Using an electoral system designed in the late 18th century to secure the power of southern slaveholders and elite interests across the nation, a minority of American voters has chosen Donald Trump as President. In an earlier editorial we described Mr. Trump as a neo-fascist; we stand by that assertion.
Superficially, Trump has not emulated the trappings of 20th century European fascists. His millions of followers do not sport swastikas on their sleeves or march in jackboots. Indeed, he is fascist of genuine American vintage who serves as an ideological drummer for millions of voters donning baseball caps instead of brown shirts. Like his European (and American) forbears, however, Trump understood how to tap into the justified fury of tens of millions of American workers whose lives truly have been wrecked as a result of the economic policies pursued by the Democratic and Republican Parties over the past 40 years.
And, like his fascist forebears, Trump has an uncanny sense of how to tap into the deep currents of racism and misogyny that continue to plague this country. As the former white nationalist leader, R. Derek Black, recently noted in the New York Times (Nov. 27), Trump’s ideas about African Americans, immigrants, Muslims, and women appeal to white males like him and also to many women. These people do not feel personally threatened by his ideas. It is the “others” who will pay the price of “making America great again.”
This is not the place to excoriate the Democrats for choosing a weak candidate like Clinton. There will be plenty of excoriating to come as Democrats, independents, Greens, democratic socialists, and maybe even some Republicans, evaluate the disaster and figure out how to reverse it at the national level. Instead, as Trump prepares to take office, the immediate challenge for us is to figure out what we can do right here and right now to avert the worst. Trump promised, for example, to round up undocumented immigrants, reintroduce stop-and-frisk policies in our African American neighborhoods, and to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He and his Republican allies plan to gut the remnants of the welfare state, to privatize Social Security and Medicare, and to launch a major assault on the labor movement. Republicans will continue their effort to suppress minority voting everywhere they can.
It will be a difficult fight, but much can be done to parry these attacks and to build movements to reverse them. For example:
- We call upon the Salem City Council to join hundreds of other cities across the country to be a sanctuary city that will not use local police forces to round up undocumented people in our community. (See S.F. example below)
- We urge people to organize themselves to protect the civil rights gains of the past 60 years for minorities and women. In some places this might mean creating new organizations where none exist or joining long-established ones like the ACLU, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, and so on.
- Hold your local government accountable. The May election in Salem showed how people power can trump money power if people work together. We can replicate these results locally and more broadly if we have the will to do it.
- Support independent media of all types against government and corporate pressure. Community newspapers like Salem Weekly and radio stations like KMUZ, and CCTV are places to garner information and make your voice heard. Use them. Support them.
- If your workplace has a union, join it. If it doesn’t, start one.
Trump’s rhetoric targets the most vulnerable. We must act as a community to protect the vulnerable and secure the future for all of us.
One city defies Trumps values with proclamation
On November 28, the City of San Francisco, California declared its defiance against many of the values expressed by President-elect Donald Trump. That day, the city’s Board of Supervisors introduced and passed a Resolution stating the City’s commitment to “the values of inclusivity, respect and dignity.”
Here is the full text:
WHEREAS, On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the United States; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That no matter the threats made by President-elect Trump, San Francisco will remain a Sanctuary City. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one third of our population. This is the Golden Gate—we build bridges, not walls; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we will never back down on women’s rights, whether in healthcare, the workplace, or any other area threatened by a man who treats women as obstacles to be demeaned or objects to be assaulted. And just as important, we will ensure our young girls grow up with role models who show them they can be or do anything; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That there will be no conversion therapy, no withdrawal of rights in San Francisco. We began hosting gay weddings twelve years ago, and we are not stopping now. And to all the LGBTQ people all over the country who feel scared, bullied, or alone: You matter. You are seen; you are loved; and San Francisco will never stop fighting for you; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we still believe in this nation’s founding principle of religious freedom. We do not ban people for their faith. And the only lists we keep are on invitations to come pray together; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Black Lives Matter in San Francisco, even if they may not in the White House. And guided by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, we will continue reforming our police department and rebuilding trust between police and communities of color so all citizens feel safe in their neighborhoods; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That climate change is not a hoax, or a plot by the Chinese. In this city, surrounded by water on three sides, science matters. And we will continue our work on CleanPower, Zero Waste, and everything else we are doing to protect future generations; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we have been providing universal health care in this city for nearly a decade, and if the new administration follows through on its callous promise to revoke health insurance from 20 million people, San Franciscans will be protected; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we are the birthplace of the United Nations, a city made stronger by the thousands of international visitors we welcome every day. We will remain committed to internationalism and to our friends and allies around the world-whether the administration in Washington is or not; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That San Francisco will remain a Transit First city and will continue building Muni and BART systems we can all rely upon, whether this administration follows through on its platform to eliminate federal transit funding or not; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That California is the sixth largest economy in the world. The Bay Area is the innovation capital of the country. We will not be bullied by threats to revoke our federal funding, nor will we sacrifice our values or members of our community for your dollar; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we condemn all hate crimes and hate speech perpetrated in this election’s wake. That although the United States will soon have a President who has demonstrated a lack of respect for the values we hold in the highest regard in San Francisco, it cannot change who we are, and it will never change our values. We argue, we campaign, we debate vigorously within San Francisco, but on these points we are 100 percent united. We will fight discrimination and recklessness in all its forms. We are one City. And we will move forward together.