Alright everybody, [the Women's March] was awesome, in the literal sense of the word. To see millions take to the streets, led by women, in a show of intersectional solidarity, opposing ascendency to power of the most dangerous and hateful right wingers among us, was critically important.
But now we must sustain the outrage, the unity, and continue the work. There are a few things we can be sure of:
- Republicans don't care about our marches.
- They will only care about them when our marches, and other forms of resistance, come with clear demands and the power to force changes in their behavior.
- To do this we must be willing to sacrifice and change our behavior. To move our money, to use our time, to call and call and call, to speak up even when uncomfortable, to risk arrest, to vote differently, to build with our neighbors, to check our privilege, to unite across difference, to deny our labor, and sustain our moral outrage.
- The agenda the Republicans are pushing is as unjust as it seems. We must maintain clarity about this. In a world where denying people the right to health care is called "relief from Obamacare" and where allowing dumping in our rivers is called the "clean drinking water act" we must not be distracted.
- The basis of the right's communication at this moment in history is lies and manipulation. Do not assume positive intent. Distrust, and verify. Be a critical consumer of information.
- We must hold liberals and progressives accountable in our movement. We cannot afford to compromise our principles for justice. Although politics in a democracy usually requires some compromise, that is the last step in the process of exercising power, not the first.
- We must not begin to tear one another down. They will try to make us use our energy and resources to fight amongst ourselves. We will disagree, but we must remain focused on our principles and the objectives we have for change.
- We must be willing to engage on the boring stuff. The leasing rights for mining given out by the Department of the Interior are not sexy. But they are core to the work of protecting our planet. We must know that the harm the right will attempt is often in the details, and we're going to have to get in there with them.
- Mainstream media has shown itself to be inadequate, at best. Use alternate media. DemocracyNow, the Young Turks, social media, foreign press, there is diversity of reporting out there. We must seek it out to find the truth.
- We must be willing to agitate. Frederick Douglass said this best I think: "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Oppose. Obstruct. Resist.
Jeff Garrett is an educator, who has worked with historically underserved schools in New York City and Los Angeles, and is a passionate advocate for social justice.