“Resistance Is Futile” - The Borg Collective

Herb Dempsey

There is a common and recurring theme in the liberal analysis of the Trump victory. In its variations it goes something like, "we have to fight back." As more and more billionaires are turned into instant political operatives in the transition period, the theme becomes more strident the intent seems to be: "now we really must fight back!" I'm reminded of the Borg Collective and droning as each of the members of the hive repeated their basic approach that resistance is futile. "We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

As the Republicans remind us that we live in a post-fact environment and that yesterday's truth probably won't apply to tomorrow's events I'm reminded of the fact that the humans in the Star Trek scenario seem to ignore the hive mind as it reminded, over and over, "resistance is futile."  Tonight, on the evening news, Donald Trump once again reminded us that he was a very intelligent man. He said he did not need the security briefings that were being provided by intelligence units within the government. As he sets out to Make America Great again even his surrogates have begun to remind us that he is a self-made man who is highly intelligent and as he heads into the future we should not resist with questions about the effect of Russian hacking of the elections. Last month Scottie Nell Hughes, the quintessential blonde Trump surrogate, reminded us about facts, “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”  I hear, “Resistance is Futile.”  I am reminded of, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “You are entitled to your opinion, But you are not entitled to your own facts.”  That resistance may be futile is a fact to the Trump crowd but then they are also the group who lives in a post-factual world.

When the invaders seized control of Norway during the Second World War Vidkun Quisling developed his own version of “Resistance is Futile.”  The Norwegian military officer collaborated with the invaders and worked to defeat his people.  After the defeat of the Nazis Quisling was tried and shot.  Guy Fawkes would have made resistance futile during the Gunpowder Plot in English history but he and his stockpile of gunpowder were detected and the resistance failed.  Fawkes also died.

One of my favorite stories of resistance is cataloged forever by Fredrick Gustav Emil Martin Niemoller.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

I will cast one vote for resistance to the election and regime of Donald Trump.  He has anointed what my mother, Emma, used to fear as “Plutocrats.”  He has moved the Climate Deniers to power positions.  The fellow who hates labor and loves automation may soon dictate how labor is treated.  The generals will be in charge of Peace even though we have spent millions giving them the skillsets for War.  If any product has Trump’s imprimatur I don’t buy it.

Some of the sources I plan to study:

The economy vote

“If you look at the states that essentially decided the election – Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Indiana – they’re all states that have voted for Obama in the past. These are not racist voters. They voted for the first African American president. They did so because of economic issues,” he said. “We need to unite around issues. Identity politics gets in the way of that. Democrats make a mistake playing that card. It means a lots of white working class [people] whose interests are not being represented. There are legitimate issues around race and injustice, women and injustice, but they have to be put into the context of an economy that doesn’t work for most people in United States.” – Kevin Zeese

Obama loyalists plot Trump resistance

“Other ideas are emerging, many still in the brainstorming stage. At one gathering on Tuesday night in a Washington living room, about a dozen current and former Obama appointees discussed creating an “action tank” – like a think tank, but more ground game than Ivy Tower – with the working title “Center for a New American Response.” According to notes from one attendee, they also kicked around the idea of an equivalent of the Peace Corps or Teach for America to plant service-oriented progressives in the rural areas Trump won, and a toolkit to help a new generation run for local office without waiting for an open seat or working through crusty party committees.”   Sarah Wheaton

Popular resistance

We showed that when the people are organized we have power. We just defeated the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership- this was a tremendous people-powered victory over transnational corporate power. We must build on that victory by putting forward our agenda and organizing people so that the political culture is moved to support the urgent necessities of people and planet. We must set the standard and force the political system to move toward us.

Evidence of the oligarchic domination of the political process is obvious from how healthcare was “reformed” and other recent policy decisions.  The Affordable Care Act was written by the private insurance industry and bailed out that industry and protected pharmaceutical company profits while tens of millions of people remain without coverage and even people who have health insurance struggle to afford care. Trillions of dollars were used to bail out Wall Street after the financial crash and most of the ‘recovery’ has gone to the top, while millions of people lost their homes, wealth inequality is growing and more people are in debt. The government has failed to act on the people’s demands for $15/hour minimum wage, police accountability, labels for GMO foods and ending the fossil fuel era. Our people are being sent abroad for endless wars while weapons makers and war profiteers are enriched.

How the Left created Donald Trump

Tom Frank's view of the Democratic Party

“The subject of my new book is the Democratic Party’s failure over the last few decades to do anything really meaningful about income inequality…. Taken as a whole, it is an attempt to understand the epidemic of liberal disillusionment as a genuine phenomenon rather than just to brush it off. It’s a meditation on a time in which middle America has crumbled, Wall Street has prospered, and hopeful liberals found themselves betrayed again and again and again.”  Tom Frank

Kathy Kiele interview of Tom Frank

“Donald Trump’s campaign is the product of short-sighted policy decisions made by Democratic technocrats…. While the battle rages for the soul of the Republican Party, Frank sees Democrats in the throes of their own identity crisis. The one-time party of the working class has been co-opted by a hyper-educated elite, he argues in his just-published Listen Liberal. The book can be read as an argument that the anger propelling Donald Trump’s campaign is the product of short-sighted policy decisions made by Democratic technocrats.”  Kathy Kiely

Beverly Gage on Tom Frank's book

“Too busy attending TED talks and ­vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Frank argues, the Democratic elite has abandoned the party’s traditional commitments to the working class. In the process, they have helped to create the political despair and anger at the heart of today’s right-wing insurgencies. They may also have sown the seeds of their own demise. Frank’s recent columns argue that the Bernie Sanders campaign offers not merely a challenge to Hillary Clinton, but a last-ditch chance to save the corrupted soul of the Democratic Party.”  Beverly Gage

Should we rely on noblesse oblige?

"Noblesse oblige" is generally used to imply that with wealth, power, and prestige come responsibilities. In ethical discussion, it is sometimes used to summarize a moral economy wherein privilege must be balanced by duty towards those who lack such privilege or who cannot perform such duty. Finally, it has been used recently primarily to refer to public responsibilities of the rich, famous and powerful, notably to provide good examples of behaviour or to exceed minimal standards of decency. It has also been used to describe a person taking the blame for something in order to solve an issue or save someone else.”

Or should we have a plan?

  1. Reverse the illegitimate precedent of granting Bill of Rights protections to corporations (see our Corporate Personhood page and Move To Amend).
  2. Reverse the precedent of equating political spending with constitutionally-protected speech (one article detailing this point: It’s Time to Overrule the Supreme Court); and
  3. Establish a constitutional right to vote

"Community" should be a verb

“Trump and his allies have already injected huge quantities of toxins into the body politic, with much more on the way. The antidote is democratic engagement from the grassroots. (Right now, as the new regime rolls out its top henchmen, early steps include doing all we can to block Trump’s horrendous Cabinet picks.) To challenge the enemies of democracy who have gained power, we’re just getting started.”  Norman Soloman

First 100 day agenda, first 100 day resistance

“Trump’s First 100 Day agenda includes repealing environmental regulations, Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank Act, giving the rich a huge tax cut, and much worse. Here’s the First 100 Day resistance agenda (with thanks to Alan Webber)” 

Democrats are already screwing up the resistance

“Both Warren and Sanders emphasize that bigotry was part of Trump’s message. But they want to separate the “deplorables” from the larger group of more ordinary Americans who just wanted a change of pace. And to that end, they both promise to work with Trump provided he chooses a populist agenda. Said Sanders: “If the president-elect is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families, I’m going to present some very real opportunities for him to earn my support.” Said Warren: “When President-elect Trump wants to take on these issues, when his goal is to increase the economic security of the middle-class families, then count me in.” If Trump embraces the bigotry and hatred of his campaign, however, both Sanders and Warren promise to fight him without compromise. “We will not give an inch on this,” said Warren.”  – Jamelle Bouie

Resistance at Standing Rock…   The Economics of Climate Change…  Read…Watch…Look…Listen…Engage.

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