Los Angeles is a fascinating place to live for its diversity of peoples. In the shopping mall, on the Santa Monica pier, the Venice Beach boardwalk (above photo), and other public spaces, I blend in with the crowd. I am at home amidst the range of skin color pigments and English-speaking accents.
In spite of our rich cultural diversity, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia still circulate beneath our thin skin. At a local coffee shop, I’ve had to wait much longer for my coffee than my white companion. At a writers’ meeting, a white female club member told me not to touch her. “It’s offensive,” she said with an angry tone.
On a sunny, windy, Sunday morning in Santa Monica, someone in a passing vehicle threw water in my face as I crossed the busy boulevard. Was it the color of my skin that the stranger considered offensive or was it the colorful Indian print dress and shawl I was wearing? I’ll never know.
Our president-elect is well skilled in excreting these divisive and destructive toxins stored within the glands of our thin skin. At the same time, he has gathered around him a team of corporate and military power elite whose only interest is the further enrichment of the One Percent. We the 99 Percent cannot tire in working together to defend and protect our families, neighbors, and work colleagues.
Social Self-Defense means we’ve got each others’ backs.
In his article, “‘Social Self-Defense’: Protecting People and Planet Against Trump and Trumpism,” Jeremy Brecher borrowed the term “Social Self-Defense” from Poland’s struggle against their authoritarian regime in the 1970s. Under the brutal repression, Polish activists created a support network – financial, legal, medical, and other – for people harassed by the police or unjustly fired from their jobs. (Mr. Tee harasses his critics with tweets.)
Social Self-Defense is the protection of that which makes our life together on earth possible. It includes the protection of the human rights of all people; protection of the conditions of our earth and its climate that make our life possible; the constitutional principle that government must be accountable to law; and global cooperation to provide a secure future for people and planet.
~ Jeremy Brecher
Social Self-Defense is not an organization. It is the combined effort and practices of our myriad social organizations in coordination with political resistance within governmental institutions.
The success of Social Self-Defense rests upon every act of our resistance to intimidation, hate, and fear. Such acts of heroism include protecting our immigrant neighbor from attack or deportation; securing medical care for someone denied it; exposing an act of police brutality; and standing up for clean water.
If we the 99 Percent are to triumph over the designs of the One Percent gathering on Capitol Hill, we will need the engagement of millions of Warriors of the Light who walk among us.