The election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency is one of those moments that will remain forever frozen in time. You will always remember where you were, who you were with, and what you were doing the day America ushered a fascist into the White House — and with him, four years of attacks on immigrants, violence against people of color, assaults on women’s reproductive rights, and rampant Islamophobia.
My revolutionary prayer is that the next four years also bring about some of the most vigorous, tactical, and strategic organizing this country has ever seen.
Trump’s election does not indicate a drastic shift in American reality. America’s legacy is rooted in the brutality of colonialism and chattel slavery. An honest examination of her past and current landscape reveals centuries of unsafe and treacherous terrain for Black, Brown, Muslim, queer and poor people.
This is a country that wages open warfare and genocide on Black bodies in the form of militarized police and law-enforcement agencies.
This is a country that pollutes native lands in the name of profit.
This is a country that wages unapologetic war on people of color in other nations in the name of capitalism and greed.
This is a country that pours guns and drugs into Black and Brown communities.
This is a country that engages in modern-day slavery in the form of the prison industrial complex in the name of profit.
This is America. This has always been America.
My revolutionary prayer is banking on the fact that Trump’s election to the presidency has shocked thousands of people out of complacency.
Those people who looked at people like me and my comrades as radicals whose ideologies were on the fringes of America’s social reality.
Those people who were content to sit on the sidelines while others put their bodies on the line in the name of liberation and justice.
Those people who had been lulled into a belief that America was truly the land of the free if you just had the will to pull yourself up by the bootstraps.
Finally, those people are ready to get busy.
America has been unmasked and it is up to organizers everywhere — but particularly organizers in Oakland, the vanguard of resistance — to organize this energy, passion, and fire into organization and organizing.
That means politicizing our most impacted community members and empowering them to lead.
It means identifying what social services are going to be cut under a Republican presidency and Congress, and creating alternative means of getting food, shelter, and medical treatment to the people.
It means opening our own schools.
It means developing real alternatives to calling police and stemming the tide of our people being funneled into American concentration camps.
It means divesting from the state that never has, and never will, have our backs, and investing in training, campaigns, and pathways that empower the people to depend on themselves and each other.
This is not an overnight solution. There are no quick fixes to the plague of repression that infects this country. This is long, arduous and incremental work.
But we have to start somewhere. We have to begin in earnest to move from rhetoric to action.
This is not the time for despair. This is not the time for fear.
This is the time to train, study and organize.
This is the time to fight. For our people. For our land. For our communities. For our liberation.
If you’re not in an organization — join one. If you don’t like any of the organizations out here — start one. If you don’t believe in organization — find your lane of resistance and get in it.
Engage in local politics and fight like hell for Oakland. Be vigilant in resisting national trends of repression from showing up in our town. Refuse to allow elected officials to pit protestors and movements against each other in attempts to kill the energy of dissent. Hold elected officials accountable to their campaign promises. Say no to displacement in the name of development. Intervene when you see random acts of violence being propagated against Black, Brown, queer and Muslim folks. Fearlessly stand for our most impacted peoples in the Town, the country and the world.
It’s not over. It’s go time. Let’s get it. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds — I still believe that we can win.
Cat Brooks is a local activist.