On Death Ground, FIGHT!

Rise Up! Defeat Trumpism! Read reflections from Bill Moyer about the events that led to Trump's rise to President elect and the resistance we have to muster to counter his push towards fascism. Then, employ the linked organizing tools and resources to join together in this epic uprising. 


Last June, outside of my work at Backbone, I penned an essay The Revolution Will Not Be Clintonized warning against the folly of DNC machinations designed to keep Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination within their party (or running independently).  I do not blame the disenfranchised for Trump. I blame the overly franchised in the DNC and the cowardly at the RNCWe the People should not accept the loss of the last vestiges of democracy due to their follies.  Over the past few days I have been churning on the essay below - stumped by the idea that the election of Trump requires us to merely accept the future he promises.  Personally, I cannot stomach that.  There is NOTHING honorable about allowing a smooth transition to fascism.

WeWon-TPP-MarchFront.jpgAs we enter this Thanksgiving weekend, I give thanks for the honor of getting to do this work and getting to meet people like you.

May we all feel gratitude to live in a time when we can stop tyranny before it gains a further hold on our society and wrecks the planet beyond repair. May we be grateful that the Standing Rock protectors are showing you and I how to fight a spiritual struggle nonviolently from a place of love.

I believe that you share in the deep gratitude for all the sacrifices that have been made to protect us from tyranny, that so many people long for substantive change and a shift to a society not based on fear and greed, but upon the ethic that we are truly all in this together

We have learned that "When we fight, we win" is more than a slogan. The TPP victory against a global corporate coup belongs to We the People, not Donald Trump.  Be proud of that and celebrate this pivotal, seemingly impossible victory.   Here are some highlights from that fight to remind you of the beautiful struggle we engaged in to bring it out of the shadows of secrecy and into the 2016 Presidential campaign.  

Especially in a moment like this - as hate is being stoked - I believe that our "Love Wins!" call to ground our actions in compassion, values, and universal aspirations is true and will serve us well.  And finally, our theory of change is built upon a knowledge that "When the People Lead, the Leaders Follow."  You know that together we have made the seemingly impossible inevitable, and the seemingly inevitable impossible.  It is time for us to do so again.we-flushed-it-smiles-copy-small.jpg

As poet Diane di Prima wrote, "The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All other wars are subsumed by it." 
It is time to boldly imagine that another world is possible. 

Last week, Backbone and Popular Resistance collaborated to produce a number of model actions in Washington, DC.:

  • We built signs, blockaded the doors at the US Army Corps of Engineers and marched in solidarity with Standing Rock.
  • We celebrated the People's victory over the TPP and blockaded I395 as an example of bold action to resist Trumpism. (More HERE)
  • We called out the racism more apparent that ever in Trump's cabinet and in our society by inflating a giant elephant with "Racism" on it in front of his DC hotel.  

We did all this without turning a blind eye to the DNC corruption that allowed the dynastic Clinton candidacy of entitlement and the status quo to throw the election to the racist demagogic populism of Trump. 

  • On our final day, we executed a bold Eviction Action at the DNC Headquarters to call for them to move on. (Video HERE). Our action was designed to send a clear message to hold the DNC accountable for Trump's election by undermining the Sanders candidacy.  

It is time for a multi-party system that allows the positive populist aspirations of We the People to manifest within our election system. 

Please read the call to action below. Download and Utilize the Backbone Campaign's Organizer Toolkit HERE to organize autonomous actions and affinity groups in your community.  You are going to need these tools in the coming months.  It is an honor to be in collaboration with you all. Forward Together!

Forward Together!

In Gratitude and Solidarity,

Bill Moyer
co-founder, Backbone Campaign


On Death Ground, Fight! (There is nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.)

by Bill Moyer
We cannot wait until Inauguration to stop Trump and his racist followers. Many who voted for Trump did so as a protest against the status quo, opposing the Clinton dynasty and the failure of Obama to deliver meaningful change in their lives.  Many Trump voters would have voted for Bernie if they had had the choice. Many more people would have voted had the DNC machine allowed Bernie the opportunity he deserved and more importantly - the choice for a positive populist vision for change we/the American people deserved. The existing system is not broken, it is fixed - and it let us all down one time too many. 

There is nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.

Now, it is up to We the People. We cannot wait for inauguration to stop Trump and his racist followers. When/If Trump controls the FBI and the military resistance may become far more dangerous. Our communities, our economy, and our planet cannot tolerate going backwards on fairness, justice, and equity. We cannot slow the dismantling of racism.  There is no time for another unbridled frenzy of greed and corruption further concentrating wealth and power in an oligarchic few.  There is no time, no excuse, and no justification for climate denial and poisoning our planet betraying future generations.

There is nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.
The time to Rise Up is NOW.  The time for a National Strike is NOW. The time to halt business as usual and engage in a community-based dialog about the future we want, the choices we deserve, and how to remake the institutions of this society to deliver justice, peace, and ecological well being is NOW.  It is time to shut this broken system down and demand a REAL DEMOCRACY NOW.

Yes, I mean that we should use these unprecedented times to make unprecedented demands.  We are in a Constitutional crisis (see Atlantic article), so looking for a remedy outside what that Constitution is entirely warranted.   From the view of this moment, it is seemingly impossible to win this fight. But, we guarantee failure if we fail to try. If we fail to try - how will we forgive ourselves when our worst fears come true and the unimaginable becomes our dark reality?

There is nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.

"On death ground, fight."  This directive from Sun Tzu means that when all is nearly lost - there is but one choice.  We must fight the battle of our lifetime in the next two months on a battleground that is uncharted. Luckily, we have a beacon to guide us: Standing Rock is the spiritual center of our movement and the peaceful, prayerful warriors are showing us the way.  Indigenous protectors demonstrate that this is a spiritual struggle that must be fought fiercely AND nonviolently from a place of love.  Despite the hate and violence that is hurled upon them and will be hurled upon us - we must ground our courage in love and not succumb to the divisive hatefulness that fear kindles.



Stand strong - heart open - inviting America to a new era of true democracy - political and economic democracy - built upon a "We are all in this together" ethic.  Love for our children, love for the promise of democracy, and love for the life sustaining planet that desperately needs our immediate care and protection will sustain us through the ugliness and chaos of change.

There is nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.

Rise up in whatever way you can.  Engage your community in a dialog about shared values. Circle friends and loved ones to pledge allegiance to the work ahead.  Be grateful for the sacrifices generations before us have made and pledge our lives to delivering real democracy and a livable planet to future generations.   Be bigger and more beautiful than the ugliness Trump incites.  Resist hate and fear with a fierce and hopeful love.

There is absolutely nothing honorable about a smooth transition to fascism.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

It is time to call for a new election -  with the choices we deserve - where neither hate nor dynastic power is on the ballot.  We are on the "Death Ground" of Democracy. The time to Rise Up is NOW.


Here are some powerful tools to use in your community:

  1. Download and utilize Backbone Campaign's Toolkit for Organizers HERE.  You and your friends can use this manual to start an affinity group, plan actions, assess the strategic design of the action, assign roles and build your local power and capacity.  
  2. MANY additional DIY tactics HOW TOs can be found HEREDownload them in case the site is hampered. 
  3. Photos from last week's model actions in DC to Evict the DNC and Stop Trumpism are HERE.
  4. If you are interested in a deeper dive into Backbone's theory of change, please access a PPT version of a future book HERE.

Freeway blockades are dangerous and need careful planning and messaging.  DO NOT TREAT LIGHTLY.

Best to have at least one vehicle per lane and banner/blockade to stretch entire width of road, including shoulder.  Vehicles line up and slow down gradually together.  Banner team can be in one or more of the vehicles and exit with the banner. (Practice this many times before attempting.) U-Locks around neck to banner pole can lengthen time of blockade and give negotiating power to avoid arrests.  Signage and communication with media can give context to the frustrated travelers - many of whom might sympathize with the cause, but are under normal pressures we all can relate to.  Vehicles and people can be deadly - so be sure that there is plenty of support for de-escalating drivers and cops.  DO NOT carry any weapons, pocket knives, drugs, etc. Designate a police liaison and have no one else speak to the police.  Blockaders should not have to speak with public.  Have charm squad/de-escalation crew do that.  Express sympathy, etc. Have a plan for emergency vehicles.  Make sure supporters with clear messaging can be seen at the overpass.  Be very careful and take care of each other.