Mourn, and Organize: AORTA’s Statement on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

It is our duty to fight for our freedom…

Our movements for justice have taken a terrible blow today. Donald Trump ran a campaign rooted in and reliant upon white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia—and won. Exit polls show 58% of white voters, ranging across class, educational background, and gender, elected Trump.

Several decades of neoliberal economic policies have failed the vast majority of this nation’s residents, and the Trump campaign capitalized on this dissatisfaction by supposedly offering something different. We grieve the harm that has already been wrought by this vicious campaign, and the further harm that will come through newly emboldened channels of violence directed at immigrants, Muslims, women, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people, indigenous communities, all people of color, and the land we share.

As we reckon with the reality that has been exposed, we find strength in the fact that together we are far more powerful than the presidency.

We know that justice is not and has never been found in the election of a US president. Trump’s victory is not our movements’ defeat. Our movements are independent, resilient, responsive and necessary—grassroots in a way no presidential campaign can ever be. As many have said, the outcome of this election is a violent backlash against our movements’ successes. Our movements are powerful. 

The terrain just shifted considerably, and we will need to adapt our organizing, advocacy, education, research, healing, and cultural work strategies as we understand the new conditions we face. We will need to engage in both agitation and compassion. Many of us will be moving forward with organizing while processing our own personal and community traumas. A man who has been accused of rape and sexual assault multiple times, who has promised mass deportations, vilified Muslims, vowed to strip those of us with uteruses of reproductive rights, positioned himself as the “law and order” candidate poised to undermine Black freedom struggles, and made his disdain for women, elders, disabled people, and queer people blatantly clear, has just been elected to our nation’s highest office. It is necessary that we care for each other in this time, that we remain rooted in love for each other and for our collective liberation as we resist and challenge the brutal core of white supremacy and hatred that has been made plain by this election.

We are with you, the brave many, committed to continued struggle. Please be in touch if there are ways that AORTA can support or plug into the good work you are doing.

 “It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

-Assata Shakur

Things to do:


Rising Up to the Trump Moment: We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For by Dawn Phillips of Causa Justa :: Just Cause

White People Elected Trump—Now What by Erin Heaney and Heather Cronk of Showing Up for Racial Justice Action (SURJ Action)

Politics is the Solution by Megan Erickson, Katherine Hill, Matt Karp, Connor Kilpatrick, & Bhaskar Sunkara

Ill Doctrine: Hate Won Last Night. White Supremacy Won Last Night.

Words from comrades and heroes about this political moment:

Michelle Johnson, Dismantling Racism Works: “I am not surprised. I am heart broken but not surprised. This election result will have grave consequences for many. I am not surprised. Donald Trump was strategic in speaking to people’s fear and resentment. He inflamed white rage and fear and this is the result. I am not surprised. If you are in shock, I understand. If you are surprised, please remember that white rage and patriarchy have been alive and well since the inception of this country and our disbelief in this new reality is an indication of our privilege and ability not to see the oppression that is in the fabric of our country, that is pulsing through our bodies and cells. I am heart broken. Racism and patriarchy make us disconnect from our own humanity. Racism and patriarchy make us disconnect from each other. Racism and patriarchy make us disconnect from reality and the collective good.

Fear trumps love. That’s what he spoke to.

The only thing that will keep me moving today is my elders and my ancestors. My grandmother is 95 and my mom is 73, both of them have survived Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, both of them have seen atrocities like Donald Trump. Dorothy and Clara persist and so will I, broken hearted and unsurprised.”


Aurora Levins Morales, author: “Beloved comrades. This is not a time for mutual blame. This is not a time to amplify fear and rev our adrenaline up even more. We need to get enough sleep, eat well, drink water, care for our bodies, and tend our morale like the precious resource it is. We have to sing.

This is not any moment in the past that terrifies us. It is a new moment. Instead of speculating on all the bad things that will happen, let’s reach for each other and start building our unified resistance. Let’s treat each other really well. Let’s stay flexible and responsive. Let’s refuse to despair. Let’s refuse to panic. Let’s accept the challenge history has given us.

We are facing off against an extreme right government that will put very bad policies into place and mobilized movements of white nationalists who will continue to scapegoat and will feel empowered to be more reckless and violent.

We will need to be very resourceful. We will need to sustain each other. Let’s not let any of us get isolated. Let’s resist by being communal. Let’s protect each other. Let’s continue to cherish life, cherish each other, cherish the earth, and our vision of a just society.

There are many people in our international community who have learned how to fight and build under these conditions. We can learn from them. This is not the end of the world. This is a difficult moment from which we will have to grow–in strength, compassion, maturity, purpose.

This is a time to develop political clarity, to learn from each other, to build unity. It’s a time to cultivate a culture of imagination and resistance. To build resilience. To become more and more able to listen deeply to people with whom we disagree, so we can hear the core of what drives them, offer bigger and more hopeful possibilities and win them to us.”


Dawn Phillips, Causa Justa :: Just Cause: “This is not about an election or a policy or a political party. Our vision of transformation is deeper and will require not only a change in the system, but a change within ourselves.

Our strategy is to organize and build power.

We will continue to talk to our neighbors, to those facing evictions and deportations. We will come together in our living rooms and kitchens to share our struggles, articulate vision, strategy and plans. We will take collective action to fight and win locally where we have had the greatest impact in improving lives and conditions.”


Jess X. Chen, poet: “With no citizenship to vote in this country, and a loss of hope–I will say: If this nation is to wake up tomorrow outnumbered by white supremacy & patriarchy & fascism, then look how queer the slugs & bonobo monkeys are, the animal kingdom colorful enough to render whiteness into myth, the volcanos burning hot enough to swallow guns whole. The 6 billion year old Earth will always prevail and has more power and more resilience and more love than any president. Remember, this queer, non-white planet is the legacy you are born from. Take this day as an excuse for every life: non-citizen, not-white, not-straight, non-human, not-man, not-binary to never be silent. We must defend the Earth & continue the resilient fight we’ve started until the very end. This is not the apocalypse but a desolate season that we will end because love is more sustainable than violence. Don’t let your fear be used against you. In the way weeds grow from cracks between concrete, we must turn this fear into a song, a poem, a protest, a revolution & love each other louder than ever before.”


Clare Bayard, Catalyst Project: “We are living through the collapse of an empire. This is what it looks like. Let’s hold each other, love each other, listen to each other, fight like hell for each other’s dignity and survival, and let’s turn to our peers here and around the world who know terrains of proto-fascism, and know how you build powerful social movements in conditions that seem impossible.”


Boots Riley, The Coup: “Only 118 million people voted- out of 321 million in the US. 200 million (minus those under 18) were to the left of both candidates. The rightwingers voted for Trump.

Whether you agree with people not voting for those reasons or not- that’s the reality. People aren’t buying into the system and want a radical change.

Of course, not voting isn’t enough to make change either. To do that we need to have a radical, militant mass movement that uses the withholding of labor as a strategy to exact the immediate changes we want and then grow into a revolutionary movement. One that creates a world in which the people democratically control the wealth we create without labor.

It’s up to radicals to make sure that a movement like that is out there and viable. People will vote for that with their actions.”

In power,