Tuesday, February 07, 2017

We All Want To Beat Trump-- Here Are Some How To Guides For Patriotic Resistance


Yesterday David Frum spoke from his own experience as a Bush Regimist about what he feels works and does't work when it comes to Resitance. He's a smart guy but he has a conservative mind and doesn't understand how normal people think. His ideas, though, are valuable if you want to know how conservatives think. Trump's mind, obviously is neither normal nor conservative. He's fully insane and operates on a baser, primal level.

From is correct when he says our Resistance demonstrations "are exercises in catharsis, the release of emotions." What he doesn't seem to get is their value as organizing experiences for the long haul. He writes that "their operating principle is self-expression, not persuasion. They lack the means, and often the desire, to police their radical fringes, with the result that it’s the most obnoxious and even violent behavior that produces the most widely shared and memorable images of the event. They seldom are aimed at any achievable goal; they rarely leave behind any enduring program of action or any organization to execute that program. Again and again, their most lasting effect has been to polarize opinion against them-- and to empower the targets of their outrage. And this time, that target is a president hungering for any excuse to repress his opponents." All good insights. But hardly definitive. Below is what he has "to offer from the right to the left, against the storms of the Trump era." I doubt he's meaning to sound condescending or patronizing.
The more conservative you are, the more radical you are.

You want to scare Trump? Be orderly, polite, and visibly patriotic.

Trump wants to identify all opposition to him with the black-masked crowbar thugs who smashed windows and burned a window on his inauguration day. Remember Trump’s tweet about stripping citizenship from flag burners? It’s beyond audacious that a candidate who publicly requested help from Russian espionage services against his opponent would claim the flag as his own. But Trump is trying. Don’t let him get away with it. Carry the flag. Open with the Pledge of Allegiance. Close by singing the Star Spangled Banner... Trump’s presidency is itself one long flag-burning, an attack on the principles and institutions of the American republic. That republic’s symbols are your symbols. You should cherish them and brandish them.

Don’t get sucked into the futile squabbling cul-de-sac of intersectionality and grievance politics. Look at this roster of speakers from the January 21 march. What is Angela Davis doing there? [the conservative mind is incapable of understanding this-- Frum isn't trying to sound like an asshole; he can't help himself] Where are the military women, the women police officers, the officeholders? If Planned Parenthood is on the stage, pro-life women should stand there, too. If you want somebody to speak for immigrants, invite somebody who’s in the country lawfully.

 Since his acceptance speech in Cleveland, Donald Trump has made clear that he wants to wage a Nixon-style culture war: cops against criminals, soldiers against pacifists, hard hats against hippies. Don’t be complicit. If you want to beat him, you have to reject his categories.

“Tone policing” has entered the left-of-center vocabulary as one of the worst possible things you can do or think. In fact, all effective political communication must carefully consider both tone and content. If the singer Madonna wants to indulge herself in loose talk about political bombing, let her do it on her own platform, not yours. If you see guys with crowbars in the vicinity of your meeting, detain them yourselves and call the cops You’re the defenders of the Constitution, the Republic, and the Western Alliance. Act like it.

Think strategically; act inclusively

The classic military formula for success: concentrate superior force at a single point. The Occupy Wall Street movement fizzled out in large part because of its ridiculously fissiparous list of demands and its failure to generate a leadership that could cull that list into anything actionable. Successful movements are built upon concrete single demands that can readily be translated into practical action: “Votes for women.” “End the draft.” “Overturn Roe v. Wade.” “Tougher punishments for drunk driving.”

People can say “yes” to such specific demands for many different reasons. Supporters are not called upon to agree on everything, but just one thing. “End the draft” can appeal both to outright pacifists and to military professionals who regard an army of volunteers as more disciplined and lethal than an army of conscripts. Critics of Roe run the gamut from those who wish a total ban on all abortions to legal theorists who believe the Supreme Court overstepped itself back in 1973.

So it should be for critics of President Trump. “Pass a law requiring the Treasury to release the President’s tax returns.” “An independent commission to investigate Russian meddling in the US election.” “Divest from the companies.” These are limited asks with broad appeal.

On the other hand, if you build a movement that lists those specific and limited goals along a vast and endlessly unfolding roster of others from “preserve Dodd Frank” to “save the oceans”-- if you indulge the puckish anti-politics of “not usually a sign guy, but geez”-- you will collapse into factionalism and futility.

The Democratic party remains open for business. If your concerns are classic Democratic concerns, you know where to go. But if you are building a movement to protect American democracy from the authoritarianism of the Trump administration, you should remember that the goal is to gain allies among people who would not normally agree with you. Just as the iconography of your protest should originate in the great American mainstream, the core demand of your movement should likewise be easy to explain and plausibly acceptable to that mainstream, stretching from Bernie voters to Romney donors.

Here are a few useful tests:

a) Could this demand be achieved by a law passed through Congress?

b) Can I imagine my Rush Limbaugh listening brother-in-law agreeing with it?

c) Can I tweet it?

If so … good.


d) Would I still be upset about this if Marco Rubio were president now?

If so … bad.

Protests are fun; meetings are effective

Protests can be powerful. Just this past week, the Romanian government withdrew a law intended to protect high-level corruption in the face of mass demonstrations in the streets of Bucharest. Big mobilizations send the message politicians most fear to hear: “A lot of us are mad at you.” That message resounds especially forcefully in the ears of Trump, so obsessed with the massive popular vote tally against him.

But bodies in the street represent only potential power, not actual power. Even the largest rally must sooner or later disassemble and return home. What happens after that? The difference between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party was that only the second movement translated the energy and excitement of its early mass meetings into steady organizational work aimed at winning elections.

Protests can energize people and overawe governments. But it is the steady and often tedious work of organization that sustains democracy-- and can change the world. Protests are useful mostly to the extent that they mobilize people to participate in the follow-up meetings to realize the protest’s goals. Collect names and addresses. Form Facebook groups. Keep in touch. Don’t argue: recruit. Meet in real space as well as online. Serve cake. Make your presence felt on your local elected officials not just once, but day after day, week in, week out. Make them feel that they could lose their individual seats if they do not heed you. They feel the pressure from lobbyists all the time…to succeed, you should be equally focused and persistent. And that requires above all: be motivated by hope, not outrage.

The outrage may get you started, but only hope keeps you going. Hope, as Vaclav Havel insisted, is an expression of the state of our minds, not a description of the state of the world. It powers you to undertake the daunting but essential mission: unlimited efforts for limited goals. You’re not trying to save the world. Just to pass one law. It doesn’t sound like much. It could be everything.
From Frum to Froma... distinguished journalist Froma Harrop. Yesterday she wrote about the right way to oppose Trump's unconstitutional Muslim ban. Like all of us, she wants "stringent vetting of immigrants entering the country [and] can easily envision Islamic terrorist groups trying to sneak operatives into this country... some terrorists have entered Europe hiding in the flood of refugees. But there are other facts. Not a single refugee admitted to the United States has committed a fatal terrorist attack here. For that we can largely thank the comprehensive vetting process put into place by Barack Obama. If there’s room for improving the process, go ahead and make changes. But where is the need for even a temporary ban? That implies we are facing a dire emergency." Kellyanne Con-Man's #AltFact Bowling Green Massacre may be believed in the drug ravaged counties that elected Trump, but it was a typical and manipulative lie which Con-Man has used in the past-- and without substance. "How," she asked, "might one express both support for refugee screening and displeasure with the Trump approach?" From would have no problem with any of her ideas.
For one thing, let’s not take the need for vetting lightly. I am not the commissar for protest signage, but it would be helpful for its artists to avoid conveying the idea that anyone who wants in should get in.

I also avoid emotional anecdotes about so-and-so’s being delayed for hours at the airport-- or some grandmother unable to reunite with a son’s family. Not every grandmother belongs in this country. We shouldn’t mind some entrants going through more paces, as long as there is a rational process whereby all comers are checked out and, once given the green light, can enter the country and go about their business.

Insulting vast swaths of humanity is not a thinking person’s path to national security. And when the good people we do business with and fight alongside are inconvenienced, we should also at least say, “Thank you for your time.”

In sum, let’s not confuse cruelty with being tough. But let’s also concede that we live in a dangerous world. Keeping the bad people out makes a country more accepting of the good people.

UPDATE: More On Resisting Trump

This list came from Bernice King, CEO of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and Martin Luther King's daughter. Overall, it's better advise than David Frum's on how to relate to the Trumpist threat, by the way.

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At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. Fuck Frum. He's responsible in no small part for what we have now. So if you quote him it should only be in the context of his large role in the 37 year dive into the black hole, the center of which we are now seeing.

When you quote a protoGoebbels in the context of resistance, you lose all credibility.

At this point in time, the ONLY resistance is total. period. There is no other tactic or strategy.

Vote against EVERYONE who helped build the Nazi Reich. Resist not only republicans but democraps.
Be kind to the demographics being suppressed and oppressed and, soon, killed. Be summarily unkind to reich supporters always.

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Anon said...

Hyperbole much?

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:18, I wish.
I've been predicting this arc since 1980. Velocity varies, but the direction hasn't. I have yet to be proved wrong in my predictions. I'm predicting that, eventually, the us gummint will conduct large-scale killings of citizens the money doesn't like. And not just killings bwo denial of health care and meds, like unaffordable epi pens. Not just police killing with impunity. Not just killing bwo arbitrary war. Not just killing bwo denial of sustenance (gashing SSI). These are happening now.
Would you put it past today's supporters of drumpf/bannon to stage a massive "terrorist" attack in order to get martial law and public support for the suspense of the constitution (the fragments that we already have not forfeited)??
Already, we've had a R lawmaker call for more "Kent State" repressions.

If this dumbfucktardia of a society wakes up today, it might already be too late to stop this.


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