Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission Urges City Become a “Community In Resistance”

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December 14, 2016

The Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission has been discussing the transformation of the city into a “community in resistance,” a term used by Zapatista base communities in Chiapas. Truly, this Trump is not our president, and we must reject him entirely—in deeds, not just in words.

We are sending this message to the city council and school board today.

I’ll highlight three important elements of this civic resistance.

1.  Embrace the proud spirit in Berkeley and many other cities that says “we will not cooperate with the destruction of the sanctuary movement.”  Our commitment to immigrant communities is not for sale.

2.  Resistance to illegitimate authority goes far beyond sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.  Trump will keep the worst, most militaristic and racist aspects of the federal government, and undermine every program meant to help people.  We can no longer delay removing our police from the national security network, stop the racial profiling, and focus their work on actual public safety.

And as hard as life is for so many people, it is going to get harder in the coming years.  Between the repeal of Obamacare, the return to a fossil-fuel economy, destruction of public education, and an escalation of outright white and male supremacy, Trump’s policies threaten to turn the country into a script from the Turner Diaries and the Handmaid’s Tale.

Let us in Berkeley set our own priorities for social and economic progress of our community.  Let those priorities be guided by racial, economic, and environmental justice.  To resist Trump’s America, we must unite our community, and stop the displacement, the hyper-development, the scapegoating of the homeless, the profiling, the bullying.

If we mean to be an alternative to Trump, let us show it in our actions.  We will do more than survive the next four years.  Together with other cities across the country, we will create the society we want from the bottom up.

3.  In this emergency situation, we must change the way city government functions.
Peace and Justice proposes:

“Human rights and social justice must be at the top of every government’s priorities, just as international human rights treaties are the supreme law of the land…. A municipal structure should be created in Berkeley with the mandate to review every new City legislative proposal and program for social justice implications. Such a structure could be a department, an auditing or public advocate function, or a commission with enhanced staff allocation.”

George Lippman is the Chair of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, and a member of the Police Review Commission