Now that Donald Trump has been elected, we must quickly come to terms with how the existing American political system has brought us to this dangerous point in our history. Elections, as controlled by the major political parties, offer us merely a contest of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. These contests mask the major parties’ underlying unity in a neoliberal economic establishment that serves the wealthy few at the expense of the impoverished many. Because it is precisely this underlying establishment that we must dismantle, we cannot expect conventional electoral politics to provide us with the social and economic transformation we urgently need.
No, we cannot vote this establishment away. Our politics must escape the voting booth. We need a change of system, not change within the system. And we need it now.
But if we cannot rely on elections for the change we need, what are we to do? We must combat the establishment using a different weapon. That weapon is the general strike.
The logic of the general strike is simple. On January 20th, 2017, each and every one of us refuses to comply with whatever orders the economic establishment has given to us. We walk out of our homes, our places of work, and our schools, and we join our fellow citizens in the streets and online in a peaceful display of resistance and solidarity. In this way, we defy the establishment. As Mario Savio said during the 1960s student protests:
"There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers and upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"
Nothing less than a national general strike can break the operation of the establishment machine. And, beautifully, the strike creates as it destroys. For participating together in this shared activity empowers us to unite into one great organization — big enough to honor and preserve the differences that define us, and strong enough to obliterate the false boundaries and barriers that divide us. Nothing could be more pragmatic than that.
Another world is possible. But we must fight for it together. Join the national general strike on Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20th, 2017. Your descendants will thank you.