Why We’re Protesting: An Anarchist Perspective on the Trump Inauguration

On January 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. There to protest the know-nothing real estate mogul’s ascent to office will be many of the people he’s insulted and denigrated over the past year and a half: women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants – representatives of the majority of the population of the U.S.

Many of us protestors are anarchists.

Why anarchists?

We are rebels against the State, against capitalism, against all racial and social hierarchies, because we prefer direct democracy—the most direct democracy you can get—to the lie of “democratic government.” It doesn’t matter who’s president: we’re against presidents. It’s not just the Republican Congress we oppose: it’s any Congress that pretends to represent us. It’s not just police racism and violence we don’t accept: it’s the institution of the police. Contrary to the rhetoric of Trump and the alt-right, we are not sore losers who are simply upset that Hillary Clinton lost the election. George Soros or the Democratic Party does not fund us. We are volunteers; just regular citizens who believe humanity can do better than Trump or Clinton.

We prefer grassroots organizing and action to top-down “campaigns” by “progressive” organizations based in Washington that channel the rage of the marginalized into electoral campaigns, lobbying, and marches to nowhere. The streets belong to us. That’s where civil rights were won, where LGBT people seized control of their lives, where working people won the right to organize, and where we will build a real democracy that empowers all of us.

On January 20, we’ll be in Washington to fight for all these things, but also to disrupt the confirmation and normalization of the ugly new reality the November election put in place.

Because this election really was different. It fed off and helped spread a new strain of racism, misogyny, and ultra-nationalism that’s receiving answering salutes from countries all over the world, from France to Hungary to the Philippines. We’re not here to protest just another in a long line of American warlords. We’re here to call a halt to New American Fascism and the hatred at its heart.

In the 18 months since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the White House, we’ve seen Muslims and Hispanics terrorized. We’ve seen the legitimate anger of Black Lives Matter countered by a vicious backlash. We’ve seen a concerted and expanding effort to roll back the social acceptance that transgender people have just begun to make. We’ve seen a wealthy white man flaunt his privilege in ways that demean women – with only the mildest and rare peeps of protest from the Washington political establishment.

Trump didn’t create this ugliness, but he’s become its focal point, its megaphone, and its chief recruiting tool. He’s made racists and xenophobes feel powerful. He’s made sexists and homophobes feel justified. He’s given the corporate agenda to disempower and impoverish working people a smoke screen of phony populism to hide behind.

We’ve seen it too many times before in too many places to ignore it this time: a right-wing demagogue maneuvers into power. Sensing the opportunity of a lifetime, a greedy and ruthless economic and political elite falls into line behind the new leader. Minorities and the economically vulnerable are the first to suffer. Eventually, everybody does.

This election could be just the beginning. France, Germany, and Hungary are just a few of the countries with national elections coming up in 2017 where the racist right is expected to make big gains. Now is the time to send an unmistakable message that fascism is not the answer. But we won’t do that in a voting booth. We’ll do it in our homes, our communities, and in the streets. We’ll do it by promoting the vision of a society without the State, without bought-and-paid-for politicians, without capitalism. The opposite of what we’ve got now.

The first step in resisting “President Trump” is to disrupt J20.

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