For those of us on the left, the collective sisterhood marches around the country on Sat. 01-21-17 were amazing, encouraging and very much needed. They were also a bit of a surprise, particularly the number of marches and the sizes of the crowds. Celebrities came out in force (eat you heart out Trump) and their voices were noted, good or bad. But where does this all leave us? If this becomes a resistance, many ask who will lead, probably meaning “what person or group will lead the resistance”. Successfully leading this effort may require more than an individual or even a group to be effective. It may take something with real substance, something that will lead by example, from day one, maybe something like the 6th largest economy in the world. Could and should California lead the resistance?
In the article below, found on Alternet.org, Manuel Pastor and Danny Feingold suggest why they feel “California Must Lead”. According to them “many of the fiercest battles in the country will be fought up and down the state”. They go much further saying “In the months and years to come, California must become like the best sports teams, capable of playing defense and offense at the highest level.”
Why Is California the Projected Leader:
- “CA population is just under 40 million people … CA has more residents than the nation’s 20 least densely populated states put together
- CA’s economy is the sixth in the world,
- CA is home to several of the nation’s most powerful and influential industries … high tech and entertainment … (having) the ability to exert enormous pressure on everything from markets and mores to politics and policy, a position it has ably demonstrated in its leadership role in addressing climate change,
- CA has developed some of the most innovative social movements in the country – and exported them to cities across the U.S. (worker pay, LGBTQ equality, climate change),
- CA succeeded in large part by it’s ability to mobilizing an incredibly diverse set of stakeholders.”
- “On immigration CA’s is readying for battle as it’s large population of undocumented immigrants means that Trump’s deportation target is dis-proportionally on CA. The probable resulting economic, social and human costs of disrupting the lives of so many Californian families are staggering. Recognizing this, state and local leaders have vowed to resist efforts targeting immigrants, setting the stage for high-stakes confrontations with the new administration.
- CA as a national leader has the ability to exert enormous pressure on everything from markets and mores to politics and policy,
- On Climate Change, CA Governor Jerry Brown has vowed to oppose any efforts to roll back the state’s pioneering environmental policies (including a promise to have California launch its own satellites to gather information on global warming!), and he will be joined by a broad-based group of business leaders and activists.
- On Workers rights, where CA has the nation’s strongest labor movement, together with community and business allies, (it) has enacted some of the most far-reaching worker protections in the country,
- On unions, CA will be a leader in the fight to ensure the ability of unions to collect dues for collective bargaining,
- After it’s own missteps on incarceration, CA has embraced recent initiatives to reduce the sentences of nonviolent offenders and to ban labor market discrimination against former felons.”
In spite of all this, success in these battles is an unknown. As Pastor and Feingold remind us: “The challenges ahead include the risks of factionalism, the rise of extremism and the need to craft a new relationship with business forces.” Political movements have an uncanny tendency to fragment and evaporate. “California’s progressive movement does not appear to be headed in this direction, but Trump has proven himself a master at dividing and conquering, and he will no doubt pursue the same strategy as president. He will also attack on many fronts, creating a strain on resources and the possibility of destructive in-fighting.” We must cross our fingers, better yet, spread the word (factual), get active, stay active and above all practice and teach democracy at every opportunity.