Project Vote Board Member Writes About Social Movement in the Trump Era

By Project Vote January 27, 2017
Frances Fox Piven. (Columbia GSAPP/Creative Commons)

Project Vote board member, Frances Fox Piven writes at the Nation about the history of mass resistance and how it may relate to the “political dangers of a Trump administration” today.

“If movements are to become an important force in the politics of the Trump era, they will have to be movements of a somewhat different kind from the labor, civil-rights, and LGBTQ activism of the recent past that we usually celebrate. Those were movements focused on progress, on winning measures that would remedy long-standing injustices, and they were movements that some elites also endorsed. Now the protests will have to aim not at winning, but at halting or foiling initiatives that threaten harm—either by redistributing wealth to the very top (the Trump tax and energy plans), or by eliminating existing political rights (the cancellation of DACA, the Obama executive order that protected undocumented-immigrant children, known as Dreamers), or by jeopardizing established protections and benefits (the looming prospect of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or the threat to turn funding for public education into a system of vouchers for charter schools). So how do resistance movements win—if they win—in the face of an unrelentingly hostile regime? The answer, I think, is that by blocking or sabotaging the policy initiatives of the regime, resistance movements can create or deepen elite and electoral cleavages.” Read more.

Frances Fox Piven is an author, a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and a member of Project Vote’s board. See Frances talking about why voter registration matters here.