Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10.5 - Protests continue and grow

Protests continue and grow

But let's be clear: being on our own does not mean being alone.

In the week following the election, I celebrated the on-going protests against TheRump and all he represents. It is clear that spirit of resistance has not petered out but if anything, has grown.

PEN rally, New York City
On Sunday, January 15, PEN America, the American branch of the international literary and human rights organization, held a series of events under the banner "Writers Resist" to celebrate the power of language as a tool to express concern about the future of democracy in the US.

There were some 93 such events spread across 37 states as well as events in at least eight other nations.

On that same day, under the banner #OurFirstStand, there were around 70 rallies across the country with crowds ranging in size from dozens to thousands opposing repeal of the Affordable Care Act and supporting Medicare, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood. Many of those rallies urged going beyond mere defense of existing programs to pushing for some form of single-payer coverage.

A thousand in Richmond, more than six thousand in Boston, ten thousand in the suburbs of Detroit, hundreds in dozens of other places from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California.

And we must never forget: Resistance does not live just in large numbers. It also exists in all the small actions, perhaps especially the creative ones.

#OurFirstStand, Boston
On Tuesday, dozens of protesters gathered outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs in New York City, some wearing swamp-monster masks in reference to TheRump's pledge to "drain the swamp" - a pledge made before he picked several former Goldman Sachs executives for top jobs in his administration.

About 20 of the protesters brought sleeping bags, intending in an echo of Occupy Wall Street to camp outside the bank until the inauguration on Friday. Bank security guards sent people to another entrance and their bosses gave no order to remove the protesters, likely wanting to avoid attracting any more unhappy attention than the very symbol of corporate greed is already getting these past days.

These next actions have not happened at the time I'm preparing this, but will have taken place before you see this, but I'm going to talk about them anyway in anticipation of their success.

On Friday, Inauguration Day, a group of celebrities are banding together for what they are calling a Love-a-thon, a three-hour live broadcast on Facebook with proceeds going to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Earthjustice, the organizations chosen because they represent issues under attack in a TheRump administration.

Among those taking part are Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judd Apatow, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Guest, and Tim Robbins. Admittedly not A+-list talent like Three Doors Down, but they'll do.

And then of course there is Saturday. The Women's March on Washington.

I sincerely hope there will be - from your perspective, was, a huge turnout. Predictions are for tens, scores, hundreds of thousands to turn out. Right now, as I prepare this, the prospects look good. As one sign, of January 14, DC parking permits had been sought for 1200 buses for the event. By comparison, fewer than 400 permits had been sought for the inauguration. That may not be the complete total for either event, but the difference is still striking and I will say hopeful.

Women's March on Washington
Significantly, the DC march is not the only one planned. There are a multitude of what are being called "sister" marches planned. As of January 17, by my count of what's on the organizers' website, there are in addition to the DC march some 231 marches and rallies planned covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Plus, there are another 156 events in 58 countries. And there are, as indicated by the number for the running total that is on the page, a good many more which have not been posted.

And that will not be the end of it.

The following Monday, January 23, students on college campuses around the country will be holding actions calling on their campuses to help address global warming divesting from the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting in alternative energies.

I have said on a number of occasions that if we are going to push for some kind of political revolution, we need more, much more, than polite conversation, navel-gazing blog posts, and snarky twitter feeds. We need people in the streets, we need to fill the streets, we need to fill the jails, even, if it comes to that, we need to fill the camps. We need social disruption, we need no business as usual, we need to be noisy, we need to be in your face. This doesn't mean we need to be violent, but it does mean we have to be determined, creative, and most of all persistent.

We need to pace ourselves because we are in this for the long term, but we need to keep on keepin' on, without backing down or bailing out.

Because like the song goes, every victory brings another. Carry it on.

So I look at that week of events I just described and I say "more, please. Much more."

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