Dear Readers and Friends:
We all started 2017 with a heavy heart. The election of Donald Trump has cast a shadow on the days ahead of us, and his first appointments to the highest offices in the country have fueled our indignation and confirmed our fears.
We fear the retrenchment of civil rights and women’s rights we hoped we would struggle to expand, not to defend; we fear a war against the oppressed communities in our country, along the Southern border as well as in our neighborhoods; and we fear a further reduction in all forms of social welfare, a growing inequality, an imperiled environment, and an unconscionable, uninformed foreign policy in a world marked by bloody conflicts and an unbearable amount of human suffering.
At the same time, the election of Donald Trump has forced us all to pause, and reflect. Why did a significant part of US voters—although not the majority, as we know—choose Trump? Was it the reaction of working-class whites abandoned by Washington (and by the market) against the financial and political elites represented by Hillary Clinton? Or was it a backlash from the white suburban middle class against the growing diversity in our cities? Was it simply a tactical defeat—the price the Democratic Party had to pay for sacrificing Bernie Sanders to the interests of the neoliberal elite—or the expression of more visceral tensions underlying social and racial relations in the United States?
The election of Donald Trump has also prompted an immediate outpouring of initiatives and mobilizations locally and nationally, including a series of actions and protests planned for January 20 and the Women’s March in Washington, DC on the day after the Inauguration. Expressions of solidarity with immigrants, refugees, and other communities directly targeted by Trump’s hateful rhetoric have populated social media as well as our streets; meetings of all kinds, from academic conferences to political gatherings, have brought us together to analyze the challenges to come and strategize for them.
So we also look ahead with a hopeful, and combative, heart. Trump—the interests he represents, the beliefs he embodies, and the powers he will soon have—is a threat to everything we struggle for. However, if we can turn our fears into a call to action; our questions into the pursuit of critical knowledge; and our emerging mobilizations into the seeds of political organization, then we’ll have the opportunity to turn this treacherous moment into a chance for a different future. The struggles we participate in or advocate for began well before Trump (or Obama, for that matter), and will continue well after him. Within this long arc—that, as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. famously taught us, inexorably bends toward justice—this is our time. We didn’t choose it, but let us use this moment in time to organize and struggle collectively to build a more just future for all.
SJ Editorial Board
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