SF progressives plan their anti-Trump strategy
by David-Elijah Nahmod
Fighting to save access to health care and realizing they need to prepare for President-elect Donald Trump's proposal to deport immigrants and other conservative plans, about 200 people gathered in San Francisco last weekend to strategize how to thwart his agenda.
Trump, who will assume office January 20, has promised to support repeal of the Affordable Care Act currently being planned by the Republican-controlled Congress. Trump has expressed support for defunding Planned Parenthood and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.
He has also said that he will sign anti-gay Senator Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) proposed religious freedom bill, which would legalize anti-LGBT discrimination nationwide on "religious grounds," should it pass out of Congress.
Dubbed United Against Trump, the January 7 meeting at the Women's Building was largely organized through the SF United Against Trump Facebook page.
The meeting was facilitated by Marcella Guimaraes and Diana Macasa, who only gave United Against Trump as their affiliations.
Regina Johnson, an indigenous rights activist, pointed out that Trump hopes to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The struggle is far from over," she said. "Trump is no friend of water protection. He wants to push for more fossil fuel."
She also referred to the ongoing struggle at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where indigenious people and their supporters are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are now both in court refuting the pipeline's claim that it has the necessary permission to bore near the tribe's reservation boundary, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
Former Supervisor David Campos, a gay Latino man, addressed immigrant rights.
"It's a pretty tough time for all of us," he said. "We must take what Trump says at face value – he said he will move to deport 3 million immigrants. We have to fight Trump and the corporate Democrats who got us into this mess."
Health care was also a big topic.
Many hands went up when Susannah Delano of Planned Parenthood's NorCal Action Fund asked the crowd if they knew anyone with breast cancer.
"Ninety-eight percent of Planned Parenthood's services are preventative," she said. "We provide breast cancer and STD services. [House Speaker] Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) wants to defund Planned Parenthood – they're going after Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. We've seen what happens in Texas and Wisconsin when funding is cut. Health centers close. There are no HIV or STD tests."
Delano added that on November 9, the day after the election, she went to work and will continue to do so, "as we have for 100 years," she said, referring to the agency celebrating its centennial last October.
Union leader Ramses Teon-Nichols said that he was anticipating attacks on labor in addition to the attempts to defund the ACA and other safety net programs.
"There will be a rally in support of the ACA at SF General Hospital on January 20," he said, inviting people to come out and show support. Jobs With Justice is planning weekly rallies at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital every Tuesday, he said.
"This is possibly the richest city in the history of civilization," said 48 Hills editor Tim Redmond, referring to the influx of money from the tech industry. He spoke of an elderly disabled man who was about to become homeless because his rent exceeded his income.
"For us to say that we don't have $200 a month to keep a 72-year-old man in his home is insane. We have 12-13 billionaires in this city who will do very well under Trump."
Redmond noted the possible loss of federal funding due to San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city. "In San Francisco we are going to look at ways to make up for that revenue by taking the money for those who will do well under Trump," he said amid applause and cheering.
Priya Sen of the January 21 Women's March said people need to fight against misogyny.
"This patriarchal system is unfair and unjust," said Sen. "We are going to tell Trump that we are not going to tolerate his hate-filled rhetoric."
She said that the upcoming march, which takes place in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the country, including San Francisco, isn't just for women.
"Action speak louder than words," she said. "This is a march for women but we need male allies."
During the meeting's public comments period, many people stood up and reiterated the thoughts of the speakers, though one man cautioned activists to be mindful of how they present themselves.
"This is a spiritual moment, in addition to a social and political moment," said Maggid Jonathan Furst of Keneset HaLev (Community of the Heart), a progressive and inclusive Jewish community in San Francisco. "Fundamental change requires engaging people on the levels of the heart, mind, and soul. That means we must be discerning with our words and symbols. Putting swastikas on signs because of what we perceive as fascism puts more swastikas into the world – this puts more swastikas into people's minds. It does the white supremacists' work for them."
Furst told the Bay Area Reporter that he's seen many swastikas at progressive events. "Most recently at the elector actions," he said, referring to protests when the Electoral College met last month. "They were on many anti-Trump and anti-fascism signs."
Fliers were handed out for a variety of planned events. Bay Area Dump Trump will be holding two marches on Inauguration Day. An 8 a.m. march is set to begin at Justin Herman Plaza. Protesters plan to march to Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and other corporations they say are supportive of Trump. The group will also be holding a noontime rally and alternative concert at 555 California Street, a building partially owned by Trump.
There will also be a 5 p.m. rally at Civic Center Plaza.
Information on future actions will be updated at SF United Against Trump's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfunitedagainsttrump/.
For information on Jobs With Justice actions, email email@example.com.
For information on the Women's March, visit https://womensmarchbayarea.org/ - join-a-march.