The following is a statement from Lifted Voices and Black Lives Matter Chicago:
It appears Donald Trump has been defeated at the ballot box, but as we have long expected, Trump will not leave the White House without a fight. His directive that his advisers “go down fighting” and his incitement of his base are clear evidence that this crisis is not over. Black people, Latinx people, Native people, Asian people, disabled people, immigrants, and others, are at great risk in this moment. Islamophobic violence and transphobic violence are also looming threats. We must ready ourselves to protect, defend and support our communities. Even if Trump ultimately concedes, we should expect punishing retaliatory action against largely Democratic cities and scapegoated communities.
Trump’s lawlessness has led many to extoll respectability and the rule of law. But we must remember that Donald Trump will wield executive power until a new president is inaugurated. His violence will continue and will most likely escalate, and when the rule of law runs counter to justice, we must break it. If Trump continues to enact an attempted coup through the courts, we must be ready to demonstrate our power in the streets, through mass actions. We do not fetishize institutions that were never meant to serve those of us living in the margins, but we do recognize the need to hold the line against fascism, so that our struggles can continue. We also want to caution people against embracing “good protester” vs “bad protester” rhetoric, which is often used to deem protesters who take urgent or disruptive action as disposable.
We do not know what will happen, but we cannot cling to best-case scenarios. If Trump plans to “go down fighting,” we should assume that includes attacks on scapegoated communities. Some of those attacks will be legal. Some will likely not. We must recognize what our enemies are capable of and ready ourselves to fight back. We ask you to join us in preparing for the uncertain days ahead. Prerecorded direct action trainings and de-escalation trainings are available online, and we will do our best to spread the word about new opportunities as they arise. We also encourage our communities to develop mutual aid pods and other forms of community care, and to make safety plans. The bonds of solidarity we build this winter will help carry our struggles forward in the new year, and under a new administration.
As organizers, activists, and community members, we invite you to join us in this struggle to defend our communities. This is a matter of survival for many of us, and we must consider one another’s survival non-negotiable.
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Aislinn Pulley, Chicago organizer
Kelly Hayes, Chicago organizer
Nebula Li, Chicago organizer and attorney
Tanuja Jagernauth, Chicago organizer
Photograph courtesy of Paul Goyette