On Thursday, the day before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in amid global protests and boycotts, his opponents are looking beyond inauguration day actions to create long-term strategies to resist the incoming right-wing agenda.
In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, rights advocates and former Capitol Hill staffers Gonzalo Martínez de Vedia, Jeremy Haile, and Sarah Dohl issue the critical reminder that "ordinary Americans have the power to resist."
The authors are part of a team of former congressional staffers under President Barack Obama who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party in 2009 and are now aiming to use the conservative movement's tactics against them. The staffers recently published a manual known as the Indivisible Guide that instructs groups and individuals how to organize against Trump using the same opposition playbook that Republicans used under Obama.
That included organizing locally and pressuring their representatives to oppose Obama's "every move" through legislation, letters, public statements, and interviews.
It also meant refusing to compromise. Rather than introducing their own legislation, which would have exposed their unified front to intra-party conflict, Republicans simply stood together and opposed Democrats' plans, rather than putting forward their own.
"We pledge to create a resistance movement that makes Trump unable to govern our oppression."
"Americans against Trump are in the majority," the activists write. "If we want to resist his agenda, we have to do it together, and we have to start now."
Sarah Van Gelder, co-founder and editor of YES! Magazine, published a "to-do list for lasting change" that calls on people to "reconnect to your human and ecological community," "resist hate, exclusion, and policies that impoverish your community," and "revitalize your community and reclaim power," detailing steps to accomplish each goal.
In a piece titled "Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything," political science and sociology professor Frances Fox Piven similarly called for "defiant collective action against what seem formidable odds," even at risk of "tough reprisals."
And Ira Chernus, a professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, wrote about the importance of moving "beyond" resistance and building a political force with a positive focus, which, he says, is a way for activists to "move the political center toward them."
One of the latest to form, Ungovernable 2017, writes of their mission, "We pledge to create a resistance movement that makes Trump unable to govern our oppression; unable to deceive the people, to make the people accept his reign of hatred. We refuse to give hatred a chance to govern, a chance to roll back civil and human rights, a chance to deport millions of people, a chance to create camps and registries for Muslims, a chance to expand the prison industrial complex, a chance to expand its drone wars, or a chance to turn back the gains won by our struggles."
"Let's start now," they write. "Let's make the so-called inauguration day a day to resist a day to be ungovernable and plan for a new future and new way."