Thousands gathered in downtown Oakland today to protest against gun violence. As is to be expected, the range of politics was all over the place – from Black Lives Matter supporters and opponents of US imperialism to committed Democrats. But the main thing was the fact that it was not entirely just the usual suspects; there were many faces in the crowd who clearly weren’t the long time “protesters”.
Even the presence of the liberal representatives of the Democratic Party is significant. What seems to be happening is that this wing of the corporate party is growing increasingly worried about Trump and the far right seriously destabilizing society. The latest act of Trump is the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor. Bolton is an unreconstructed neo-conservative who believes that the answer to all problems US capitalism faces around the world is military action. From war abroad to uncontrolled gun violence at home, this is stirring up the pot.
So, this wing of the Democrats is moving to ramp up their support, including by starting to bring people out onto the streets. Yes, of course, they will do all in their power to control things. But given all the combustible material in US society, they will not be able to do so completely.
When we add this to the years-long Black Lives Matter movement and the women’s marches and now the teachers’ strike in West Virginia (see video) – and likely coming similar strikes in Oklahoma and Kentucky – we have to ask if these are all signs of a new movement struggling to be born.