How the AIDS Movement Has Given Birth to the Trump Resistance
Annette Gaudino, who now works at the Treatment Action Group, an AIDS research and policy think tank that grew out of ACT UP, wasn’t sure if she could again marshal the energy to throw herself into confrontational activism. But on Nov. 22, she joined several hundred other people at a mass anti-Trump meeting called by ACT UP members and realized that she still knows how to organize in the midst of crisis and despair. “It’s like riding a bike,” she says. “The muscles are there. You just have to start using them.”
ACT UP began in 1987. The AIDS epidemic was six years old and had killed tens of thousands, and the Reagan administration just ignored it. But ACT UP was able to make headway, even though its largest gatherings never numbered more than three thousand. But of course, the Reagan administration was content to let the opposition die out. The Trump regime delights in attacking specific targets.
No one yet knows how this model will apply to the multifaceted dangers portended by Trump. “The first meeting was in many ways the easy meeting, because people are just so happy to find each other and everyone is so happy to have a chance to do something,” says Jeremiah Johnson, one of the ACT UP members who called the Nov. 22 gathering. “At the second meeting, suddenly you realize that everyone in the room has a different vision for what this group is and how it should function, and there’s no hierarchy, because it’s grass-roots.” Still, he says, “I’m incredibly optimistic right now because just the past week I’ve been flooded with emails of people doing things to try and contribute to the group.”
One thing ACT UP veterans insist on is the importance of real-world, offline organizing to figure out a new strategy. “It is messy and it is slow and I have faith that we will get there,” Alexis Danzig, who joined ACT UP in 1988, told me after the second Trump Resistance meeting. “People just have to bear with each other. Last night was a gathering of like-minded people who know that something needs to happen. Some of them are younger activists who have never faced a government that has so actively hated them. Others of us are kind of used to being hated because of who we are.”
Here is the full article.