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A Good Rule of Thumb: Don’t Listen to the Advice of Capital One Executives about Protest

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wiyw

I am highly dismayed that this Jake Fuentes piece decrying the protests over the immigration ban got so much play on social media today. Fuentes, an executive for Capital One (a biographical note pulled out of the piece in the last hour fwiw), thinks that instead of protesting, we should just be rational and hope for the best. Evidently he doesn’t live in the United States. And being an executive at a giant bank, he really doesn’t. But I guess if you get profiled in a Forbes 30 Under 30: Finance special photo shoot, what you say gets taken seriously.

Anyway, let’s look inside.

A legitimate argument can be made for the former: a relatively extreme and inexperienced administration was just put in place, and they haven’t yet figured out the nuances of government. But a few of the events in the past 72 hours —the intentional inclusion of green card holders in the immigration order, the DHS defiance of a federal judge, and the timing of Trump’s shakeup of the National Security Council — have pointed to a larger story. Even worse, if that larger story is true, if the source of this week’s actions is a play to consolidate power, it’s going really well so far. And that’s because mostly everyone — including those in protests shutting down airports over the weekend— are playing right into the administration’s hand.

Say what? How does that even make sense? Playing into the administration’s hand? I guess if the point of the administration is to end democracy and create a situation leading to massive arrest and imprisonment of political opponents, maybe it is. But more on that in a minute.

Fuentes then goes on to craft a fantasy narrative where Bannon (let’s stop even pretending Trump actually matters here except as a mouthpiece) rolls this out even though he doesn’t really care about it that much, identifies the traitors, runs a couple of less shocking things through without as much media attention, show that the judicial branch is weak, etc. He has no idea if this is actually true or not. It’s not because of course Bannon openly wants an all-white America except for enough black people to clean houses and Mexicans to pick crops if they have no right to stay in the country. Anyway, all of this evidently tests the nation’s willingness to capitulate to fascism and somehow we aren’t supposed to respond to that. OK.

Assuming this narrative is true (again, I have no idea what the administration intends), the “resistance” is playing right into Trump’s playbook. The most vocal politicians could be seen at rallies, close to the headlines. The protests themselves did exactly what they were intended to: dominate the news cycle and channel opposition anger towards a relatively insignificant piece of the puzzle. I’m not saying that green card holders should be stuck in airports — far from it. I’m saying there might be a much larger picture here, and the immigration ban is a distraction.

No. You know what this is? A rich guy saying that the plight of Muslims and Latinos don’t matter as much as whatever his issues are. The basic, fundamental definition of what it means to be an America and the core values of the United States are not something to be taken lightly. The immigration ban is a distraction from nothing. It’s the front line in the war for the soul of the United States.

But now we get into the meat:

First, stop believing that protests alone do much good. Protests galvanize groups and display strong opposition, but they’re not sufficient. Not only are they relatively ineffective at changing policy, they’re also falsely cathartic to those protesting. Protestors get all kinds of feel-good that they’re among fellow believers and standing up for what’s right, and they go home feeling like they’ve done their part. Even if protestors gain mild, symbolic concessions, the fact that their anger has an outlet is useful to the other side. Do protest, but be very wary of going home feeling like you’ve done your job. You haven’t.

The story of liberalism over the last 30 years has been an attempt to play respectability politics. Protests are for fat union guys with out of fashion mustaches, for vegan hippies, and for anarchists. They aren’t for respectable people. None of those people come to the cocktail parties and dinners I host where we just couldn’t understand how those people could vote for George W. Bush! People have disdained protest in favor of being rational, of having science on your side, of having the facts, of showing up to vote, of being happy with the steady pace of change even if some were being left behind. Protest is simply not respectable.

But that doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did. What has happened in the last 3 months and especially in the last 2 weeks is that a lot of liberals have come to realize this. They are going out on the street for the first time in their life. I can’t tell you about how Facebook posts or protest signs I’ve seen that say something like “I don’t protest but now I have to” or something of this nature. This change is an unabashed good. But the temptation to retreat from the streets and back into our homes is very strong and powerful, especially for a lot of liberals who don’t want to be associated with mass movement politics.

If we let these challenges about the efficacy of protest go without refutation, that’s exactly what will happen. No, protest didn’t force Trump to cave. But if we don’t protest, we have nothing. This is a far more compelling understanding of what protest politics do. At the very least, it creates a resistance, gets people politicized, gives a backbone to judges and politicians, and helps us not feel alone. I guess Fuentes can roll around in bags of cash for that. But not me and not you.

So what does Fuentes think we should do?

Second, pay journalists to watch for the head fake. That’s their job. Become a paying subscriber to news outlets, then actively ask them to more deeply cover moves like the NSC shakeup. We can no longer breathlessly focus media attention on easy stories like the immigration ban. The real story is much more nuanced and boring — until it’s not.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, the media! Well, I’m sure The New York Times will set Trump straight!

Third, popular attention must focus less on whether we agree with what the government is doing, and more on whether the system of checks and balances we have in place is working. It is a much bigger deal that the DHS felt they could ignore a federal court than that Trump signed an EO blocking green card holders in the first place. It is a much bigger deal that Trump removed a permanent military presence from the NSC than that he issued a temporary stay on immigration. The immigration ban may be more viscerally upsetting, but the other moves are potentially far more dangerous.

Guess what? These things are all related. Sorry that people in the streets make you uncomfortable. And sorry that fighting for the human rights of my Muslim friends is important. I recognize that you are a rich guy and so we should listen to you instead. Next time the U.S. decides to return to 19th century standards of racism, I will check with you first before I figure out what is important.

And now for the punchline:

Once again, I’m desperately hoping that none of this narrative is actually true, and that we merely have a well-intentioned administration with some execution problems. I’m also hoping and praying that the structure of our democracy is resilient even to the most sophisticated attacks. I’m hoping that the better angels of our nature will prevail. But with each passing day, the evidence tilts more in the other direction.

Becoming an NPR supporter will no doubt tilt the balance back.

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  • efgoldman

    Hey! I get to be the first (if I type fast enough) to say: Fuck this guy with a rusty, flaming pitchfork. Then sit him down and tape his eyes open, Clockwork Orange style, and watch 24 hours of Tangerine Torquemada babbling.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      I like the cut of your jib.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    Love the argument that “protests alone” aren’t enough, so don’t bother doing them. As if anyone thought protests alone were enough.

    • Just pay attention to the media! That’s enough!!!

      • MyNameIsZweig

        Save us, Steve Inskeep!

        • q-tip

          I don’t count on her to “save us,” but I’m glad Brooke Gladstone is in our corner.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Protests, and IED’s.

      Got the Royal Army and the UVF to the table.

      • PhoenixRising

        You need mamas with prams AND trash cans that explode.

        • Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be trash cans.

      • Linnaeus

        Pedantism: I think you mean the British Army.

    • Mike G

      And because you’re a subscriber, you can get major media outlets to cover what you tell them to!

      What friggin’ planet does this pampered prince live on? Rich people feeling like they’re the smartest people anywhere and entitled to tell us all how to behave is a big part of why we are where we are today.

      I suppose it’s possible one could be a Capital One executive and not be a sociopathic predator douchebag, but I don’t see how.

      • Derelict

        Rich people feeling like they’re the smartest people anywhere and entitled to tell us all how to behave is a big part of why we are where we are today.

        Of course, the other part of this is that a majority of Americans decided 30 years ago that complete deference to the wealthy was the path to their own success. “Greed is good,” said a movie character. One-hundred million Americans said “Amen!” and proceeded to hand their lives and money over to the greediest people on the planet.

        So here we are today, with a sociopathic predator as president, elected largely because he’s rich and thus has to know better than those politicians. And he’s got a sociopathic predator as his prime advisor. And all of this backed up by a party of spineless sniveling servants of the greediest people on the planet. America has achieved what it’s desired since Reagan’s brain went on permanent vacation in 1985.

    • libarbarian

      Yup.

      Buy a rifle.

  • UncleEbeneezer

    Glad to see you write about this. My wife read that shitty article to me last night while we were driving home and my head almost exploded. I think I even said “FFS, Erik Loomis has a whole series of god-damn Labor posts with tons of stories of how protests brought about change. I mean aside from Civil Rights, LGBTQ rights, women’s suffrage, minimum wage, etc. it never works.”

    Also Fuentes never really spells out what we are supposed to be doing. Minor detail, I know… Anyways, fuck him.

    • trollhattan

      Also Fuentes never really spells out what we are supposed to be doing.

      “Something, something, lie back and think of England.”

    • Nobdy

      Do nothing. Wait for the system to fix itself. If it doesn’t and you end up in the 21st century version of a gas chamber idly think “oh my. Maybe I should have protested when I had the chance” as the fumes overtake you.

    • DrDick

      Also Fuentes never really spells out what we are supposed to be doing.

      Sit down, shut up, and do what our betters tell us to do. Whatever you do do not ask for fundamental changes in the way things work.

      • Mike G

        Because he wants us to do nothing. His sales pitch is basically protests are futile, go home, behave, consume and shut up, because it has worked so well for him.

        • DrDick

          He knows he will be fine regardless of what Trump does.

    • ErsatzMossback

      This fucking piece, and the other not-as-stupid-but-no-one-reads-to-the-end thing about “shock events” that was circulating yesterday, have become the bane of my existence on our local Indivisible facebook group. No, it is not true that just because Steve Bannon has a “tactic” we are all doomed and must behave our little selves because oh no all our actions will be turned against us blah blah holy jesus blah. When your opponent is using a “tactic,” that does not automatically mean you lose. It means you counter it with other tactics. Authoritarianism 101 moves are not magic beans. And no, protests over the immigration EO (or next week over the LGBTQ EO, or the week after that over god knows what else) are not “distractions” from rule-of-law issues because guess what? No one but civics nerds like me gives a flying fuck about rule-of-law issues on their own. People become activated by issues they care about, then they start to care about the system. And yeah, a 27-year-old Stanford BA with a degree in management ain’t really who I go to for my political science and organizing wisdom, thanks.

      • humanoid.panda

        This, so much. So yeah, the NSC changes are super important. But without the weekend protests, no one would have heard or cared about them!

    • CP

      Some people have a pathological need to be the smartest person in the room and demonstrate it by shooting down every other person’s idea even when they themselves haven’t got a clue what to do instead.

  • Nobdy

    I have an extremely highly developed sense of “fairness” and tendency to follow the rules to the point where my own mother used to mock me when I was growing up for my refusal to disobey silly rules even when nobody was watching (like walking through the snake of a roped off queue area instead of ducking under the rope even when the queue was empty.)

    As such I am extremely amenable to arguments about how the other side won fair and square and should be given a chance to govern and the benefit of the doubt etc..

    But Trump and the Republicans follow none of that and what they propose to do is so radical.and horrible that politeness and patience turn from virtues to vices. They become weakness and a refusal to act until it is too late.

    Playing by the rules has gotten Fuentes a comfortable pleasant life and I am sure he truly believes it works for everyone, but he’s wrong. The rules need to be fair and reasonable before they can be respected and the things Trump is trying to do are neither. When you start claiming five year old are terrorist threats based solely on their country of origin you are a monster and the only decent thing to do is resist resist resist.

    Resisting loudly and rudely sends an important message and it is one worth sending. Respect is earned and these bastards have earned none of it. Playing respectability games is a fool’s task in these times.

    If part of the body becomes cancerous the immune system rallies to destroy those cells, and if that fails we send in toxic drugs or radiation with terrible side effects to help.

    Sometimes the patient must suffer to be cured.

    So sorry if your flight got delayed or your commute fucked up or you just don’t feel comfortable with all the pussy hats. People are fighting for their lives and the lIves of their loved ones and neighbors, and their damned country.

    So either man up and punch a Nazi today or shut up and be a free rider. Because with a name like Fuentes you are on the goddamned list.

    • efgoldman

      Playing by the rules has gotten Fuentes a comfortable pleasant life

      We don’t know that. Lots of people get ahead in business by fucking everybody they can. Although I suppose that could be “by the rules” too.

      • DrDick

        That depends if you are refering to the rules for the MOTU, like Fuentes and Trump, or those for the plebes (the rest of us).

      • Tyro

        Being an executive at a bank is about going to the right school, joining the right analyst program, pleasing the VPs you work for, and diligently moving up the ladder. It is precisely the sort of thing that appeals to rules followers.

        And there’s nothing wrong with being a rules follower! But you have to be aware of when it works, when it doesn’t, and when people will take advantage of your instincts for their own gain.

        • Breadbaker

          Banks always follow rules. That’s why HSBC, Wells and Deutsche Bank have turned large portions of their shareholders’ equity to the federal government, the State of New York and the EU recently. Note whose money it wasn’t, please.

          • Tyro

            The kind of conformity and obedience (which is the flip side of “self discipline”) that gets you into a top college is the sort of thing that helps you out when you work in banking. I know people see the guys as cowboys exploiting every loophole in the book to make a buck, but the sort of retail and commercial banking work that Capital One does selects for people who aren’t the protesting types… they want people who will do what they are told and who will please those above them.

    • bizarroMike

      Yeah, my shorter:

      “Your protest is inconveniencing me!”

    • CP

      Fairness is fine, as long as both sides agree on ground rules and at least some basic shared values. In a twentieth century political system dominated by liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans, or Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, it works. The problem is that we’re currently running on something that’s closer to a nineteenth century political system of slave states and free states, or monarchists and republicans. One side fundamentally does not recognize the other side’s right to exist, or at least to govern, and doesn’t recognize any ground rules other than “I get what I want, all the time.” In that context, “playing fair” becomes indulging them.

  • PhoenixRising

    It is a much bigger deal that the DHS felt they could ignore a federal court than that Trump signed an EO blocking green card holders in the first place.

    This was my favorite part.

    Absent airports occupied by activist lawyers looking for the literal plaintiffs in the cases in which those orders were issued, we don’t have court orders being ignored, is one way to interpret what he’s saying.

    He’s off the chain (of logic): if protest weren’t happening, the bulldozing of laws as well as norms would continue apace, but we wouldn’t have the valuable information that this is an authoritarian power play with execution problems.

    Protest isn’t going to fix the structural crisis we would still be speculating about the likelihood of, but for the protest, therefore protest isn’t enough.

    This essay had a 2 drink minimum.

    • bizarroMike

      I hate the totalizing nature of his argument. I’ve heard too much of the “protest won’t fix things alone!” for a lifetime. It’s like we are building a suspension bridge and are putting up the big support towers. Then some chump wanders by and tells us it won’t work because the towers don’t span the river. WE KNOW. IT IS ONE PIECE OF THE PLAN. It is also a crutial piece, but hey.

      • benjoya

        that is an excellent metaphor.

        • humanoid.panda

          In one tenth defense of the “protests won’t doing alone” crowd, one does have to point out that there are people out there who think that engagement with the system is immoral (in the first wave of protest in Philly ,there was a heavy presence of the Stein/didn’t vote crowd.) IF there is one thing that heartens me now is that everyone seems to understand that protests are important AND that our end goal is Democrats gaining power.

  • Thank you for posting this, since all day I’ve been wondering “Who the fuck is this Jake Fuentes guy and why the fuck are we listening to his concern trolling nonsense?”.

    As a counterpoint to his entire essay, it’s not playing nice And staying home that got Harley Davidson to cancel Trumps photo op.

  • sleepyirv

    Part of the problem, I think, is that all right-thinking folk just have a hard time believing anyone would WANT this stuff. Okay, perhaps the ignorant white working poor from Hillbilly Elegy might, but Bannon is a millionaire financier/movie producer! He couldn’t possibly want this! So it must be some sort of means to a different political end like fascism (as the scary articles say) or winning 2020 (which the “savvy” political press is saying).

    But, this IS the policy Bannon wants. This IS his political end. And there is no reason to believe he’s smart or patient enough to try this goal through reasonable methods (i.e. horse-trading the welfare state away to Paul Ryan to write a bill that could theoretically pass constitutional muster). Bannon is just a greedy old racist who saw a chance to beat up on some Muslims and took it. The only way we can stop him is causing a backlash so strong regular pols/courts have to listen.

    • Hob

      I’m sure different people latched onto this for different reasons, but I feel like there’s another significant thought process besides “not believing anyone would want this stuff”, which is: feeling an urgent need not to be a sucker.

      When bad things are going on and you’re not sure what to do about them, it’s very tempting to think– even if there are totally plausible reasons for those things– that there’s also a real story you’re not getting, and that if you can just try to see everything in terms of that story, you’ll stop being one of the helpless confused masses and start being one of the people in the know. Also, then you won’t need to spend so much time trying to understand the various different courses of action other people are suggesting, because they’re not in the know, they’re suckers for the mainstream narrative.

      I think that kind of psychology can be seen at play in many, many contexts. And not just politics– there’s a kind of cultural criticism that drives me up the wall, where the question is never “do I like this thing / is it interesting” but rather “what are the creators of this thing trying to put over on me, and how can I best demonstrate that I’m too savvy for that”.

      • Bubblegum Tate

        I think this is absolutely true, and it gets at why I find most self-professed “woke” people to be irritating as all get-out: They’re obsessed being the ones who see the thing behind the thing, and then the thing behind the thing behind the thing, and on and on and on. And they get completely lost down that rabbit hole and cease to have anything of value to offer.

  • evodevo

    He’s wrong about protesting, but he’s right about the immigration ban being a headfake. It DID take attention away from what might be the first step in a nascent coup – the NSC affair. Another clue was the fact that the Border Patrol felt empowered to ignore judicial stays on the ban – is this a harbinger of bigger things to come?

    • The Temporary Name

      I don’t see the NSC affair getting people off their asses in the way the ban would in any case. The “headfake” theory destroys itself in its name: it is not fake, they want it.

    • Kerans

      I don’t know. I heard about the NSC juke pretty quickly. However, I don’t know what could have been done about that on Friday. Or even now, really. But the ban could be at least witnessed and maybe fought right then. So you do what you can.

      • djw

        The blowback to the NSC announcement was sufficient to get the CIA director back on.

        I have a feeling I’m going to get really, really tired of the “Trump’s atrocities are not being protested in the exact proportion to my sense of their relative significance” genre before too long.

        • Mike G

          +10

        • Sev

          Also, of course, how much do most people understand about the NSC thing? But they sure as hell understand people being separated from their families and legal residents with jobs being put back on planes and sent out of the country. Simple decency is important, and often where these contests are won or lost.

    • PhoenixRising

      The protests CAUSED the court orders, under any reasonable interpretation of what actually happened, so yes, it IS a harbinger and we would not HAVE this signal of where the weaknesses in our systems lie in the absence of protest.

      Fuentes is not familiar with yes/and, but there is no reason for that to be contagious.

    • jam

      It DID take attention away from what might be the first step in a nascent coup – the NSC affair.

      No it didn’t. There isn’t a finite amount of attention.

      People who are angry about the immigration EO and its alarming disrespect for process and precedent can also care about the NSC changes.

      The NSC story is dry and boring by itself. People aren’t going to gaf about that whether or not the obvious, huge evil of the immigration EO has attention.

      • Hob

        Whether the NSC story is dry and boring by itself depends on which version you read. One of the most common unsourced copy-paste things(*) I’ve seen going around is based on the idea that the NSC principals committee is where they make lists of people to be assassinated, therefore Bannon now controls all the drones.

        (* Don’t get me started about all the copy-and-paste-without-attribution shit on Facebook. I expect it to only get worse, since people now think it’s really important to do that so Trump won’t know who to put on his enemies list, or something.)

        • That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

          • Hob

            I think it is based on this Raw Story post, whose reasoning seems to be 1. decisions about cases like Anwar al-Awlaki have been made by “a subset of the NSC”, 2. the principals committee is also “a subset of the NSC”, 3. therefore that’s what the meetings Bannon will be sitting in on are about. It also relies on the idea that Bannon will be able to impose his will on the death list as long as he’s personally present in that meeting, whereas he couldn’t do it just via the influence he already has over the goddamn President of the United States, but what’s one more leap of logic I guess.

            The Raw Story commenters aren’t interested in any of those details, they’re mostly on the “see, we told you Obama was Hitler too” beat.

            • I meant “if we leave off the names, the NSA won’t be able to figure out who posted this, which lets us make this viral anonymously and preserve the safety of the earlier posters.”

              The other is stupid too but was harder to follow without the details from your follow-up.

              eta (1) below makes sense to me. (2) is basically “I want the clicks instead of that guy”

        • I think the copy-and-pasting thing is to keep things from being filtered out of people’s timelines by Facebook’s algorithms.

          • Hob

            That might have been what some people intended (although I’m not convinced that Facebook works that way – I see plenty of shared posts showing up in my timeline). But the current explanations that I’m seeing from literally everyone who does it are: 1. if you share a post instead of copy-and-pasting, then if the original post gets deleted by censors, it’ll vanish everywhere (even though it’d be trivially easy for Facebook to do a mass search for other posts with identical text and delete those too, if they wanted to), and 2. copy-pasting will keep the bad guys from knowing who the original source was and going after that person (as if these things are top secret intelligence rather than basically op-ed blog posts).

    • Origami Isopod

      but he’s right about the immigration ban being a headfake.

      Only to whom it doesn’t affect.

    • Mike G

      It’s certainly important but practically speaking it’s a little too obscure to generate a protest. The average observer in the street isn’t going to come out over which bureaucrats make up a committee.

      The Pentagon and the intelligence community certainly noticed their reps getting dumped for a Nazi propagandist, and they have the means to push back in defense of their interests. Average guy flying into JFK whose Green Card suddenly won’t get him back to his family is a little more vulnerable.

    • q-tip

      2 counterpoints from social media to the idea that people were distracted from the NSC:
      1) #stoppresidentbannon was a top hashtag on Twitter … Sunday, I think? As the protests over the EO were in full swing
      2) I can’t find a link to it quickly, so you’ll have to trust me, but a popular shared image from the weekend’s protests was a sign saying something like “DONT THINK WE DONT SEE WHAT YOURE DOING WITH THE NSC”

      Protests over one issue bring people together who care about #alltheissues, in other words.

    • humanoid.panda

      He’s wrong about protesting, but he’s right about the immigration ban being a headfake. It DID take attention away from what might be the first step in a nascent coup – the NSC affa

      This is nonsense.
      1. No one would hear about the NSC decision without it spreading through media channels activated by the protests.
      2. There is no particualr reason that putting Bannon on the NSC is important for a “coup.” You could obtain the same result by, say, making sure that the NSC materials go through him before they reach Trump.

  • keta

    When I read about the incredibly active first week of the Trump administration, I struggle with two competing narratives about what’s really going on. The first story is simple: the administration is just doing what it said it would do, literally keeping its campaign promises. Lots of people won’t agree, but it’s playing to its base. They’re also not really good at this whole government thing yet, so implementation is shaky. The second is more sinister: the administration is deliberately testing the limits of governmental checks and balances to set up a self-serving, dangerous consolidation of power.

    (my bold)

    You know, when you write a piece that is entirely based on a false fucking premise completely pulled out of your ass, the piece is likely to be a stinking hunk of fecal matter.

    Here’s the thing: it’s pretty fucking obvious that Trump is doing what he said he would do, is clueless on the legality to do what he said he was going to do, and is also deliberately testing blah-blah-blah.

    There’s no either/or dynamic in play here, dumbass. And an editor with a half-functioning brain would have pointed this out. But instead we get another steamer dressed up as “thinking.” Bog fucking weeps.

  • catbirdman

    Inciting the Muslim world is a great way to both feed the racist base and to eventually spark a conflict that can easily pumped up into a holy war. They institute a draft and, presto, whoever resists is an unpatriotic enemy. Please, someone convince me that I’ve lost my mind and am making no sense!

  • Just_Dropping_By

    I would wonder how much of the decline in protesting is a function of “respectability politics” (lots of respectable-looking protesters at civil rights protests of the 1950s and ’60s) versus how much is a function of the increasingly severe employment consequences for getting an arrest record. Even if you’re not convicted, you are going to risk seriously harming your employability for the rest of your life.

  • leftwingfox

    Thanks for this, it was showing up in my twitter feed a lot today.

  • DamnYankees

    I love this argument:

    Person A: Why are you protesting X? Don’t you realize this is just a smokescreen so they can implement Y down the road?

    Person B: Ok, so how do we stop them from implementing Y?

    Person A: What, you think they are going go to do Y? What are you, a conspiracy theorist?

    The answer – for all moderate conservatives ever, as always, is “do nothing”. Letter from a Birmingham jail strikes again.

  • Harkov311

    Heck, even if you agree with this guy, he’s simply factually wrong. Bannon being put on the NSC was a front-page story on NPR, among other outlets I read semi-regularly. It’s not exactly under-the-radar by any fair, normal definition of that term.

    This article is self-refuting. The fact that many people shared it clearly means a lot of people do care about Bannon at NSC.

  • jpgray

    “Protest organizers / attendees are doing it wrong!” is rapidly becoming my least favorite genre.

    Again, the reason this is easy to do is that no matter WHERE someone is in doing ANYTHING, from the best at it to the worst at it, progress can be made on some level. This means shortcomings are universal, and that while to make the progress is hard, to point out shortcomings is trivially easy. Why anyone would do this, in isolation from the group, in a tone of discouragement, concerning activities they admit are a GOOD THING, is just baffling to me.

    It unites “your march name is stupid” Chait, “that person has been to at least one fewer protest than me, so she’s a ditzy useless tourist ruining our authenticity” guardians of protest purity, and those who are confused that only those acts likely to inspire mass protests tend to inspire the mass protests.

    Where’s the “Awesome! And also this!” form of activism analysis? Wherefore the isolated finger waggery? Can we be a bit welcoming and encouraging to neophytes as we suggest things? Maybe the masses are useful to a mass movement?

    The play to sell off national lands is gearing up and a huge cohort of my old stomping grounds in MT and ID, the card and calendar of insensible white GOP voters, are going to be right there protesting with the tree-hugging hippies. And you know what? It’s going to be glorious. Even if they don’t all agree with some guy/gal who knows protesting better than they do.

  • randy khan

    Plainly this guy doesn’t read liberal blogs or, for that matter, my Facebook feed, both of which are filled – consumed, even – with people talking about what specific steps should be taken to resist the Trump Administration on a wide variety of issues.

  • First, stop believing that protests alone do much good.

    First, stick that giant straw man En al Sams la Laisa.

    And I don’t find his deep concern that people will Feel Good to be deeply creepy at all.

  • Sebastian_h

    “where Bannon (let’s stop even pretending Trump actually matters here except as a mouthpiece)”

    This is an important weapon. Trump is notoriously insecure. If it becomes clear that everyone [correctly?!? or do we even care] sees Trump as merely Bannon’s mouthpiece, Trump will get rid of him.

  • JKTH

    I had read this piece before and thought it was extremely fucking stupid but I had no idea the guy who wrote it was a Capital One executive. That…puts it in some perspective.

  • Here’s a poll on the muslin ban prior to the decree coming out

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/01/31/reuters_ipsos_muslim_ban_poll_finds_support_for_order.html

    I think the protests are futile against a guy like trump. You are better off organizing to go door to door to make a clear and concise argument about Trump’s behavior and why it’s important to change congress to impeach him.

    The problem I see is that “progressives” tend to bog down and are fairly limited in their ability to understand the swing vote, the middle of the road types like me. Better find the right arguments and don’t start talking about Mumia or why Islam is just another religion. This has to address the fact that Trump is incompetent, violates emoluments clause, thinks he’s acting in a tv show, and even if he MAY have good ideas he’s simply risking way too much. Keep it neutral.

    • Pete

      The problem I see is that “progressives” tend to bog down and are fairly limited in their ability to understand the swing vote, the middle of the road types like me.

      Amen. Most people argue like they are looking in a mirror — they end up reciting the reasons that convinced them rather than thinking about how to reach someone with a different world-view.

      Better find the right arguments and don’t start talking about Mumia or why Islam is just another religion.This has to address the fact that Trump is incompetent, violates emoluments clause, thinks he’s acting in a tv show,

      Simple arguments with emotional impact are good — connecting with people — preferably with not too many big words or appeals to global, universal truths if you want to convince people rather than just rally other politically aware progressives. Incompetent clown is a good start.

  • kvs

    This is a great example of intersectionality: the meeting of privilege and concern trolling.

    In Chicago, many business executives, particularly in the tech industry, dropped what they were doing to join the protests at ORD. There was even a billionaire with a handwritten sign among the hoi.

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  • Roger Ailes

    Mostly everyone are?

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