2017: the year we become ungovernable

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/02/2017-the-year-we-become-ungov.html


Isn’t this sort of what Kim Davis did and was lambasted for doing?


No; she was being a bigoted fucknugget. It’s not even a particularly subtle difference.


A public declaration of the intent to be “ungovernable”, and incite anti-government activities.

What will be the approach? Violent rallies where flags are burned?
Acts of Civil Disobedience?

Has anyone actually thought out the ramifications of committing treason?

Has anyone thought out the consequences of voting Trump because of their White Penis Insecurity Syndrome?


Work-to-rule or abusing authoritarian laws to the point of uselessness?

Part of me wonders what would happen in North Carolina if trans allies started accusing random people in the toilet of being trans? Or not so random, the more conservative and cisgender appearing people may be better targets.


Laws require the consent of the governed. Trump gained less of the popular vote than his opponent, and yet is proposing to be uncompromising. There’s no legitimacy to his policies and his laws should not be accepted or enforced. Civil disobedience is not treason. Treason is ignoring the emoluments clause in the constitution and running a kleptocracy in tandem with Putin.


I’m still waiting to see examples of treason in your post.

Anti-government activities? Too vague to mean anything. Violent rallies? Not treason. Flag burning? Legal and protected by the first ammendment. Civil disobedience? Not treason.


I’m going to guess that:

  • A lot of women who had nothing to do with this would be harassed to make a political point
  • It would encourage some people to do the same
  • Some trans allies would be assaulted by the more conservative and cisgender appearing women and/or their S.O.
  • No positive change would come of it, and trans people in North Carolina would be no safer.

Many prominent Republicans are now declaring that they’d rather ally with Russia (a largely hostile foreign power that just worked to undermine our democratic process) than with members of their own country’s Democratic Party. What is that if not treason?


Kali Akuno’s projects are admirable, but they are mostly long-term and generally anti-capitalist, which means they are not particularly oriented toward resisting Trump in the near future. At present, the people who want to resist Trump do not seem to have any very coherent idea of what it is they’re resisting. (See http://theweek.com/articles/667163/why-womens-march-washington-already-failed for just one part of the problem.) Is becoming ‘ungovernable’ what the people in general want? If not, how are things like a general strike or industrial sabotage even remotely relevant?


That reminds me a lot of this interview with Victor Pelevin:

I’m sensing a theme here.


Depends who is doing the governing.


I imagine Trump is going to increasingly find that most of the major cities and richest states in the country get more and more hostile to him and his policies. I think federal authority is going to find itself opposed by local authority. It won’t just be individuals resisting him.


I don’t agree. Certainly the better-off want their nice jobs, nice houses, and nice cars, none of which they will have if the state becomes ungovernable. Further down the economic food chain the less well off may hate the elites and the professionals, but they generally aspire to similar stuff and a similar lifestyle. (See https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class for some reflections on this issue which seem reasonably accurate to me.) They, too, are still devoted to the possiblities of the capitalist state. That leaves marginal groups – the improperly pigmented, those of Latin speech and appearance, the lumpenproletariat, the truly poor – to carry out the general strike and the sabotage. Who will care? They don’t have jobs anyway. So far, ‘ungovernability’ looks like yet another turn at romantic posturing. Whereas Trump and company, in spite of the buffoonery, may be serious and much smarter than you think.


No. Here’s why:

  • Kim Davis wasn’t being coerced in any way into continuing to hold her position – as counterpoint see refusenik scientists in the USSR or forced labourers and slaves across history.

  • She also wasn’t being grossly under-compensated or not compensated at all to do the job her position required – as counterpoint see (to a degree) the goldbricking workers that Cory’s aunt supervised.*

  • She was not being asked to do something that fundamentally went against her job description or against professional principle – as counterpoint see government-funded Canadian climate scientists who refused to bury or destroy legitimate research during the Stephen Harper years.

  • She was not being asked to use her position in a way that would result in substantive harm to others – as counterpoint see the employees of the Amsterdam municipal records office who refused to give up records of Jews to the Nazi occupiers, or HUAC witnesses who refused to name names.

  • The change in law that recognised same-sex marriages was not imposed by an illegitimate or suspect process – as counterpoint see saboteurs and other resisters against foreign occupation forces or peaceful protesters against the broken American Electoral College system.

Kim Davis didn’t like the effect a legitimately enacted law had on her job, and refused to do that part of it that she personally disapproved of while continuing to voluntarily stay in that job and get compensated for it properly. She was not being asked to do something that wasn’t in the general job description (registering state-recognised marriages) or went against it (e.g. destroying existing marriage records), nor was she being asked to inflict substantive harm on others (making heterosexual Baby Jesus cry does not count as substantive).

  • [fun fact: the Slavic word for “worker” comes is rooted in the one for “slave.” It also gave us the word “robot”]

I doubt that the kind of ‘resistance’ envisioned here will either last very long or work. Effective anti-Republican pushback will happen when the malign effects of their overreach (i.e. repeals of decades old laws) become evident. The most successful efforts will be conducted by rather ordinary, formerly apolitical Americans. Because there are more of them, they are less dislikeable, and are more likely to be involved with the unsexy nuts and bolts of governing.

The “conservatives” will eventually lose the real middle America. Probably very quickly once they are free to let their asshole flag fly. But, stagey, pretentious posturing by doctrinaire leftists and those they approve of will probably slow down the real, successful fight.

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Considering all Trump has done is assemble his potential team of marauders and sent a few belligerent tweets, I don’t really know what anyone who wants to thwart him is expected to be doing. You can’t fight a battle before you get on the field.


Yes. Then my massive erection knocked me unconscious.


Always remember: Cooperation is facilitation.