Kali Akuno, an organizer with Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement talks to Alternet about the first stirrings of the mass-scale civil disobedience we must practice to resist trumpism.
I find great inspiration in Akuno's ideas, and find them an excellent counterpoint to the idea of "not normalizing" Trump. The reality is that we always normalize everything — read the accounts of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps or Americans tortured for years in the country's solitary confinement wings and you'll find that, to a one, their terrible situations become normal. All constant stimulus fades to a background refrigerator hum that we can only notice when it ceases.
But Akuno is talking about normalizing resistance, becoming habitual monkeywrenchers and refuseniks, people whose first response to any trumpist outrage is "no way," and whose fallback position is "hell no."
My great aunt Lisa was an engineering foreman in Leningrad during the Soviet era, bossing a crew of surly, drunk, ungovernable men. Her stories about how these men featherbedded, foot-dragged, monkeywrenched and twiddled their days away were always told with a mixture of frustration (at the way they made her life difficult) and admiration (at how good they were at it).
From the Department of Energy bureaucrats who refused to turn over the names of workers who believe in climate change to the California lawmakers pledging to use state apparatus to replace anything Trump removes (up to and including climate-observing satellites), the next four years will require all of us, at every level to do our bit to make trumpism stumble and to nurture the spark of hope for a better world.
As John Scalzi wrote yesterday: "You are more important than you know, if you don't give in to despair, to complacency, or to apathy. Add to the moral weight that bends the arc toward justice. You can't do it alone, but without you the work becomes that much harder."
"A core component of resistance is to get the class of civil servants, particularly on the federal but also the state level, to not comply with arbitrary laws and policies that are going to be created," said Akuno. "To not recognize the laws we know are coming that will discriminate against Black people, Latinos, immigrants and queer people. There is no need for anyone to comply. Let's not give it legitimacy just because it's the law. We need to be prepared to disobey and engage in civil disobedience. We need to get ready for that now."
Akuno said there are already encouraging signs that such resistance is building among civil servants. Concerned that critical climate data will vanish under a climate-change denying Trump administration, scientists and meteorologists are working to copy and safely store public data using independent servers. Earlier this month, the University of Toronto held a "Guerrilla Archiving" event inviting volunteers to "join in a full day of hackathon activities in preparation for the Trump presidency." The website "Climate Mirror" was erected as part of an effort to "mirror public climate datasets before the Trump Administration takes office to make sure these datasets remain freely and broadly accessible."
Meanwhile, media reports are emerging that some Department of Energy officials are refusing to comply with a Trump administration demand to hand over the names of all of the agency's contractors and employers who have worked on key climate policies under President Barack Obama. The request elicited concerns of a witch hunt and purge orchestrated by the incoming administration. But The Independent reported earlier this month, "The US Department of Energy (DOE) has refused to answer questions issued to them by Donald Trump's transition team."
In a letter dated December 28, attorney general offices from 13 states threatened litigation against Trump if he discards the Clean Power Plan, as he has vowed to do.
Here's How We Prepare to Be Ungovernable in 2017
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: Cooperation Jackson)