As members of the Philadelphia South Asian Collective (PSAC), we stand in opposition to the upcoming Trump presidency.
Donald Trump’s campaign was based upon troubling anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-immigrant, able-ist and homophobic rhetoric. While such rhetoric is not new to American life, Trump’s presidency stands to further erode our civil liberties and what remains of our social welfare state. We at PSAC oppose the rising tide of white ethnonationalism, the crackdown on public education, and the intensification of our militarized system of law enforcement that a Trump presidency promises.
Trump has emboldened the rise of white ethnonationalism. White ethnonationalism argues that the U.S. is a nation built by, and belonging to, white Judeo-Christians. This narrative rests upon a myth, a myth that overlooks the indigenous people from whom this land was taken through a violent process of genocide and treaty violation, a process that continues to this day. It further renders invisible the enslavement of African-descended people; slavery has enriched, and continues to enrich, institutions such as Ivy League universities, banks, and insurance companies in the U.S. We do not believe that slavery and dispossession of native land belong in the past – in the pages of history books – but that they continue to enrich the very elite in the U.S. White ethnonationalism also ignores contributions of immigrants of color to this nation since its inception.
The U.S. has a long history of violence against documented and undocumented immigrants in the U.S. We are troubled by Trump’s promise to immediately deport scores of immigrants, just as we were troubled by the spike in deportations under the Obama administration. PSAC is committed to supporting anti-deportation work in Philadelphia and beyond. We reject the idea that undocumented immigrants are here ‘illegally.’ Instead, we deem the political and economic process that lead to undocumented immigration illegal: for instance, U.S. military involvement abroad for the sake of the American profit motive causes migration. Immigration is not illegal. The violent acts by powerful nations that force people from their homes are illegal. PSAC supports efforts that will enable refugees to settle in the U.S. and prevent further deportations and detentions of immigrants of color.
We are troubled by the incoming administration’s callous disregard for the verified science of climate change. We know that climate catastrophes will fall upon the world’s most vulnerable populations: women in the Global South, people of color in impoverished communities in the U.S., and those living under occupation and in war zones. We also are aware of the well-funded corporate drive to shroud climate change science.
In Trump, we have seen a candidate who has received support from the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, and police unions. We oppose the intensification of our system of mass incarceration, in which the United States locks up more people – primarily poor people of color – than any other nation in the world. We oppose a system in which individuals make profit off of this system of incarceration. We oppose a system in which military-grade weapons and machinery are given to local law enforcement. We stand in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the principles of prison abolition. We stand in support of the #DisruptJ20 movement to raise these issues at the inauguration. We stand in support of #UnGovernablePhilly2017.
At PSAC, we do not only hold right wing politicians accountable for bringing in this era of fascism. We at PSAC believe that the Democratic Party’s treacherous policies have paved the way for the rise of Trump. After all, it was the Democratic Party who ushered in the 1994 Crime Bill (effectively creating the means for mass incarceration), expanded heavily upon the PATRIOT Act and the mass surveillance program, and increased military and police expenditure. In fact, the DNC leaks have illustrated how the Democratic Party was so convinced that people would deem it the better option, that they themselves catapulted Donald Trump to power.
Further, we reject the idea that having polite conversations – ‘dialogue’ – with Donald Trump and his cabinet would resolve the inherent biases they have shown. The idea that white supremacists would be “nice” to marginalized peoples in this country if they only understood that “we’re human, just like them” is a gross misunderstanding of white supremacy and institutional oppression. For instance, Barack Obama and George W. Bush made positive statements about the Muslim community both at home and abroad while incarcerating, deporting, and droning them en masse. Diplomatic iftars at the White House have not lessened the plight of Muslim communities. Politicians’ multicultural reminders that the US is a country of immigrants have not lessened the plight of immigrants. Polite dialogue with oppressive forces does not change history. Direct action does.
We at PSAC believe we must radically restructure our economic and political order. We will not work with imperialists and racists, but against them, in solidarity with those who share our principles. We support efforts to engage in boycott, civil disobedience, general strikes, academic freedom, anti-deportation efforts, sanctuary spaces, and divestment that will achieve these goals.