Resisting From the Left 

  • Josh Cannon

The modish word "proactive" presumably says something both quantitatively and qualitatively more than "active" does, and there is compelling reason to believe that it and other linguistic transformations are not lapses or even inventions so much as they are collective and subconscious adaptations to revisions in reality.

That said, here's a word with an established meaning that circumstances may contrive to give a new twist: "resist."

That's a word which, in one form or another, has spontaneously begun to multiply in headlines and articles and bold magazine blurbs and broadcast promos dealing with the current American political situation.

The Women's March of January 21st, a day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, was one manifestation of a pent-up — and now exploded — urge to resist. The Women's Marches, we should say, since the turnout of protesters was massive and everywhere. And so were the spontaneous outbursts that greeted President Trump's abortive ban on free movement to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim nations. And many more parallel assemblies, for better or for worse — the angry horde that presented right-wing demagogue Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at the University of California being a case in point of the latter, arguably.

The very word "resist" has now begun to expand its range even further. It no longer requires even an implied object. The current wave of mass actions is not merely a reaction to Trump — though it certainly owes much to his provocations. Trump himself was undeniably the beneficiary of angry collective energies in the election year just past. It can be argued that his campaign was the other side of the coin that also produced the left/socialist movement of Bernie Sanders.

Whatever its origin, and however bifurcated, anger persists, and it seems ever clearer that whatever shade of populism may have reared up behind Trump, it will not stand by the reactionary and wayward nature of the regime that his cabinet appointments and cavalier attitudes now portend.

One example of the mounting popular mood was on exhibit Saturday morning at a town meeting held by 9th District congressman Steve Cohen at East High School. (See Politics, p. 7.) Presumably as a precaution, there were numerous police officers on hand, but at no point was there anything resembling a disturbance amongst the thousand or so attendees, who manifested an impressive unity behind a diverse set of common goals.

The key moment of that event came when a woman rose to exclaim, "We are not fighting back! We need a grass roots growth like the Tea Party. We need a Democratic Tea Party now."

Now, that's proactive resistance. More is sure to come.

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