A #NationalStrike? Think about it.


From Libbie Grant on Facebook, here’s something we can prepare for.

Folks. There is serious talk today all over Twitter about organizing a national strike to force the GOP-controlled Congress to either impeach Trump or force his resignation. This is a great idea, but it’s something we need to prepare for, and we may not have a whole lot of time to prepare.

What is a national strike? It’s when everybody in the country refuses to spend money. If you can also refuse to go to work and do your job, that’s good too, but the crucial part is the refusal to spend money. 70% of the USA’s GDP is personal consumption. That means our entire economy–and by extension, our government–depends on us spending money on the stuff we use or own. We have almost no exports anymore; our exports are, in effect, our individual citizens’ personal consumption.

Those of you who are my age or older remember what happened just after 9/11. Everybody was freaked out and shocked, so Americans hunkered down in their homes and did nothing, went nowhere, bought nothing unless they absolutely had to. Just a few days of decreased spending had a massive impact on our economy and our government. I remember George W. Bush going on TV and pleading with Americans to start spending money again. That wasn’t just another idiotic thing W said because he’s a dummy; it’s what Congress asked him to do because they found themselves unable to function at that critical time due to the sudden cessation of our economy.

That’s a national strike. That’s what we can do–what we NEED to do–in order to force the Republican-controlled Congress to act. They will NOT act without it.

We all need to be preparing now for the national strike. With luck, it will only need to last for a few days, and Congress will cave. But we should be prepared for a longer strike if necessary.

Here’s what you need to start doing right now in order to make this strike effective and ensure you can continue to participate without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk of too much discomfort.

-Stock up on non-perishable food, enough to last up to a month. Canned stuff. Can your own goods now if you know how to do it and have the equipment. Go for foods that are calorie-dense and/or filling. Dried beans are cheap and will keep you going indefinitely. Buy a ton of them and store them in solid, critter-proof containers.

-Make sure you have a good can opener and a spare.

-Stock up on medications and other care supplies for a month or more.

-Stock up on all the pet supplies you will need for a month or more.

-Assume that this evil, fascist government will attempt to fight back by shutting down utilities in some cities. That may include your city. So that means you must: 1) Get those big 5-gallon water jugs, lots of them, and fill them up now, and put secure coverings over the openings so bugs can’t get in. Store them in a safe place. 2) Have camping supplies? Great! Stock up on white gas or other fuel sources to run camping cook stoves. If you don’t have a camping stove already, get one now. They aren’t terribly expensive and you can find used ones on Craigslist. You should have one anyway in an emergency kit (as those of us who live in earthquake country know!) 3) Be sure you have working flashlights and plenty of batteries. 4) Get a solar charger for your personal electronic devices. 5) Pull out some cash and keep it in a safe place in case you need to buy anything in a real emergency situation. Or put aside valuable items you think you can trade to your neighbors. 6) Consider what your town is like during the summer and think ahead to your comfort needs. Plan how to meet those needs without electricity or money. Maybe that means identifying the coolest location in your neighborhood and making a plan to spend the hottest hours of the day there. Start thinking about this stuff now. 7) Check in with your elderly and disabled neighbors to be sure they are similarly prepared for utility shutdowns and have supplies laid away and a way to contact help if they need it. 8) Make a plan for waste disposal if those utilities are shut down, too.

Be prepared. A national strike is almost certainly coming at this point. With luck, it won’t be a long-term situation and it’ll be over in a matter of a handful of days. But be sure you’re ready in case it’s not over so quickly.

I would support this. The only question is what fraction of the population would actually join in…because face it, there are a heck of a lot of people who think fascism is just fine.

Another thing that could be done: Marches are planned all across the country for 30 June. I’ll be there!

Comments

  1. jsrtheta says

    What fraction? A very tiny one.

    “‘[I]t’ll be over in a matter of a handful of days.'” Really? What then? The GOP just storms into Congress and votes to impeach?

    I almost always enjoy your posts, but not this one. There are more productive uses of one’s time.

  2. lakitha tolbert says

    I don’t actually object to a national Strike, but there is also the asshole contingent to deal with. As you say, there are people who are perfectly fine with fascism, (or to be contrary, or just for fun)will, upon hearing of a general strike, run right out to counteract it, I imagine.

  3. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    It’d be easier to burn the Reichstag down.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    So Congress impeaches and convicts, and we end up with President Pence. :-O

    These guys don’t seem to have considered that Unintended Consequences problem at all.

  5. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    More likely Trump declares a national emergency and we end up with martial law, a coup, or civil war.

    Or perhaps all three.

  6. kome says

    My biggest problem with the idea of a strike like this, that is expected to last with luck only “a few days” is that most businesses don’t care about day-to-day profits, because day-to-day operations naturally fluctuate dramatically. Business owners care about quarterly profits, or some other longer time frame than a few days. So they’re just not going to care about a bunch of people striking for a few days.

    The preparation instructions of this strike suggests a month, which is probably closer to the time scale needed for the corporate owners of our politicians to notice, but this is still deeply problematic from a practical standpoint. First of all, you’ve now spent a month’s worth of money on supplies so those businesses will still have your money. So from a strategic standpoint, nothing gets accomplished. But secondly, even if people do want to go through with it, I guess it’s just good luck to the vast majority of Americans who can’t afford to stock up a month’s worth of all of those supplies trying to participate because they live on weekly or bi-monthly paychecks? And what about all of the emergencies that will happen to countless people throughout? Emergency room visits that cost money or result in having to purchase new medical supplies? What if some people can’t accurately estimate what a month’s worth of supplies looks like? And that’s all assuming 100% participation, never mind the reality that PZ pointed out about the millions of Republican cultist constituents out there who are cheering on the behavior of this administration and won’t be striking.

    These kinds of massive, unfocused strikes just don’t work. Focus on specific targets instead. Or, and worse, consider the possibility that peaceful economic demonstrations like a strike won’t make a difference. Either we do this politically – voting people out, recall elections, whatever is necessary – or the only way this madness is going to end is going to be catastrophically destructive.

  7. says

    It would be nice if we could national strike for something instead of against, though… I guess that would require agreeing on something first. At least it should be regarding something specific–as much as I’d like to see Trump gone, I don’t think that will actually change much.
    That said, I’m basically national striking all the time anyway. I barely spend any money. Or make any.
    On a side note, though, “Americans who can’t afford to stock up a month’s worth of all those supplies” can be solved by activating socialism. By which I mean, everyone’s neighbors just learn to share. I mean, “put aside valuable items you think you can trade to your neighbors”?? That’s chump-level thinking! If we did this, we’d come together as a community and help each other, not capitalize Each Other! Wrong capitalization, self!

  8. says

    kome@#8:
    That’s some great whataboutism you’ve got there.

    First of all, you’ve now spent a month’s worth of money on supplies so those businesses will still have your money. So from a strategic standpoint, nothing gets accomplished.

    It reallocates where the money goes. The spending isn’t really the target of the strike, though. The reason you stockpile is because the stores will be closed because nobody shows up for work. And the secondary effect is that those who wish to identify as standing with the regime will still go to work. So, all the ICE creeps and cops will be at work while the angry populace is at home watching and learning where they live.

    General strikes are very effective and are much more complicated that your simple “analysis.” When you say that massive unfocused strikes don’t work, you’re clearly not a student of history.

  9. Danny Husar says

    >We have almost no exports anymore

    … United States is the third biggest exporter in the world (behind China and the EU)

  10. whheydt says

    Ummm… That proposal isn’t a “national strike”, it’s a “national boycott”. I’m dubious about any idea where the person proposing can’t get the correct name for what they’re trying to do.

    (And, of course, impeaching Trump won’t do a damned thing. It’s takes a conviction–which requires 2/3 of the Senate–to remove him. And–as already noted–that leaves us with Pence…)

  11. cysyajads mf says

    Hey buy your stuff today instead of tomorrow because as we all know it matters so much what day you buy your stuff on. The U.S. has no exports??? If that were true all the other countries would be giving us their stuff for free. It’s called fucking trade and when one side trades and the others don’t it’s called a fucking gift. Hey world give us all your crap but don’t expect anything in return. The Chinese or whoever spend those dollars on something JFC. Even if it is government debt those dollars come back and pay for something. OMG.

    The amount of ignorance in this post and the stupidity of the idea to start with is unbelievable. The fact that PZ posted it, well I guess that says quite a bit.

  12. chigau (違う) says

    cysyajads mf #14
    …well I guess that says quite a bit.
    Really? What does it say?

  13. says

    @#1, Schnitzel Von Knobbschafft

    Great idea, but things aren’t bad enough yet for it to happen.

    It would be nice if, just once, people who call themselves “Liberal” would consider that perhaps taking some action before things are “bad enough” would prevent them from getting “bad enough”. It is increasingly obvious that the thing which permits the triumph of the right is the willingness of “Liberals” to hem and haw and what-about and equivocate. Look at the thread about Nazi-punching a while back — “oh, these people who literally want to kill everybody else and have already killed well over 100 people this year so far have rights, we can’t use violence in retaliation because even defending against them would make us as bad as them! We have to wait until they actually set up the concentration camps and then maybe we can talk about organizing a little!” Well, folks, the concentration camps are here, and behold: the Liberals are still sitting on their hands. If somebody is constantly defending the rights of Nazis and doesn’t have the backs of the people the Nazis want to harm, we have a word for that. It’s “Nazi”.

    As far as a general strike goes, if it happens I look forward to seeing Trump’s reaction. It will probably be the same as that of the censors who kept cutting up Verdi operas at the last minute until people stopped showing up: “If anybody, by obstinacy, persists in not frequenting the theatre, such conduct will be regarded as the silent demonstration of a criminal disposition which merits to be sought out and punished.” We’ll see the cops out looking for people who aren’t shopping to haul them off to prison.

  14. says

    @ #8 & #14:
    You’re missing the point. It’s not about buying a month of groceries in advance, it’s about not spending money. Don’t eat out, don’t go to any movies, delay buying that new BBQ you’ve wanted and so on. Just stay at home. Claiming it can’t work ignores the evidence, it obviously worked after 9/11.
    Not saying it’s a great idea, but it is doable. Just think about how much you spend on non-essential goods each year.

  15. Holms says

    #6, #13
    An improvement. Marginal, but it will have to do ’til next election.

  16. Dunc says

    It’s called fucking trade and when one side trades and the others don’t it’s called a fucking gift.

    No, it’s called a “trade deficit”, and the US trade deficit currently stands at around 46 billion dollars per month.

  17. says

    @ #18: It would be more than a slight improvement. It would be a show of force and will, sending a very powerful message to the entire GOP.

  18. ospalh says

    From an ocean away, it doesn’t look like enough Americans are fed up enough with their government for a general strike to work. Why i can’t understand.
    But instead of a general strike, or just a single march, i still think the GDR style Monday demonstrations model might work.
    One demonstration per week in every town and city. Just an hour or two. That way you can build momentum. Start with a few, and get more and more each week.

  19. Reginald Selkirk says

    That’s a national strike. That’s what we can do–what we NEED to do–in order to force the Republican-controlled Congress to act.

    I am not convinced that the Republican-controlled Congress would feel compelled to act. The hidden assumption is that they give a damn. Ask yourself: if they did give a damn, would things be the way they are now?

    Minnesota Republicans, initially resistant to Donald Trump, have rallied behind his presidency

  20. Ragutis says

    Frankly, I don’t see this happening, but this is pretty much what the more responsible (and financially able) of us Floridians do every year. After Irma, I expect an uptick in people stocking up this year.

    Anyway, if you’re going to, here’s a couple of my tips that I try to keep in mind every year:

    You can’t have too much water, wherever you are. I believe it was about 10 degrees hotter in Chicago a couple of days ago than it was here in the Tampa area. Draping a cool wet towel on your head or around your neck feels like a dream when it’s 90-something. For hurricane season here, I believe they recommend having 1gal per person, per day, for 3 days minimum. I make sure I have double that, at least. Might also want to look into purifying tablets or those safe straws or other filters, just in case. Fill your bathtubs, trash cans, and other convenient receptacles beforehand. NOT for drinking. For flushing the potty.

    Batteries too. Can’t have enough. They’re kind of pricey, but most of them can sit around for 10 years or so nowadays and still be good. If the apocalypse doesn’t happen, you’ll never be stuck with a dead remote again.

    Someone in your neighborhood is a healthcare professional. Doctor, P.A.,nurse, EMT, home healthcare practitioner, etc. Find out who. You might need them.

    If there’s room in your freezer or fridge, cram as many bags of ice as you can in there. It’ll buy you a couple/few days of being able to use what’s in there. By the 3rd or definitely the 4th day without power though, you’ll want to chuck it all, regardless. You’ll not only be saving yourself from food poisoning, but also from having to buy a new fridge because of the smell of decay that you’ll NEVER be able to get rid of. Or, instead of the ice, freeze the bottled water I mentioned. 2 birds, one stone. Just make sure there’s some headroom in the bottles so they don’t split.

    A few bags of chunk charcoal, a chimney starter, and a cheap grill. Maybe a bundle or two of firewood. Matches and lighters too, of course. This is the time to empty your freezer. Frozen burgers/steaks/chops/shrimp? Eat it first or it’s trash. It shouldn’t have to be said, but please do the grilling outside.

    Sterno. For the little stuff that needs heat, like:

    Instant “x”. Cup o’ Soup, Ramen, coffee, Uncle Ben’s ready rice, those mac and cheese cups… if you can pour a cup or two of boiling water in it and have a meal, you should have some around.

    MREs and granola/nutrition bars. Pretty cheap and will likely last as least as long as your Pop Tarts, canned ham, vienna sausages and tuna.

    Also, stock up on those glow sticks. They’re pretty shit for illuminating an area of any size usefully, but you can read a book by them and even their poor light can be reassuring and comforting. White, blue, green/yellow are all good, but grab some red ones too. Those won’t compromise your night vision as much. (Also not bad idea to see if you can find a red lens, filter, or at least some red plastic wrap or whatever to put on your flashlights. Hell, you can get red LED flashlights darn cheap from Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, etc)

    Get a bike. Way better than walking if you have to get to emergency services, a distribution center, or that one store that’s open for supplies.

    Oh, and bug spray. LOTS of friggin bug spray, mosquito coils, citronella candles, etc. Don’t want to use the coils or candles indoors, however.

    A tent isn’t too out there to consider, either. Doesn’t have to be fancy or anything, just well ventilated. Depending on where you are, it could very likely be cooler outside with a breeze rather than in your house that has been soaking up the sun’s heat all day. When we got back here after splitting for Daytona during Irma, we were lucky enough to find a hotel room with power. I don’t think there’s any way my 95 year old dad would have been able to last in this house without AC for the 3 days that it took to get the power back on (And that was 2 days after the storm. 2 of my neighbors ended up having to go to ER).

    Oh, and if for some reason you have a cell phone, but no current carrier or plan. It will still be able to reach 911.

  21. says

    Boycott would probably be a better term than strike given the decades of anti-union rhetoric that have floated around the US.

  22. chris61 says

    I’m too old for this survivalist business. If it comes to it, I could walk to Canada in probably less than three hours. I’ll wait it out there.

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