Many have fallen to utter despair with Trump’s election. I’d like to remind everyone that since 1999 til 2016, we have been in a 17-year-long period of massive progressive movements and rebellions in the USA as well as globally. Given this, they are absolutely not going to disappear — they are going to continue and increase, as the below video indicates:
TIMELINE OF REBELLION
1999: Massive protests shut down the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, in opposition to capitalist globalization. A cultural renaissance including musical styles like grunge and black metal, as well as films like The Matrix, Fight Club, and Office Space highlighted intense alienation and dissatisfaction with capitalism and working life.
2003-2006: The biggest-yet global protest in history, as well as huge national protests within the United States, rose in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, culminating in a mass demonstration on Washington DC of 200,000 in 2006.
On May 1, 2006 several million people demonstrated for immigrants’ rights.
2008: The first Black president was elected in the United States, a country whose early economy and history was partially defined by the importation of African slaves and a civil war for their liberation.
2007-2009: The largest recession in US history since the 1930s rocked the economy, bringing economics, wealth inequality, and class consciousness back to the forefront of the national dialogue in a way that has not occurred in eighty years, confirming Marx’s economic theories in the world’s most powerful capitalist economy where economists had come to believe themselves exempt.
2010: The National Equality March descended on Washington, D.C., for marriage equality.
2011: Occupy Wall Street begins, a semi-permanent encampment and wave of mass protests around Zucotti Park, NYC and Wall Street, as well as across the entire. It names the richest 1% as the enemy of the American people, showing many people who had already moved in a class-conscious direction from the recession and subsequent job losses and wage cuts that they are not alone in their sentiments.
This echoes the earlier Arab Spring uprising against undemocratic regimes and economic hardship across the Middle East/North Africa, as well as the European Movement of Squares in Spring/Summer against austerity policies as European Social Democracy is peeled back.
2012: The SEIU began the Fight for $15 campaign, launching a wave of fast food worker demonstrations for a $15 minimum wage.
2013-2014: Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant was elected to Seattle City Council on a platform of a $15 minimum wage.
In the same year, the Black Lives Matter movement began in the wake of the acquittal of the death of George Zimmerman after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and a similar phenomenon continued in the form of the Ferguson riots.
A pair of Supreme Court rulings decided that same-sex couples get federal benefits and are recognized in California.
2015-2016: The Supreme Court ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
The Bernie Sanders campaign challenged the corporate machine Democrat Hillary Clinton, exposing a rigged primary election, raising a platform of universal healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, and free public college, and openly owning the label “socialist.” At the DNC, Bernie delegates booed the corrupt proceedings and walked out, and protesters outside carried Sanders signs and red flags.
Socialist city councilor Kshama Sawant won re-election.
Now: Millions of people joined a wave of anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-Islamophobic and pro-LGBT protests which break out across the USA in response to Trump’s narrow and unpopular, if surprising, electoral victory.
PROGRESS NEEDED A REALITY CHECK
We needed the harsh lesson of Trump. The Left had become incoherent and complacent. We veered into the swamp of reductive alienating identity politics. We were noncommittally attracted to Sanders’ class politics, but still swung back towards Clinton-style de-classed neoliberal identity politics (not to mention the Democratic Party machine), and did not internalize and crystallize the truth that independent class politics is not one optional path to victory — it is the only path to victory. We got a slap in the face from reality, and its name was Donald Trump.
He is a worthy enemy — but who doesn’t enjoy slaying a dragon? Now let us fight him.
“In a word: The revolution made progress, forged ahead, not by its immediate tragicomic achievements but, on the contrary, by the creation of a powerful, united counterrevolution, by the creation of an opponent in combat with whom the party of overthrow ripened into a really revolutionary party.”
Feel the burn. But have hope in the continuity of the decades of rebellion. We were once interrupted by Bush, and we continued then as well. If anything, it made us stronger (and if anything, Obama and Clinton made us weaker). This will make us stronger too.