In 2003 I was painting at 8th and Jefferson in West Oakland when our forces invaded Iraq. As I followed the reports of our illegal aggression and the wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians, I found myself imagining Oakland invaded by Abrams Tanks firing, willy-nilly at all perceived threats. Below is a detail from my painting titled "Regime Change Comes to Oakland"
At the time, this painting was intended as a metaphor, a way of arousing empathy for the unfortunate people of Iraq, but it began to acquire a surreal prescience during Occupy when I witnessed the Alameda County Sheriff riding around the streets of Oakland in an armored vehicle identical to the ones being used in Iraq.
I recalled my brother in law, Saul Landau, observing some years ago that Democracy and Empire were incompatible. I witnessed Homeland Security directing the use of overwhelming force and agent provocateurs against peaceful protesters. It was clear to me that we were sliding towards Fascism.
What was fairly obvious to activists in 2011 has become crystal clear to millions of Americans with the accession of Trump. The fact that this sociopath did not win the popular vote and probably stole the swing states with the help of Republican operatives, only makes matters worse, because it throws into doubt the continued viability of our political system.
A General Strike
Donald Trump has already demonstrated his utter contempt for our democratic institutions. He has begun by attacking the most vulnerable among us - immigrants. It is clear that without organized opposition he will go on to cripple the judiciary, assail the fourth estate and dismantle essential social programs that the majority of Americans need to survive.
No effective opposition can be mounted from within the government alone. After all, the Republicans control all branches of government, and, so far, are gleefully advancing his agenda.
Demonstrations, and e-mails alone will not halt the consolidation of power by Trump and his cabal. We must demonstrate our greater power unequivocally by shutting down the economic engine of this nation. A General Strike, perhaps a series of them, will send a clear message to Trump and will also weaken support for him within the Republican Party. It is the most effective tool the people have. We need to use it soon!