Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!"

 Now is the Time
words & photos by Cindy A. Matthews

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!"

These are the last words of labor organizer Joe Hill. They've been quoted by the Green Party's Jill Stein and many others this past week. Now more than ever, they're words worth heeding.

What do they mean? They mean there's no time to lose, people! Get back out there and work hard for the political revolution. It's not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. We're going to have to sweat for it.

On this week's blog we'll gain insight on how progressives should deal with the aftermath of a Trump victory, but the photographic images will come from the latest Dakota Access Pipeline protest I attended in downtown Toledo, Ohio, at 1 Government Center. It was an extremely windy evening, but that didn't prevent 40+ activists from participating. We held up signs, chanted "Water is life!" and talked with passers-by--including a couple of very nice police officers. 
The officers really wanted to know what all was going on at Standing Rock. They thought President Obama had stopped the pipeline a while back, since that's all they heard on the mainstream news channels. They said they didn't realize the pipeline is to go under the Missouri River and threaten the water supply of millions if and when it should leak.

Now is the time to take Joe Hill's remarks to heart. The  conversation we had with the two police officers demonstrates how the majority of our fellow citizens need more information about what is happening in North Dakota and elsewhere that threatens their health and the health of the planet.  They need to know who in power is fighting for them and who is exploiting them. They need uncensored information to make wiser electoral decisions next time at the polls. Where will they receive this unbiased information? You are their source for that much needed information.

So, grab some friends, pick a cause, make some plans and some signs and get out there and inform the public. Forget about the presidential election--it's over! To quote Joe Hill:

"Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!" 


              "It's Time"
Green Party US Senate Candidate
 Joseph DeMares's Statement on the 2016 Election

This has been a hard election for all of us. I know in my household the personal, financial and health costs of mounting a statewide election for a year and a half on a tiny budget have been severe, and I thank my family for helping me make this effort. 

Perhaps the deepest loss in this election is the loss of civility, the loss of friends and family who disagree politically. Our country is more divided than it has been since I was a child in the 1960's, at a time when we desperately need to come together to tackle society-threatening problems like global warming and income inequality. One of the main causes of this division is our corporate dominated media. By carefully censoring what information we see, it gives us a distorted picture of ourselves and our neighbors. 

According to the (Ohio) Secretary of State, I received 1.6% of the vote for a total of 85,000 votes. This doesn't sound like much until you realize that 9 out of 10 Ohioans went into the polls not even knowing that there was a Green Party candidate for US Senate. I was locked out of the three hour-long televised debates, and the public television stations refused to play even my two minute candidate statement. The television, radio, and newspapers assiduously ignored the Green Party for a year and a half. That makes the 1.6% I received nothing short of miraculous, and I thank my volunteers from all over the state who were out knocking on doors, hanging banners and passing out fliers for that 1.6%. 

I was honored to be included in candidates' nights all over the state, and pleased to be included in some voters' guides put out by groups like the League of Women Voters. To the extent that true democracy exists in Ohio, we were present and we did well. To the extent that money and the corporate media control who governs the country, we were excluded. In the last days before the election, I received literally thousands of Facebook messages, phone calls, and tweets from people who had just found out about my candidacy and were overjoyed that they could vote for someone outside of the two party system. It is an indictment of our system that most Ohioans never knew they had that opportunity.

So, we find ourselves after the election a deeply divided country with the bonds between friends, family and neighbor torn or strained, and we are faced with a decision. Do we deepen those divisions or do we work to strengthen our connections with each other? The threats to our nation are still there. Threats like global warming will not go away simply because we elected a president who denies them. In the coming years, as crops fail, cities sink, and the climate runs away we will need each other. We can't afford to put off ending the fossil fuel economy simply because Jill Stein lost. We cannot give up. Things look desperate right now, but we can't let that drive us to desperation.

The Green Party made some gains in this election. Jill Stein got almost three times the votes that she received in 2012. The Ohio Green Party has almost doubled in size, and we now have Greens in every county in the state. There are new county committees forming where we have never had an organization before. So, there is hope for the future. We need to take that hope and turn it into a Green reality. Thank you to all who have helped us get this far. Let's keep going. It's time.

Mariana offers us a different perspective on the recent election. We should all stop complaining and start looking for the "silver lining" in a Trump presidency, all the while not forgetting to Act. Wake up. Organize.

photo by Zaire Daniels
The Silver Lining
by Mariana Alvarez
I know what people think about Trump. But I have also been carefully listening to his speeches instead of just following the media hype on the stupid things he says (racist, sexist, etc.). Yes, he's a crazy bigot, we all know this, but we have to look for the silver lining. Is he really the worst that could have happened to this country? Is there no reason to celebrate a Hillary loss? What will Trump’s presidency mean for the progressive movement?

To begin, Trump's foreign policy is revolutionary. He wants to bring America back to the manufacturing age, mining and small business age. He wants to stop outsourcing jobs (i.e., stop American corporations from invading other countries for cheap slave labor). He wants to bring back small businesses and skilled trades and small farmers. He wants to cancel all international trade agreements that force the cheap flow of natural resources from third world countries into the US. (He wants the US to exploit its own resources instead of colonizing other countries. Finally!)  He wants third world countries to lose dependency on the US. This is all a good thing. It’s a good thing for the world, and its a good thing for the USA. 

Do you really want to continue to live on your knees to big corporations and bankers? Do you really want your career to depend on big monopolies and their profit? What if the American people take back their economy?

Yes, Trump's against immigration, but, if he keeps his promises, moving away from violent neo-liberalism will reduce the amount of people that need to move to the US in search of jobs in the first place. Why? Because the US will stop causing poverty in other countries. If Monsanto, Walmart, Nike, Verizon, the steel industry, etc., stop invading other countries for land, resources and cheap labor this will change up the global game. If American corporations stop invading small farmers’ lands in other countries, this will be a great thing for the world. This type of colonialism is the cause of the high level of immigration into the US in the first place. 

The US has always been sticking its nose into foreign politics and economies. The US wants the third world to become its source of labor and resources so that America can keep on getting richer. This is not what the USA was meant to be by our founding fathers. Yes, diversity and immigration is a wonderful thing, but not when it is fueled by a violent, colonizing, neo-liberal force of power held by the 1% of this country.

Others: "Oh, but Trump is going to cause WWIII!"

My response: You think Hillary wasn't going to do that? She's a warmonger. She's super neo-liberal and supports US intervention in every country. She wants war with Russia. She doesn’t care about minorities unless it means keeping them here to provide labor for big corporations. Look at how many countries she bombed as Secretary of State. She kills innocent women, children and men every day. That is not coming from a place of love and morality. It’s coming from a place of greed. 

photo by Zaire Daniels
Hillary is all rhetoric. She makes you think Trump represents racism and everything we need to be against, when in reality she cares just as little about minorities’ lives. She just wants to protect big business’ interests. That’s all. Trump is against a lot of neo-liberal policies. He's against NAFTA and a whole bunch of other international trade agreements. This is good news for the rest of the world. Maybe the US will finally begin to focus in on itself and get its dirty paws out of the natural resources of other countries and stop messing up with their politics.

And hey, maybe those that can should just move out of the USA. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. There are thousands upon thousands of immigrants in the US living horrible, difficult lives away from their family members across the globe, working long hours for ridiculous wages, living here just because its the only choice they have to survive. The US is no longer a melting pot. Only a place for immigrants to be pushed out of their countries to become slaves to big business. Trump isn't against immigrants with education and money. "Educated" immigrants will get to keep their good jobs and money. Don’t worry about that. He wants business. What he doesn’t want is Latino/Asian/Black farmers and construction workers and bathroom cleaners and slaves of big corporations. He wants to stop that type of immigration. But funny enough, the US has been causing that type of immigration in the first place.
photo by Anthony Curi
Yes, poor families will feel the burn. It'll be hard. I know because I am part of a poor Latinx family. I know because my mom cleans houses for a living. I know because I don’t have health insurance and have to pay a fee for Obamacare for not having any. I know because we live paycheck to paycheck. It’s not good news for us directly, but what if we the poor immigrants (many of whom haven't seen our families in years) can return to our countries, finally find jobs there and are no longer be forced to immigrate for the so-called "American (neo-liberal) Dream" (a.k.a. slave labor machine)?

In short, of course both parties are scared of Trump! He is against a lot of policies that protect money interests. What will the 1% in the US do if they can no longer exploit the planet for profit at the rate they have been doing?

My only concern is Trump’s domestic racism. This is bad news for the Black Lives Matters movement and for immigrants. But keep in mind that Trump hasn’t brought in new racism into our country. He has just uncovered the racism that has always been there. The war against us will be more explicit now. This just means we have a clearer target now. We have to stick together, more than ever. Instead of losing hope, let’s look at the opportunities this has opened up for us.

For example, I think these results show that people are tired of the status quo (and I was seriously more fearful of the status quo under Clinton more than anything). A Trump win may actually be good for third parties. It is our chance to start a bigger movement. Wall Street could possibly be crumbling! (Unless this is all just a sick game and Trump is actually on their side, but let's ignore that possibility for now.) Trump is all about getting big money interests out of politics. (At least that’s what he says.) He has taken the power out of the Clinton’s hands. 

Let’s use this chaotic time to grow even bigger. Let’s mobilize. Let’s stick together, make the Green Party grow. Make a movement based on love and peace. Support our indigenous people fighting against the DAPL. Support the Black Lives Matter movement. Support the people getting organized in your localities.  

Act. Wake up. Organize. Stop sitting on your ass. 

It's funny how the people lecturing me about Trump have never even volunteered for a political movement and are those who just believe everything the news feeds them. Stop the ignorance and start getting connected to local groups trying to make a change. Research the Green Party. Fight for the country you want!

This is an opportunity. If you just take this as a loss and give up, what's that going to do? You gotta look at the silver lining. The better question is: What are you going to do?

Bio: Mariana Alvarez is a 27-year old immigrant from Colombia to the United States and currently resides in Florida with her mom. As part of her activism, she has traveled and lived in various poor communities around the world in an attempt to better understand today’s global geopolitics and social movements.



From Brand New Congress, ways to help the 2018 election outcome turn out a whole lot better for our country:
Dear Friends,

We weren’t hoping for this, but we’re ready. For the past several months, Brand New Congress’s full time staff and volunteers have been recruiting a new generation of leaders to run for Congress in 2018. The candidates are amazing women, men and people from every American community -- uniquely equipped to defeat Trumpism by healing our divided nation and rebuilding our economy. They are the gems out of thousands of nominations we’ve received from you, and your small donations have made our work possible. Thank you!

When we started reaching out to these potential candidates, they thought we were crazy. They are not politicians; they are working people who keep America going every day. But both yesterday and today, we have woken up to emails and phone calls. Trump’s victory has convinced many of them the time is now.

But some of these folks are asking us very specific questions -- questions about you. “Haven’t people lost faith in this entire country now? Haven’t they given up?”

This is very real. We need you to show our candidates that you will never give up. Add your name to our pledge to elect a Brand New Congress in 2018.

When we get to 100,000 names, we will announce our first batch of draftees: http://BrandNewCongress.org

Please share this with everyone you know who is heartsick about where our country is right now and wondering what they can do to fix it.

A lot of people are asking why did Trump win? In the end it was because people’s incomes and access to jobs have been disappearing for 40 years and a lot of people -- including many who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 -- either cast a protest vote against the establishment that let it happen or deserted the two party system. Eight million people who voted for a major party in 2012 did not in 2016.

Trump’s power will be short lived -- but only if we organize to put a way forward in front of Americans. If history is any guide, when Trump fails to turn around the economy, he will seek to rally his supporters to the campaign promises he was most passionate about: targeting undocumented workers, targeting Muslims and “bombing the s*** out of” various countries. We have to take this country back for the people -- all the people!

When the labor organizer Joe Hill was sentenced to death in 1915, his immortal words to the movement were, “Don't waste any time mourning. Organize!”

Let’s organize!

Yours for the revolution,

The Brand New Congress Working Group
Alex, Corbin, Haley, Issy, Mary, Nasim, Saikat, Zack 

Got the message? ORGANIZE! 
And let us know what you are doing in your community.
Please send us your photos, event news, blogs, poems, etc. to thebernieblog2016@gmail.com
Thank you and Power to the People!

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