Several months into “the resistance” to Trump, there are multiple political threads claiming that title and they don’t always agree. Longtime Ohio organizer James Hayes says that it’s actually fine for progressives and neoliberals all to lay claim to the idea of resistance, but the question for the left has to be: how do we move beyond just reactive politics to constructing the real world we want?
So often our movements are stuck in a reactionary phase and posture because there is so much happening urgently that we have to address, but I think the last several years that I have seen movements in this country develop and there are a lot more people who are asking very deep questions about “How do we actually move beyond just being against police brutality, against racism, and those things?” but really figuring out what we’re for and figuring out “What is the strategy to get there?” We definitely need more spaces for that.
After the election it became even harder to have that space because of how pressing everything was. Then, after the inauguration, Trump starts signing all these executive orders one after the other and we saw people jumping into the streets, but now the resistance is still strong and with the firing of Comey it is getting stronger, even. But this question of “How do we actually move forward?” isn’t really being addressed. Even in the movements, I think part of what is going to have to happen is our social movement leaders are going to have to start taking responsibility for answering that question and then also fighting to have the power to govern society, to actually put those answers into motion, rather than just sort of being in the social movement space forever.
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Interviews for Resistance is a syndicated series of interviews with organizers, agitators and troublemakers, available twice weekly as text and podcast. You can now subscribe on iTunes! Previous interviews here.