Our organizations came together to create Bay Resistance after the 2016 election because we knew the stakes of a Trump presidency were too big to ignore. We anticipated threats to our communities’ safety, wellbeing, resources, and self-determination. Two years later, not only have we faced these attacks in many forms, but we have developed a stronger understanding of our political landscape, the threats we are facing, and what role we as Bay Resistance can play in fighting the Right and growing our movements.
Heading into 2020, we are ready to seed the vote so our movements can gain ground. We will join grassroots groups in battleground states who are organizing in their communities year-round, especially with voters of color who are often ignored. Will you join us?
A lot has been thrown at our communities over the past two years. We have seen countless attacks on people of color and poor and working class people, as well as our Indigenous, disabled, Muslim, Jewish, and queer communities. These threats have come from the federal government, local and state agencies, white supremacist vigilante groups, and emboldened individuals. Along with many other organizations, individuals, and communities, we have fought back. We have mobilized to SFO airport and Oscar Grant Plaza, federal offices and ICE detention centers. We have led trainings on community defense, direct action, and community outreach. We have canvassed and gathered signatures for urgent policy and electoral issues. We have organized actions that utilize public art, props, and creative targets. Together we have explored many ways of showing up in this moment.
Our community resistance is making a difference. When we show up in force to protect one another and demonstrate our collective power, we limit the impact of hateful attacks and prevent others from happening in the first place. At the same time, many people who are mobilizing in moments of crisis are struggling to turn these actions into ongoing work that helps create lasting change. People are getting tired, and increasingly normalizing the threats that this administration poses to us. Meanwhile, frontline communities are struggling to build and maintain the visionary campaigns that they dream of; instead they must spend too much time fighting for basic needs and preventing rollbacks of previous victories. It sometimes feels like we are treading water, and we are exhausted.
As Bay Resistance, how can we do our part to stop treading and start building for the future?
Trump’s dangerous policies are attacking our communities: border militarization and family detention, stripping away healthcare coverage and student loan protections, pipeline approval and land degradation, wealthy tax breaks that limit vital services, eroding civil rights protections. His white nationalist rhetoric, and the people he has given a platform and resources to over the past two years, have emboldened white supremactist groups across the country. He has spread lies and fear, putting people’s lives, and our movements, at risk.
Trump is a symptom of deeper systems of injustice. To fight these systems, we need to be clear about what we’re seeing in this moment. Right now we see Trump's administration shaping the conditions under which we organize, and he has a good shot at winning again. Other presidents with similar approving ratings have won a second term, his rallies are drawing huge crowds, and Fox news is helping him spread lies and manipulate facts about what he has accomplished during his presidency.
We believe it matters to him out of office, and it matters how we do it.
We need to keep building our movements for the long haul, and we also need to deal a major blow to white nationalism and rising fascism by defeating Trump. We think we can do both together. We can work to defeat Trump today, focusing on adding capacity to grassroots groups in battleground states who are organizing in their communities year-round, especially with voters of color who are often ignored. By working with these groups we will build skills and capacity to bring back to our local movements. We will also help transform the conditions we are organizing in tomorrow, creating space to build the bigger, bolder movements that our communities deserve.
Fast forward to Spring 2020, after the California primary: masses of progressive activists in the Bay Area prepare to mobilize together to nearby swing states. Local groups in these states have long been on the ground building power among low-income voters of color who are usually ignored by campaigns, preparing for this moment and beyond. Now we join them, so that we can add to their resources and capacity to win big in November. Large numbers of Bay Area residents, trained in canvassing and ready to having meaningful conversations with voters, commit to making this journey and spending as much time as possible knocking on doors with neighbors and friends.
Rewind to now: We have a long way to go to build to that moment! We can engage in issue-based campaigns over the next year that help us win tangible victories for our communities, shape public narrative on key issues for the presidential primary, and build our local capacity to mobilize for the 2020 general election and beyond. By engaging with people in our communities on the issues that have shaped our lives over the past two years, we can increase the number, skills, and commitment of people ready to join us to defeat Trump in 2020.
While this issue-based campaign work may include many tactics that Bay Resistance has used in our rapid resistance work, like direct action and art, we will also have a focus on community outreach. If we want to build the capacity and skills we need to make a strong contribution to grassroots groups during the 2020 election, we need to talk to thousands of community members about the issues that matter to them and how to take action. This may mean knocking on our neighbors’ doors, hosting house parties or phone banks, gathering signatures or postcards from friends and coworkers, tabling at farmers markets, and more!
Committees of volunteers will engage in these issue-based campaigns, supported by experienced organizers. We are going to kick this off with a committee focused on immigrant justice. The amount of energy that Trump has put into inhumane immigration practices--and the impressive level of community support we’ve seen locally on this issue--bring immigrant justice to the forefront of our work.
Deportation defense and rapid response mobilization to crises at the border remain important tasks for our network. However, with 2020 looming, we now have the opportunity to act on the offense federally, and hold Democrats and Republicans accountable to our communities' needs. We can build campaigns centered on immigrant justice that help us build our collective vision for the Bay Area, sway candidates in the 2020 primary, and build our local capacity to make a difference in the general election.