Mapping the Resistance
by Ethan Young, May 2018, 28 pp
The 2016 election and one year in office for
Donald Trump have resulted in an intensifying
polarization in mainstream US politics. A many
-sided attack is underway on democracy as it
has been shaped by movements for protection
of rights, living standards, and the environment
over the course of the last century.
Up Against Trump: From Fragmentation to Unity
The day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, “The Resistance” was born in the streets of cities and towns across the United States. The grassroots-organized Women’s Marches, held on January 21, 2017, saw the largest-ever demonstration. Protests have been joined by many other groups and constituencies, especially by those most affected by the policies of the Trump administration, including immigrants, LGBT people, victims of gun violence, the poor, environmentalists, and even scientists.
Over the course of the past eighteen months, however, the protests have lost some of their steam. Trump’s repeated distortions and lies, his sheer meanness (as in the case of DACA recipients), and the constant assaults by his administration seem to have worn out the millions of activists fighting against the country’s shift toward an authoritarian government. After all, resistance is not futile, but it can be tiresome.
In this analysis, Ethan Young examines the state of resistance to the Trump administration. In doing so, he refuses to buy into the centrist notion that the current President of the United States will eventually be rejected, or maybe even impeached, for his deeds. In fact, Trump might be gaining ground, given the relatively strong macroeconomic indicators and the tax reform (including small benefits for many). How, then, can Trump be resisted? First and foremost, Trump and his cronies must be defeated at the polls in the upcoming midterm elections. However, voting Trump out of office will not be enough to defend democracy against the Trumpists.
In this paper, Ethan Young demonstrates that the resistance to Trump’s “new authoritarianism”—which is diverse, ranging from the radical left to the establishment center—only stands a chance if it is able to combine opposition to the far right with a rejection of neoliberal policies. In order to do so, we have to overcome the competition and fragmentation that exists among the political groups
that are opposed to Trump. Only then is a new united front—outside of or beyond the political mold of twentieth-century socialism—possible. Only once democratic political power has been defended against the onslaught of right-wing populism and neoliberalism can we move toward the task of creating a new politics based on equality, justice, and solidarity.
Stefanie Ehmsen and Albert Scharenberg
Co-Directors of New York Office, May 2018