In a piece she wrote for The Guardian last month, novelist Francine Prose posited that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days called for more than simple protests: “Trump’s actions warrant a general national strike,” the headline read. Now that idea is gaining support online.
While the travel ban hangs in limbo, Prose laments what some have termed “slacktivism”: or the general “feel-good” result of lodging a complaint by attending a protest, but achieving little more than a pat on the back from other activists:
Since Trump’s election, we’ve seen dozens of demonstrations – most notably, the Women’s March on Washington – that have reinforced our sense of solidarity and provided encouraging evidence of how many Americans oppose our government’s fundamentally anti-American agenda.
But the trouble is that these protests are too easily ignored and forgotten by those who wish to ignore and forget them. The barriers go up, the march takes place, the barriers come down. Everyone goes home happier.
So, presumably in order to really achieve something, Prose says she believes that America should engage in “a nonviolent national general strike” of the kind more common in Europe than stateside. “Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish,” she writes.
An official site for the event calling for a “24-hour occupation of public space in protest of the Trump administration’s refusal to Honor the Constitution of the United States of America,” was created. The strike also has a social media presence with a Facebook event that has 23,000 interested and 14,000 committed to attending.
The “demands” of the strike listed on the event page are enumerated:
1. No Ban, No Wall. The Muslim ban is immoral, the wall is expensive and ineffectual. We will build bridges, not walls.
2. Healthcare For All. Healthcare is a human right. Do not repeal the ACA. Improve it or enact Medicare for All.
3. No Pipelines. Rescind approval for DAPL and Keystone XL and adopt meaningful policies to protect our environment. It’s the only one we’ve got.
4. End the Global Gag Rule. We cannot put the medical care of millions of women around the globe at risk.
5. Disclose and Divest. Show us your taxes. Sell your company. Ethics rules exist for a reason and presidents should focus on the country, not their company.
The strike is thus far tentatively scheduled for February 17 — the Friday before President’s Day — that may have originated with with writer David Simon, creator of The Wire. He tweeted about the idea last Saturday, two days before Prose’s piece appeared in The Guardian, reports SFist.
If you believe in America, show it by refusing to work on the Friday before President's Day, Feb. 17. Let them know. #NationalStrike
— David Simon (@AoDespair) January 28, 2017
While there’s no guarantee the strike will be a success, there have been calls for nationwide strikes before, most notably near the end of the Occupy Wall Street protests on May Day 2012.