On Tuesday, November 8, Donald J. Trump was declared the President of the United States of America. Though Hillary Clinton dominated the popular vote, the electoral college handed Trump the White House. And, of course, nearly the entire world is confused, shocked, livid, and understandably terrified.
Unfortunately, I predicted this in a Facebook status a few months prior—before the election was a complete circus. Granted, the status was a semi-political science fiction narrative, but there was also an element of truth. Even legendary science fiction genius Octavia E. Butler foresaw an oppressive American government in her Parable series. In The Parables of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents, the Earthseed community (and others who are considered heathens) are targeted, traumatized, and even murdered by the supporters of the President Andrew Steele Jarret.
Like the fictional presidential candidate, Trump promised to “Make America Great Again” for White citizens while scapegoating the disenfranchised groups. Black folks and non-Black people of color, women, the undocumented, the disabled, LGBTIQAs, Muslims, immigrants and refugees were immediately fell under the scrutiny of racist White people who feared having resources snatched from them. Young women and girls were traumatized after finding out that Trump openly admitted to sexually assaulting women and young girls. And like that of Jarret’s, Trump’s followers resorted to violence against non-White, non-Christian folks, becoming increasing audacious as the months passed.
These facts alone are some of the reasons why people were so devastated about this man’s victory. Why non-voters and third-party voters are feeling the wrath of those who voted for Clinton. And why people are drawing lines in the sand, taking to social media to force Trump supporters off their Facebook pages due to his (supposed) anti-LGBTIQA rhetoric.
In the mist of the post-Election chaos, there was a glimmer of hope in Rochester that week. On Thursday, November 10, I and many others in Rochester had the opportunity to meet Dr. Angela Davis, former Black Panther Party member, author, and professor. Courtesy of MJS Productions, Dr. Davis blessed the entire East High School Auditorium with her kindness, wisdom, poise, and respect. She not only critiqued the 2016 election, but understood that the government system (and the current party structure) never represented the people—the oppressed groups in particular.
“We have to reimagine politics,” she proposed, “to imagine a political party that represents the oppressed.” She further emphasized that those who choose to participate in the voting process to work towards a multi-party system and a party that incorporates intersectional feminist politics.
I walked away from the event energized and validated as a literary activist and Radical in regards to my misgivings about this election. A non-registered voter for eight years, I wasn’t going to have anyone place the blame on me simply because I didn’t hand Clinton a struggle vote. Dr. Davis’s suggestion to reimagine politics resonated with me; another world is possible, but many of us seem hesitant to even envision themselves dismantling the current system to create a new one. So I wondered what actions Radicals and liberals—especially comrades of color—can take from this moment forward. What can marginalized groups do to combat a fascist government at this point?
For starters, we (meaning Radicals) need to check those scapegoating non-voters and third-party voters. We are not the reason why Trump won and Clinton has yet to represent anyone but corporate America. And let’s not forget that the majority voted for Senator Bernie Sanders, who could have easily won the Presidency had the Democratic National Committee not sabotaged his campaign. The DNC’s intervention and the non-existence of true democracy left a bad taste in the month of many of his supporters, so their decision to Netflix and chill on Election Day is understandable. Also, voters pointing the fingers at those who refused to support Clinton are ultimately blaming the latter for the hate crimes erupting throughout the country. What they don’t understand, however, is that these post-election assaults against marginalized groups would have occurred regardless of who moved into the White House.
Which is why I also urge Liberals and Radicals to genuinely recognize each other’s political efforts—especially those who choose not to vote or vote for a third-party candidate. The latter uses direct action, literally activism, online activism, protesting, and other effective, peaceful tactics. Our initiatives are just as important as the Liberal’s right to vote, their trips to their state capitals, or petitions to their local representatives. One of the many reasons why the Leftist contingent isn’t a political juggernaut is because of the division among us. As we fight over ideologies and the corniness of John Lennon quotes, the Ult-Right disregard their differences to execute their oppressive agendas. With so much at stake this time around, it is the duty of us Leftists to collectively organize, strategize, and implement our initiatives without hesitation.
In addition, we need to educate ourselves and each other on government laws so we are equipped with the knowledge to protect ourselves legally. What I’ve learned as an activist and writer is that education is paramount to fight for one’s liberation. In fact, education is the very foundation of our freedom and oppressors acknowledge this. So, the more we Leftists know the more strategic our contingent can be as we organize. I have comrades who are often recommending literature such as The Privacy Law and the USA Patriot Act and The New Jim Crow. Folks can also Google information about protections against unlawful arrests, state and national anti-discrimination laws, how to shield your personal information from government officials and so forth. If one cannot afford certain books, PDF versions are often available via the interwebs.
While organizing, we have got to learn how to protect ourselves physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. Trump’s victory granted racists the permission to traumatize/dehumanize at will, attacking the marginalized online and in public with impunity. Assaults against Muslims have increased since Trump’s win while Black folks, children of immigrants and/or undocumented adults, women, and others face harassment through social media. Therefore, we must take initiatives to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those being targeted. I plan on investing in various forms of self-defense because, as a Black woman, I’m more likely have a White Supremacist mistakenly run up on me. Knowing that, I need to take all kinds of precautions.
And due to the elevating brutality and need for significant changes within the political system, we Leftists need to heavily lean on one another. This is not the time to fight over tactics, political ideologies, and which organization possesses the most knowledge. This is also not the time to place minorities in the position to wipe away White Liberals or give in to White guilt. We’re now required to respect one another, for allies to listen to the pain, struggles, and solutions of the groups who are greatly affected by the outcome of this shit show. Members of marginalized groups also need the space to support one another. I went to a Building Leadership and Community Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K.) meeting on Friday night and I felt nothing but love, validation, and liberation at that moment. I didn’t have to explain myself, my views on the election, or why I didn’t vote. I was surrounded by Black people who heard my frustrations while allowing me to support them in return. I needed that. Now imagine if everyone had a squad such as mine.
The election triggered an arousal in people politically, forcing many to recognize that the current system is not only broken, but needs to be completely bulldozed and rebuilt. Conversely, strong radical movements such as Black Lives Matter play an important part in pushing for the reimagining of political system that supports the social, physical, spiritual, and even nutritional concerns of its citizens—especially the disenfranchised.