It’s been a terrible week. The Trump Administration is just as much of a nightmare as I’d imagined. I’ll be honest, I’m really struggling with it all. You probably are too. But the resistance is also in full swing, and we’re not going let Trump and his army of trolls win without a fight. Here are eight things giving me life this week.
8. We’re Building a Progressive Knowledge Base
The Indivisible Guide has been around for only six weeks but has just announced they’re becoming a non-profit organization. Since December, the guide has been downloaded over a million times and “more than 4,500 local groups have signed up to resist the Trump agenda in nearly every congressional district in the country.” The model is gaining ground. This week, Stay Woke and Campaign Zero launched The Resistance Manual, an open source manual for activism in the era of Trump. Former producers for The Daily Show and Countdown have created Indivertible, a guide to fixing our news media. And Swing Left has created a database of swing house districts, searchable by ZIP code. These are just a few of the knowledge bases that I’m aware of. I’m confident that there are others percolating, and I can’t wait to see what else we come up with.
The so-called alt-right organizes in the open. This week, Buzzfeed ran a comprehensive piece of how American Trump trolls are organizing to boost the extreme right in France. I’ve long suspected operating this way also served as a recruitment tool. Based on the astounding success of Indivisible, I expect the same will be true for our cause. We’re lifting the barriers to entry, but more importantly, by organizing out in the open, we’re inviting new voices to join us.
7. We Haven’t Lost our Sense of Humor
Sean Spicer memes exist and they are amazing.
6. We Marched
The numbers at the Women’s March were staggering. Activists across the US, and around the world came together to support women and oppose Trump’s anti-woman agenda. Perhaps most inspiring is that the Women’s March started as an idea on Facebook, from women who wanted to do something in the wake of Trump’s election. That idea has since ballooned into one of the largest protests in modern US history. Organizers of the march are now asking participants to continue taking action, ensuring that the moment becomes a movement.
5. We’re Making Space For a Bigger Movement
Staggering numbers of new activists means staggering numbers of folks who are new to politics and activism. Understandably, there are some growing pains. I’m the first to admit that sometimes I get resentful about how many people have reached out to me after the election wanting to get involved. But right now we need all the help we can get, and considering how little political power we currently have in Congress, massive engagement is our best hope of making any gains.
Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter has a piece up at Mic about this. I appreciate her take on how we can better make space for new activists:
I remember who I was before I gave my life to the movement. Someone was patient with me. Someone saw that I had something to contribute. Someone stuck with me. Someone did the work to increase my commitment. Someone taught me how to be accountable. Someone opened my eyes to the root causes of the problems we face. Someone pushed me to call forward my vision for the future. Someone trained me to bring other people who are looking for a movement into one.
No one is safe from the transition this country is undergoing. While many of us have faced hate, ignorance and greed in our daily lives, the period that we have entered is unlike anything that any of us has ever seen before.
We can build a movement in the millions, across difference. We will need to build a movement across divides of class, race, gender, age, documentation, religion and disability. Building a movement requires reaching out beyond the people who agree with you. Simply said, we need each other, and we need leadership and strategy.
4. We’re Here for Rogue Civil Service Workers
Federal government agencies have been directed not to communicate with the public. Those orders were defied pretty quickly. The Badlands National Park twitter account began tweeting facts about climate change, the Department of Defense twitter account subtweeted Trump with a tweet about social media postings as a sign of mental illness, and then tweeted the story of a Marine who also happened to be an Iraqi refugee on the same day Trump was set to announce his ban on most refugees. But nothing has given me quite as much joy as the rogue Twitter accounts that have cropped up, especially @AltNationalParkService (now tweeting as @NotAltworld). We need to amplify these voices as much as we can. And we need to support the inevitable leakers and whistle blowers as they begin to surface. Especially since the so-called alt-right will stop at nothing to harass civil service workers who speak out back into silence.
3. We’re Rattling Trump
The opposition is clearly having an effect on Trump’s state-of-mind. Which in turn is rattling several members of Trump’s staff. alarming reports of Trump’s tantrums, spiteful directives and sense of injury at not getting adulation indicate a West Wing highly at odds. Resignations and firings are sure to follow. The more rattled they are, the less effective they’ll be. Right now, the opposition has more opportunity to derail the Trump agenda than any Democrat in Congress. We need to keep at it.
2. We’re Witnessing So Many Leaks
White House staffers are not our allies but they’re giving us plenty to work with this week. We’ve learned what media Donald Trump consumes and his staff’s futile efforts to keep him away from the television. His first weekend was so disastrous even his top aides were freaked out. The leaks cast Trump as a “clueless child” a perception that certainly won’t inspire confidence, and adds to the perception that he’s not qualified or able to sit in the Oval Office.
1. We’re Mobilizing Big Time
Progressives groups are seeing metrics of engagement like never before. We’ve seen the articles about increased donations for groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU since November, but I asked a few organizations for a sense of how much engagement is up and the numbers are astounding:
- Daily Kos has added 1,436,980 new activists to their list since November 9 and engagement is up by as much as 250% in some key metrics, and a minimum of 60% across the board.
- MoveOn had more than 60,000 people call into a joint conference call with Indivisible and The Working Families Party last Sunday night, and turned out more than 15,000 people to senate offices across the country on the following Tuesday.
- National Education Association reports that more than 1 million people have emailed their Senators urging them to oppose confirming Betsy DeVos. The emails were sent via an NEA online form and there was no paid advertising to support the campaign.
- NARAL’s membership has increased by 20% since the election, and more than 10,000 people have signed up as volunteers.
There are a few more examples, including some specular local numbers, on this Facebook thread. Feel free to add yours. I love showing off our momentum.
I won’t pretend we’re winning right now. We’re not. But we are planting the right seeds. And yesterday’s rapid airport mobilization to protest Trump’s #muslimban tells me we’re on the right track. Those seeds will blossom into a resistance built for the long fight ahead.
The above is an excerpt from Ctrl Alt Right Delete, a weekly newsletter devoted to understanding how the right operates online and developing strategies and tactics to fight back.