Resisting Donald Trump’s Violence Strategically – OpEd


It is already clearly apparent, as many predicted, that Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States would signal the start of what might be the final monumental assault on much of what is good in our world. Whatever our collective gains to date to create a world in which peace, social justice and environmental sustainability ultimately prevail for all of Earth’s inhabitants, we stand to lose it all in the catastrophic sequence of events that Trump is now initiating with those who share his delusional worldview.

Starting with the appointment to his administration of individuals, such as Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, who share his warped view of the world, and continuing with the policy decisions he is now implementing via executive orders, Trump threatens our biosphere with ecological catastrophe (through climate/environment-destroying decisions and perhaps through nuclear war) – see ‘US election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory’ and ‘It is two and a half minutes to midnight: 2017 Doomsday Clock Statement’ as well as ‘Trump pledges “greatest military build-up in American history”‘ – exacerbates military violence in existing war zones – see ‘Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister’ – increases regional geopolitical tensions in ways that inflame the possibility of political unrest and military violence in new theatres – see ‘Worried Over Trump, China Tries to Catch up With U.S. Navy’ – supports violent and repressive regimes against those who struggle for liberation – see ‘The Middle East “peace process” was a myth. Donald Trump ended it’ – and is generally implementing decisions that reverse progressive outcomes from years of peace, social justice and environmental struggles. See, for example, ‘Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Likely to Bring a Flood of Lawsuits’ and ‘One of Donald Trump’s first moves in the White House strips women of abortion rights’ as well as ‘President Trump Breaks a Promise on Transgender Rights’.

Moreover, Trump, and those like him, further criminalize our right to dissent. See ‘North Dakota Senate passes bills criminalizing Dakota Access Pipeline protests’.

Why does Trump ignore overwhelming scientific evidence (for example, in relation to the climate) and want to ‘lock out’ people who are desperate to improve their lives? Why does he want to prepare for and threaten more war and even nuclear war?

Is Donald Trump sane?

According to Dr John D. Gartner, a practising psychotherapist who taught psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, ‘Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president’. See ‘Temperament Tantrum: Some say President Donald Trump’s personality isn’t just flawed, it’s dangerous’.

Moreover, Chris Hedges argues, Trump is dangerously violent. See ‘Trump Will Crush Dissent With Even Greater Violence and Savagery’.

But why is Trump ‘dangerously mentally ill’ and violent?

For the same reason that any person, whether in the Trump administration or not, ends up in this state: it is an outcome of the ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that they suffered during childhood and which unconsciously determines virtually everything they now do. In brief, Trump is utterly terrified and full of self-hatred but projects this as terror and hatred of women, migrants, Muslims… and this makes him behave insanely. For a brief explanation, see ‘The Global Elite is Insane’. For a more comprehensive explanation of why many human beings are violent, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

So what are we to do? Well, if you are inclined to resist the diabolical actions of Donald Trump (and his insane and violent equivalents in the United States and other countries around the world), I invite you to respond powerfully. This includes maintaining a large measure of empathy for the emotionally damaged individual who is now president of the US (and his many equivalents). It also includes recognizing that this individual and his equivalents are the current ‘face’ of a global system of violence and exploitation built on many long-standing structures that we must systematically dismantle.

Here are some options for resisting and rebuilding, depending on your circumstances.

If you wish to strike at the core of human violence, consider modifying your treatment of children in accordance with the suggestions in the article ‘My Promise to Children’.

If you wish to simultaneously tackle all military, climate and environmental threats to human existence while rebuilding human societies in ways that enhance individual empowerment and community self-reliance, consider joining those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’.

If you wish to resist particular elite initiatives that threaten peace, justice and environmental sustainability, consider planning, organizing and implementing nonviolent strategies to do so. But I wish to emphasize the word ‘strategies’. There is no point taking piecemeal measures or organizing one-off events, no matter how big, to express your concern. If you don’t plan, organize and act strategically, you will have wasted your time and effort on something that has no impact. Remember 15 February 2003? Up to thirty million people in over 600 cities around the world participated in rallies against the war on Iraq in what some labeled ‘the largest protest event in human history’. Did it stop the war?

So if you are inclined to respond powerfully by planning a nonviolent strategy for your campaign, you might be interested in the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel and other strategic thinking on this website – Nonviolent Campaign Strategy – or the parallel one: Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.

And if you wish to join the worldwide movement to end violence in all of its forms, you might also be interested in signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

Donald Trump has formidable institutional power at his disposal and he and his officials will use it to inflict enormous damage on us and our world in the months ahead.

What most people do not realize is that we have vastly greater power at our disposal to stop him and the elite and their institutions he represents. But we need to deploy our power strategically if we are to put this world on a renewed trajectory to peace, justice and sustainability.

Robert J. Burrowes

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?‘ . His email address is [email protected] and his website is at

2 thoughts on “Resisting Donald Trump’s Violence Strategically – OpEd

  • March 3, 2017 at 8:48 am

    This author appears not to have read more than the whining in the Washington Post and NYT – not a single genuine thought goes into his lament.

    Trump hasn’t taken abortion rights away yet. It will take more than one Supreme Court appointment to do that and even then it isn’t likely to happen: Supeme Court decisions set precedents upon which most of what comes afterwards is based. Overturning an earlier abortion decision would therefore necessitate overturn of a long series of decisions based on Roe v Wade.Even with conservative judges in the Supreme court, the Constitution still demands separation of church and state. That means, laws have to be written such as to be the least invasive restriction possible to keep order. A law cannot be based on religious beliefs. NOtonly was Trump fully aware that it would take years to overturn Roe v Wade. The overturn would remand the decision back to the states. Which means some states would allow abortion and some wouldn’t. Not only will that create a situation of inequality. But it will not satisfy the religionists. It will leave it where it mow is: those who want an abortion can get one, those who don’t cannot be forced to undergo an abortion. Just a bit more compliatedly as some people in conservative states would have to travel to a non-conservative one. For all these reasons, it isn’t likely that even a conservative court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Ironically, when Trump said that if abortion was illegal, women who undergo one would also have to be punished, the Dems were the first to squirm. They didn’t see that Trump was trying to retain equality under the law and scare the religionists out of that endless stone of contention of elections.

    As to the environment, it is by now clear that the scientists at NOAAH covered up that they used unreliable data to make the case for global warming more pressing than it is. Nobody could explain the remission or at least slowing of global warming during the 15 years from 1998 to 2013- whereupon the scientists who produced the report for Obama’s agenda and the Paris symposium decided to push it under the rug.

    It is unfortunate that the science is so unreliable. It would be better to have accurate data. It could well be that climate warms for other reasons than fossil fuel burning – i.e. war and war research by the US, like shooting ions into the ionosphere, which presumably is now discontinued when it became clear that it would affect weather patterns – and therefore climate – in a non-reversible way.

    The excessive howl by the Liberals who never appear to read the science itself but go by some biased media articles, harms the world. It may not be just the fossil fuels that have to be altered, but research in general. There may be many more factors. Climate change happened in the past when the axis of the earth changed. I could of course be that space research has just that effect because it changes the constancy of mass of the planet earth. It is also possible that the magnetic pole shifts for other causes, anchored in space rather than on earth. But with the excessive howl that is mostly political and made of envy of the oil companies, the real causes of global warming may ultimately not be recognized in time.

    Then comes the psychology of Trump. No, he isn’t insane. On the contrary. He is very rational. Instead of wanting more regime change wars, he wants world trade and peace. It is obvious that this does not mean that the US can diminish its arsenal – it could though streamline its spending a bit. And initially, Trump wanted to do just that. But the Dems get their benefit from the military industrial sector – which is why projects like the F35, which, by the time it can function like a higher jet, will be obsolete: if the Chinese tell the truth and did develop a quantum laser, then the entire reason for being of the F35, the stealth, i.e. that it can’t be seen on radar, will be blown away. What will be left is a mediocre plane. For a development cost of $1t. The Chinese did develop a quantum computer and satellite – which has the advantage that it can’t be jammed. The Russians developed jamming equipment that can jam the US’s most important satellite on which all its command and control in war depends, though that satellite cannot be shot down as it was built to resist a nuclear attack. It is therefore clear that the US cannot stop to upgrade its military capacities too. That isn’t insane. If the US were no longer the most powerful military, it would have foes.

    Ironically, it was Trump who wants and end to the endless wars. And trade and sovereignty for all nations. Surely, there is no single more effective means for peace than prosperity of all. That cannot be produced with hegemony wars. It has to be produced with trade and cultural exchange. Nor is Trump a monster on the individual level: he did ask for paid maternity leave in his address to Congress. Ivanka realizing her promises too!

    The biggest and most insane enemy to worldwide wellbeing are the Liberals: they want hegemony, American exceptionalism, perpetual war and oppression of the entire world under the US system of neocolonialism as exerted by US corporations who export manufacture to low wage countries where there are no worker protections, for the benefit of the US elites. Trump wants to end that and force companies to produce their products inside the US. He wants other countries to trade fairly and stop stealing US jobs. And he wants to encourage them to produce their products for the purpose of exchange and mutual enrichment.

    Ironically, this author is so biased by false MSM articles, that he doesn’t dare to look at the facts anymore. That is not in the interest of anyone.

  • April 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Excellent article….very informative. Spot on.


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