Since the day of the election of Donald Trump to office, demonstrations in the USA have continued in response to growing outrage at the right-wing policies and rhetoric of a man who seems destined to ignite previously unknown levels of solidarity across the US.
Since January discussion on social media, with Strike4Democracy (S4D) picking up the lead, has been focusing upon a general strike with a provisional date now identified as February 17th with further action planned for International Women’s Day on the 8th of March.
The US has a history of industrial action despite having one of the lowest levels of trade union memberships in the world, with only approximately 10% of workers in a trade union. In 1919, workers, led by longshoremen and the IWW, shut down the city of Seattle for five days with a general strike over pay and conditions, prompting anti-communist hysteria. More recent demonstrations have seen large scale mass mobilisations in the U.S. such as the “Day Without Immigrants” on May 1st, 2006, when hundreds of thousands of people all across the country left work and school — at some predominantly Latino high schools in Chicago, three-quarters or more of the students walked out.
On Friday, February 17th, 2017, Strike4Democracy will coordinate over 100 strike actions across the United States, and beyond, to plan for a series of mass strikes. As the nation suffers through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, travel bans, Trump’s mobilisation on the border wall, as well as attacks on the rights of workers, women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ+ community, S4D says that February 17th “provides a beacon to those who are searching for a way to protect and defend our shared humanity. People across the country have begun to realise that we must diversify tactics, as protests and marches are only the first step.”
S4D is calling on participants to rise up in their local communities on February 17th to hold events that build towards a series of strikes. The first mass strike is planned on March 8th, organised by International Women’s Day and The Women’s March. They also anticipate strikes on May Day and a heightening resistance throughout the summer. S4D’s message to the Administration and Congressional leaders is clear:
STOP the authoritarian assault on our fundamental, constitutional rights, the very principles that have truly made America great;
STOP attacking and victimising women, Muslims, immigrants, racial and ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ community, working families, journalists, and all who offer criticisms of the Administration’s policies including the U.S. judicial branch;
REALISE that America’s true strength lies in the values of inclusivity not exclusivity.
As citizens and supporters come together to register their deep dissatisfaction with the President and the current administration’s unconstitutional, inhumane policies and behaviour, February 17th marks a heightened effort to provide a beacon for those who share our concerns and who search for a way to “do something.” Together we speak with one voice. We say:
NO to attacks on our marginalised communities
NO to attacks on the sovereignty of indigenous peoples
NO to attacks on constructive critics within and outside government
NO to attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights
NO to attacks on our environment
NO to attacks on working families
NO to attacks on public education
S4D’s guidance for action
- Don’t Work (If you can). Instead plan or take part in an event in your community:
- Plan/Participate in a Day of Service
- Join with other like-minded folks and occupy public space with positive messages of resistance and solidarity.
- Do not purchase anything
- “#BreakLunch” Use your lunch break to disrupt and participate:
- Use social media to show how you #BreakLunch.
- Tweet, FB, Instagram, and Snapchat messages that support democracy.
- Include hashtags #BreakLunch, #GeneralStrike, #F17
- Donate your lunch money that day to cause you believe in. Post about it and use those same hashtags. Get creative and show the world how you #BreakLunch
- Reach out to your representatives in Washington DC or your state and tell them why you are “striking” today, and post about it using strike related hash tags.
- If you are a teacher or student, please consider participating in the Teach-In on Democracy. Keep your students engaged.
- This is not a National Day-Off; we’ve got work to do!! Get out and get busy!!! Be Peaceful! Have fun!