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Keep Protesting!

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I spent the afternoon celebrating my birthday by protesting with about 2000 fellow Rhode Islanders in support of our Muslim and Latino comrades.

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Standing out there today, I realized that what we are seeing is the opening of the left Tea Party. Or at least that’s how it feels in Rhode Island. This protest was originally planned to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse’s ridiculous vote to confirm the pro-torture Islamophobe Mike Pompeo to head the CIA. The senator, who is great on most issues, is having an open dinner today. And then yesterday happened. So they combined. With the Senate Democrats the least aware Democrats in the nation about what is happening and the need for massive resistance, they need pressure. And they are getting it. Other politicians are getting it. Governor Raimondo was there and despite my strong disagreements with her over many issues, she is there with us on protecting the vulnerable people of the community. Also, in a very Rhode Island move, the governor’s husband spoke about how those intolerant Massachusetts bastards kicked Roger Williams out of their colony 382 years ago and we in Rhode Island don’t do those things. Congressman David Cicilline spoke and was awesome, calling any claims that this wasn’t a ban directed as Muslims “bullshit,” a big change from the neoliberal mode where he started his career. Congressman Jim Langevin couldn’t speak because he’s wheelchair bound and the event was on the capitol steps, but Cicilline informed us that he shared our views too. That’s important, because Langevin unfortunately has not been with us on Syrian refugees in the past. Providence mayor Jorge Elorza, another person with whom I have strong disagreement on many issues, has also been excellent on this and gave a good speech. But what is clear that there is a motivated, angry left that is going to demand fealty to ideals of justice, fairness, and equality from our Democratic politicians. And we are going to make sure Whitehouse and Jack Reed (who is frankly clueless about what is actually happening in Rhode Island on many issues) do the right thing. And we are going to make our dumpster fire Democrats in the state legislature do the right thing too.

The protest then marched to Whitehouse’s event, but I had to leave because I’m probably more valuable to the movement as a writer than just another body and I have two magazine articles and a law review article on how the Trump administration is going to affect food workers (answer: I kind of want to eat salmonella and just end it) due by Tuesday. In fact, I shouldn’t even be writing this post, but whatever.

With the fascist administration evidently refusing to go along with the judiciary and let the detained Muslims have access to their lawyers, more protest is going to be needed. And here’s the thing about protest–direct action politics motivate people to get involved in the political system. Yes, I vote. But do I go to the statehouse and directly place pressure on Rhode Island politicians? No, I haven’t really done that outside of submitting testimony on a single bill. That’s not a particularly engaged citizen, despite writing about politics. But now, I and thousands of others are getting engaged in a more direct way. That matters and it will really matter in the next legislative session with bills already introduced against immigrants, as well as bills to protect them.

Despite the strange belief by those who are personally uncomfortable with protest politics that protesters are a bunch of wankers who engage in purity politics and don’t show up to vote, in fact, protest creates the most possibly engaged voters who find new ways to influence the system. Even on last night’s post, there were some comments (and there really were on the LGM Facebook page about it) saying that protest didn’t really matter in the judges’ stay of the Fascist Trump’s executive order and that it all was a sign that “the system works” and we don’t need protest. This is ridiculous. First, judges do not operate in a vacuum. If you don’t have thousands of people take to the streets and shut down airports, this is not nearly as immediate. The judges won’t work as fast. Second, politicians don’t come out against the ban without the protests. This is all everyone’s talking about, except of course for the fact that a Nazi is running American foreign policy. If you want to fight Trump, you need active resistance. And that resistance is quite likely going to need to be escalated to placing bodies between state security and our most vulnerable comrades. This is how preparing for that starts. We need lawyers and politicians and judges. We also need activists and organizers. They are the ones who made the JFK protest happen last night, not the ACLU, although that organization is great and played a key role. But it was grassroots activism that started it. And of course we need you. And me. And everyone else.

As I and many others have stated, if you ever wondered what you have done when Adolf Hitler took power in Germany or Francisco Franco in Spain or Augusto Pinochet in Chile, well now you know. You would do exactly what you are doing now. If that’s going into the streets, then great. If that’s complaining about protestors or whining about liberals or whining about the left, then that’s what you would have done in 1933, 1937, and 1973. Only you can stop Trump. So do it.

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  • petesh

    Happy birthday! Mine too. I’m calling it my 54th in honor of Maggie’s Farm. You, I presume, have no need for such desperate measures.

    And YES, keep on keeping on!

    ETA: I was recently in Madrid, at a bar that proudly hung on its wall a photo taken in early ’36 that featured Neruda and Lorca and a bunch of other writers. The owner was delighted that I noticed (and gave me a postcard of it). Struggles can be long and still won.

    • Origami Isopod

      Happy birthday!

      • LosGatosCA

        Many happy returns!

  • sibusisodan

    That is a fantastic last paragraph and worthy of some contemplation at length. Thanks.

    • I agree about that final paragraph; with only minor modification I’m stealing it.

    • randy khan

      I’ve already stolen it (well, with attribution).

  • Davis X. Machina

    3600 at Portland (ME) airport today. Considering our only international flights are occasional puddle-jumpers to Halifax and Charlottetown, that’s pretty good on short notice. 1200 at Portland city hall.

    • efgoldman

      that’s pretty good on short notice.

      Social media. You know, the stuff that makes all of us grumpy old farts yell at clouds and whine.
      All you demonstrators get off my lawn. The protest is over yonder.

  • Steve LaBonne

    Bravo and Happy Birthday. I could not go to the protest at Cleveland Hopkins Airport today because of family obligations so I was gratified that my daughter was there.

  • Nick never Nick

    I particularly like the category of people who are reacting to this by relitigating the Democratic primary — for our own good, of course, because that discussion is critical to preventing this from ever happening again.

    • Phil Perspective

      I particularly like the category of people who are reacting to this by re-litigating the Democratic primary ….

      I know who those are on Twitter, at least. Not the BernieBros or Brocalists. They’re too busy getting to the airport or city hall.

    • Dilan Esper

      I’m really not relitigating the primary that much (I do think we have bigger fish to fry), but I totally understand why Sanders supporters are doing it– it’s because they are being blamed, completely unfairly and often in a very douchy manner, for Trump’s election. Either they didn’t vote for Hillary or they didn’t convince their friends to or they didn’t express their support for Hillary in sufficiently unreserved fashion.

      In other words, if you don’t want to relitigate the primary, don’t relitigate the general on the left (it’s different than relitigating Comey or the media or whatever else).

      But if centrists and Hillary supporters want to spend the next four years blaming Sanders and his supporters for Hillary’s loss, then I think the left is entitled to push back, and hard.

      • Brien Jackson

        If you’re a Sanders supporter who didn’t vote for Hillary, then fuck you and you deserve every bit of blame you’re getting.

        • DocAmazing

          Oh, that wasn’t a douchey manner at all…

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            I didn’t know we weren’t allowed to criticize Sanders voters who wouldn’t vote for Hillary in the general. Especially when their ostensible candidate-of-choice told them to do so after the convention.

            So what’s your point?

            • DocAmazing

              a. The Electoral College creates a situation wherein those in solidly blue states who did not vote Clinton did not affect the outcome, and screaming about such people, while undoubtedly therapeutic, accomplishes nothing useful.

              b. You must admit, seeing

              it’s because they are being blamed, completely unfairly and often in a very douchy manner, for Trump’s election

              immediately followed by

              If you’re a Sanders supporter who didn’t vote for Hillary, then fuck you and you deserve every bit of blame you’re getting.

              is pretty funny.

              • Brien Jackson

                You’re about as useful as a shit flavored lollipop.

              • (((Malaclypse)))

                The Electoral College creates a situation wherein those in solidly blue states who did not vote Clinton did not affect the outcome

                Those states are solidly blue because the rest of us are doing the work purity ponies won’t sully themselves with. That means those of us who are doing the work do, in fact, get to call those who won’t useless.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Right, and not just in your state either. Maryland is solidly blue and was basically never in doubt: So we organized a bunch of efforts to go help out phone banks and canvassing efforts in Virginia and Pennsylvania. How many “get the Green Party 5%!!!!!” safe state voters actually do fuck all to help beat Republicans in swing states?

                • DocAmazing

                  Do we really have to go back over the GOTV and voter registration done in California by Greens and Socialists that increases Dem numbers?

                • Brien Jackson

                  California is a swing state now? Were they remote phone banking or canvassing Nevada for Clinton too?

                • DocAmazing

                  I can speak only to what I’ve seen, and I lived in California and now live in Hawai’i; neither is a swing state, and much of that is due to the efforts of people well to the left of the party.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                I’m sure Bernouts thought PA, MI & WI thought those were solidly blue states.

                • muddy

                  This.

                • TVTray

                  The Hillary campaign sure did! Did you know she didn’t campaign in Wisconsin?

                • Yes, it sure is strange that she didn’t bother campaigning in a state where not a single poll had her down during the entire election cycle. We have a case study for how much good that would have been likely to have done: it’s called Pennsylvania.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Right, and most importantly this isn’t an issue of unlimited resources, either in time or money. And most clearly, the candidate can’t be in two places at one time. Moving into Wisconsin would require some degree of pulling out of North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. With no polling data suggesting you were in trouble there that would be a) crazy, b) seemingly pointless, given that the likelihood of winning of winning Virginia and losing Wisconsin and Michigan was very low ex ante. Anyone who’s still prattling on about this is showing that they aren’t arguing in good faith anymore than a drunken football fan screaming after the fact that the coaches shouldn’t have called the play that wouldn’t work against the other team’s playcall two days after the fact.

          • Brien Jackson

            Can you guess how many fucks I give? Literally the last thing in the world I care about is the feelings of anyone who voted in the Democratic primary or actively supported Sanders and then decided not to vote for Clinton. Those people are full blown Nazi enablers. Fuck them.

            • TVTray

              Don’t get me started on the people who voted for Hillary in the primary!

        • brewmn

          I would add a big “Fuck You” to all the Sanders supporters who thought it a better use of their time to slag Hillary Clinton as a horrible human being and candidate rather than make the case that Donald Trump was uniquely unsuited for the presidency. Right up until the moment they voted for her, clouds of regret hovering over them as they sorrowfully filled out their ballot for a lying, corrupt, racist, corporate shill.

          • This is exactly what I said in the original post is not useful.

            • Brien Jackson

              Totally disagree: The last thing we want is people coming into the process through these direct action protests getting the idea that Glenn Greenwald and the Jacobin set are people worth listening to. For fuck’s sake we made the same fucking mistake just 16 years after the 2000 election debacle! Pushing back at these people and pointing out that this is a stupid way to do organizing and activism is really important towards channeling energy in a positive, productive reasoning. And this isn’t really the same thing as “relitigating the primary,” which I agree is mostly pointless right now.

            • brewmn

              They tend to start it. I would love to not have to constantly point out how destructive their misguided ideological purity is, but they keep helping to fuck this country (and the world) up in catastrophic ways. Really, really tired of it.

              • You could do something useful instead

                • proportionwheel

                  Yes.

                • brewmn

                  First, you have no idea what I do. It’s possible to attend protests, contact legislators, and make the occasional comment on a blog.

                  Second, not allowing these assholes to make “it’s all because Hillary was a terrible candidate” the takeaway lesson from the Trump election serves a useful purpose as well.

                • TVTray

                  She was a pretty bad candidate, though. You have to admit

                • Nah, I have to admit no such thing, ’cause she wasn’t. A bad candidate wouldn’t have won the popular vote by almost three million.

            • proportionwheel

              Damn straight. If we don’t forget this circular firing squad crap and get on with saving democracy, we deserve to lose it. Not that I’ve exactly forgiven my “not a dime’s worth of difference” friend but I’m not beating Trump by beating up on him. And vice versa.

              • Brien Jackson

                There’s no circular firing squad here: If you didn’t vote for Clinton and you’re cavalierly unrepentant you aren’t on the same side as me, period.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  I get the “no apologies” thing. But if you are being confrontational in multiple subsubthreads, you are perpetuating the argument, and that is promoting bad feeling among not just the potential allies you hate, but actual allies you don’t.

        • Ronan

          The obsession with Bernie supporters is a bit like the nevertrumpers obsession with ‘sjws’ etc. I understand they annoy you, but a bit of perspective is needed.

          • Brien Jackson

            Because I brought Bernie supporters and the Democratic primary up.

        • Porlock Junior

          ETA – innocuous version deleted now that maybe RYWP will post it.

          ETA – And if one is a Sanders supporter (from, in effect, before he announced) and did vote for Clinton (having, of course, planned that from the start, in case she won the primaries) — well, what the fuck then?

          I guess I need to contribute constructively to the debate, so here it is: FUCK ALL OF YOU on either side of this phony stupid worse than useless pissing match, at least till you explain how your tactics might somehow fail to damage the efforts to stop Trump’s fascist plans.

          • Brien Jackson

            Um…what? If you voted for Sanders in the primary then voted for Clinton in the primary than hooray for you! I swear the “I’m not a BernieBros but gosh you’re so mean and, hey, maybe BernieBros have a point ya know” types are probably worse than the straight up brocialists.

            • TVTray

              Brien have you ever used the word “brocialist” in real life?

            • Gregor Sansa

              I swear the [allies who criticize any of my rhetoric] types are probably worse than the straight up [non-allies].

              And thus we lose sight of the enemy entirely.

              • brewmn

                The people who thought Clinton was just as bad as Trump, or thought she was so bad they couldn’t vote for her in spite of the unprecedented awfulness of her opponent, are the enemy. They are every bit as responsible for the state of our politics as the most ardent Trump supporter. Until they are willing to join the more-left coalition, they should be treated as opponents of progressive change, not as misguided fellow travelers.

      • nixnutz

        Dilan, you belong in a special category of your own. Your politics are way to the right of 80% of the Democratic party and you still chose to spend every day of 2016 arguing against Clinton ostensibly from her left. Now I think that limits your culpability somewhat; your uninterrupted record of dishonesty combined with your pompousness and misogyny mean that you have no credibility or sympathy and therefore no influence, it doesn’t say much for your character though.

        The idea that Sanders lost because of centrists was always bullshit but hearing it from you is particularly rich.

        • Sentient AI from the Future

          +2,864,974

        • Dilan Esper

          1. Anyone who thinks I hate women (BTW, that is what “misogyny” means- it doesn’t mean anyone with a disagreement on a gender issue or who doesn’t meet a litmus test) or oppose gender equality is both a despicable liar and an imbecile.

          2. Anyone who does it anonymously is also a coward.

          3. My politics are mostly on the Democratic Party’s left- I am antiwar, anti-imperialism, pro-government takeover of the health care system, pro-giant tax increases, pro-slavery reparations, pro-strict 50-50 gender representation, anti-death penalty, anti-organized religion, anti-fossil fuels, pro-LGBT equal rights, etc.

          • Tom in BK

            Lol, at all of this.

      • Nick never Nick

        Except people here are talking about Trump — the general election is not being rehashed, mostly, by either front-pagers or posters. I mean, if you are someone who made a point of not voting for Clinton when she was trying to beat back Trump, people are probably going to remember that you’re a tool — that’s the merit badge you get.

        • Porlock Junior

          Wishing this statement had remained as true as when it was posted.

  • Providence is a great town. I do miss living on the East Side, but the drive to Randolf every day was a killer.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    Happy Birthday!

    I spent my morning writing letters to both Florida Senators, calling on them to condemn Trump’s lawless and immoral acts. I knocked out another to my Representative, a squishy Dem who used to be a Republican. I’ve made calls and will call again. And write more letters. I realized that I’ve contacted my Congressional delegation more in two weeks than I have in the past ten years. Maybe if I, and people like me, had been more involved all along, we wouldn’t have this situation. I won’t make the mistake of complacency ever again.

    • Worth noting that Bill Nelson is one of only 2 Democratic senators to have made no statement about the Muslim ban (along with Manchin, of course)

      • Ramon A. Clef

        Yeah, that’s going to come up in my call to his office tomorrow.

      • petesh

        Thank-you notes on the way to Feinstein (hey, she did call it “President Trump’s unbelievable executive order”) and Harris (who apparently joined the protest outside the White House). Also sent a “stand up” on to Rep Jimmy Panetta [sic!].

        • Philip

          No cookie for Feinstein from me. She caved to her voters. She made no meaningful stands before it was abundantly clear what her constituents thought.

          • DocAmazing

            This is the same Feinstein who has voted to approve every one of Trump’s cabinet picks so far, after all.

      • djw

        The spreadsheet still shows no statement from Tester, and google isn’t giving me anything either.

        • Blech

        • King Goat

          Tester is a Democratic Senator from a state that went to Trump over Clinton by over 20%. Let’s give the man some space.

          • gmack

            How about let’s not. If you’re a constituent of Senator Tester an you have an opinion about Trump’s recent executive order, it is your political and moral obligation to inform Sen. Tester of this, and to encourage him to adopt it, or at least to clarify his own position on this matter of grave public concern. If you think that this is somehow unfair, unwise, or unacceptable, you do not actually believe in our system of representative democracy.

            • King Goat

              I think it would be unwise to push Tester to take a position that would make it more likely that he’s replaced with a subsequent Senator with an R beside his name.

              • random

                It doesn’t make it more likely that he’s replaced, the only hope he has is to ride the anti-Trump wave. If you’re a constituent then keep pushing him.

                • King Goat

                  That anti-Trump wave is a tsunami some places but much smaller in others. It’s might not be fair to demand Tester to surf what’s essentially a drainage ditch in his state. There’ll be other issues we’ll need him on where he might be in a better position to safely resist Trump with the rest of us.

                • random

                  It’s a red state so the only way to get over the top in 2018 is by turning out base Democrats and riding the general anti-Presidential sentiment.

                  He’ll still probably lose, but going milquetoast, especially on something like this, pretty much guarantees he’ll lose.

                • King Goat

                  It’s a red state in presidential elections but Dems do fairly well there at the state level. There’s a lesson there.

                • random

                  It’s a red state in presidential elections but Dems do fairly well there at the state level. There’s a lesson there.

                  Right and that lesson is to keep attacking DT over exactly this sort of shit right here. Keep the focus and the pressure on him, not on you.

                • gmack

                  I’ll remind everyone that several Republicans have come out with statements criticizing the executive order. These statements are not particularly strong (e.g., McCain and Graham’s stuff expressing deep concern about the fact that the order wasn’t properly vetted), but they are still infinitely better than saying nothing. Tester could quite easily release something similar and move on.

                  There is, however, a broader point. We are in a political climate in which the kind of timidity being displayed by Senators who refuse to even issue a statement on a subject of major public concern is not going to help them. We don’t know what the political climate and situation will look like in two years; I suspect that it will look quite different than the present. So the “realistic” thing to do is precisely to articulate one’s principles and stand by them. As random pointed out, that’s likely the only strategy that has any chance of re-electing him.

                  Just to add: None of Tester’s political calculations about how to get re-elected should mean one Goddamned thing to a citizen in his district. We are facing an administration that is inducing constitutional crises and attacking our friends, family members, neighbors, fellow citizens, and fellow human beings. It is precisely the job of the citizen to pressure our political leaders to speak out about this.

              • Jackson87

                Maybe one can ask him to whisper it one’s ear and promise to keep it a secret.

              • vic rattlehead

                I said it before and I’ll say it again. Stopping the fascist is everything.

                I am willing, out of pure pragmatism, to tolerate heterodoxy from red state Democrats.

                But if said Democrats won’t do anything to denounce the wannabe fascist when they pull shit like this, what’s the point of having them? Think about it.

                “Oh he’ll vote with us on other things.” Yeah, well, if we were talking about almost anything else…sure. But this is the future of American democracy right here.

            • sigaba

              There are good reasons for giving Tester latitude but let him prove it to us that he has good reasons and can still make helpful contributions, and hasn’t simply been coopted.

              We shouldn’t preemptively cut people slack on things like this, the pols need room to maneuver but they also need to know where the red lines are.

              • King Goat

                Fair enough but in states that go 20% Trump but Dems still find ways to win, and contribute more to what we believe than Republicans there would, we need to keep those lines few and as constructive as possible.

          • There are areas where it makes sense to grant leeway to red state Dems, but this isn’t one of them. Supporting the constitution, human rights, and refugees should be a line in the sand.

          • UserGoogol

            You can give a politician “space” while still advocating that they vote in a minimally progressive way. If he gets a bunch of phone calls telling him that he should oppose the Muslim ban but he thinks the sensible option is to keep mum, well that’s his decision. There’s pros and cons to both sides. But we should do our part to make sure the progressive side has its case heard, as well as just getting a proper sense of its size and intensity.

            • By the way, Tester has now released a statement. It’s fine.

              • gmack

                Excellent. I’m glad to hear it.

          • Nick056

            No.

          • vic rattlehead

            Yeah, no. This isn’t some minor policy dispute where we can tolerate some heterodoxy.

            If ALL Democrats, even in red states, aren’t willing to stand up to Bannon, Miller et al’s opening salvo in ethnic cleansing (and make no mistake, that’s what these fuckers want) what’s the point of having them?

            And no, this isn’t “Evan Bayh/Max Baucus won’t vote for a public option banish him from the party!” Or “Joe Manchin votes with Republicans when it doesn’t matter to save his ass so primary him from the left and lose an important Senate seat for bullshit.” This is it. This is everything right here. This is an existential threat to American democracy.

            If you will not stand up to a fascist’s opening salvo, you are useless. I mean, what is the point of having a Dem instead of a Rep if the Dem won’t stand up to the fascist? I don’t care if he is willing to vote with us on other things. Because if we don’t stop the fascist, we have nothing. Period.

            • vic rattlehead

              and he released a statement. Good for him. I expect nothing less from all Democrats, no matter where they are.

        • djw

          Correction: solid statement from Tester

          https://twitter.com/SenatorTester/status/825792413335699457

      • busker type

        I’m gonna call Manchin tomorrow, I’m getting to know some of his staffers

  • I wouldn’t spend too much time on adhoc protests. They don’t accomplish much against a guy like Trump. I also noticed protests tend to be disorganized and participants don’t coordinate their signs. I remember taking my children to their first protest in 1999, when Clinton decided to bomb Yugoslavia claiming falsely he was stopping a genocide. So I ended next to a dude holding a “Free Mumia” sign, and close to where a priest was screaming against abortion. Other than my kids learning protest etiquette, it was a waste of time.

    I would save your energy for a protest in a large city, and focus on something straightforward: somethng like asking that Steve Bannon be driven out of any government posts (you work out the slogans). That guy is going to get a lot of Americans killed.

    • I strongly disagree. Protests do a ton of things. First, they get media attention. Second, they give courage to those who are afraid of standing up. Third, signs do not need to coordinate. Fourth, whatever your bad experience was nearly 20 years ago is not really that relevant today. Right now, we have a very strong target, stronger than when Clinton bombed the Balkans. Very little of this is happening at these protests. Fifth, protests can work well in support of a specific thing, but something as esoteric as getting rid of Bannon is not enough. Something very real, like protecting the Muslim residents of our communities, at protests when those very people are coming out to speak, is plenty concrete. Sixth, there is also the fight at the state and local level that is very important and these protest can have a major implication there.

      • Ramon A. Clef

        If all signs are not in the same easily readable font, with coordinating colors, and all the protestors aren’t synchronizing their actions like an Esther Williams water ballet, it won’t accomplish anything.

        • I demand all my protests look like the big scene in Gold Diggers of 1937.

          • sigaba

            Or at least the dream sequence from The Big Lebowski.

            • (((Malaclypse)))

              I was hoping for the dancing hippotopomi from Fantasia.

              PS I am not a crank. Well, not more of a crank than fernando.

              • N__B

                I assume you meant the dancing ostriches.

                If not, consider your face slapped with my glove, while my hand was still in it.

        • Solar System Wolf

          But when protestors synchronize their actions by, say, wearing easily identifiable and matching headgear, that’s just stupid.

          • I thought the pink hats were kinda dumb. But what was worse was having a bunch of Hollywood millionaire chicks trying to sound radical. I bet they got down off the podium and went to the airport to fly First Class, or in private jets. That was really uncool.

            • JKTH

              At least you’re concentrating on the things that are important.

      • osceola

        Right. Because if it looks TOO coordinated and the signs TOO much in sync, we get the “outside agitators” label or —horrors!! — “George Soros is behind it!!”

        If fact, lack of coordination is a sign that it is organic protest.

      • djw

        Also: we’ve now got 4 Republican governors and 7 Republican senators on record against this madness. This is a much greater fracture in the Republican coalition than anything we could see 48 hours ago. Fractures in the Republican coalition is how we prevent (some) bad shit from happening. Protests make that happen, by raising the cost of silence.

      • CraigMcMahon

        Loomis-

        I was an organizer for the NH Dem Party this past campaign- technically I worked on the coordinated campaign to elect Dems up and down the ticket, not just Hillary, but I’m also ok with being labeled “an organizer for Hillary.”

        I’ve lurked here for a year or two, and am probably to your right on a lot of issues. I’ve always been skeptical of the value of these sorts of mass protests for some of the very reasons you’ve addressed in your post.

        Not anymore, though. I’m full on board. I’ve demanded my two Senators–one of whom, Maggie Hassan, I worked my ass off to elect this fall–get down to no-compromise obstructionism. I don’t care that lazy pundits and ignorant voters are going to say “b-b-b-but when the GOP did it to Obama, you were against it!”

        My nym here is my first and last name. I’ve already written my senators to say “yes” votes on further Trump nominees WILL earn them primary challenges next time they’re up.

        One of my hobbies is distance running, and I ran a road race in my hometown this morning I had signed up for months ago. I came home feeling sickened that I wasn’t out there doing anything to join my friends and former co-workers in Copley Sq.

        I’m done f***ing around with “norms” and “giving Dems from purple states cover with the moderates.” For me, as with many young Dems, and as you have written, this is a time where deference is surrender. Tomorrow I’ll be calling and faxing my senators all day.

        Thanks for your insight over the years, thanks for writing this post, and thanks for getting involved yourself.

        • Karen24

          Good for you! Welcome and comment more often!

          • What she said.

          • efgoldman

            Good for you! Welcome and comment more often!

            Not that I’d expect anything to come of it, but are people burying your two TX Bozos in calls, faxes and emails?

            • Fake Irishman

              Cruz and Cornyn both have full mailboxes routinely. Both called the cops on large groups of constituents asking for meetings about the ACA at their Houston offices (they were threatened with trespassing charges). Burnt Orange report has the details.

              Local activists are now faxing them along with the phone calls.

        • JL

          Welcome, both to the LGM commentariat and the world of mass protest! I canvassed for Hassan, right there with you about her.

      • Ok. And while you get media attention and Trump loses popularity he’s also going to keep issuing cockamamie presidential decrees, screwing up USA relations with other nations, etc, etc.

        You know what’s going to happen? He’s going to change that decree a little bit, release a few Iraqis and Iranians, say the country is a lot safer (he may even tweet he just stopped 9/11), and keep on chugging.

        The guys you have to convince are republicans in the house, I believe several dozen need to be willing to support impeachment. Putting on pink hats won’t get them to make a move. Jesus you guys are really hard to reach.

        • Rob in CT

          The guys you have to convince are republicans in the house

          Not going to happen.

          The only thing we can do is resist and then try and oust some of them in elections.

          The idea that any significant number of Republican elected officials will turn on Trump for honorable reasons is total fantasy. Only losing will change their behavior.

        • JKTH

          The guys you have to convince are republicans in the house

          And protest will help accomplish this. Thanks for agreeing!

      • JL

        Exactly. Protests build power, build engagement. When they build enough power, they disrupt things enough that politicians feel the need to do something in response just to take the edge off the chaos. And small protests, ad-hoc protests, can build power too. The DisruptJ20 inauguration checkpoint blockades, which probably only had a few hundred people total when they started, helped lower attendance at the inauguration, and look at how low inauguration attendance has been a rallying cry for the left and a distracting embarrassment for the right. The first Ferguson protests after Mike Brown was killed were only a handful of people and they springboarded a major and sustained civil rights movement.

        You would think there were enough historical examples in the US – the labor movement, the Civil Rights Movement, Stonewall, ACT UP, Black Lives Matter, and lots more – of protests getting things done, that people would stop spouting nonsense.

        Edited to add: I forgot to mention the Twitter thread from Turkish-origin sociologist Zeynep Tufekci about how the protests against the Muslim ban have been geopolitically useful because they’ve illustrated to people in the Middle East how much domestic opposition there is to what Trump is doing.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Eric just finished explaining why you’re wrong. And also, these protests definitely get under Trump’s thin skin and they also get the attention of Republican officeholders.

      • The thin skin also justifies Brits signing the online petition to disinvite Trump for a state visit. 885,000 signatures already and if you blink it’s gone up. Clearly the effort involved – including retrieving the confirmation email from the spam filter – is trivial compared to turning out for a winter street protest, but with a sufficiently high total it can be effective. The petition does not mention protests if Trump is invited, but they will be there. I reckon tearing up the invite to tea with the Queen will sting, and other countries thinking of inviting Trump, as May did, are now thinking twice.

    • random

      taking my children to their first protest in 1999,

      It’s 2017, I don’t see any off-topic signs, and these protest are having a major impact.

      Trust me I normally share your skepticism of the benefits of protest from having similar experiences, but this is definitely working. There’s enough of us now that we don’t have to play by 1999 rules.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        Note what he said about Yugoslavia.

        • YRUasking

          These damn Mumia people are ruining the respectability of my argument that Srebenica was a hoax!

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          ETA: Milošević’s actions in Kosovo seem to have been crimes against humanity short of genocide.

          His actions in Yugoslavia during the the early ’90s were absolutely genocide, and if he’s arguing about the second one thenohwhythe fuck am I taking this dipshit seriously.

          (Also time to take note that leftists such as Michael Bérubé have argued that the bombing campaigns were unwise without denying that genocide took place).

          • There was no genocide taking place in early 1999 when Clinton started bombing. He simply lied, Blair backed him up. It was similar to Bush’s “Iraq WMD” bs.

            Take the pill, copper top: All USA presidents lie, especially when they want you go bomb for “democracy and national defense”.

            • ΧΤΠΔ

              Nice Red Pill ref, bro.

        • random

          Whoa….that part went right over my head, but yeah that’s nuts.

      • JL

        Also, who cares if there are a handful of off-topic signs in a protest of thousands? When you get a huge crowd of activists, or for that matter, people in general, together, they’re not all going to march in lockstep, and that’s okay. We’re not going to have a mass movement without at least a handful of mildly embarrassing people. That’s part of it being a mass movement. We should roll with it.

    • Origami Isopod

      claiming falsely he was stopping a genocide

      Christian Parenti, that you?

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        His dad Michael Parenti wears it on his sleeve to a much greater extent. (I can only find him making the claim in a conspiracy compendium; the original he wrote was overly sympathetic to the Serb viewpoint, but didn’t advance denialism). That said, fuck them both, and it still makes his post-election Jacobin post especially repulsive.*

        *Not saying I don’t appreciate the shoutout, though.

    • Shantanu Saha

      I remember taking my children to their first protest in 1999, when Clinton decided to bomb Yugoslavia claiming falsely he was stopping a genocide.

      Because bombing fascists is just the same as being one yourself.

      Or perhaps that protest was disjointed because the opposition to Clinton’s policy in Yugoslavia was rather disjointed, combining a few diehard “peace at any price” activists, anti-Muslim bigots, and anti-Clinton conservatives who could not decide if their hatred of anything he did overrode their support of using military power against furriners.

      The anti-Trump protests aren’t in that class. They are protesting Trump and his gang of fascists and grifters, and their themes are much more coherent and focused than in 1999.

    • Captain Oblivious

      Your concern trolling is noted.

      Street protests and sit-ins were by far the single most important factor in

      * the Civil Rights movement

      * the Vietnam anti-war movement

    • Hogan

      The protests in 1999 were anything but ad hoc. They were part of a carefully organized effort by the Workers World Party, who are primo rally/march planners, to get out in front of the Kosovo war as an occasion to get their message out to a wide swath of people, who would obviously flock to their banner (which, I believe, runs to 80,000 words) and overthrow capitalism. It was a huge problem then for serious anti-war people. I’m not seeing anything like that at the anti-Trump rallies.

      I guess what I’m saying is, get up off your ass and see what’s going on out there before you tell us we’re doing it wrong.

    • tsam

      You got a lot of problems, don’t you?

    • efgoldman

      I would save your energy for a protest in a large city

      Oh look! An instructor from the “yer protesting all rong” school.

  • ASV

    But now, I and thousands of others are getting engaged in a more direct way.

    This is such a major thing. We still need much more from leadership — I know a lot of what is happening locally is extremely inefficient and sometimes misguided because it’s eager but ignorant people having to reinvent the wheel — but I’m heartened by this in a way I never got close to in, say, 2008. I grew up in the rural midwest watching religious kooks take over and dominate local politics (school board politics especially). The places I’ve lived since, with the exception of Madison, have never had a left or even center-left with the will to fight back. That’s changed in the span of a month.

  • Lurking Canadian

    I’m absolutely livid about these stories that the border guards are refusing to obey court orders. So much for being a “Republic of laws not men”. Every Senator who doesn’t speak out against this should be tarred and feathered. I’m so naive that even after the Bundy Saga, I still think obeying the fucking law shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

    • econoclast

      We need to find out who they are. I suspect that the country is going to require de-Trumpification after it’s over.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      I’m absolutely livid about these stories that the border guards are refusing to obey court orders.

      9 days in, and we have a genuine constitutional crisis. Monday will be interesting, and not in a good way.

    • sharonT

      3 House Reps., two from Northern Virginia and one from the Maryland suburbs are at Dulles airport right now trying to talk to Border Patrol officials at the international terminal. The CBP officials are refusing to meet with them and the congressional liaison at DHS won’t forward their request to supervisory personnel. They all have constituents who are being detained and they’re having a hell of a time trying to get any information about these people. It seems hat the CBP officials are aware of the judge’s order, they’re just refusing to comply with it.

      • This is going to require federal marshals arresting CBP agents. And if that means a greater constitutional crisis, it’s coming anyway.

        • N__B

          We need that specifically because it’s difficult – nothing’s impossible, I guess – for the RWNJs to paint the marshals as wimpy liberals.

        • Origami Isopod

          And if that means a greater constitutional crisis, it’s coming anyway.

          At this point my attitude is “Bring it.” Because this is bullshit and these clowns need to be stood down.

        • Agreed. We’ve had a Constitutional crisis since Nov. 8, anyway.

        • randy khan

          I suspect that when the federal marshals show up, the misunderstanding will be corrected.

          • Brien Jackson

            I’m 50-50 that shots are fired.

            • Philip

              Treason in defense of Nazism to go with the treason in defense of slavery?

            • efgoldman

              I’m 50-50 that shots are fired.

              Are CPB agents even armed? In airports?

          • vic rattlehead

            I previously worked in the court system. I have had less than polite things to say about cops, but all the marshals I ever knew took their jobs damn seriously, especially when it came to people fucking with judges. If you blow off a federal judge, the marshals will come for you, even if you’re CBP. I don’t know who prevails in that sort of a constitutional crisis, but cop or not, you don’t fuck with marshals.

    • I seem to recall reading reports that this problem goes back a few years, with CPB agents taking the law into their own hands in deporting Mexicans in opposition to Obama Administration policy.

    • vic rattlehead

      Among law enforcement, CBP are the oinkiest of them all.

  • King Goat

    Is it such a good idea to want a ‘tea party’ of the left? The tea party strikes me as being an albatross around the GOP’s neck-think of the many seats they could have won but didn’t because they demanded a more ideologically pure, anti-establishment nominee. At this point out of power I think we should be more interested in being like Democrats in 06, putting up whatever candidates are to the left of our opponents wherever that have the best chance of winning. The more D’s in office, the better, even if they’re not ideal in many and even important ways. Once we’re back in power then let’s talk about pushing the party.

    • YRUasking

      I think judging by the control they exercise over every branch of government, we’ve proven pretty conclusively that the ideological devotion of the core is more potent than the breadth of the elected offices you can temporarily hold.

    • If you don’t push the party now, you never will. Now is the time. It is now when politicians develop whatever teeth they will ever have to remake America, not when they are comfortable in Congress.

      • King Goat

        Traditionally the political losing side tries to rethink how they can broaden their appeal and message.

        • (((Malaclypse)))

          I don’t remember 2010 either.

          • King Goat

            Our drubbing in 10 would have been much worse absent several kookie purity TP nominees losing what should have been pick ups for them.

        • Which is what here, embrace white supremacy to make rural Wisconsin happy? Fuck that.

          • King Goat

            I think times were better when we won enough of rural WI to make that a place with two blue Senators compared to now. I’d like to think there’s some middle ground that gets us back to there that’s between a TP style purity drive and embracing white supremacy…

            • And where would that middle ground be? Related, for example, to the kind of issues we are being confronted with now.

              For example, where’s the middle ground on whether or not to oppose the Muslim Ban? Whether or not to oppose confirming someone who wishes to gut the public education system? Middle ground over whether a kleptocracy led by an unstable narcissist advised by a “what nationalist” is good for this country?

              I don’t see how we find middle ground by saying – y’know, all these policies are travesties, but we don’t want to be rude or anything, so we won’t offer anything more than token opposition”

              • Hogan

                Some people think non-white people should be subordinated to white people. Other people think white and non-white people should be equal. The truth lies somewhere in between.

                • King Goat

                  Some people think white people speaking truth to power that results in more elected conservatives doing what they want to non-white people is of course the most important thing.

                • (((Malaclypse)))

                  That’s a whole lot of words to say white feelings matter.

                • King Goat

                  Ha ha, that’s rich.

              • King Goat

                To take an example: I’d rather have a Democratic governor that’s pro life (boo) but who’ll expand Medicaid than a GOP one who is pro life and won’t expand Medicaid. If pushing that Democratic governor to be less pro life, even though that’d be a more ideal position, would make the latter more likely then I’ll give on that.

                • sharonT

                  My 23 year old self would like to have a governor that doesn’t think forced pregnancy and restricted access to contraceptives is winning political strategy. My current 55 year old self would like to make sure that 23 year old women aren’t presented with a Democratic candidate that sees that as a good option for her constituents.

                  Tossing women under the bus is not a savvy political strategy.

                • joel hanes

                  IMHO, the Dems decades-long loss of power at the state and local levels happened precisely because, in their effort not to offend the middle, they ceased to stand for anything at all except “not quite as bad as the Republicans”. They tried to avoid making enemies by not giving their former friends any reason to support them.

                  But even if that were not true: looking fascism in the face and deciding it’s strategically advisable to be a squish is pretty contemptible. It’s not GHWB or Gerald Ford we oppose here; it’s Emperor Palpatine

                • FlipYrWhig

                  IMHO, the Dems decades-long loss of power at the state and local levels happened

                  …because some conservatives used to vote for conservative Democrats but now vote exclusively for conservative Republicans.

                • vic rattlehead

                  Well, in KG’s defense (I think he’s talking about John Bel Edwards in Louisiana) this is clearly right. I don’t think anyone here disputes it. Bel Edwards is indisputably better than any replacement Republican if for no other reason than the Medicaid expansion. You’re not going to get a pro-choice Democrat elected statewide there unless they’re really someone special. Thats not throwing women under the bus, that’s just reality. Where it becomes throwing groups of people under the bus is when you preemptively give up in the name of pragmatism. But in the last LA gubernatorial election, no pro choice candidate was on offer.

              • Lurking Canadian

                Obviously, Democrats should propose a modification to the policy wherein the border patrol agents roll a d20 and only invalidate the bearer's green card if they roll a prime number.

                Sensible bipartisan compromise.

                • farin

                  The concession to progressive Dems will be to allow immigrants a saving throw, but the Freedom Caucus demand it be based on their professions.

                • Linnaeus

                  -2 to saving throws vs. Deportation if you’re from a Middle Eastern country.

            • jam

              TP style purity drive

              Did you read the article or replies you’re replying to?

              The “Tea Party” elements Erik obviously referred to are mass protests and public action. Not one fucking word about purity. In fact, the post states “Governor Raimondo was there and despite my strong disagreements with her over many issues, she is there with us on protecting the vulnerable people of the community.”

              In plain words, you’re the only one imagining some push for purity. Fuck off.

          • Gwen

            The thing is we don’t need to embrace white supremacy to win back some of these areas.

            I think one mistake we have been making is to assume that Trumpism is an entirely a coherent ideology as opposed to merely a mood or a set of aesthetic preferences. At the margins, the appeal may be simply a vague desire for a “strong leader” who will “tell it like it is.”

            I think we can win back some Trump voters just be being authentically amgry at “the system” and by having clear, simple messaging about what we’re going to do to fix it.

        • random

          Traditionally the political losing side tries to rethink how they can broaden their appeal and message.

          Traditionally the losing side doesn’t have more people.

          • King Goat

            I hear you on that. The electoral college is a travesty. Still, our goal should be to win under the terrible system we have until it can be made better.

            • random

              Obviously the way to broaden your appeal is to go all-out on DT. Way more people hate him than not and those people are actually gettable by you and will show up to vote. There’s no electoral reason for any Dem office seeker to not be turning up the volume on him and hitting him with everything they can.

        • ASV

          Traditionally the losing side has fewer votes also.

        • Philip

          I, too, would like to ensure that Democratic turnout falls off a cliff in yet another midterm!

    • randy khan

      I read “Tea Party of the Left” to be more about tactics than anything else. The Tea Party was loud (louder than its actual membership would have justified) and out there shouting in people’s faces for a very long time. We need that – we need to make the people who don’t think much about politics think that *everybody* is upset about what Trump is doing.

      Earlier today on this very blog I read the Yglesias taxonomy of Trump voters, and it makes a huge amount of sense. We don’t need to swing the reflexive Republican voters or the deplorables if we swing the marginal Trump voters (and, in fact, a bunch of the deplorables probably swing or at least stay home if they think Trump is a loser). A loud, ongoing push against everything bad that Trump does will affect those voters.

      • Brien Jackson

        One lesson from 2006 and 2008 is that plenty of reflexive Republican voters are swingable too if they perceive things as being bad enough.

        • randy khan

          Yeah, and we probably need them in some districts.

      • jam

        I read “Tea Party of the Left” to be more about tactics than anything else.

        In fairness, you only read that because it’s explicitly what Erik wrote and Goat is imagining the push for purity.

    • humanoid.panda

      Is it such a good idea to want a ‘tea party’ of the left? The tea party strikes me as being an albatross around the GOP’s neck-think of the many seats they could have won but didn’t because they demanded a more ideologically pure, anti-establishment nominee.

      There were 2 sides to the Tea Party: there was the popular mobilization that intimidated and helped defeat Democratic incumbents, and there was a handful of imbeciles who lost winnable races. Since we are no danger of having people getting nominated on a “liquidate the kulaks” platform, I think we are safely imitate the TP’s mobilization tactics.

    • jam

      Is it such a good idea to want a ‘tea party’ of the left?

      You know what is a good idea? Winning elections. That’s a good idea. Animating activists is a good idea, getting people out is a good idea. Making calls is a good idea, writing letters to the editor is a good idea, showing up at politicians’ town hall meetings is a good idea.

  • Charlie S

    In Alameda CA, a small community of 80,000 in the East Bay, more than 300 people came out today in support of the local Islamic Center.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      That’s great.

      I’m not seeing a comment box only a reply option so I’ll leave this here:

      I went to the LAX protest today and it was great. So many people of various races, genders, ages, religions etc., openly standing up for what’s right. I was particularly impressed with the young people who are already fiercely involved. It gives me great hope and was also very inspiring to my spirits which have been suffering much like I bet most of ours have. While we were leaving we were behind a pack of teenage/early-20’s Muslim girls in hijabs chanting like they were ready to take on the world. It was awesome. A friend of mine who does immigration law spent yesterday and today with a sign in Farsi letting people know she is a lawyer and ready to help.

      Anyways great OP and great comments.

      • The Lorax

        I was at LAX too. Yes, tons of young people. All different backgrounds. Looked like LA. Really really really encouraging.

        • The Lorax

          One other thing. The crowd isn’t the standard left protest crowd. No Free Mumma signs. Few anarchists Code Pink or giant pictures of Chomsky. It feels sincere and organic and normal pissed off young people of all different kinds, yelling “Muslim Lives Matter.” Really great!

          • JL

            Without contradicting the theme of your comment, I would point out that just because you didn’t know that people were anarchists doesn’t mean that anarchists weren’t there.

            Also, I’ve been working left protests for almost five and a half years and I could count the Free Mumia signs that I’ve seen on one hand and still have fingers left over. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a giant picture of Chomsky.

            Remember that the “standard left protest crowd” built much of the infrastructure that the current protests are using – the NLG chapters doing the legal observing, the street medic collectives, the direct action/civil disobedience trainings, the bystander intervention trainings, many of the mobilization tools, networks, and practices.

  • Your photo of the R. I. Capitol is cropped to leave off the Independent Man. Coincidence? I think not!

    …Actually, in my search for a good photo, I discovered that the statue was originally named “Hope”. Much better (even before that deplorable John diPetro started broadcasting under the Independent Man name).

    • Davis X. Machina

      Off the air as of the end of the year.

  • Ellie1789
    • Srsly Dad Y

      I don’t know if this is the purpose, but it also may have a chilling effect on what federal employees can say against Trump in their private capacities, as it seems to make him a “candidate in a partisan election” under the terms of the Hatch Act.

      • Ellie1789

        That seems bad, too

        • Srsly Dad Y

          [thinking face emoji]

      • efgoldman

        it seems to make him a “candidate in a partisan election” under the terms of the Hatch Act.

        Which Hatch Act is that? The one that caused Comey to be disciplined? Reprimanded? Lose his job? THAT Hatch Act?

        • Fake Irishman

          We can do whatever we want to partisan candidates on our own time with our own resources just as long as we aren’t a candidate for partisan political office ourselves. And let’s just say most of us aren’t …. fans…. of the current regime.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            This is true under the basic Hatch Act. I was thinking of employees subject to the enhanced Hatch Act terms, who are counseled every year not to “like” or “do” or “follow ” anything on social media that could be seen as partisan … and a chilling effect can occur outside the letter of the restrictions, that’s kinda the definition.

  • Origami Isopod

    And if you can’t get out and protest for whatever reason, keep calling your representatives. And, if you can at all afford it, donate money to good causes, like the ones listed on Erik’s “43” post and in its comments.

    • King Goat

      The next big possible electoral stings we can deliver will be the off year NJ and VA elections this year, donating to the NJ and VA Democratic party’s strike me as the best use of time and money.

      • Gwen

        These are going to be major tests. I hope we have candidates who can inspire.

        As in, someone as good or better than TMac in Virginia and someone who can win in NJ.

        • King Goat

          Hillary won NJ by 14%, there’s serious problems if the NJ Dems can’t win an open governor’s seat there.

          • nadirehsa

            I live in NJ. We elect Republican governors all-too-frequently for a state this liberal. New Jersey politics are strange.

            • Philip

              I will never forgive my (at the time) fellow Jerseyites for electing Christie, and especially not for being stupid enough to do it again a second time.

            • vic rattlehead

              Brendan Byrne is still alive. Wonder what he’s up to these days and if he’s interested in pulling a Jerry Brown.

          • (((Malaclypse)))

            Charlie Baker thanks you.

          • vic rattlehead

            I attribute Christie’s rise in large part to Corzine. Absolutely incompetent politician. Nasty, arrogant Goldman prick who couldn’t work with his own party in the state legislature.

            Phil Murphy is another guy from high finance but he has locked down some big endorsements and is making the right noises on the issues so far.

            If we can’t win in the wake of Christie’s collapse in support our state party really is useless (I live in New York, yes, but I work in Jersey so I am deeply interested in and affected by Jersey politics).

            • Fake Irishman

              and remember though Christie won in 2015, the Dems did pick up a few seats in the ledge. Big test in Virginia to hold all three statewide offices, and we need to pick up some seats in the ledge. a half dozen would be nice. A dozen would be a big stretch, but actually get us close to having some influence.

        • sharonT

          TMac is term limited.

        • randy khan

          Getting someone better than TMac in Virginia would be a challenge – he’s been really very good despite being tarred with the “Clinton neoliberal” tag. He’s pushed hard on Medicaid expansion, reversed bad actions by the McDonnell gang on abortion, acted creatively to restore felons’ voting rights, and was at Dulles Airport last night to push against Trump’s EO.

          So far there are two candidates on the D side – Ralph Northam, the current Lt. Gov., and former Congressman Tom Periello, who makes progressive noises but still leaves me with an uncertain feeling. FWIW, Northam showed up at the kick-off fundraiser for my local delegate, who’s quite progressive, so that was a good sign.

          • Fake Irishman

            signing every single one of those restoration papers for felons was great (though I’m sure it was with the autopen)

        • efgoldman

          someone as good or better than TMac in Virginia and someone who can win in NJ.

          TMac has been pretty good. Of course, VA not only has odd-year elections, the governor is limited to one term.

      • JL

        There’s a special House election coming up in GA-6, in a district that used to be very red but has changing demographics and that Trump only won by a point this past election.

        Note that donating doesn’t take much time. Obviously, things like canvassing do if you actually live or near in the relevant areas, but you can donate and protest.

        I assume that most people here have seen https://swingleft.org/ but just in case you hadn’t, there it is.

    • Bruce B.
  • Downpuppy

    I loove the way the pink hats are already becoming the marks of Veterans. “You were there when it started? Awesome!”

    • JL

      The pink hats were great, and it is great that people are being recognized for being at the Women’s Marches, but resistance to Trump, even protest-based resistance, didn’t start at them, and the protest infrastructure has been developed and maintained primarily by people who have been doing this for a long time.

      Let the new waves of protesters and the old waves come together in solidarity and build awesome new things and extensions on the previous work!

  • dbk

    Local protests can also be very valuable because they involve and energize folks (esp. young folks) who may decide to get involved in local politics as a result. And that’s pretty important.

    The Judiciary Committee votes Tuesday 31 at 9.30 am on the AG nominee, and the HELP Committee votes at 10.00 am on the Sec of Ed nominee. Let’s make sure our Senators hear from us by tomorrow – DeVos’s is now the most opposed nomination (over 50,000 letters/calls as of late last week). It now occurs to me that, in light of weekend events, the nominee for AG may not be as secure as most commenters (myself included) thought.

  • DonnaK

    Calling what is taking shape across the land a “left Tea Party” understates the magnitude of this movement. We vastly outnumber the original Tea Partiers of the late 2000s, and we have much greater and more authentic moral fervor and a willingness to put ourselves on the line for the cause of basic human decency.

    • Gwen

      It is true. The first big TP protests drew maybe 700,000 people. The Women’s March drew 4 times that.

      I did some back-of-the-napkin math based on Wikipedia’s entry on the TP and attendance figure for Trump rallies from Gateway Pundit (back when the dumbest man on the Internet was pushing that nobody attended Hillary rallies).

      My best guess is that more people protested on 1/21 than all of the Tea Party rallies and Trump campaign rallies over the past 8 years combined.

      • randy khan

        And there were lots of repeats at the Trump and TP rallies, too, so the actual number of people is much higher for 1/21

    • efgoldman

      We vastly outnumber the original Tea Partiers of the late 2000s

      And we don’t have any imbeciles with “Keep Government out of my Medicare” signs.

      • Bruce B.

        One of my favorite pictures from 1/21 shows a woman with an elegantly lettered sign saying “Look At All The Correctly Spelled Signs!”

  • drpuck

    Anybody else feel events over the next month or so, say leading up to the first SOTU, are going to outpace our velocity of reflection and response and resistance?

    Scott Adams thinks that overwhelming pace is a winning feature, but I think it will be a bug.

    • LosGatosCA

      Trump/Bannon definitely think the pace is a good strategy. My guess is they keep it up until it’s time to name Scalia’s replacement when they’ll rally the base.

      Then they’ll be working the media to make the environment a politics as usual fight rather than a departure from the rule of law/human rights/common decency.

      They’re counting on attention span problems with low information citizens, horse race reflexes in the media, and difficulty for the opposition in fighting on all fronts at once.

      Of course, as the women’s march has bled into the Muslim ban protest Trump could also be igniting critical mass in the citizenry. I certainly hope that’s the case.

      • DonnaK

        Trump could also be igniting critical mass in the citizenry.

        I believe this is correct. The left is more aroused and determined to fight back than it was even in the late 1960s. My wife and I are getting involved in organizing here in largely conservative Central New York, and we are overwhelmed at the energy and commitment of the people we are working with, as well as their sheer numbers. Trump has truly awakened a sleeping giant.

        • Fake Irishman

          … and there are 2-4 very winnable Congressional seats there. I remember watching those starting to flip to the good guys on election night 2006 and smiling to myself because I knew it was going to be a fun couple of hours.

    • Porlock Junior

      Writing this quickly before my positive view evaporates —

      It occurred to me today that we may be seeing the counter to the Karl Rove theory of throwing so much shit so fast that reason has no time to make a counter-move but is continually off balance.

      Consider that a movement with no millions in a media budget managed to stage a bigger show than the Inauguration, putting it together almost overnight. Oh, and a positive show, the kind that raises morale more effectively and with more lasting effect than a show of hostility and gloom and bad-mouthing of America. (patriotism ISREAL!) Which scared the big boss very badly.

      And then a week later, on no notice whatever, crowds gather in population centers across the land in response to a completely unpredicted outrage.

      Could it be that the good persons are pushing the villains off balance?

      Just a thought.

    • jam

      I believe the plan is to act quickly and rapidly move to the mass murder part of the program.

  • Mike Furlan

    Marched with about 2000 people from the Morton Grove IL Muslim Center. Joined by Rep. Jan Schakowsky. She is headed for O’Hare now to join that protest.

    • The Lorax

      Wow. I grew up in the burbs. This is astonishing. Good on my peeps back there.

  • Gwen

    One thing about these protests is they are semi-constructive.

    I’m about angry enough to start throwing Molotov cocktails, so some structure is useful for keeping me out of prison and/or hospital burn unit. :)

  • CL Minou

    I went to the Battery Park Rally today. A lot of people there for something that was basically thrown together in the last 14 hours. A lot of people. We had most of the big guns of NYC House reps–Nadler, Maloney, Velaquez–as well as Schumer and Gillibrand. A bunch of people near me started up an “Oppose the Nominees!” chant while the Minority Leader was trying to recite “The New Colossus” and I’m pretty sure it wrapped around the park; hoping he a) heard us and b) noticed the enthusiastic reception Gillibrand got when she spoke. (I am liking her more and more every day, and I started out with a high opinion.)

    Does it do anything? Well, I’ve been depressed and cynical for months. I’m trans. I’m well aware of being a third class citizen now (I try to bitterly joke that it’s clarifying–“Do they hate me? Yup. Do they want to kill me? Yup.”) Going out to a protest like this, seeing all the people who also came out, getting a chance to make OUR Congresscritters come to US–I feel a bunch more energized. I’m still planning on making sure I have a bugout bag and checking to see if I qualify as a refugee in the Commonwealth nations…but today felt a lot better. Hope has to start somewhere.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I have far more privilege than you so it’s easy for me to say, but FWIW I woke up this morning feeling sick at heart but news of the widespread protests has me feeling much more hopeful.

    • As a fellow trans person, I wish you the best of luck. (I’m at least fortunate enough to pass as cis – it’s complicated, and I’ll only bore you with the details if you’re interested – but then I’m also Jewish, which isn’t exactly a blessing in Cheeto Benito’s America either.)

      • CL Minou

        I pass pretty easy casually; I’m sure most people who know me well figure it out, either via Facebook (nothing horribly evident but who knows in Zuckerbergia), relaxed voice control on my part, and fuck it who cares? People respect me and are on my side.

        OTOH, I’m going to get my birth certificate amended finally, and I plan to keep one copy in a safe and the other on me. This is what we have come to.

        BTW, I’ve really enjoyed your commentary here. I used to be a D-list Internet Blogger back when I wrote at Sady Doyle’s place, but burned out hard and then had a fulltime job and a bad relationship that made me drop out of online activism. I’m glad to see other folks push on like you are!

  • sellazz

    Excellent post. See you in the streets.

  • Happy birthday. I will be kicking some money to the ACLU later tonight. May decide to set up a recurring donation to them, Planned Parenthood, and possibly the SPLC as well, and I’m still thinking about possibly expanding that to other charities as well.

    • efgoldman

      I will be kicking some money to the ACLU later tonight.

      Saw elsewhere that they received almost 5x the donations since yesterday morning than they usually get in a whole year.
      It used to be (I’m going back 30-40 years) that only 1-2% of listeners ever called in to talk radio. Extrapolate that over the demonstrations and number of new donations….
      Even if the number of demonstrators is 10% or even 20% of those who are energized….

    • vic rattlehead

      My wife’s been donating a lot to the ACLU so I decided to make sure the SPLC got some love today. The ACLU is great but they’ve gotten a lot of (richly deserved!) attention and donations the past couple days so I wanted to make sure to spread the donations out a bit.

      • JL

        Jacob Remes, a historian who I think is friendly with Erik, had a nice thread on other worthy organizations that are important in the current moment, but less well-known, and could use some love.

  • nadirehsa

    Happy birthday! My girlfriend and I spent the afternoon at the Philly Airport protests. I’m 35 and I don’t remember ever seeing a Left this energized in my entire life.

  • Philip

    Happy birthday!

    I’m not there today (I was there well after midnight last night and really just didn’t have another day in me), but SFO still had a lot of people last I heard and could always use some reinforcements. So consider this a request to anyone in the Bay with a free Sunday evening to head over there :)

    • (((42)))

      I got back from SFO a few hours ago- I went in part thanks to your note on last night’s thread. LGM turns out to be an organizing tool! Thank you.

  • busker type

    We rallied about 50-60 people for a protest today in my small town (Elkins, WV, pop. 7,000)
    Felt like a victory for s minute, and I handed out “call our congressman about Obamacare” flyers to most of the folks there, til I ran out.
    Lots of honks and waves, but plenty of middle fingers too :/

    • Great–despite the hostility from some, there are a lot of good people there who need to know that others support them.

      • busker type

        Yeah, so true.

        Amusing anecdote:
        Old white guy in the passenger seat of a beat-up American sedan stops in front of me (has his grandaughter pull over) and he says something I can’t hear. He looks like a caricature of a trump supporter (camo jacket, ball cap, cigarette) but I walk over to talk anyway.

        Old dude: I’m with Y’all
        Me: great!
        OD: we got a anti-Christ in there!
        Me: I think that’s not too far from the truth
        OD: somebody’s gotta shoot that sumbitch, get rid of him
        Me: well, I hope it doesn’t happen like that, I’d rather impeach him
        OD: oh, they’re gonna get him

        • CL Minou

          Walking through Battery Park, one of the Sanitation workers said “I gotta pay my bills by working today, but I want you to know I’m with you all!”

          FWIW the NYPD was professional and the organizers made sure to thank them for helping them get access to the park to set up and organize the space.

          • vic rattlehead

            I’m still wary of the NYPD but what a difference not having Ghouliani as mayor makes. Can you imagine?

            • efgoldman

              what a difference not having Ghouliani as mayor makes. Can you imagine?

              Doesn’t take any imagination, just a decent memory.

            • JL

              Bloomberg was no treat either. The OWS crackdowns (illegal snatch & grab arrests, women protesters sexually assaulted by police, legal observers run over with police bikes, young women pepper sprayed, a window broken with a medic’s head, a couple of people nearly killed from head injuries, and so on) happened on his watch.

              The NYPD has not been great to Black Lives Matter protests, even in De Blasio’s era, but it’s good when they do deign to act like professionals and not asshole bullies.

      • gmack

        Absolutely true. Here in Rochester, we brought out 1-2000 in less than 24 hours’ notice. And yes, the atmosphere was amazing. Seeing everyone–folks from the local Black Lives Matter group, the mayor, various church groups, LGBT groups, the folks from the local Islamic center, and so on–all gathering on behalf of our Islamic neighbors, friends, and families was quite stirring. It’s also important for organizing purposes. We have to come out for one another.

    • JL

      50-60 out of 7000 is a better turnout rate than many large blue cities get. Well done.

  • cpinva

    in 1933, 1937 & 1973, my wife would have already died, so I would have had the time to personally, physically engage in these actions. unfortunately, due to massive advances in medical science, my wife is not only still alive, but on the national liver transplant list. this leaves me at the beck and call of the hospital’s liver transplant clinic, umbilically attached to my cell phone, awaiting a call that could come at anytime of the day or night. I must answer this call, and do whatever it is that I need to, right then and there, or risk losing my wife a new liver. much as I loathe the current Nazi-in-chief and his band of brownshirts, my wife comes first and foremost.

    after she either gets a new liver, or the disease finally does kill her, i’ll then be somewhat freer to directly involve myself in this very important cause. I’m sure you all understand.

    • busker type

      That’s really hard, I’m sorry. Best of luck to you both.

    • Origami Isopod

      I’m sorry. I hope she gets the liver soon.

    • I second what the others said.

    • efgoldman

      I’m on the kidney registry, but nowhere near critical yet. I’m not even on dialysis. But it’s going to be a long wait.

      • cpinva

        I’m glad you’re not critical yet, my wife is end-stage NASH, able to bleed out at a moment’s notice (and almost has, a couple of times so far). over the course of the past year and a half, she’s gotten worse, at an accelerating rate. I finally retired, because the physical/emotional stress of being constantly having to deal with both her medical issues and work finally just got to be all too much; I expected that baby grand, with ACME printed on it, to fall on me at any moment. interestingly, though I no longer have to deal with work, she’s just gotten worse, so one stress was replaced by increased stress elsewhere. oh well, what are you going to do?

        I try to stay engaged, and if there happens to be a local activity, rest assured I will make it a point to be there. I think I’m still in shock from Nov., it’s like we’ve achieved cartoon strip status as a country.

      • I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly and well.

    • Hogan

      Do what you have to. Then do what you can. Best of luck.

    • Bruce B.

      cpinva, you’re in a kind of situation I thought of while writing the G+ post I linked to up above. Sometimes the gap between “what people in general and do” and “what I, personally, right now, can do” is really wide. So go at it as a matter of relative advantage. Send some e-mail to officials; make a donation to folks fighting the good fight, even a small one. Those are both infinitely better than nothing. If those are out, see if there’s something else to do. Even simply encouraging and supporting folks vocally, like you do here, is good. It all matters.

      • cpinva

        good points Bruce, and thank all of you for your kind thoughts, I have all my fingers and toes crossed.

    • vic rattlehead

      You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. I hope your wife pulls through and gets the liver. I’m sorry she has to suffer like this. I’m sorry you both have to go through with this.

      I would never judge anyone in your position for not being politically active, and screw anyone who does.

      I am not a religious man, but my thoughts are with you.

    • (((42)))

      And we’ll shout a little extra for you.

    • Fake Irishman

      That’s why you got us to get your back for you. We know you’ll be there when you can. Solidarity!

    • Brien Jackson

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m kicking the ACLU some extra money today on your behalf. Be well.

    • That’s terrible for you both. You are in my thoughts and I’m hoping for the best.

    • JL

      Of course! You don’t need to explain yourself to us! Best wishes to your wife!

  • N__B
    • vic rattlehead

      At first I thought it was an attack *by* a Muslim, and thought “great, the blowback is already here.” But no, an asshole probably emboldened by the Trumpenfuhrer. Yeah, different country, but the hate speech is not stopped by borders.

  • (((42)))

    I’m not going to give Erik all the credit, but this series of protest posts, culminating in the 1933/1937/1973 exhortation, was a big part of getting me to redirect my plans this afternoon and go to the airport with my 5-year-old. When they ask him what his folks did in the winter of 2017, he’ll have an answer. Also, it was crazy fun.

    So: thank you, Erik.

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