Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

The "resistance" is clearly building, but the real showdown is yet to come. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

Whither the Resistance?

Fran Shor

The incredible outpouring of protest against Trump’s presidency and policies, from the amazing global women’s marches to organizational responses to all of his egregious executive orders, portends a diverse and enormous mass movement.  With the most recent executive order banning Muslims from seven countries with Muslim majorities, the rapid mobilization of opposition from a variety of constituencies, even some within the Justice Department and Republican Party, augurs a spreading dissidence.

Already some are calling this vast movement the "resistance."  Whether this label is warranted will depend on the degree to which these demonstrations actually challenge repressive power structures not only with public dissent but active disobedience.

For those of us who are veterans of the draft resistance movement of the 1960’s, our actions were aimed at delegitimitizing a system that provided the military with compliant agents for its class-based war machine.  While limited in numbers, this resistance spread throughout the society and into the military. As young draftees in Vietnam refused orders and even attacked their officers, the Nixon Administration was forced to end the draft and to begin to bring the troops home.

The draft resistance movement of this period also encouraged acts of solidarity and defiance from adult supporters, like Dr. Spock, and sympathizers, like Daniel Ellsberg. When such supporters and sympathizers were charged with criminal offenses, their court cases were successfully resolved because of constitutional protections under the First Amendment.  Nonetheless, whatever the level of activism, it was clear that risks were taken which entailed possible and, in some cases, actual incarceration.

While I hesitate to encourage today’s resisters to court jail sentences, the need to develop creative civil disobedience must be considered if, indeed, authentic resistance is to spread and deepen.  Already those political officials and university presidents who have committed themselves, their cities, and their campuses to defying Trump’s crackdown on immigrants provide a clear example of one form of resistance.  Of course, the real showdown is yet to come.  Whether these sanctuary spaces can withstand federal repression will determine the realization of this resistance and the degree to which it reflects that of the Central American solidarity networks of the 1980’s and the pre-Civil War abolitionist struggles.

Given the direction of Trump’s executive orders and the Republican marching orders, there are numerous actions that already constitute resistance responses.  Among these is the continuing native protest at Standing Rock, one that still requires additional ally support. The battles against the DAPL and Keystone XL will necessitate the revival of groups like and their civil disobedience campaign.

On the other hand, rallying against the proponents of fossil fuel and environmental exploitation might have to look to a whole range of activities from switching to renewables to boycotting the corporations and banks that promote such ecocide policies.  This is already underway in efforts to divest from financial institutions and corporations that enable the DAPL.  I would also propose using either Earth Day or May Day as a day of a fossil fuel strike.  This would mean not relying on any machine that consumes oil or gas.

The escalation of such tactics to a strike obviously may cause hardship, especially to those who have no choice but to work on that day and to take fossil fuel based transportation. However, in a variation on the Montgomery Bus Boycott where civil rights protestors created a fleet of automobiles to keep African-American domestic workers, in particular, off the busses, so caravans of electric or alternative fuel vehicles could be assembled for those in dire employment situations.

Such a turn towards self-reliance and solidarity in the resistance could be undertaken in other arenas of struggle.  For example, as Trump and his misogynist and fundamentalist minions attempt to curtail abortion services, a new underground railroad could be constructed to move vulnerable women in rural areas to nearby cities with family planning clinics that offer abortion services.  Doctors and nurses committed to the resistance may even consider locating free clinics in more remote areas with ample supplies of the Plan B drug.

Resistance movements will obviously require certain levels of sacrifice, but ones that, at the same time, should prefigure the kind of society where common goods and services are readily available to all.  Without replicating the free stores and coops of the 60’s, there are other options that new technologies, like 3D printers and such, may make possible, facilitating in the process communities of resistance.

Certainly, resistance movements will face a decidedly antagonistic reaction from Trump and his majority Republican government.  However, as Frances Fox Piven, recently wrote in The Nation: "In the face of an unrelenting hostile regime…resistance movements, by blocking or sabotaging the policy initiatives of the regime, can create or deepen elite and electoral cleavages." Beyond this kind of political contestation, resistance movements may also harbor the hopes and practices of an alternative America where new forms of solidarity and self-determination will become the beacon for fundamental change.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Fran Shor

Fran Shor

Fran Shor is a Michigan-based retired teacher, writer, and activist.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Israel Condemned for Designating Palestinian Human Rights Groups 'Terrorist Organizations'

"Labeling effective NGOs 'terrorists' is a textbook way to evade accountability for human rights violations—and an affront to everyone who cares about peace," said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Kenny Stancil ·

House Progressives Call On Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency—Now

"Your inaction," Rep. Cori Bush warned the president, "is undermining our efforts to deliver good jobs, environmental justice, and a renewable energy future."

Jessica Corbett ·

Despite Politicians and Pundits' Claims, Twitter Finds Algorithm Favors Right-Wing Voices

"So much for Trump's claim that Twitter has an anti-conservative bias."

Brett Wilkins ·

'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·

Carbon Offsets Are Nothing But a 'Dangerous' Con Job, Warns Climate Group

"The best way to prevent the heating of our planet," says Friends of the Earth, "is to end the use of fossil fuels for good."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo