-high disapproval rates for a new president. 

3. A president whose party controls both houses of Congress should be having an easy time putting forward his agenda.

4. Some of the early protests focused on protesting the Democrats for not being tough enough on Trump. These protests gave elected Democrats some backbone and they began to challenge him.

5. Less than half of Trump’s cabinet has been confirmed. Confirmation is usually relatively routine as politicians believe the President should get to pick the executive branch he wants. 

6. In the end, Trump will get his nominees but they are being weakened as they go through a slow process.

7. One of the most controversial nominees, Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, had the unprecedented experience of having to be confirmed by a divided Senate, which required the Vice President to break the tie. 

8. The Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security should expect similar treatment as Trump escalates deportations. There are already protests escalating over the issue and we expect to see more as people fight deportations by any means. Too many lives are being unfairly destroyed by Trump’s broad net of deportation.

9. The biggest victory of the protest movement has been stopping the restrictions on travel to the United States from seven predominantly-Muslim countries. There were mass protests at airports across the country by thousands of people, which made airport operations difficult if not impossible. 

10. On appeal, not only did the Ninth Circuit rule 3-0 against Trump, but they also chided him for his lack of understanding of the checks and balances of the Constitution.

The Challenge for the Movement

1. It is easy to be unified against Trump, but can the movement for social, racial and economic justice be unified in favor of new policies? Can it be unified when it is opposing the Democratic Party? Can people in the movement explain to their Democratic friends and relatives that it is time to stand against the corporate Democratic Party, which doesn’t even support the views of most Democratic voters?

2. For example, protests opposing the repeal of Obamacare are being organized by groups that are allied with the Democratic Party and do not support Medicare for All, although 80% of Democratic voters do.

3. The longer-term resistance movement knows we must be independent of the Democratic Party in order to put in place the laws and policies that are needed. 

4. The reason neither corporate party will put forward the only effective solution, Medicare for All, is because it requires them to end corporate control of healthcare.

5. Both parties are stuck because their donors from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations as well as investors in for-profit healthcare want healthcare to be a profit center, not a public good. 

6. So, the challenge ahead will be to push the Democratic Party-aligned groups to stand for what is right even if the Democratic Party leadership is on the wrong side of the issue. The challenge for these groups will be that their constituency will be with us, e.g. 80% of Democrats support National Improved Medicare for All but the Democratic Party leadership refuses to consider it. Who do these Democratic Party-aligned groups stand with, the party or Democratic voters? Will they realize their party will continue to lose elections by turning their voting base off if they ignored Democratic voter’s necessities?

More Opportunities Ahead for the Resistance Movement

7. opportunities for the mass movement to join in stopping the worst proposals as well as beginning to fill the void left by a dysfunctional government. The Democrats are likely to continue to stay focused on blocking Trump rather than putting forth a positive agenda. It is up to the people to put forward a people’s agenda supported by a majority of people in the United States.  

8. More big protest issues are ahead. The decision to allow the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline is generating more protests, divestiture from banks and will generate more litigation. This will continue to escalate and become more fierce, as even Trump supporters see the reality of climate change.

9. People are recognizing that they have the power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for a protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes.

10. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.

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