Political protest, our last meaningful public space.
I have no idea what I am doing. I have an excellent idea of what I am doing. I am officially a mother underground. I am doing everything I can to keep my earnings from work out of reach from student loan garnishment and exorbitant healthcare payments. Half of my month is spent looking for work; the other half is spent doing the work so I can receive payment to slide to my landlord and keep my daughter and myself housed and fed.
This week I will be going to Washington, DC to attend the many protests that will be starting around the inauguration of (sigh) our new President. The words “President Trump” fall out my mouth reluctantly when I converse about this insane reality we see in front of us. Equal parts reality-television and selfie culture, but at the very root is the realization of the only public space left in our living rooms. The real fault in this present moment is the fact that the only public squares left are on television and online. We are, as Sherry Turkle writes, “together, alone.”
Which is why I am excited to be going to a week filled with on-the-ground protest, street collaboration, celebration of resistance, and demonstrations that I hope will completely spark imaginations and radicalize tens of thousands of people across the United States and beyond. If we are to find an actual town square outside of the ideologies of megachurches, the commercial centers of malls, or the controlled environments of work and school, it is in public political demonstration. It is in a space in which one is not expected to spend money or engage in any activity outside of social and physical connection, i.r.l., in the flesh and out loud.
I wish I could pick a single action that excites me the most, but I can’t. I am excited that people will be out from Oakland, California to Houston, Texas to Washington, D.C., showing through public demonstration that the violent hatred and greed of the upcoming Trump presidency is not representative of who we are, people in a modern age, looking to innovate the future. To act with greed and violence is to act as governments have always treated the people that they control through policy for the benefit of the state and not society. Trump is playing the role of President, without the tarnished polish of the Clintons or the secrecy before online media. It is time for that role to end. We need to innovate governance. We will begin by loudly proclaiming ourselves free of the illusion that inauguration day is one to be respected. Instead, we will meet each other in the street and say no, together.
I want to meet you. You want to meet others. There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met. From Thursday night until Sunday there will be demonstrations and marches all over the United States to protest. Free yourself of the attempts to drive hypernormalization of a capitalist-fueled government. Free yourself from unrealistic expectations of ever increasing financial obligations forced on us to extract profit from our communities and into the Cayman Islands. The time to speak about solutions is now. The time to demand the end of debt is now. The time to require the end of policing and the prison industrial complex is now. The time to end tax havens worldwide is now. The time to demand everything is now.
Priscilla Grim is a writer with the Radical Blogger Fund. You can learn more and support the fund HERE.
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