Before the election,
Mahan Siler wrote an op-ed for the Asheville Citizen-Times, inviting
readers to join his passionate work for social and ecological
justice. One person responded. I previously blogged about Mahan,
who was the oldest member of the week-long March for Our
Grandchildren in 2013, quoting his inspiring words at Lexington Park
at the end of the march. Since the election, dozens have joined
Mahan and Steve Kagan, the founding pair of Elders Fierce for Justice
, now deep into strategizing a series of actions joining elders
and millenials. Some of these actions will involve civil
disobedience. After taking my cues from 350.org for many years, I
now plan to join this vibrant regional group as they move from
planning into action.
I know of several
women in both the Asheville area and from our local community in the
South Toe Valley who went to the Women's March in DC. Most of them
were marching for the first time, and they were thrilled and
energized. Similarly, the surge of activism that I observe all around
me contains more newbies than veterans.
Here in South Toe,
many collaborative, overlapping groups have sprung up. I am a
co-sponsor of Surviving Climate Change, one of the largest. We focus
on making a strong, highly-networked community even more resilient.
But as one person said at our first meeting, we still need to work on
ways to mitigate the problem (which means getting rid of Trump and
his anti-environmental agenda as quickly as possible). In this
winter's semester of Cabin Fever University, many of the events have
focused on community organizing (Dinner and Democracy;
Forming a 350.org Chapter, Higher Ed and its Discontents, Progressive
Educators Unite, Advocating for Children, etc.). We are noting the
many points of overlap, and weaving our network more thickly.
But the most focused
response to the Trump Coup has come from Yancey-Mitchell Indivisible,
with groups in Burnsville, South Toe, and Spruce Pine. On the
Indivisible site map, I note 8-10 Indivisible pods across Western NC.
Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda
is a sophisticated, highly organized plan for emulating the Tea Party
strategy that emerged after the 2008 election out of revulsion to
Barack Obama. Congressional staffers who understand how things work
in Washington wrote it, with the whole strategy focused upon
pressuring MOC's in every possible congressional district as
relentlessly as possible, especially at publicized events like town
halls and ribbon-cuttings. Though I have been a climate lobbyist for
years, I learned quite a lot from reading through the site, and look
forward to working with my progressive neighbors in implementing
Indivisible's strategy in my rural conservative district.
Many of Trump's
executive orders have questionable legality. Democratic attorneys
general of several states have already lined up to file suits against
his most unconstitutional act to date, banning visitation and
immigration from a host of Muslim countries.
Our biggest legal
avenue will be to push the limits of freedom of assembly, crossing
the line into trespass and blockage of egress to provoke arrest and a
day in court to publicize our cause. Many people I have talked to in
this new year, rent by its disruptive politics, have said that they
expect they will be going to jail before the year is out. I expect to
be among them. Potential targets of these actions are manifold,
increasing with every new round from DT's Gatling pen: federal lands
on the giveaway list, DAPL and Keystone pipelines, the Marcellus
terminus pipeline heading down the Atlantic Coast, not to mention
immigrant detention centers, abortion clinics, banks who fund Big
Fossil – name your cause. We need to quickly train a non-violent
militia to be deployed in several places, ready to stand up to what
could devolve into a police state.
As events are moving
swiftly, panic beckons. But we each need to take the necessary time
to discern our priorities, our role in what could become a confused
patchwork of actions, rather than a coordinated campaign. These are
indeed trying times, but perhaps we are made for these times.
Labels: Cabin Fever University, DAPL, Elders Fierce for Justice, Indivisible Movement, Keystone Pipeline, March for Our Grandchildren, Muslim Ban, South Toe Valley, Surviving Climate Change, Tea Party, women's march