It may be impossible to tell from mainstream media sources, but issue organizing and protest has been on the rise in the U.S. for more than a decade, dating to at least the 2008 financial meltdown. Early on it was the Tea Party and the Occupy movement (both of which did grab their share of headlines), but since then there’s been an explosion of organizing and protest, usually afforded little attention by the corporate media, around a broad range of issues – police brutality, worker rights, fracking, gun violence, gross economic inequality, sexual harassment, racial, religious and LGBTQ discrimination, and the climate crisis, among them.
A great deal of energy has been, predictably, directed to seeking change through the electoral system; policies are, after all, made by policy makers, the most visibly influential of which are elected officials. Paradoxically, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign benefited greatly from the nation’s widespread discontent with unresponsive political elites, while the actual election of Trump via the anachronistic Electoral College (while losing the popular vote) convinced millions that something more than electoral politics is required to address critical issues.
That “something more” is organizing – organizing in the workplace, organizing in communities, organizing around specific issues, but also increasingly across issues – “grassroots” organizing. Political news in 2020 will be dominated by the November elections (to which the impeachment drama is subordinate); that’s inescapable. But don’t look for a decline in the level of organizing and protest. Quite the contrary, I think.