Anarchist site Crimethinc says the real problem with Trump is the problem with governments in general, too much centralized power. When the president is someone low-key like Obama, the problems of too much power in one place are less obvious than when a loose cannon like Trump takes power.
Crimethinc has a useful guide to J20 (and beyond) protesting, with smart thoughts about Blocs, black and otherwise. Smashing a Starbucks window for freedom is indeed pointless. However the direct action tactics of a Bloc have succeeded in the past, primarily because the target was focused.
…is that anyone could wield so much power in the first place. A man like Donald Trump could never be so dangerous if government and the market didn’t concentrate power in the hands of a ruling class.
Putting another party in power won’t fix this. All the faith invested in Obama’s promises of Hope and Change just legitimized the government long enough for a more ruthless tyrant to take the reins. All the taxes paid by hopeful citizens just put more bullets in the guns of the police that will go on profiling, imprisoning, deporting, and murdering people under Donald Trump.
We have to stop ceding our strength to these institutions. Instead, let’s build networks to meet our needs directly and defend ourselves against everyone who wants to rule us. The only way to freedom and equality is through self-determination, mutual aid, and collective resistance.
On the inept Black Bloc today and how blocs like the Boston Tea Party did succeed
You may have heard of the notorious Black Bloc, a venerable, if not doddering, anarchist tradition in which a mass of direct action enthusiasts gather, all wearing black clothing and masks, and engage in some level of illegal activity. This tactic has won some famous victories in the past couple decades, and failed utterly more times than anyone can count, too. The specific cultural characteristics that are associated with the Black Bloc tactic today can make it easy to overlook the long history of the Bloc tactic and the wide variety of applications for which it can be used. The Boston Tea Party, for example, was a perfect example of a Bloc at work: the participants organized secretly, wore matching disguises (though their choice to costume themselves as “Indians” wasn’t exactly politically correct), and engaged in a mass act of provocative property destruction; presumably their strategies for communication and mutual defense weren’t much different from those used by the famous Black Blocs that, a couple hundred years later, attacked similarly noxious coffee corporations in Seattle. Those who practice direct action would do well to keep in mind the wide range of scenarios in which a version of the Bloc approach can be useful.
Anarchists will be in DC for the Inauguration as well as ANSWER (Marxist, although careful to hide it), Woman’s March (resolutely non-violent), and many more.
Some of the protesting groups that will be in DC are barely speaking to each other, so all you alt-right hysterics squealing about how we work in concert and are funded by Soros are comically inaccurate. I mean, the anarchist / Marxist split is the oldest and most implacable rupture on the hard left.
It does appear the various protests will be huge and Trump has the lowest positive ratings ever, by far, for an incoming president. That means he is highly vulnerable so the protests need to be unending, coming from multiple directions, and targeted.
He will fall.
From an anarchist site:
Above all, when we resist Trump and all politicians on January 20, whether in DC or in our own communities, we’re not just fighting to shut down business as usual. We’re fighting to define what it will mean to be against Trump in the years to come. Will our energy be diverted into rallying support for Democrats or raising money for nonprofits? Or will we build towards a world beyond all parties and politicians? Can our opposition to Trump transcend single issues and undermine the legitimacy of capitalism and the state altogether?
On January 20, we will take to the streets. But what we do in the months and years beyond the inauguration will determine the nature of resistance the world that made Trump possible.”
Jared Kushner had populist leanings and mistrusted the monied class he was born into. This was long before the Trump campaign. Kushner played a major role in developing strategy and tactics for the Trump campaign, using his populist leanings to help elect Trump. Meanwhile, Hillary tried to attract moderate suburban Republicans and was almost completely tone-deaf to populist concerns. Sanders OTOH, is a left-wing populist.
Members of the monied class and the privileged can and do find fault with their class. FDR sure did. As president he said “I welcome their hatred,” referring to the elite NYC banker class who loathed him. Considering Kushner’s populism predated the Trump campaign, I’ll assume his beliefs are sincere. And his populism helped elect Trump. I’m not comparing him to FDR, only saying he had a message many Americans wanted to hear.
Ross Barkan worked at The Observer when Kushner ran it. He says:
“When Kushner traveled with Trump across America, he would develop a disdain for the Manhattan elite he belonged to, believing they could not understand the frustrations of everyday people. As strange as this may sound to come from Kushner — his father is a New Jersey real estate magnate and he is worth many millions — I heard the sentiment through our editor-in-chief before Trump was even on the political radar.”
Bring continual pressure. Never stop fighting. Turn negatives into positives. Always have a constructive alternative.
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign. It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad infinitum. The pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action.
The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside
This is based on the principle that every positive has its negative. We have already seen the conversion of the negative into the positive, in Mahatma Gandhi’s development of the tactic of passive resistance.
One corporation we organized against responded to the continuous application of pressure by burglarizing my home, and then using the keys taken in the burglary to burglarize the offices of the Industrial Areas Foundation where I work. The panic in this corporation was clear from the nature of the burglaries, for nothing was taken in either burglary to make it seem that the thieves were interested in ordinary loot—they took only the records that applied to the corporation. Even the most amateurish burglar would have had more sense than to do what the private detective agency hired by that corporation did. The police departments in California and Chicago agreed that “the corporation might just as well have left its fingerprints all over the place.”
In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt. When a corporation bungles like the one that burglarized my home and office, my visible public reaction is shock, horror, and moral outrage. In this case, we let it be known that sooner or later it would be confronted with this crime as well as with a whole series of other derelictions, before a United States Senate Subcommittee Investigation. Once sworn in, with congressional immunity, we would make these actions public. This threat, plus the fact that an attempt on my life had been made in Southern California, had the corporation on a spot where it would be publicly suspect in the event of assassination. At one point I found myself in a thirty-room motel in which every other room was occupied by their security men. This became another devil in the closet to haunt this corporation and to keep the pressure on.
The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
You cannot risk being trapped by the enemy in his sudden agreement with your demand and saying “You’re right—we don’t know what to do about this issue. Now you tell us.”
This is crucial. We need detailed plans and demands. If not, we get sandbagged when they say, what do you want.”