The Future of the Anti-Trump Movement
LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS Demonstrators take part in the Women’s March to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States close to the White House in Washington, January 21, 2017.
Last Friday, Donald Trump took the presidential oath of office in front of a crowd of about 160,000 people. The next day, some 470,000 turned out for the Women’s March on Washington. They were joined by hundreds of thousands in other cities around the country and world. They supported a hodgepodge of progressive causes, from reproductive rights to environmentalism to decolonialism to anti-racism.
The marches, which were hailed by elated feminist observers as a representing a surge of the intersectional movement—which focuses on how oppression piles up along cleavages of race, class, gender, and more—saw zero reported arrests in Washington. Soon, social media was flooded by a wave of smug posts on the marchers’ supposedly superior protesting chops.
But weaknesses in the scaffolding of the movement’s big tent quickly become apparent. “When you brag that your protests had no arrests, I wonder what you think that says about you,” mused the writer Ijeoma Oluo, echoing many black activists. “Calling arrests in protests ‘stupid’,” wrote the Chicago activist Mykele Deville, “defecates on the legacy of those who defied law to bring about change through civil disobedience, property damage, and armed direct action.” The writer Eve Ewingremarked on Twitter that “not getting arrested in a march doesn’t mean you’re better than anybody,” continuing “The police state doesn’t deem you a threat. So slow your roll.”