Ask yourself, what would Ida B. Wells, Mother Jones, Jane Addams, Randolph Bourne, Emma Goldman or "Big Bill" Haywood do? What would Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker or Fred Hampton do?
"They were madmen [and madwomen]," Pierre-Auguste Renoir said of the radicals who rose up and led the Paris Commune, "but they had in them that little flame which never dies."
These radicals understood that plutocrats and the armed goons who kept them in power had to be fought. There was not enough money, power or fear to get them to surrender their integrity. And because they did not waver, indeed were willing to suffer persecution and in some cases death to speak truth and demand justice, they inspired those around them to resist. Present-day protesters in the United States, such as those in Chicago after the police murder of Laquan McDonald and those who were targets of arrest or violence at or near two Trump rallies in Arizona, grasp this fundamental truth about power. These men and women did not wait for police permits to march or protest. They defied the law. Some of them went to jail. We will embrace this inspiration and courage, handed down by earlier generations of radicals, or we will stumble like sleepwalkers toward catastrophe.