by Rivera Sun
The rise of Donald Trump has been infuriating, horrifying, and ridiculous all at once. Meanwhile, what we, the People, are doing to resist injustice, oppression, discrimination, hate, bigotry, and authoritarianism is downright inspiring. Nonviolent action is reaching new heights of creativity in the United States, widening in frequency and participation. Here’s just a sample of how ordinary, extraordinary people have mobilized for justice in the past month.
4.5 Million People (3.3 Million In US) March for Women’s Rights on Inauguration Weekend
The Women’s March and Sister Marches exploded across the US and around the world the day after the inauguration. March turnouts doubled or tripled expectations, and the number of solidarity or related marches far exceeded expectations. From senior citizens marching with walkers around nursing homes to 30 freezing souls in Antarctica to hundreds of thousands in the major US cities to ex-patriots overseas, people marched in support of women and against the demeaning rhetoric and discriminatory proposed policies of Pres. Donald Trump. In addition to organizers, civil resistance researchers Jeremy Pressman and Erica Chenoweth worked with a network of people to catalogue the sheer massiveness of these actions.
Greenpeace Welcomes Trump to White House with RESIST Banner Drop
Welcome to the White House, Mr. President. Soon after the inauguration, Greenpeace activists dropped a photo-bomb of a banner drop off a giant crane parked behind the White House. The one-word banner said it all: RESIST.
Federal Workers Noncooperation and Resistance to Trump Administration
Bureaucratic obstruction may be par for the course in Washington DC during a change of presidential administrations, but levels of noncooperation and resistance to the Trump Administration from federal workers are reaching new heights of political significance . . . and creativity. From collective resignations, letters of opposition, refusal to cooperate with assignments and orders, the federal workers (the ones who don’t change with every election) are taking subtle, but powerful action on behalf of civil and human rights, and protection of public programs. And, 180 federal employees signed up for a workshop where experts will offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.
@AltNatParkSer Turns Park Rangers Into Unexpected Climate Heroes
Speaking of federal workers, our favorite story of resistance comes from the unlikely heroes of the National Park Service. Yes, the park rangers. When a climate change gag order was sent out, the employee who ran the Badlands National Park Twitter account went rogue, disobeyed, and tweeted truth to power about climate change and the threat it poses. When the employee was shut out of the account and the tweets deleted, alternative Twitter handles popped up. @AltNatParkSer tweeted: You can take our official twitter, but you’ll never take our free time! In 36 hours, they had over one million followers and 50 other @AtlGov accounts had been opened.
Sanctuary Cities Pick Up Steam, Defy Threats
The Sanctuary City movement is spreading like wildfire, rallying local, county, and state opposition to immigration and deportation plans. Mayors, City Councils, Police Departments are all pledging to refuse to assist ICE in deporting immigrants. The Trump Administration has threatened to cut off federal funding to Sanctuary Cities, but many of them remain determined and resolute. The Mayor of Boston even offered his office and City Hall as a sanctuary. According to some reports, the State of California (the ninth largest economy in the world) has threatened to cut off funding to the federal government if the Trump Administration cuts off federal funding to the state over their many sanctuary cities.
Oh, and About That Wall . . .
Trump’s infamous Mexico Border Wall has set off a flurry of choice words from both the former and current Presidents of Mexico who are outraged about the arrogance of the wall proposal and the threat to make Mexico pay for it. For this and other reasons, Mexican citizens have organized boycotts against prominent US companies – Walmart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and others – rallying support under #AdiosProductosAmericanos. Meanwhile, the tribal nation of Tohono O’oodham vows that it will never build a wall across the 75 miles of its land that spans the US-Mexican border. By the way, if this border wall is built, it will end up costing every US household $120.
Muslim Ban Catalyzes Massive Airport Demonstrations, 1000s of NYC Bodega Protest Strikes, Taxi Driver Strikes and #DeleteUber
When President Trump closed entry to the US to seven Muslim-majority nations, he unleashed a storm of opposition from US citizens. When immigrants were detained at airports, massive airport demonstrations flooded airports nationwide. The airport taxi drivers went on strike . . . and when rumor went out that Uber would continue to provide airport service, citizens launched #DeleteUber and to encourage users to delete the Uber App from their phones. The ACLU waded into the fray and won some important victories for immigrant rights. Then thousands of bodegas closed early in New York City in protest over the Muslim Ban. Hundreds of DC officials have made public declarations of opposition to the ban. Overseas, Iraq and Iran took steps to ban US citizens from entering their countries.
818 Companies Drop Advertisement on Breitbart
Did you hear about how Rush Limbaugh was edged off the air by a quiet, persistent nonviolent campaign to get advertisers to withdraw from stations that carried his show? Well, that nonviolent strategy strikes again . . . this time at the right-wing journal Breitbart. Eight hundred and eighteen companies have dropped their advertising with the site – which has as much news creditability as the Onion, according to a recent poll. The campaigners have succeeded in getting major companies to pull out, including key companies overseas as Breitbart plans an international expansion.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary Objects to #AlternativeFacts
You know you’re in trouble when even the dictionary takes umbrage. After Kellyanne Conway referred to falsehoods as “alternative facts”, Merriam-Webster Dictionary retorted on social media, “A fact is a fact, and calling falsehoods “alternative facts” doesn’t make something a fact.” Thanks, dictionary people! Now that that’s clarified . . . let’s talk about science and facts.
Scientist March on Washington, #ScienceNotSilence
Scientists and science-supporters are marching on Washington DC after a series of Trump Administration actions pushed them into a phase transition state. No longer confined to laboratories, they’re taking action on Earth Day with a March for Science in DC and everywhere. With the slogan #ScienceNotSilence, they’re protesting the threatened erasure of climate science databases at NASA, the attempt to take down the climate data pages on the EPA website, the muzzling of officials on the subject of climate change (such as the Park Rangers), and the general dismissal of scientific fact by politicians and power holders. Some scientists have even formed a group to run for public offices: 314 Action . . . named for the first three numbers in pi.
That’s just some of the incredible nonviolent actions that have happened recently. Take heart. Resistance in 2017 is off to a powerful and provocative start . . . and the movements are growing daily.
Author/Activist Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio and the Programs Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence. www.riverasun.com
Top photo credit: DC March is by By National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Gagnon, JTF-DC – https://www.dvidshub.net/