Millions of gathered in Washington and around the world on January 21, 2017 to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. How do we use that energy to bring Trump down?

Last year, I got involved with a group called Refuse Fascism that was planning massive demonstrations on November 4 with the goal of bringing down the Trump/Pence regime. I agreed with them on two main points:

  1. Trump and Pence were installed by an authoritarian foreign government in order to further the interests of authoritarians and oligarchs here and abroad.
  2. Massive, regular protest is required in order to protect what is left of our democracy.

The November 4 effort fizzled for a number of reasons that I won’t belabor here. Chief among them was the assumption that millions of people would be willing to forsake their careers and families to spend weeks and months camped out in the streets in the dead of winter. That’s just not America.

What we need is a massive, ongoing protest that doesn’t require people to completely upend their lives.

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post proposing a protest of this nature that would disrupt consumer banking. In the intervening time, I have discussed the idea with many people whose opinions I respect and trust, including Kati Wilkins of Seattle Indivisible, my fellow organizer and dear friend Lara Lavi, and my dad.

They all convinced me that creating a disruption to the intermediaries that handle much of the day-to-day financial infrastructure for most Americans would not only be ineffective at influencing the powerful and well-connected, it would disrupt the well-being and livelihood of many Americans. Their arguments make sense to me.

What I liked about the original idea was:

  1. The protest was coordinated, repeated at regular intervals, and was designed to escalate virally.
  2. The protest did not require people to walk away from their daily lives, jobs, and families to spend an unknowable amount of time in the streets.

The trick now is figuring out what kind of protest will satisfy those two requirements while:

  1. Actually hitting the oligarchs here and abroad.
  2. Not creating a ton of collateral damage for the most vulnerable Americans.

I don’t have the answer to that yet, but I’m going to keep thinking on it. I encourage anyone with ideas to please reach out.

Emotional Labor

Writing songs, speeches, and essays, researching and synthesizing information, and organizing and performing at protests are all emotional labor. Please consider making a contribution to my work.


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