Trump & the Election of 2016
A Discussion
December 10, 2016

If you were part of the Southern Freedom Movement, and are listed in the Veterans Roll Call, you are encouraged to add your comments to this discussion by emailing them to (If you add a comment, please indicate where in the transcript it should be inserted.)

[In the presidential election of 2016, the Democratic Party candidate was Hillary Clinton who had prevailed over Bernie Sanders in a hard-fought primary campaign. The Republican candidate was Donald Trump who had defeated a number of other Republicans for the nomination. Prior to election day, most of the public opinion polls had shown Clinton with a small but clear lead over Trump. In the end, however, Trump carried three Mid-Western states that the polls had predicted would go for Clinton. That gave Trump an Electoral College victory even though Clinton received almost 3,000,000 more votes nationally than he did.]


Chude Pam Parker Allen  Bruce Hartford
Ron BridgeforthPhil Hutchings
Cathy CadeMarion Kwan
Hardy Frye 


Bruce Hartford: Depression, Discouragement, Anger   Contradictions of Racism
Chude Allen: Voters in DenialRace, Class, and Capitalism
Marian Kwan: A Matter of NeglectHealthcare & Social Security
Ron Bridgeforth: It's About the Supreme CourtViolence, Communication and Organizing
Hardy Frye: A Society in ContradictionThe FBI & Violent Repression
Cathy Cade: Doing What I CanStanding Up and Taking Risks
Phil Hutchings: A Challenge of ValuesOrganizing

Bruce: So last meeting we decided we would start this meeting with a formal discussion of the election and the general political situation we find ourselves in today. So I would like to suggest that as we normally do, we go around once and everybody gives their initial thoughts on the election, on the political situation, how we're feeling about it, how we're thinking and responding about it, how it struck us, whatever we want to say. And then when everyone has had a turn we go into general discussion.

Gene Turitz who couldn't attend this meeting wrote something up and it's now posted on the website at: Some Thoughts.

Marian: I read it. It was pretty good.


Bruce Hartford: Depression, Discouragement & Anger

Since I'm the one proposing this topic I guess I'll start it off. I'll begin by saying that I knew there was a chance Trump could win, but I expected that Clinton would eke out a narrow victory. And so when that turned out not to be the case, my reaction has been depression, discouragement, and anger. And I'll just briefly say a little bit about each of those.

Before the election, I would wake up every day eager to get rise, eager to read the New York Times, and now I dread getting up; I dread opening the paper. I do it, but I just don't even want to get out of bed. And I believe that's depression.

The discouragement I feel is that I anticipated if Clinton won we would have lots of battles with her and her administration, but we would be fighting to make things better, to force her to make progress, and that we would have a decent chance of winning some of those battles. Under Trump it's clear to me, very clear, that we're gonna be fighting to defend past achievements against rollbacks, against draconian cuts, and against just unthinkable political atrocities. So not only are we going to be fighting defensive battles, I think we're going to lose most of those battles given their control of Congress, the Supreme Court, three-quarters of the state governments, the military and so forth. And that's very discouraging. I did not want to spend my seventies fighting losing battles. I got to do that in earlier decades.

I guess my strongest feeling though is anger. And of course I'm angry at the people who voted for Trump out of racist resentment, out of misogyny, out of bigotry, out of anti-immigration hatred. But those people have always been with us — that one-third of the population who we've been fighting all our lives. They've always been with us. And until now, they really haven't been able to swing a national election, and to some degree, we've been winning over them. So I am really angry at Clinton because of her class arrogance and her elitist world view. The election was hers to lose, and she lost it.

In my opinion it goes all the way back to when her husband was President. He had this advisor named Dick Morris, and Dick Morris came up with this idea of "Triangulation," where the Democrats would adopt the Republican economic positions and keep the Democratic positions on social issues. And that way they would win all the elections. Well, if you remember, when Clinton first ran for his first term, he had the slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." But once they adopted the Republican positions then you had that so-called "welfare reform," the mass-incarceration crime bill, deregulation of business, eliminating Glass-Steagal, NAFTA, all of that kind of stuff. In other words, the anti-poor, anti-worker, pro-corporate Republican economic agenda.

And since the Democrats had taken over the Republicans' economic agenda, the Republicans moved even farther to the right in order to distinguish themselves from the Democrats. So instead of saying "less regulation" and "less taxes," now they're basically saying, "Let's destroy government except for the military and the security state." And when Obama came into office he verbally said he wasn't going to follow triangulation but I think that's pretty much what he did in terms of his economic policies. And Clinton essentially ran on that "business as usual" establishment platform. Yes, she gave lip-service to issues of corporate greed, Wall Street domination, and income inequality but I didn't believe her. And I think that's why Trump won.

I'm very apprehensive about what's going to happen now. Somebody sent out a post by a woman who's lived under autocracies, particularly with Putin in Russia. She had six rules for living under an autocracy. And the first rule is: Believe what they say. Don't think they can't be serious. And the second rule is: If you see a little sign of common sense and normalcy, don't think that that indicates any change of heart. Someone else's analysis was that the people who voted for Trump took him seriously but not literally. And the Democrats took him literally but not seriously. And what needed to be done is we needed to take him both literally and seriously.

So now we have a situation where he's mobilized a mass base around racism and bigotry and misogyny and God knows what else. He's got control of the government. He's got a state apparatus, a security state that Obama set up that now has surveillance and all the apparatus for control. He's got a popular base to enforce it. So I'm afraid we're looking down the barrel of a new McCarthyism in which dissent can be suppressed both by the government and by vigilantes and mobs. And that's why I'm apprehensive.

Now, the last thing I'll say is one reason this happened is that there's no left in America. There's a right and there's a center. If you ask most Americans, if you did a survey and asked "Who is the left in America?" 98% of the population, or a big number anyway, would point to Obama, Clinton, Pelosi, Jerry Brown as the left. But they're all centrists. I obviously think we have to build a left in this country, and why that hasn't happened and how that should be done and what it will take to build that is really a whole different discussion, so I'm not going to go into that except to say that any real left in this country has to be built around issues of racism, bigotry, misogyny, etc and also economic issues. And they have to find a way to meld those together. So I would love to be more optimistic, but I have to say I'm very pessimistic.


Chude Allen: Voters in Denial

Okay, well I'm an inductive thinker, right? So I start with the individual and the personal and move up. And I've just been thinking a lot that for years I have not understood people who, for example, don't want us to be allowed to have abortions. I've just never understood them. I've never understood how to struggle with them. And living where I live in the Bay Area, it's not even a big question, right?

Those are some of the people who voted for Trump. I have a friend who said her cousin is so thrilled Trump won and that means that abortion will be changed and all these babies will be saved for which these same people have absolutely no interest in making sure the mother has the money to raise them. That's the contradiction I don't understand.

A few years ago a young woman emailed me because she had a Women's Studies class and wanted to know about the women's liberation movement. We had a couple good exchanges, but they stopped abruptly. She believed in the "Right to Life," [the anti-abortion slogan] and I sent back the question: But what about when the babies are here? That was the end of the email dialogue. Why is that everybody is so obsessed about bringing these babies into the world? And that's where it stops?

Now recently, this young woman contacted me again. This election has just totally thrown her. She is completely upset that people voted for Trump. She is a young woman now in the workforce. I mean, she's now a young professional woman. So it struck me and we've now had some dialogue because she wants to be a writer around the Women's Movement, that there's this whole group of younger people who haven't had to take a stand until now.

Maybe that's who we were. I mean, remember I come from Republicans, right? I mean in the '50s when McCarthy was happening and stuff I didn't have a clue. But at some point I became part of a movement to make social change, so I do think that there's this segment of people [who can change]. I think that the election offers the generations behind us the opportunity, I would prefer it not be this opportunity, but there is this opportunity now to face the fact that this country is in a very terrible place, and they're going to have to take a stand. We all know that the wars that are happening now would not be the same if the draft existed. You know, it is in part because there is not the life-and-death issue it was for us in the '60s. And I think with Trump, [there will be] more life-and-death things.

I would add in terms of the major issues, I think what people call the "global warming" but which I think is really about the toxicity of this planet and whether human beings will survive is key. The people voting for Trump may have eliminated the last chance to save the planet.

The people at Standing Rock [North Dakota] are trying to prevent a pipeline. Well, in much of the propaganda, if I can use that as a positive term, the publicity around why that's important, one of the things that is out there is there are like 500 of these toxic spills every year. And we're not [even] talking about fracking. So what I'm talking about is the level of toxicity in the world is huge, and our newly elected President does not believe that global warming and toxicity are issues.

[The people who voted for Trump] agree with him that the way to proceed is to act as if there is no such thing as global warming. That there is no danger in going back to doing coal and more oil and all these fossil fuels. That the important thing at the moment in life is to allow all these corporations to give them jobs, give people jobs in this kind of thing, and they think very narrowly.

And I think that has to do partly with what democracy means in this country. When I was in Cuba in '72, they would talk about the fact that what we have here is "bourgeois democracy." I just love it, I love it as a term. In other words, what we have here is not the only way democracy can happen.

Our form of democracy was formed by what? Property owners. And it was a way in which you think about: "What is my self interest?" And I'm going to get enough people to have the same self interests as I do, and we're going to vote, and then we will win.

There are other ways to have democracy called: What is best for the people? What is best for the entire country? Not what do I want but what is best for the group?

So I think part of what we see is that mentality that says: "At this moment, I hate Clinton. I hate all those elitists in New England, Yankees and stuff. I hate all those people. Let's do this, and it'll work." That's the denial part. But also, it's how I feel, as if voting should be about what you feel. And I don't happen to agree with that. I think a real democracy says: "What is best for the majority of people? What are the issues that we all need to face?" And I go back to Prop 13. Some people who voted for Prop 13 got fired the next day.

Prop 13 was the property tax issue in California that meant anybody as of that moment had their property taxes cut. Everybody from that moment on would have higher property taxes. People vote for narrow self interests. Of course, it was set up exactly to help the corporations, not human beings. Something like fifty percent of the population who benefitted from Prop 13 have now sold their houses or something; it's huge like that. They voted for something narrowly that even down the road was going to hurt them.

Ron: How did it hurt them?

Chude: Because if you sold your house after whatever the date was in the '70s and moved to a new house, you paid the new tax rate. Unless you were elderly. So I mean, I could go more into that, but I think all I want to say is I think that issue of how people view democracy was key to why people could vote for somebody as horrendous [as Trump], because they weren't paying any attention to anything except: "Do I think maybe he would help me a little bit better?"

Bruce: In the narrow short-term.

Chude: In the narrow, very narrow short-term. And for me, the biggest question is whether or not the earth...human beings are going to survive on this earth.


Marian Kwan: A Matter of Neglect

Okay, we've had a lot of email crossing each other, and I really liked it because I think all our emails have different opinions, and I believe all our opinions are very valid. There is not one that is invalid.

The way I'm thinking lately about what happened was first of all, it sort of shook me into my core. I mean, I was in a state of shock. And then I started thinking of the word "neglect." I don't know what happened, because I wasn't aware of how... I see it mostly as Republican, and for some reason I see it as primarily white. But there are a lot of Asians and Blacks and so forth who are Republicans who voted for Trump. But the thing that came up for me was white fear and white denial.

Our society is changing so rapidly demographically across the United States that the voting pattern has changed dramatically. When Barak Obama was first elected, over 70% of Asian Americans voted for him. So there are so many changes in the way our society is being looked at. For some reason, personally, I don't know what the hell white Republicans think. I don't know how they think or why they think. I think part of it is fear, and part of it is denial.

I remember seeing on the television an interview of somebody from West Virginia, a coal miner, who looks like he is in his fifties, and he was very adamant about the fact that he is a proud coal miner and his son is now just beginning to become a coal miner. And he's scared to death that his son would not have a job anymore. And then I happen to know somebody, an Asian immigrant, who owns a restaurant who expects his son, who is in high school now, when he graduates from high school, even if he has to go to college, he is going to expect his son to be working full-time in his restaurant so that he knows how to survive.

And so it's a level of reality that is not there, for peoples of all racial and economic backgrounds--of not being aware, or of not accepting, of what's happening in the world, that there can be things that are changing in the world that the next generation can benefit from, but they don't know how to get there. It's a sense of denial, and it's a fear of stepping six feet ahead of their view, that they're afraid to look any further, because of a desperation of just surviving and the fear of a multicultural America taking away their hard earned livelihood. They don't know how to face that. Trends show America is becoming the land of immigrants, and the concept "majority" and "minority" will no longer exist and the new norm will be diversity all around. Conservatives have a hard time facing that trend. I believe that Trump's win was a gut reaction to Obama's win of eight years. This was not all about race, though. This was also about government of whatever party, not recognizing and not addressing enough their personal plight. I think it's mostly the struggling middle class wanting to hold on to their values and comfort zone and their lifestyle is slipping away from them.

So I think white men, especially, I kept thinking about that, you know, what are they afraid of? They are afraid that our society is no longer 1776 when the Constitution was born, that it was meant for a white culture to survive. Things that have been happening in the Deep South taught me something about why that was so important to the white supremacists to cheat the race card, by taking advantage and taking over the other races and cultures with their own privileges..

That made me think about the key word "neglect." We have been neglecting a lot of our citizens who are under-educated, and mis-educated, no matter whether we be Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other; and no matter if we're rich or poor.

By that I mean many communities in the US have limited access not only to the great universities, but also to community colleges and to vocational training, which used to be free when I started college! Campuses have this openness to freedom of speech and to debates. Students are more exposed to many kinds of views and to a greater reality than just their own.

I also use "education" in a broader sense to mean exposure or the "lack thereof;" and the mass media gives most communities a one-sided view of local, state, national and world news. Unbalanced, one-sided news is mis-educated news. You get only one side of the whole picture. Partly as a consequence conservatives generally (regardless of class and race) in this country, as a way of self-preservation, preach "segregationism and exclusionism," while liberals teach "integrationism and inclusionism."

I watched Fox news for a-minute where someone spoke about a population of people as "those numbers...." being significant. Then when I switched to CBS on the same news report, a victim of that population was interviewed giving that news the human element to it (and not a number).

What I learned from my "shock" of this election outcome — is that I need to learn from the lesson: I didn't anticipate it coming (the loss of the Democratic) because I neglected seeing or recognizing the other point of view.


Ron Bridgeforth: It's About the Supreme Court

Of course I'm disappointed and disillusioned.

And I expected to or hoped to spend my 70s looking at a country that I believed in — what idealists are, or maybe romantics. I believe in what this country can be. But it is clear that there will be no peaceful transition of power in this country. That's what was attempted in this election.

That we could see the Supreme Court — although clearly they're refusing to follow the law. They don't really care about the Constitution. This place is about white supremacy and misogyny. Well white male supremacy. Why is this the only civilized country in the world you can't have a woman President? So what ills this country is really quite deep in foundation.

I told one of my kids down in LA who is 20, and he voted for the first time. And he said: "I wouldn't have voted except you sent me a link, but none of my friends voted."

And I said: "Well, here's the deal. I spent my teens and twenties trying to get the right to vote. This battle is yours, because they're going take your right to vote. This is a war."

The first thing I said, I don't know if we're tough enough. These people are ruthless. Russians, whatever. Lies, voter intimidation — whatever to win. They were clear. We spent our time talking about Hillary wasn't perfect enough. We did this to ourselves. I've got Berkeley radical friends, progressives they call themselves, I can't talk to them. I can't tell them the truth of what I think. I'm not trying to hurt them. But first they're full of crap, and now they're trying to rewrite history. "Well, if Bernie had run. "

He lost, you know? And he hadn't done anything in 30 years, and he ain't going to do nothing else. When you're sitting on a million dollar house, you're not talking about revolution. It's not happening, Okay? So why have this conversation? So there are folks I'm not talking to because I don't want to — I'm not into — I'm not somebody that used to beat up on white folks and stuff like that, because they weren't whatever.

Our issues are different. I sat here in my own house with a brother-in-law of mine who happens to be Black. He has a Berkeley degree. He sat right there, and he says: "If Hillary gets elected, she'll start a war. We'd be better off with Trump." I'm like: What is wrong with this man? Clearly having {UNCLEAR} doesn't mean that you can think. And those people down this hill [in the Oakland flats] will not be better off — not happening.

We said to people: You need to stop talking about, you know, holding our noses [and voting for Hillary]. Kids don't understand that. When they ran this campaign for Bernie and called her a liar and talked about what did she say to Goldman Sachs? What the hell do we care? It meant nothing. The only thing that meant something was what? The Supreme Court. Because that's going to change our lives. And not only that, all those judges that they refused to fill the last three to four years. They're going to turn this court so we cannot even win in court, even when the Constitution says we should win.

So reality is, we've been through this before. I didn't want to go through it again. I wanted somebody to come save us. I didn't care if it was Hillary, Bernie, I didn't care. I just saw the politics. But people were self-indulgent, some friends of min, you know — Well I watched this professor, African-American Studies from Yale. Lovely man, horn-rimmed glasses, graying goatee, and he's talking on one of these news shows: Hmmm, well, Clinton has to prove to us that she's worthy.

And they had this conservative talk show host from Minnesota, and he's sitting there watching this guy — like a cat watching a canary. So they turned to him: What do you think? I mean, Trump's really a liar. He says: It's about the Supreme Court. That's all. This is a man who is too damn — this brother's too damn educated to know that his life is based upon the sacrifices that were made. He's too full of himself. And this guy over here is saying: I've been a slave catcher. I descended from slave catchers, and I'm looking at a slave.

And I'm like: Oh, Jesus. No, I didn't know that Hillary would lose. And yes, I think the election probably was stolen in a number of ways. But when you do have your Congress and the Senate and the FBI and Russia and a whole bunch of other folks lined up on you, it's kind of hard. And then you've got the people who are supposedly supporting you being ambivalent. It's hard to win.

Now, she's going to be fine. She's going to be fine. She's going to be a very wealthy lady. And she's smart to do that, you know? Because voters are fickle and weak. So I have to, in my better days, look at what opportunities exist, because clearly we don't understand enough about the value of democracy, to fight for and with our freedom. We'll see.

But yes, there's an article out there that Diane sent me about the woman who studied authoritarian governments. She's a Ph.D. She says: You need to write down what your values are — now. And go back and look at them in a couple of years. When you started to back away, when you started to not say things, because my take on it, the new Brown Shirts are on the internet. When Trump points you out, and they want to find out where you live, and they want to come to your house, they want to attack your jobs, these are Brown Shirts. That's what Mussolini had and Hitler had.

So I don't know how it goes, but I'm not angry at Clinton. I'm angry at those of us who failed to know what was in our best interests and fight. So there are people I don't talk to, because they've been good to me and I care about them.

Back when I was a supervisor 30 years ago, I asked my boss who was an ex- sheriff, 20 years a cop, he gave me a chance to move from working with my hands to working with my mind, but it was clear to me he treated me differently from the other supervisors. And one day I asked him about that. His wife didn't speak to me for a year — she worked there part-time. I didn't understand until afterwards, and she and I talked a lot about it. What you really asked him is: Why is he being racist? You can't do that and expect that people are not going to come after you and try to blame you. This is a lesson that a person of color has to learn in this society. Pay attention.

Yes, I'm disappointed, but it is a country that was built upon slavery and genocide. And what we're doing in the Middle East ain't no better. It's about the money. So I guess our kids are going to have to get with it; otherwise, they're going to be enslaved. And maybe that's just the way it is. Now, those guys in the Carrier plant? Trump said he's going to save their jobs. The plant's leaving. Take the two dollar cut in pay if you want to stay? The union leader said: That's messed up. He goes after him and now the Brown Shirts are after him. That's the way it's going to go.

So the question is for us: What do we do now? And I don't have the answer to that right now. But one of the things is to insulate myself from what I would consider — people want to tell me I need to go understand what those poor whites who voted for him are really thinking about. We need to look at their concerns. I don't need to do that. I need to look after my children, because they're going to vote to have prisons to put my kids in, so they can keep their towns. Clinton started that.

I cannot — there are no clean hands here. Certainly not the progressives or liberals have clean hands in this one. We gave this away. We had the numbers. And I don't know if we could've won the Electoral College. I don't know. But I lived in Michigan for 33 years; you tell me that Michigan is going to vote for Clinton? When I know that you can't even have an elected [Republican?] governor or Congress in Michigan? Where are those votes supposed to come from? Those UAW leaders say one thing, but those guys living in the outskirts of Ann Arbor and Detroit are all voting Republican. So that wasn't a shock, so what were they telling me on MSNBC? They were lying, or they just were that dumb; either way, I haven't watched the news since.


Hardy Frye: A Society in Contradiction

Hardy: Well, I always try with my analysis to come from experiences I've actually had, and [the same for] my critique of what's going on in society. I'm not that disappointed. I think the war's just been extended.

I think that I've been through — maybe it's because I'm 77 years old, but I've been through 50 years of experience with a bunch of people that I had no idea that I would ever meet, and I met them at a night when three people had just been killed [referring to Freedom Summer and the lynching of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman]. And everything that we can say about what we're faced with, we were faced with [back] then.

And so I came into the Movement having very little knowledge of, in fact, the Civil Rights Movement except what I had read in Jet magazine and Ebony. I was coming out of an experience of being in the military where I had a {UNCLEAR}. Being in line with a bunch of people I had never met. So I went into CORE when I came out of the Army, in L.A. The two weeks that I was there, between picketing the Democratic National Convention and the Fair Housing Act — 

So what I've seen over this period of 30 or 40 years has basically been {UNCLEAR}. I think that's the best thing we've got going for us. And I see we lost this battle here for a lot of reasons, and part of it was the arrogance of the people who were running the [Clinton] campaign. When I went down to the [Clinton] headquarters I just did not see the kind of people there that I saw when Obama was running. Because I didn't believe Obama was going to do as much as he did.

But more than that, I'm impressed to a certain extent that a lot of the young people we got coming along and moving after us. And I got to thinking about this when I was thinking about — I'm trying to write an essay now which I'm dealing with the whole notion of trying to understand the Black Lives Matter Movement and the kind of contradictions that these young ladies who I've talked to so far who are building the movement and the thing about what we were like when we were in SNCC. I mean, nobody told us we were going to [achieve] shit. In Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia. Nothing. Nobody told us that. And we were paying a heavy price. But what we did was we challenged the system to a certain extent. And a lot of the time we were debating big issues like Marxism, freedom, and all that kind of stuff. And as a consequence of that, I think we made a significant change.

And I think now we just have a crisis. But think about this though. Think about the fact that nobody has been doing a sophisticated critique of class stratification in society so more people can understand. That didn't occur in the last campaign. I mean, people voted and all that. And they played the race game, they played a little game. But [Trump voters] also got a particular capital, the kind of capital that is going to stick it to them. And they aren't even waiting until 30 days later; they're sticking it to them already. All right? And you got society in contradiction.

At the same time, I look at race relations. I don't know if [there's been a] {UNCLEAR} in which Black people have played, and race has played, a significant part in critiquing what's going on in society. Even though we may not agree, Vann Jones has done his thing, got his own [TV] show. But the questions that these Black reporters are raising. These guys who have been covering these riots are raising. Now they might not be — they don't have the SNCC background that we had but they got a sense of —  We started out thinking and telling people that they should love us and all that kind of sit-in stuff.

And so I've been amazed over the last year how much race pops up — from a different perspective. Not just saying go down and get the Black militants and all that kind of stuff, but you got people who we, I include all of us, who we have been teachers in society that make them more sophisticated in the kind of questions that they're raising. They raise some very interesting questions. They of course aren't where we were in terms of making a revolution, but they're damn sure — whether they're newspaper writers, TV cameramen, and people covering riots — all kinds of stuff they're doing that they're critiquing society.

And the challenge of racism, the Women's Movement, all these movements, they're here. You didn't think they [the powerful] were going to just give it to us, did you? They're not going to give it to us. I mean, Trump's appointments, shit, this guy had chose eight billionaires, man. How the hell he going to get by with that shit with working class guys? 'Cause they can't produce [the change people thought they were voting for]. They can't produce.

So the contradictions are there, but you also got some something else going on. You've got young woman, and Black kids and Asian kids, etc. when I look at North Dakota [referring to anti-pipeline protests], shit. I don't know if I could've made it, baby. It's cold as hell up there and those people said: We ain't going [to end the protest]. They thought we [in SNCC] were crazy. These guys are out there in zero-degree weather, and they were raising issues.

What happened [with the election] was the apparatus was in control. They got these elitist Democrats who are going to catch hell — mark my word — when they try to put the Democratic Party back together which they're going to try to do. And they're not going to be able to put it together with this kind of thing. I was with Sanders the week after he won the mayoral race 20 years ago? 30 years ago?

Bruce: In Burlington?

Hardy: In Burlington. I went to Burlington. Spent a whole week, two-and-a-half weeks there, because I was writing and thinking about Berkeley, you know, comparing Berkeley. So I'm not that pessimistic. I'm a little bit depressed, but it was the arrogance, Bruce or someone said something about Hillary, it was an arrogant the way she refused to address the issues. I mean, these are some of the things she could've done. She could've gone out to the 'hood. For the last presidential election I was in Ohio. My brother next to me who died, who was dying, is from Dayton, Ohio. And I helped him go through the whole process. And this was the time of the presidential election, and in the morning, I'd go down to the working class place for them to give me ham and eggs, right? I never seen so many plants, dead.

Bruce: By plants, meaning factories?

Hardy: Factories, right. But yet I saw people for Obama sitting with a sign. She [Clinton] didn't go there to talk to the people. She didn't try. You expect some of that {UNCLEAR} Blacks. Hey man, we've got Asians that were participating in an organized fashion. Latinos participating in an organized fashion. Blacks in an organized fashion. I'm now seeing the sons and daughters of you guys. I wrote a little to Cleve Sellers [of SNCC], I said Man, you got to teach your son a little bit more politics, 'cause I watch your son all the time, Cleve Seller's son [referring Bakari Sellers a CNN commentator].

And I think we are lucky because how many people that — we are faced with this — how many people that we know did not get to see it get this far? James Foreman, Stokely Carmichael, you just name it. Go through Bruce's list.

I tell you want to find out what we're about? Go to our website and go through the memorials of people who died. It's unbelievable! I sat there one night and went through the whole damn list. So I think what we can do is make conflict. Point out the contradictions. Continue to point out the contradictions. And when we get a chance, young people want to talk to us? Talk to the young people.

But you're not going to turn capital over and capital ain't gonna give it to us. We know if Hillary had won, we would still have — we're going to have problems again, because she was shaky. So, the struggle continues. Because we've got some contradictions we've got to deal with, like gentrification and liberation. What's happening in the Black community in San Francisco, the East Bay, all that kind of stuff. These things still got to be dealt with. So I'm ready to go. I mean, hey let's deal man, let's deal. Because hey, one thing that affected me is a lot of people that came through the Movement are dying. They're dying every day. A lot of friends and guys in my — all my mentors have died. Three of my mentors have died in the last 90 days. Who taught me all the politics I know, The academics I know.

Phil?: Can you share who those were?

Hardy: Robert Brown was the one who recruited me at Berkeley. We did the internal conversation model. We wrote all that stuff. I worked with him.

So you know, and the Black kids, I have a seminar where there are all Black kids in the seminar; well, I had a couple of white kids in there, but most of the Black kids in a seminar, and it's interesting on how those kids think. They got all this other stuff that kind of gets in the way; they paint their hair yellow, red, blue, all that shit, you know? But they're thinking, and we have raised the contradiction. We will learn from this experience. I promise you that.

I promise you that there will be two fights, Trump, one from his sector, and the Democratic Party. And they've got to give up something. But the reality is — Jesus, man, the history I grew in as a kid growing up and becoming an adult — the world has changed. I'm sitting there. I get mad about this sometimes when I'm watching the news and shit, because I'm saying: Goddamn, man. That's just a stupid Black answer to this Black nationalist question, and then I realize that just 20 years ago we had nobody Black [commenting on TV]. Nothing. You can count 'em on a hand.

I saw a basketball player give almost a million dollars to Oakland the other day. I know some of these guys, 'cause I've had them in my class. We are a long ways from where we were, man. Are you kidding me? They ain't buying Cadillacs and shit and grinning and conking their hair. What they're doing is they're trying to focus around community issues. The problem is we want them to address the Mayor we have, to address what we think they should be. And that's the problem for them to deal with.

So what we should do is try to figure out how we can supplement and give to the rest of these young people, give to them what we've learned. And this. It's amazing to tell some of these kids about our website. We just kind of threw something up there and put it there on the website, and Bruce tells us how many people read this shit. I'm watching these kids who know how to go there. I send them there, they drug my picture up from some goddamn where. I don't know where they found it. Me and Howard Jeffrey sitting in front of the SNCC car. Oh, you were really there. They point at like an old man. Oh, hey, see him? He was down there. So you're not going to find a better set of information than we've got on that website.

The question then becomes: How do we continue to point out the contradiction? You know, how do we point out the contradiction? And part of that is that if we think that capital is going to roll over, I don't think so. If I'm concerned about anything that could happen as a result of this election is that the powers that be and the movement turn their back on the struggles in the Middle East and other parts of the world. We get so much about this whole thing about what happened to us, when we can't — you know, people don't have water to drink. We have a role to play. {UNCLEAR} Hillary was — I went to the poll, and I said: Why am I voting for her? I know that she might {UNCLEAR} , but what does she say to even make me want to go?


Cathy Cade: Doing What I Can

Well, my reaction to the elections is to notice the awfulness of Trump and what he stands for and the people who work with him and the people he's assigning. I'm also really aware that I don't know if there's ever been a person in the world who has consistently looked so ugly to me as Trump does. I have a hard time looking at him, although I've noticed lately on the news since he was elected, they have been putting up some pictures that aren't as ugly as what I usually see. But being a visual person, this is to be expected I suppose.

My biggest feeling is that the generations younger than I am, I'm 75, are going to have to do the work. And I tend to be a fairly positive thinking person, and I often have the thought that Trump and his people and their actions will and can organize us, that their actions, as Hardy was saying, will point out the contradictions and the need. And the subtleties will be gone, and I have some hope that that will help all of us move, particularly the younger generations.

Having said that, I do want to continue to contribute as I can to bringing change, and I'm having a struggle to be realistic on what I can do, given my health and age. So that's a lot of what I'm trying to do is understand what can I really expect of myself. And some of the things I think I can do some of is keeping a journal about what my life is like now, at my age and as a lesbian, and encountering all kinds of other people in the world as we go through this piece in history and leave this journal in a place where it could be of use to other people. And also making yearly photo diaries as I've been doing.

And to go to some demonstrations, although I'm shocked with how few I've been able to bring myself. That's another part of my getting real about my age is that I want to go to demonstrations, and the day comes, and it doesn't make sense for me to go.

I have been befriending people of younger generations, Black and white and gay and activists and young journalists, and that's been quite wonderful, and I think that building relationships with younger generations may be an important part of what I can do now. And then I also think maybe I could learn to use YouTube to put some of my photographs and my history and stuff I write in journals and stuff and get it out a little bit more. I already use Facebook some, and I could do that a little more. So I currently, just the other day, put up two pictures in the dining room of the senior housing where I live of a 1972 LGBT Freedom March in L.A. that shows the connection between the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s and what we were beginning to do in the '70s and then some things about being old and demonstrating and feminism and that all comes together. And I have just a few little words up with it, but it's there, and a lot of people get to see it. So that's my reaction to the elections.


Phil Hutchings: A Challenge of Values

Well, I thought I would begin with a couple of asides. I was reading something on the internet the other day, just a couple of days ago, about this little town in Maine that in the year 2008, when Obama first ran for President, that went for him 2 to 1 over McCain who he was running against, the Republican. And that same village, a small town, it's not a village, it's a small town in Maine, this year went for Trump by the very same margin that they went for Obama eight years ago. And so I guess I thought about that in some ways, and I said in some ways that probably tells something about not only the country, but it also tells us something about what happened with this election.

And it made me think about an article I have yet to read, and the article on the internet basically said was that the people in 2008 voted for hope and change, and for some reason that has to do with how they have experienced their lives, they don't feel there was any hope and change that came out of the Obama years. And that they're still looking for hope and change, and Hillary at her best probably promised the status quo, in many ways a continuation of the status quo but not change.

Trump, Trump for a lot of those people promised change. And so they're still caught up on that. And there's an article I've been trying to chase for about three months, it's by Obama, and it's called "What Happened to Hope?" Since this was the man who put out the hope message, I figured at least let's go to the source to see what he thinks what happened. I thought it was in the Atlantic or Harper's, and I tend to mix those two magazines up, because they seem roughly the same. It turns out it was in the New Yorker magazine, and I actually downloaded it and have yet to read it. But I'm very interested to see how, in some ways, one of the major architects of this hope and change idea, which carried his electoral campaign particularly in '08, see what happened and his role in it. So I would recommend it, and I could actually probably send it to anybody who wants to see it, because I did download it as an attachment.

So that was like the first aside is like the death of hope and change and our role in it. The second one I was thinking about is I think it's useful to say that Hillary won this election. She won by 2 million votes.

Hardy: 2.8 now.

Phil: Okay, even more. And the reason she lost the election is we have this institution called the Electoral College which was basically set up by slaveholders to maintain a certain class structure in this country, and that institution still exists. And I think what's interesting to me just looking at it is that I would've thought the reverse would've happened than what actually happened. I would've thought that Hillary would've won the Electoral College and that Trump might've won the popular votes, because Democrats tend to win the big states generally. New York, California, not so much Ohio as that's a Republican state, but Illinois, Michigan, Florida, and sometimes Texas, though not lately.

And so I can see there was a real broad swath of the people who were kind of for Trump, but it seemed like they were in these little states like Kansas and Nebraska and Arizona, and by and large the Electoral vote would go for Hillary, though it's possible that Trump might've won the actual vote. And he would be the first person to say that the election was crooked if he had lost that way. Given the month before the election, he was saying this whole thing is a racket and it's crooked and all this; he's been saying that all year when he felt he was a victim of it.

Now that he won, thanks to the Electoral vote, he's very quiet about it. So I thought that was interesting, but also, I think as people who come out of a movement for what we called "One Man/One Vote" or "One Person/One Vote," I think that we are one of the only countries in the world that have something called an artificial thing that keeps the popular vote from happening.

I mean think about this, if this were Venezuela right now, and Maduro found some way to stay in power through the government structures, and the opposition had more votes, we would be raising hell about that because we have favorites all over the world. I mean, that's why I think it's interesting when they talk about the Russians had something to do with this election, they may or may not have. I mean, we've had something to do with every election around the world for years, and no one's ever questioned that. It's all right for us to impact on other people's elections, but for somebody to actually have some impact, maybe or not, on ours, somehow that's out of the rule book. So that struck me.

But I think for the sake of the narrative and for the movement that we've had, I think it's important to put out that Hillary won the election which is why we need such structural change, because we are still being governed by a structure that came out of the 1800s. So that's just another aside.

I guess the small thing is that I had a hard time trying to figure out how Trump could be a serious candidate, not that he could actually win the election. I mean, I've followed every presidential election since 1960 when John Kennedy won the national campaign by 110,000 votes total, not millions, against Nixon. And people argued that those votes came from Chicago, Dick Daley's illegal [vote rigging]. And then I paid attention to the elections since 1952 when I was a little kid, because my father used to drag me around when the Republican and Democratic politicians came to the Black churches to spout why we should vote for them. And I remember Senator Bob Taft, he was running for President in 1952 against Eisenhower in the Republican primary, and he shook my hand, and I said, "Daddy, that man has really soft hands." And my Dad, who was a Democrat, said, "That's because he's never done a day's work in his life." [Laughter]

So I paid attention, I guess to say. And I have never seen a candidate, ever, Democrat or Republican, who has gone out of his way to insult so much of the population and [still] be a serious candidate. I mean, whether he could win or not, that's the second question, but the fact that he insulted women, I mean he talked about Carly Fiorina, "Look at how she looks! That face!" You know, "How could you vote for that face?" I mean, would any serious candidate do that, you know? And it's never happened. I mean, even Goldwater didn't do that. Or Ronald Reagan never did stuff like that, arch-right wing people.

Even some of the Klan people, David Duke, they had their idiosyncrasies and racism, but they just didn't go out of their way. Moslems. We're gonna build a wall and make them pay for it down in Mexico. I mean, he talked about African-Americans. He talked about ‐ and then he was getting 1% of the votes, and he says, "Oh see, African-Americans are beginning to like me now, because I went to Detroit and listened to the minister and all that."

So it's this Trump phenomenon, and that, to me, is totally yet to be explained. I mean, he got a tremendous amount of free publicity. It was just like, "What was Trump doing?" Not making speeches. And we ran a serious candidate who tweets, you know? And that's how he deals with the public, through tweets. And so, in my mind, I'm just saying all this to say, and the asides, that it was really hard for me to figure out how he can be taken seriously, even by Republicans, not to mention the ‐ and people like Paul Ryan and people were upset with how Trump was doing and blah-blah-blah. So I mean, he was a person of change.

The second to last thing I will say on the asides is that I thought it was interesting that up in Berkeley they had this play called "It Can't Happen Here." It's been playing up there on Addison Street. I remember reading that book in high school or maybe first year of college about how fascism comes to the United States, not necessarily through storm troopers or the "Sieg Heils", but what's the American road to fascism? And I said, "Oh it's interesting this is happening right now."

And so the last thing I'll say in terms of an aside is that I voted for Jill Stein [of the Green Party], and I felt that neither Trump, certainly not Trump, and Hillary ‐ I mean, the only reason to vote for Hillary was for the Supreme Court. If people were into voting for Hillary and the importance of the Supreme Court, folks should do that. But I couldn't bring myself to do that, and I thought the bankruptcy of this election, which has been far easily the most unpopular election on both sides in modern times, has shown us the need for a real third force, whether it's the Green Party or Bernie Sanders or whoever else, or preferably new people that come out of the movements. This year and this election, more than anything else, shows a need for that. So, those are my asides. How I felt about it.

Chude: One question? If California had actually been a possibility to go for Trump, would you still have voted for the Green Party?

Phil: Probably not. I realized the sense of opportunism, which I had criticized in other people in previous elections. But I thought at least in other elections, the choices were somewhat better. I don't mean presidential elections necessarily, though I included those. I did vote for [Green Party candidate] Nader in 2000. I did vote for Nader and don't regret it.

So how I felt. I basically felt on three levels. The first one was that I felt like somebody had hit me right in the solar plexus, and I used the words bombed out as opposed to depressed. And then I thought about it for awhile. It took me about three or four days to get over that, and I was like, "What am I bombed out about?" And it felt like the United States had basically showed its own reality of what it was. Which we, as Movement veterans, people who had been in Mississippi and other places around the country or even like Martin Luther King would say Chicago is probably some of the worst segregation he had ever seen; it wasn't just the "bad old South," it was all over this country. And there was that phrase I think in Look magazine, "America is Mississippi" or something like that. So we have known that, and I knew that. And then I felt that a big part of my life, particularly in terms of middle age and going into what I would call easily the autumn of my life in my 70s, some might say the winter of my life!

I felt ‐ and the phrase I use is "a comfortable mediocrity." I basically was prepared to live with the U.S. as it is, like I think to allow the people who were shocked by this, because they wanted to go on with their lives the way it is. And all of a sudden this election has shown that maybe they can't, and maybe something has to be done. And if Hillary would've won, they didn't particularly like her or it didn't matter, but things would've stayed more of the same. And people are prepared to stay with the same, because they know how to work with the same.

This is throwing out a whole new bunch of questions and struggles and challenges, and whether it's our age, yours and mine, or whether it's how we manage to get through reality as semi-professionals, or whatever, maybe somewhat middle class. That's a vague term and purposely in many ways, but we've somehow been able to hang in there. And I think that's where a lot of Americans are, and in some ways, Hillary at least promised more of the same. She wasn't going to do anything, go ape-shit and do something freaky, you know? And so I realized in some ways that's where I think a lot of the people being bombed out, depressed, and shocked is all about. It means they no longer can just coast along in their lives in how they see this country, how they see this world, and the way they have been doing, and having the luxury of not having to get more involved. So when I thought about it at the level of being hit in the solar plexus, I had to say, "What was that all about?"

The second level I felt was that I felt bombed out, but why was I bombed out? Okay Trump won, so it's time to suit up and get back into the battle. You know, at a higher degree and put on my military boots and start going to more meetings, more demonstrations, more rallies and so on. Because we have to deal with the Trump minutes, which we do. But I said, "Wait a minute. You know, I'm not 26, 30 anymore, and I ain't going up to North Dakota." I mean, maybe in my 20s I would've gone up to Standing Rock, but I ain't doing it now, and I'll find some other way to help. So I had to think about though what that meant for me in terms of being more militant or being more analytical or being more involved, and how do I do that? And that forces me to challenge myself.

I mean, I've functioned with a certain ‐ I mean, one is that we live in a bubble here in the Bay Area, and that became more true. So if we're talking about at any level trying to change this country, some people try and talk about having California secede from the Union. People have seen those articles. It's in the S.F. Chronicle and other places this week. So how do we do that? I mean, we know something about that just given our own history of being involved, but we're at a new stage in our lives as well, and we can't totally participate in ways that we used to. And so I think that forces us to dig down and try to figure out, what is it that we have that we can still offer to people, people like ourselves, people who are different from ourselves, and how do we deal with some of the questions that continue to stay there like racism, like the questions around gender, and the questions of power. We do have some knowledge of that, and we have something to offer. And we have to figure out ways we can do that to new populations which I think is really key.

And then the last level where it hit me personally is I thought about the Native folks, the indigenous folks, when they talk about the seven generations. And it's like how do we think about ‐ I mean, I think seven generations is a long time, at least at my stage, but how do we think about ‐ I mean, I think it was Bruce who said, "We're going to lose a lot of these fights," and we are.

And so how do we come up with a strategy that understands that's going to happen and still have a long view picture that people should be fighting for? And get other people involved in that struggle and some of them hopefully who will be younger than us and will of course have a longer time to struggle. But it's like thinking in terms of this hopefully renewed militancy against Trump and what Trump stands for, is to have a more long range picture that tries to basically say, "What is the vision that we're looking for? And how do we begin to get together?"

Because most of the people can't even agree. I mean, we live in this bubble with all these progressive folks, but you see how little unity there is on a lot of movement issues and strategies and so on. How do we find ways to unify? And perhaps the reality of Trump will force us to do that a little bit.

And then the last thing I'll say, and I mean people may or may not know, but I do a lot of Buddhist meditation. And Buddhism has actually helped me a lot in how I look at politics as well as calm my life down. And just last week, I was at a meditation down at the East Bay Meditation Center where this brother, African-American brother-friend who lives out in Denver who was leading it, his name is Arthur something. I have it at home. He ended his talk, and it made me think about the Beloved Community that we talked about in SNCC. He said, and he was trying to put it up in terms of how some of the people go around talking about love, and we need to have more love in the world. And he said, "No, love is not going to save us. We have to save love." And basically through our own ways of working together and operating, we have to come up with a new vision for how people work together and how people see each other, how we deal with the other.

There's another person who I would recommend, and you may know him, John Powell. He's up at UC, and he's an African-American brother who I first heard about a few years ago out at that time in Minnesota who was writing a lot about race and space, in terms of geography and suburban stuff and all that, and the racism around that and development. Then he moved to Ohio State, and then he was there for a few years, and then he came out to California. And a little side story on that — someone says, "Why'd you come to California?" And he said, "My daughter made me come," who is an adult. And she said, "I don't want my daughter to grow up not knowing her grandfather." And he said that when he heard that argument he realized he had to come to California, where his granddaughter was, where she could see him.

I say that story, because there are some values that are implicit in that story. And in terms of not just having protest for the sake of protest is that we have to talk about what are the values that are imbued in both our protests as well as our vision. And to me, that's the challenge, I think, for our generation and for the rest of our lives which, in some cases, will not be that long.

Hardy: Don't look at me!

Phil: You're just one of the seniors in the room. We're all close behind, but we're getting close! So I guess, in some ways, it knocked me off my pedestal for a minute, but it's also a way for me to feel the need to get renewed, and the urgency to do that, whether it's around environmental issues, whether it's around racism, or the term I like which John Paul is talking about which is "otherism," because it could be whoever is not like us, and it gets seen easily in this society as the enemy. How do we begin to challenge that? And basically put out the hand and say, 'Let's work together.' And I think that's a lot of our challenge, so I'm gonna shut up.


Contradictions of Racism

Hardy: Let me ask you one question. Racism, I've been reading about this stuff for 40 years now and studying and looking at it, and I think we're [now] having some of the most honest discussions in my lifetime around racism. The most honest discussions going on, discussions within the society at large. Remember a few years ago when Bill Clinton first came to office, and they were talking about race and racism, and he said, " What we need to do is talk about the issue," he said. And he appointed General Franklin, historian, to lead the group. And he put together a think tank, and they're going to talk about racism.

Nothing happened, absolutely nothing. I mean, it was just kind of on the table for a day or a week, and it was gone. I listen to the radio a lot more than I do to television these days and you can hear these discussions all over the place. People are arguing about it; people are debating about it; people are discussing it. And that represents a contradiction for those who were elected {UNCLEAR} race. Because there's a concern, around immigrants for example, that {UNCLEAR} psychologically Trump manipulated the whole notion of immigration of Latinos, etcetera, etcetera, and as a consequence of doing that, he brought in racism. Of course racism was already there. But it raised the issue about — how many of us thought about immigrants in a significant way prior to this debate? How many were discussing this? We didn't discuss these things. These things are being discussed now. They're being debated. They're being argued about.

But more than that, the structured content, I think, is what I'm interested in. The structure of content of what they're asking people to do. Like, you can talk about immigration, etcetera, but the reality is if we're talking about a labor force, etcetera, there's going to be world competition for. And race {UNCLEAR}. America whether they like it or not, it's going to be a multicolored society.

You know, all this nonsense, all this shit about a wall, forget it [referring to Trump's call to build an anti-immigrant wall along the border with Mexico]. People are just going to dig a hole under it, they're going to continue to come. People migrate around the world and move because of other kind of factors, and part of those factors that they move and is labor and jobs and income and resources.

Once you do that, you bring workers together. Remember, the South, regardless ‐ try to think about what it was like when we first went to the South, and you go to the South now. I drove through the South on my way to that 50th anniversary. I could not believe the shit, and I had grown up in it. I could not believe the changes I saw.

Now, it doesn't mean you don't have racism, but people don't normally go out [and commit racially-motivated murders] ‐ there are a few cases, like the one that just happened in Richmond where these two guys went in and killed a musician last week. Those kinds of things happen, but it's a bigger problem, as I see it. And as a consequence, people have to deal with it. On the one hand, white people have to go and cheer Black folks at football stadiums and talk about {UNCLEAR}. I mean, c'mon. But these kinds of things, in my opinion, create a kind of a contradiction in terms of what people are allowed to get away with. Now, I was a little worried. I was a little worried that he [Trump] had new form of rhetoric around racism that kind of bothered me. Kinda "I like Black people" and all that kind of stuff.

Bruce: Some of his best friends are Black.

Hardy: Yeah, right. But see — But it's important to understand who some of those people are. I mean, clearly if a white said to me {UNCLEAR} and pimps. So the fact is, school integration {UNCLEAR}. It might not have been through the {UNCLEAR} we would like, but it creates a situation that I think, without the climate that we had developed over the last 50 years shooting on the campus of Ohio State the other day.


Race, Class, and Capitalism

Cathy: I wanted to ask you, Hardy, when you were first starting to speak, you said young people are raising issues of racism and Black Lives Matter. Do you think they're also raising issues of capitalism?

Hardy: Yeah. I'll tell you what I see on campus. Yeah, they raise some. But they only get it from groups like Revolutionary, like — 

Bruce: Revolutionary Communist Party, Bob Avakian, Incorporated.

Hardy: They get it from the Revolutionary Communist Party. Every week they get something, yeah.

Phil: Who's organizing on the campuses?

Cathy: Okay, but you're saying that there's so much more discussion of racism, and although some of it isn't positive and what we want to hear, that the whole subject being brought up is a contribution and a contradiction. Is that also happening around capitalism? And class?

Hardy: It's happening around class, I think, to a certain extent but not so much around capitalism, because capitalism is not — when we went through school, when I went through school, you critiqued capitalism. And I had these Marxist professors to critique it. No, [today] they place race and class ahead of capitalism. A lot of them don't understand.

Cathy: Okay, when I think of class and understanding class, for myself, personally, I think I'm talking about capitalism.

Phil: But I think his answer is right though.

Cathy: But you're saying they talk about class differences but then they don't call it the result of capitalism?

Hardy: Yeah. Right, right. These kids are more ‐ capitalism will come for them as they move through their college education. When they get older, and they participate. They'll do like we did in the '50s, a lot of independent reading. A lot more independent reading.

Bruce: Well, in the '50s and '60s when we were young and developing, you could argue and critique capitalism in the big sense because there was, in theory, an alternative. Marxism, Communism.

Hardy: Right.

Bruce: And you had a third of the world's population living under "Communism" in some fashion or form, as an alternative. But now that alternative is gone.

Cathy: Ah.

Bruce: I mean, you want to talk about class stratification, look at what we used to refer to as "Red" China, look at North Korea. Look at Russia today. So that it is possible to talk about class without necessarily talking about capitalism as an economic system because you now have some supposedly "socialist" countries with as much, or more, class stratification as the "West." I think, though, that capitalism is under intense critique, not over whether we should have capitalism but what kind of capitalism we want and are being subjected to.


Healthcare & Social Security

Hardy: And I'm going to tell you a battle to watch. You wait until these fools in about 60 days try to undercut healthcare.

Bruce: "Obamacare."

Hardy: They're talking about 20 million people. You can't sell that, even the most {UNCLEAR} people can't buy that shit.

Ron: I think a bigger struggle is going to be about privatization of Social Security.


Hardy: I heard it discussed this morning on the radio.

Ron: That's more likely to happen. ///

Hardy: And the Republicans are talking about, "Wait a minute," [Speaker of the House] Ryan, "wait a minute," he said. You know, we can't. People are on Social Security, man. What are we talking about? That and healthcare. You put 22 million people out on the street and have no healthcare, man, all hell are going to break loose?

Chude: Well, I don't know, because there are people under Obamacare who are paying horrendous amounts of money and not being able to get good care. So there are problems with the system as it is.

Ron: And what would you replace it with?

Chude: Well, I'm not saying that it's better to throw it away. I'm just saying there are people that are going to first say, Oh thank goodness. I don't have to do this anymore, because I've been paying all this money, and I go, and then I find out that whatever the group is ‐" I mean, I just saw this on Facebook. Whatever the group is, oh no. We're Aetna, yes, but we'll not pay if you do it through Medicare, I think it was in her case. "We'll only do it this ‐" I mean, you know, there are all these contradictions, and so people will go again for the short-term. "Oh good, I don't have to pay $600 a month for something that I'm not being able to use well."

Hardy: Well, let me ask you two questions though, Chude. That's right. That might be that. But how come there's ‐ what I've been finding also in reading all these newspapers about the homeless, how come that all of a sudden people are talking ‐ a big article in the {UNCLEAR} now about how do we address the homeless question? Now I'm not saying they're going to address it good. I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying, how come it's become an issue now?

Ron: Because we can't live. No, I mean, no not the homeless. It's people, like if you go to ‐

Bruce: Like my neighborhood.

Ron: Yeah. CCA [California College of the Arts in San Francisco] down in ‐ it's like tent city. Somebody's gonna`m

Hardy: That's right.

Ron: That's going to mess with some property, you know?

Chude: Well, at some point, remember back in Europe and stuff in the old days? You know, it was illegal to be homeless. Or even, I guess, in this country in certain places. I mean, it was illegal. You went to jail.

Ron: I'm sure it's illegal to be in some towns in this country.


Violence, Communication and Organizing

Chude: So before we end, because I think we need a break, I just want to say, I agree with you, Ron, that there's a very good chance that things are going to get really ‐ that a lot of people are going to get hurt. I mean, I always thought there was going to be violence regardless of who won, because the people that are violent are going to be violent either way. But I think this question, the way you put it, Ron, was people are going to get identified on the internet, and then they're going to know where their homes are, and they're going to attack them.

When the movie came out, "She's Beautiful When She's Angry," one of the premieres was in San Francisco. In the ladies room, not during the discussion, I was part of the discussion after the movie. You know, this is about the Women's Liberation Movement, right? In the bathroom afterwards, there was a woman from Marin County who said that she had put on Facebook or the internet or something, she'd put on something against sexism, and she was threatened. She was threatened to such a point that she no longer uses the internet, and she went to the police, and they could do nothing because nothing had happened yet. She was terrified.

So when you brought this up, Ron, that immediately came into my mind. That was a little incident before. I think you're right, and I think also that as much as I think a lot of good comes from the internet, look at our website, absolutely. There's going to be a point at which it is not safe. But part of that is at the same time, because anything that happens is also an opportunity. It is about time we start talking to each other instead of typing things and reading. I mean, I believe that, because it is partly ‐ remember old organizing had to do with talking?

Bruce: Face to face.

Chude: Scary, face to face. Sharing. The one thing is, amongst other things, when you were saying this thing about people can get identified, and then groups could come and attack them, I'm thinking, you know, yeah, you put yourself out there. You make a little sign is one thing. But when you talk to people in any kind of repressive society, a lot of the organizing gets done in more clandestine, small ways. And I rather think it's important that people talk to each other, actually have conversations.

Ron: Yeah, I'm not sure. I think she's right, we should take a break, but I'm not sure we get to go backwards. That what worked before will work again. I'm not so sure that that's kind of the way that history moves. I sent you all an article by this woman up in St. Louis or somewhere who is studying repressive ‐ I sent you just the last five minutes. It's that this guy, this union leader, who spoke out against what Trump did with Carrier [airconditioning company closing down a plan and moving production overseas].

Hardy: Yeah. Jones his name was.

Ron: They went after him. There was a guy, a talk show host, down in Tennessee or somewhere who wouldn't support Trump. They went after him. He had to get a guard. People were coming to his house. So I'm not sure that's the norm. I recognize what intimidation is. I know what Brown Shirts are. Diane watches a lot of documentaries. I watched one of Mussolini's documentaries, and the guy who was opposing him for Prime Minister got murdered. It was by some of Mussolini's guards.


The FBI & Violent Repression

Ron: I mean, what the FBI did in this election is extraordinarily intimidating.

Chude: What'd they do?

Ron: They undermined the election.

Chude: Oh yeah.

Bruce: With the re-raising the "email issue" that Clinton had mishandled classified emails.

Ron: The Director of the FBI ‐

Bruce: A week before the vote. And then just before the vote, he said, 'Oh well, it wasn't anything. Sorry about that.'

Chude: It really wasn't about her.

Ron: He convicted her with his first announcement.

Hardy: Right.

Ron: There's never been done anything like that.

Phil: Just quick on the FBI, it was the point that there has never been a Democrat in the history of the FBI that has been the head of the FBI. All the heads of the FBI have always been Republicans.

Chude: Even during Democratic ‐

Ron: See, I'm suspicious. The way that Gore folded [in the 2000 election], the way that she folded, I think there is clearly a ruling class in the country and that they know how to play this; they know to walk away. You can die in this country. You can be killed in this country. There is not a President who could not be killed. So it's not, you know, c'mon. We do kill people in this country. But sometimes I say this about Obama. He has to wake up in the morning and decide who he's gonna kill today, in our name. When we say ‐

Phil: That's what the drone warfare is about.

Ron: We don't like drones, and I say to people, 'Would you rather your son be over there?' Are we at war, first of all? With the Islamic State? Are we at war with them? Do they want our heads? I didn't say it wasn't for legitimate reasons, but do they want our heads? Then the question is, how do you prosecute that war?


Standing Up and Taking Risks

Cathy: I want to say that when I was in my thirties and forties and raising kids, and I had to relook at how I would be an activist because of my commitment to raising my children, and I did different things, but one of the things I thought was, "Well, when I get to be an old woman, I can stand up for whatever I believe in, and if I go to jail, it won't make any difference. I can just be in jail." Now, I have been an old woman, if you count from 60 say, for 15 years, and I have not been rushing to go to jail. But the fact is that I will die, you know, so this threat of death begins to take on a different look. And you know, if there's a new time of organizing and standing up for what you believe in, maybe that's what some of us are going to do.

Ron: I would not advocate not standing up, but I having been to jail recently. It ain't all it's cracked up to be. [Laughter]

Bruce: It never was! [Laughter]

Cathy: I do get to that point. I do.

Ron: I like this a lot better, folks.

Bruce: Much better, yeah.

Cathy: But you know when you talk about being killed and stuff, you know, the risk of being killed, that's kind of what you're talking about when you talk about the risks you take when you go to jail. The fact is that you are going to die, and the older you get, the more real that gets for you.

Bruce: For me the more immediate question at this time is not that we may be identified and have a Brown Shirt come — like that guy who went up and shot up a pizza parlor because the false news people claimed that Hillary Clinton was raping children in the back room — It seems to me that more immediate than the question of being killed by Brown Shirts or — as was the case back in our day the Klan — is the issue of social intimidation that Chude raised. Yes, we may be going back to a situation prevalent in the '50s and '60s where people who were known to be activists were at risk from white terrorists who would take violent action against you. That was the reality then, but it's not yet the reality now.

But there was also another reality in the 1950s and early '60s of organized, fomented, social and economic intimidation. The government legislative hearings by House Un-American Activities Committee and Senate Internal Security were government political-theater designed to whip up fear, hysteria and hatred of anyone who dissented from Republican Party orthodoxy. When my father was called before such a committee our car was splashed with red paint, and a hammer and sickle was painted on our driveway, my 5th grade teacher pointed me out to the class as someone who favored Communist tyranny, my mother was fired from her job, and so on. And that social & economic intimidation was effective — very effective — in scaring people into silence and passivity.

When students started taking action in the early 1960s there were very few radical elders available to share with them lessons and wisdom learned from past struggles because so many of those who had organized and fought in the 1930s and '40s had been intimidated into silence or feared being connected in any way to bold militant action like sit-ins. Of course, even if they had been present we might not have listened to them. But except for a very few they weren't there.



Bruce: At the same time, though, most of the progress we made was done in the context of building mass movements in defiance of that kind of terrorist threats and social intimidation. And despite those threats we created social change in society in how people think, which is what Hardy was talking about, the enormous changes from 50 years ago to today.

What I think is most important, at least for me, ‐ is to go back to the organizing question. I agree with Chude. For me, this internet style of organizing, where you click on things and you give money, and basically the way these internet organizations work is they're like modern-day trade unions, in that the membership pays dues to hire union professionals and business agents to do the work. And the rank and file don't really do anything. And this is what it's become. I'm asked to give money to pay for MoveOn or for this group or that group. They then go out like non-profit people or professional helpers and fight on my behalf, rather than ‐ for the last two weeks, ever since the election, I've been trying to find an organization in the Bay Area that has politics that don't make me nauseous and has chapters where I can go and work with a group of people and do something. And I have not found a group that meets those two criteria — politics that don't make me nauseous and chapters where you can have a meeting in a house of a group of people like us, and we go out and do things. And I think that's something we need.

Phil: Does SURJ do that? Is SURJ standing up for racial justice? There's a group called SURJ which is a national group. They have chapters. They have projects, and they're basically mostly white but not exclusively. And I know there are people both in San Francisco and in Oakland.

Bruce: I've never heard of them.

Chude: Yeah, and they do have a presence online.

Bruce: That's fine, I'm not opposed to being online. But just being online alone is not cutting the mustard. I think that this online activism has ‐ one of things for me this election proved, convincingly for me, is that the online model of activism that we've seen over the last four or five years has not worked. I'm open to hearing arguments that I'm wrong, but that's the way it looks to me now.

Marion: So you're talking about going back to the old fashioned grassroots organizing.

Bruce: Yeah.


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