21.11.16

VANGUARDISM COLLIDES WITH EMERGENCE.

Shamus Cooke contemplates the latest iteration of a Popular Front.  There are people protesting the election of Donald Trump.  Those people protest for a variety of reasons.
People from all walks of life have performed their first protest of any kind, confronting the repressive “riot” police and not backing down.  New groups are springing into existence as people spontaneously self-organize.

How powerful is the new movement? Time will tell. But it’s up to activists, organizers, and revolutionaries to prioritize throwing fresh logs on the movement flame, buying time to activate and educate new people while building and leveraging power.
Yes, time to head to the Finland Station, to the barricades, to the local campus of Trump University.
The Left can achieve miracles in this moment if it strategically grows and broadens the infant social movement. What is possible depends on the strength of the movement. In math terms: if X grows larger (the social movement), then Y (anything) is possible, including preventing Trump from assuming power.

The anti-Trump movement will either grow or shrink. But it’s up to activists to grow the movement by any means necessary. Historically speaking, the most obvious evidence of powerful social movements are massive, ongoing street demonstrations that grow in proportion to the momentum the movement produces. The anti-Vietnam war movement is just such an example.
Who is to provide the Tet Offensive for this insurgency?

Oh, wait, one dimension of the protest is over Russian involvement in the election, strategically leaking material damaging to Hillary Clinton ...

But this nascent rebellion, if that's what it is, contains the seeds of its own destruction.
Instead of each separate group organizing their own, smaller actions over their own particular issues, organizations must work together in democratically run coalitions to organize ongoing massive demonstrations around issues that include everyone under attack, so that they can be coordinated nationwide.

There is already a call for a massive demonstration on Trump’s inauguration day, but there is time to organize several nationwide massive mobilizations before then. Each one would embolden new layers of people to take to the streets, and will, hopefully, get the labor movement engaged in a big way, while invigorating the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos, women, students, LGBTQ, Muslims, and everyone who fears a Trump presidency. All should be demonstrating together, striking blows collectively.

The movement can be easily squandered.  Sectarian divisions that have plagued the left for years are re-asserting themselves. Some groups want to opportunistically use the moment to recruit to their own group while doing nothing to grow the movement. Groups and individual activists denounce the actions of others while doing nothing productive themselves. This ego-driven gossipy infighting has been a cancer on the left for years and needs to die now, lest it kill the movement.

All Left groups should be calling for local coalitions that organize ongoing street demonstrations that also make demands on local city and state governments. By making local demands — and winning them — the local movement will strengthen itself, and be better able to defend against a possible Trump presidency.

Local demands should be “united front” demands, meaning there are a few powerful demands that have broad support from the majority of the working class, mobilizing them into action. The existing energy must be funneled into something concrete locally to help grow the movement nationally.
Perhaps, although it is the very diversity that Mr Cooke invokes in assembling this supposed coalition that will lead to the fracturing of the coalition, or to vanguardists attempting to impose their own structure on the spontaneous order.  All the same, a democratically run coalition of the virtue-signallers and the privilege-checkers will make for amusing television.

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