Escalate the Resistance Toward Mass Shutdowns on March 8 and May Day!
New York City has been at the forefront of the resistance to Donald Trump’s reactionary agenda: 400,000 people marched in the New York Women’s March, cab drivers shut down JFK, students walked out of class, and Yemeni-American bodega owners shut down their businesses.
Donald Trump cannot succeed with his attacks on immigrants, Muslims, women, black people, and LGBTQ people without coming into New York and attacking our families, loved ones, neighbors, and co-workers. We have an important role to play in the resistance. That means standing together against all his attacks. He uses racism, sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia to divide us against each other. We need to base our fight against him on solidarity: All of us coming to the defense of any of us who is under attack. When we stand shoulder to shoulder, we can win!
We have already notched up important victories, most importantly forcing the courts to halt Trump’s outrageous Muslim ban. Because of us, corporate Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer were pressured to vote against Trump’s outrageous Cabinet nominees.
Escalate the Resistance!
Trump’s administration has been shaken, but he has no plans to back down anytime soon. We can defeat him and don’t need to wait until 2018. We need to escalate our mass movement to show we are determined and won’t be bullied by a bigoted administration. Symbolic protest won’t be enough. We will need to continue to disrupt “business as usual” like we did at JFK airport, and engage in peaceful mass civil disobedience. Student walkouts and the recent “Day without an Immigrant” point in the direction of the kind of mass action that can bring enormous pressure to bear on the entire establishment.
The organizers of the January Women’s Marches have called for a “Women’s Strike” on March 8, International Women’s Day, in concert with a global call to action by socialists and others. This followed on the heels of proposals for massive protests on Earth Day, and a growing discussion about strikes on May 1, International Workers’ Day.
Socialist Alternative has previously argued:
“This call to action should be taken up and organized by the major women’s organizations and the labor movement. If Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, and labor unions were to throw their weight into calling for a mass mobilization across the country, we could disrupt business as usual in a big way. Socialist Alternative calls on everyone to support this strike and participate in it where it is possible to do so without risking your job or other retaliation. We want the largest possible show of force, with the least amount of harm to ourselves. Our strength comes from our numbers. We can protect each other best by organizing this shutdown collectively at workplaces and schools, getting unions on board, and using individual sick days or vacation days if needed. This is a long battle and we are just starting to get organized. Let’s use this action to discuss how we can prepare for future actions that allow for full participation of all workers who want to fight back with strong support.”
Forty percent of New Yorkers are foreign-born and more than half a million are undocumented. For Trump to succeed in carrying out three million deportations he will have to send ICE into our neighborhoods. What can we do?
The first thing we need to do is to apply political pressure through our movement and demand the city use every available tool to resist, and not cooperate, with the Trump administration. Mayor Bill de Blasio has attended a number of rallies in support of immigrants’ rights and declared NYC a “Sanctuary City.” But he recently told lawmakers in Albany that his administration plans to expand the city’s existing list of crimes – already at 170 – that would trigger the city’s cooperation with Federal immigration authorities.
This is unacceptable and makes de Blasio’s talk meaningless. We need to demand the mayor not cooperate at all. That also means demanding an end to Broken Windows Policing, a failed policy that puts more black and brown people into the grasp of law enforcement. Under Broken Windows, anybody arrested for anything – including turnstile jumping, riding your bike in the wrong direction, or for protesting – has their fingerprints taken and entered into a database that ICE has access to. If Trump cuts off federal funding to attack Sanctuary Cities, we should demand the city enact massive tax increases on Wall Street and billionaires to protect our public services.
Secondly, we need organized resistance in our neighborhoods and workplaces. Already, a number of emergency networks have been set up to prepare actions against ICE raids. If ICE comes for anyone, we need to be prepared to move quickly into action with mass non-violent civil disobedience to physically prevent officers from taking anyone away. We also need to build on the important traditions in New York, dating back to the ’80s, of providing a network of real sanctuary spaces to vulnerable immigrants and shelter them from deportation. The “Hate Free Zones” in Kensington and Jackson Heights are excellent steps forward and should be reinforced and expanded across many more communities. And students should demand every school in the city become a real sanctuary campus.
Lastly, deportations can’t happen without legal hearings and procedures. Already volunteers are doing important work to ensure immigrants get representation. We need to develop a strategy to bottleneck these legal processes to make it impossible to proceed with a plan of mass deportation.
Join the Socialists
Our united mass movement is the key to defeating Trump. But what is “sanctuary” if you can’t afford to live in an increasingly unaffordable city? What does it mean for women to have the right to choose if the cost of for-profit health care and childcare is out of reach?
According to Oxfam, eight billionaires have as much wealth as 3.5 billion people. Rich developers are transforming New York City into a playground for the rich while homelessness grows and rents skyrocket. Capitalism is not working for the 99%. We can’t let Trump and the Republicans pretend they are against the establishment. They have nothing to offer working people. At the same time, the Democratic Party leadership is controlled by big business. Clinton’s election loss shows you can’t fight the right wing with corporate establishment politics.
We need to capture the anger in the U.S. for real progressive change. There is so much to fight on, but underlying everything is power: the billionaire class has too much, and we don’t have nearly enough. We can unite working people across race, religious, national, and gender lines – independent of corporate cash and the billionaire class – to fight for a bold program of change: free health care, ending mass incarceration, free education, and a massive tax increase on Wall Street and the 1% to pay for millions of good-paying union jobs to clean up the environment, build thousands of affordable homes and fix the country’s rotting infrastructure.
To reign in the power of the billionaire class, we need to ask: what inherent right do they have to control such vast resources and make “hyper profits” while the rest of us face increasing hardship? What incentives does their capitalist system really have to end racism and sexism, or create good jobs, affordable health care, and renewable energy? That’s why we call for taking the top 500 corporations into democratic public ownership. This would root out the power of the billionaire class and allow for the transformation of our society along socialist lines. On such a basis, we could actually begin to root out oppression, poverty, and war.
Help us build a mass socialist movement as a lever to defeat Trump and fight for a socialist world. Join Socialist Alternative today.
Socialist Alternative Calls For:
- An injury to one is an injury to all! All out to defend Muslims, immigrants, women, black people, LGBT people, workers rights, reproductive rights, and democratic rights.
- No cooperation with Trump’s deportation machine! Make NYC a real Sanctuary City. End Broken Windows Policing. ICE out of NYC!
- Solidarity with Standing Rock! Divest all city funds from Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and US Bank for their investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. #NoDAPL
- Tax Wall Street and the 1% to defend New Yorkers against Trump’s attacks on public services, healthcare, reproductive health, and Sanctuary City funding.
- For an escalation of mass protest including walkouts and strike action on March 8 and May 1 to stop Trump. We call on all mass organizations, especially labor unions, to take the lead and systematically prepare a full mobilization of all people opposed to Trump.
- For a united, independent and sustained mass movement of all working people and youth against Trump, racism, sexism, transphobia, the billionaire class, and capitalism. No reliance on the big business Democratic Party. For a new party of the 99% and socialist transformation of society.
This post originally appeared online at www.socialistalternative.org