Resisting Donald Trump's Violence Strategically

Robert J. Burrowes*
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
as well as ‘Trump pledges “greatest military build-up in American
– exacerbates military violence in existing war zones – see ‘Obama
Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old
– 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
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
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
*Biodata: 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
and his website is at

Robert J. Burrowes
P.O. Box 68
Victoria 3460
Websites: (Nonviolence
Charter) (Flame Tree Project to Save Life
on Earth) (‘Why Violence?’) (Nonviolent Campaign
(Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy) (Anita: Songs of Nonviolence) (Robert) (Global
Nonviolence Network)