Portland Protests
November 11, 2016 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Portland protests For the fourth night, protests continue in Portland. KGW is broadcasting live.
posted by HuronBob (172 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everyone there should move to Detroit.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:13 PM on November 11, 2016 [20 favorites]


Portland seems so laid back. Or at least it does from a distance. For those with a more intimate perspective, is the clearly passionate response in character?
posted by double bubble at 10:17 PM on November 11, 2016


From someone who has lived in eastern WA for over a decade, and in eastern OR before that, the current Portland situation feels like Seattle Spillover Syndrome.
posted by hippybear at 10:19 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Care to elaborate, hippybear?
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:23 PM on November 11, 2016


I've been involved in protests. I've faced lines of police. The aspect of this that I can't quite sort out is the use of phones/cameras. many/most of the participants are holding up phones. I get this...to some degree. But the question is...what impact does this have in the larger picture..what impact does this social media exposure have on the movement. This '60's protester can't figure this out.
posted by HuronBob at 10:25 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, Seattle has long had a history of active protest, going back a long time. But as Seattle has gotten more expensive, a lot of people have migrated south, and they've taken their attitudes with them. That's all.
posted by hippybear at 10:26 PM on November 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


Ahh, yeah, that makes perfect sense. Especially since there's a non-zero chance I might end up being one of those people.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:36 PM on November 11, 2016


What is the point of these protests? Can someone explain it to me?

I mean, normally with a protest, you're trying to call attention to a bad thing in the hope of gaining allies and maybe eventually reversing it. But I think everyone in the country is pretty well aware of Trump, and has already formed an opinion, and I fail to see how smashing windows at a Toyota dealership in Portland or getting confrontational with police is sticking it to Trump in any way whatsoever. It looks a lot more like just trashing the community you live in.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:38 PM on November 11, 2016 [29 favorites]


Portland/Vancouver-ite here. I saw a lot of Facebook live on screens on Wednesday and Thursday. And the second time someone tried burning a flag, they got stopped by a thousand or so people.
posted by shenkerism at 10:38 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


What is the point of these protests?

Anger at a galling electoral outcome. Frustration about the accession of a nakedly bigoted candidate to the nation's highest office. Outrage about the normalization, prior and ongoing, of the Trumpian shitshow as just how things are.

I think the idea that spontaneous protests are supposed to be rational or utility-driven events misses the mark by a long shot, which is why looking for that sort of "point" tends to be so unsatisfying. Protest movements can become organized and cohesive and develop into strategic operations, but at their root, at their beginning, most are a public welling-up of reaction to an intolerable situation, and organic and messy and incoherent as a result.
posted by cortex at 10:49 PM on November 11, 2016 [208 favorites]


If flag burning is where you're drawing the line, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2016 [39 favorites]


The people smashing stuff were not the same people organizing the peaceful protests, or even necessarily affiliated with them or sympathetic to them.

And I think I'm going to repost this here since it's probably buried deep in the election thread by now:

>Before the Trumpists try and spin this into "priveleged liberal elites throwing a tantrum" I need to put this out there as a Pacific Northwesterner.

First off, the standard disclaimer that the media overhypes all protests and makes things seem way more dangerous than they are.

Portland is a white city. It is an industrial city, a former steel industry city. It is in many ways the parallel of all the cities in the Midwest where the Trump effect was the strongest. and yet it was nowhere to be found here.

Now there are differences. Portland's caught the halo of the tech industry, that means a better economy, but also means skyrocketing rents, and low paying service industry jobs for the working class.

There are reasons - the Northwest is a lot less religious than many places that went Trump - so there's fewer single issue abortion voters.

Now, having grown up in the suburbs of Seattle during the WTO protests in the '90's, I am so not surprised a bunch of anarchists showed up to smash things. I knew the sort of people who did this in my highschool - went to protests just to start shit.

They weren't the liberal, idealist, white collar kids. Kids getting a good education, who are looking towards college don't do this. Kids who think the economy, the tech industry have something for them don't do this. Kids who have a future don't do this.

The kind of person who does this looks really similar to rabid young Trump supporters elsewhere: working class kids who feel left behind as the good, union jobs are all outsourced off overseas. The promise of a tech job that would require so much book learning, they don't see that as on the table. These people would be the ones resentful of being looked down upon as uneducated. Who, if they weren't living on the coast, would be resentful of the smug coastal elite. This is the sort of kid we elected class president to stick it to the administration and were overjoyed when he got fired for drunkenly pissing on the school.

Now I'm just projecting some of my own emotions here, and who knows how with it I am, so take this with a grain of salt.

Those people out East elected a rich asshole New Yorker who's just going to make the rich richer. People who complain about "flyover country" talk as if the West Coast means 'California' and might have a hazy idea that Seattle is some sort of suburb of San Francisco. Now the working class out here, they just got told that they were not Real Americans, that they were the smug, effeminate, liberal elite. These kids probably didn't vote or voted third party because their vote didn't matter. And they were right, even voting Clinton, being on the winning popular vote wouldn't have mattered. No one listens to them. No one gives a shit. So why not break all the rich people's stuff?

posted by Zalzidrax at 10:53 PM on November 11, 2016 [85 favorites]


Portland seems so laid back. Or at least it does from a distance. For those with a more intimate perspective, is the clearly passionate response in character?

Portland is generally pretty laid back, but the city has a history of political demonstrations in the last couple decades. Occupy, the Bush/Iraq era as a couple of memorable periods on that front. G. H. W. Bush's staff years before is where the nickname Little Beirut came from.

many/most of the participants are holding up phones.

One big thing there: documentation. And not just documentation, but the visible signaling that that documentation is happening en masse. If shit goes down and you've got no camera, you can't prove that it happened the way it did vs. the way that e.g. the police say it did. If shit goes down and you have a camera, that camera can get confiscated.

If shit goes down and you have a thousand cameras, you've got documentation no matter what, and it's clear to everybody paying attention that that's the case.
posted by cortex at 11:00 PM on November 11, 2016 [71 favorites]


Portland also has a long history of active protest - GHW Bush called it “Little Beirut” in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s due to the city’s reaction to his visits. This surely has a strain of that history. And overall it’s a very liberal city – only about 20% of voters in the county chose Trump this year.

This protest seems to be a mix of peaceful demonstrators from all walks of life who are angry about Trump, probably along with some Occupy veterans and a small handful of self-styled smash-the-state types who just want an excuse to hit windows with baseball bats. (I’m guessing that last group wasn’t phonebanking for Hillary last weekend.) Last night there were thousands of peaceful demonstrators and a few window-smashers (some of obvious corporate symbols like banks, some of locally owned businesses). The original protest organizers spent a lot of today volunteering to clean up the damage, while making it clear that they didn’t approve.

Here is a statement from the organizers, made earlier today. The 5 pm rally from this afternoon has evolved into a few different groups wandering the city now, with police monitoring all of them. I hope nobody gets hurt; reports from earlier nights indicated that the police were mostly restrained and seemed to understand the difference between the general protesters and the stuff-smashers. From my house I can hear the hum of helicopters which will probably go on all night.
posted by lisa g at 11:00 PM on November 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


It's a good start.
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:07 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Zalzidrax, thank you so much for that. It's so good and I'm going to repost everywhere as much as possible if it's okay with you.
posted by queensissy at 11:35 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


What will the protesting really accomplish besides the divisiveness they claim to be against?

Something under 60% of all eligible citizens voted on Tuesday, or in almost any election since 1912. So basically, that's how we end up with shitty choices on the ballot. Usually only 50% to 55% of us ever care enough to show up.

Protesting and shouting and smashing things really doesn't say "Join Us!" to our fellow Americans. It convinces them to stay out of it, to put there attention elsewhere.

Angry protest of a presidential election is a dangerous trend and I hope we find another way in the weeks and months ahead to deal with the criminals from both parties entering or returning to public office. The time to mobilize would have been when we had this craziness thrust upon us in 2014, as if starting earlier wasn't just going to be a disruption to our daily lives. Of course people are protesting now that's it's technically over. Except for the calls for electoral college formality.

Protests in DTLA, too, tonight. The husband almost got stuck in the middle of it.
posted by jbenben at 11:50 PM on November 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


The protests are, for me at least, against the total disregard for inclusion and equality on which this country is built. For many of us, the best of America is when we've overcome adversity, and recognized the rights and dignity of the oppressed, and allowed them a chance to lead a good life. We've seen horribly racist acts over the last 48 hours, following directly on a campaign of dog whistled racism and blatant misogyny. That's what we're protesting. If the protests don't show proper regard for the electoral system, it's because we're weighing the electoral outcome against the basic safety and dignity of our selves and our neighbors.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:04 AM on November 12, 2016 [28 favorites]


Gofundme

Portlanders have already raised thousands of dollars on Gofundme. Probably the only city that goes from destruction to GoFundMe in less than 24 hrs.

Edit: Oops sorry, there's no Kickstarter.
posted by bendy at 12:12 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm about 2 miles from the DTLA ones, I've turned my AC up to drown out the helicopters.

On Wednesday they blocked the 110/101 for a while. Today some women blocked the 405 for a bit.

We like to complain about freeways here in Los Angeles, and to force someone to be stuck on one of them is counterproductive to the cause, to say the very least.

People are probably deciding to become life long enimies of whatever causes the protesters support, and doing so before they even find out what the causes are.
posted by sideshow at 12:14 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]




The other thing that isn't reported much is that some people (who I assume are Trump supporters) are following the Portland protestors on motorcycles to intimidate them by peeling out their tires and trying to peel people off from the crowd.

If people want to march in the streets to protest things, I'm not sure one gets to say that it's wrong or bad because it's inconvenient to motor vehicles. Cars are not holy objects with universal right of way.

In any case, the current state of affairs cannot be the new normal.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:32 AM on November 12, 2016 [26 favorites]


Angry protest of a presidential election is a dangerous trend

I would be embarrassed and ashamed if there weren't protests after a politician was elected who had proclaimed that American citizens of the wrong religion should be put on a government registry and that there should be special police patrols of neighborhoods inhabited by citizens of that religion, and that their freedom to leave and return to their country should be removed. To pick just one axis along which Trump has been horrible.

By all means, let Trump supporters tell themselves and everyone else that he didn't really mean the things he said, but requiring that all other Americans pretend he didn't say them, that his targets don't have real reason to fear, or that those supporters' endorsement of and investing of power in the person who said these things isn't something to be protested, is definitely not any way to advance solidarity.

I mean, did you see how he was directly asked "Are you going to ban Muslims?" and ignored the question and walked away? Google also does not think that the terms "Muslim", "Islam", or "Islamic" appear anywhere on greatagain.gov at the moment. What would be dangerous would be not protesting and holding him to account for the things he has said which directly and indirectly contradict in a myriad of ways the oath of office he is going to take.
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 AM on November 12, 2016 [142 favorites]


Honestly, people who question the value of protests typically are not engaged in any reform or political process at all because their own situation seems stable enough to merit sitting on their hands.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:51 AM on November 12, 2016 [86 favorites]


Someone, one of the protesters, just got shot on the Morrison Bridge with a gun. They're injured, with a bullet wound to the thigh. This wasn't police escalation, this was a car of strangers driving up, getting out, shooting someone, and driving away. I watched it all in realtime on a livestream, and am shaking.

Stay safe if you're going to protests, in the near or far future.

Cameron Whitten, a PDX activist got it on his livestream, it's in the last 20 minutes of the video. You can hear the shooting, but not see it. Video title: "Day 4 - Live from Portland's Continued Protest against President-Elect Trump, Part 2".

News article on it: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/11/anti-trump_protesters_rally_in.html.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:24 AM on November 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


Honestly, people who question the value of protests typically are not engaged in any reform or political process at all because their own situation seems stable enough to merit sitting on their hands.

so what's the end game of these particular protests? what will they change? with BLM, i get what they're trying to do and why it might be possible

this? donald trump will still be president - our government will still be run by republicans - and most significantly, messing up downtown portland and blocking a freeway with pedestrian traffic is not going to interfere significantly with the running of that government or of the republican party

and actually, there are a lot of elected officials and people who just got done working for clinton's election who probably question the value of these protests
posted by pyramid termite at 2:20 AM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


Protesting and shouting and smashing things really doesn't say "Join Us!" to our fellow Americans. It convinces them to stay out of it, to put there attention elsewhere.

Firstly, protest is only a part of how civil society responds to dangerous events. In this situation, its primary value is in preventing the normalisation of an event that should not be accepted as normal. A racist demagogue won over 2/3 of white voters - and won the white vote across all demographics (with the exception of the barest majority of college educated white women). White voters have, collectively, allied themselves to racism. Non-white people have a right to protest that, and I'd suggest that white people have a responsibility to open and loudly disavow it.

Angry protest of a presidential election is a dangerous trend

The election of a racist demagogue by racists for racists is significantly more dangerous. Particularly when that same racist demagogue is intent on undoing all the efforts made toward limiting global environmental disaster and human extinction.

and I hope we find another way in the weeks and months ahead to deal with the criminals from both parties entering or returning to public office.

So (a) you don't think that the real problem is the racist demagogue who has been elected president but rather some vague collection of "criminals" with no identifying features who the American people couldn't possibly do anything about and (b) you have no suggestions for what your countryfolk should do in any case.

The time to mobilize would have been when we had this craziness thrust upon us in 2014

People have mobilised. Again and again and again. The logic here seems to be that Trump's victory is somehow the responsibility of those who oppose him, rather than his supporters, for not trying harder earlier. Even if that were the case, it would be no argument against mobilising now.

The arguments you raise are the arguments that are always raised against protest. It's never the right time, it's always too confrontational, it's always too inconvenient. And yet protest still changes things. And while it also often fails, so does every other action toward achieving a political goal. Protest will need to be persistent and consistently visible, if it is to have an effect, but that can't happen unless it starts some time. Now is always the right time to start anything that needs to happen.
posted by howfar at 2:25 AM on November 12, 2016 [127 favorites]


The time to mobilize would have been when we had this craziness thrust upon us in 2014, as if starting earlier wasn't just going to be a disruption to our daily lives. Of course people are protesting now that's it's technically over.

We did. I did. In Chicago, we kept Trump from speaking during the primary. I wish other cities had managed the same. I will be in New York today protesting.

Four days in, I'm feeling worse, not better. I see, here and on Facebook and (in the news) among Democratic leaders, discussion of organizing for the mid-terms in 2018 and the next presidential election in 2020, or electoral college reform. I see politicians like Obama and Clinton talking about unity and working together. I think focusing on electoral remedies seriously misunderstands what is happening right now. The president-elect: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” There is no reason to doubt his sincerity or his ability to carry out his program. Although many of his plans may be illegal or unconstitutional, he was endorsed by every major law-enforcement organization and enjoys widespread military support. This is how dictatorships and genocides begin. If there are elections at all in 2018 or 2020, they will not be free and fair elections in the sense that we know them. The time for action is today and that action cannot rely solely on the same electoral institutions that have failed us so spectacularly.

At every step along this path there have been normalizing voices telling us that things aren't that bad and that taking these threats seriously is mere catastrophizing. He won't win the primary, or he'll moderate in the general, or he won't win the general, etc. At every step, those voices have been wrong.

I mentioned in the other thread that I was shaken in October to hear from my sister, who has spent the last several years in east Africa, that survivors of the Rwandan genocide whom she knew, listening to Trump's rhetoric, told her, "We've seen this before." When I hear these warnings from people who have watched firsthand as anger and resentment turn into killing squads, I think it is only prudent to listen.

Angry protest of a presidential election is a dangerous trend

There are things that cannot be accepted no matter how many people vote for them. Coloring inside the lines is not the highest value. What is the endgame? I don't know, but the first step is to become ungovernable in this moment, by this person.
posted by enn at 4:10 AM on November 12, 2016 [130 favorites]


protest is only a part of how civil society responds to dangerous events

Civil?
posted by jpe at 4:21 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


You want it to be polite?

The intimidation and psychic and actual violence already committed against thousands of PoC in the name of that jackass so far needs to be answered with vigorous confirmation that things are not well.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:46 AM on November 12, 2016 [51 favorites]


You want it to be polite?

There's a lot of room between polite and smashing windows / vandalizing.

This wasn't police escalation, this was a car of strangers driving up, getting out, shooting someone, and driving away

May be someone salty about being trapped in traffic:

The suspect is described as an African-American male in his late teens.

The injured man was taken to hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. According to witnesses cited by the New York Times, the altercation began when a car full of people grew angry about being stalled in traffic and one protester was shot in the leg.

posted by jpe at 5:02 AM on November 12, 2016


Civil society.
posted by howfar at 5:02 AM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, smashing a window is an inexcusably over-the-top response to one's country being taken over by a Mein-Kampf-reading anti-democratic madman with plans for rounding up minorities, but shooting a living human person with a gun is an entirely reasonable response to having to wait in traffic for a few minutes. Have I got that right?
posted by enn at 5:06 AM on November 12, 2016 [89 favorites]


Neither is appropriate. Unless the goal is to work toward Trump's reelection now, in which case smash whatever you want.
posted by jpe at 5:08 AM on November 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


> What is the point of these protests? Can someone explain it to me?

If they were clever, they'd spin it as trying to generate faithless electors. But they're not, so it's just an excuse to bust shit up as far as I can see.
posted by davelog at 5:15 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm obviously not endorsing violence, but the argument is that we should be civil and impress by our good manners the supporters of That Man, a criminal who's encouraged violence and abuse at every turn? And who already are mocking any idea of even peaceful protest in their smug abuser's voice. ("C'mon baby, it's OK now.")

Let's ask ZombieNevilleChamberlain how that appeasement thing worked out.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:22 AM on November 12, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is one of Trump's biggest law enforcement supporter's reaction to protests:
@SheriffClarke: How to stop riots. 1)Declare state of emergency.2)Impose early curfew. 3)Mobilize Nat Guard.4)Authorize ALL non lethal force. 5)Tear gas.

I view the protests as pretty god damned essential. A fascist bigot is going to be in charge of the Department of Justice and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. This is not ok. Not for a second. This cannot be the new normal. It's hugely worrying to me that people don't understand why protests are important. The people and the kids that are terrified right now should know that there are others who know that this is not ok.

And before someone says, "see, the protests will just let the fascists take over", how do you expect the Trump administration to react to mass shootings that will happen, or a random act of terror? Or a staged event? Remember how Bush reacted to 9/11, and how people got in line to support our President and our country. Now imagine how Trump will react to an act of terrorism.
posted by airish at 5:23 AM on November 12, 2016 [34 favorites]


This is one of Trump's biggest law enforcement supporter's reaction to protests:
@SheriffClarke: How to stop riots. 1)Declare state of emergency.2)Impose early curfew. 3)Mobilize Nat Guard.4)Authorize ALL non lethal force. 5)Tear gas.


Don't forget "likely Secretary of Homeland Security appointee".
posted by indubitable at 5:41 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


There's a notice in my breakroom at work about a protest at union square today. It explicitly says "this is a peaceful protest. Violence/vandalism will not be tolerated."

FWIW
posted by jonmc at 5:50 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was working nights all this week at Bergdorf Goodman's (Christmas decorations) just 2 blocks up from trump tower...the protests have seemed mostly peaceful, but the sheer volume of police presence (and all the dump trucks full of sand) has just been so ominous and oppressive. I am sad.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:52 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I live in Portland. I used to attend antiwar protests regularly, but I stopped for several reasons.
1. They had become ineffective (if they hadn't always been.) Over the years, the police have become adept at controlling and neutralizing any public protest. This is a historic pattern. People develop an effective means of action, the system figures out how to cope, people develop new action, rinse and repeat. At the moment, we're stuck at the “new action” part.
2. Protests are a crappy way to communicate. Outsiders--people who weren't the ones who organized the protest--have no way to know what it's about. Are you going to saunter up to a shouting, roiling, possibly out-of-control mass of people and ask, “Say, guys, what's it all about?” And the powers-that-be don't care what you want. It's just another day to them. As for help from the press: Oh, please.
3. Every. single. time we tried to hold a peaceful, non-violent protest, a contingent showed up whose sole interest was to fuck our shit up. They regarded the rest of us as just too, too, bourgeois, and they hated us much more than they hated “the state.”
THIS DOESN'T HAVE TO BE EITHER/OR. The fact that some of us are not in the street does not mean we are less outraged. We have to do more than one thing at a time. While some people are protesting, and bless them, taking fire for it, others can be getting started on figuring out how to protect those most at risk in the coming ethnic cleansing.
posted by Weftage at 5:53 AM on November 12, 2016 [25 favorites]


I'm happy to see people raising their voices against the bigotry and hatred. Complacency would be unbearable. I really hope the earnest protesters continue to encourage thei people around them to stay peaceful. A peaceful protest can be a really powerful thing.
posted by double bubble at 5:53 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


For those of you asking "what's the point" please at least seek your answers in this thread before asking the same question that has already been asked multiple times above. Cortex has one eloquent answer; if you don't find it convincing, maybe read Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit which addresses this topic, or Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

I say this because I don't think anyone is trolling by voicing skepticism to protests. I've had this discussion all week with my co-workers and friends as we considered the efficacy of different options. It's a good question, but not one that has not been addressed.

Here's one small anecdote from Hope in the Dark.
"I once read an anecdote by someone in Women Strike for Peace (WSP), the first great antinuclear movement in the United States, the one that did contribute to a major victory: the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which brought about the end of aboveground testing of nuclear weapons and of much of the radioactive fallout that was showing up in mother’s milk and baby teeth. (And WSP contributed to the fall of the House Un-American Activities Committee [HUAC], the Department of Homeland Security of its day. Positioning themselves as housewives and using humor as their weapon, they made HUAC’s anticommunist interrogations ridiculous.) The woman from WSP told of how foolish and futile she felt standing in the rain one morning protesting at the Kennedy White House. Years later she heard Dr. Benjamin Spock—who had become one of the most high-profile activists on the issue—say that the turning point for him was spotting a small group of women standing in the rain, protesting at the White House. If they were so passionately committed, he thought, he should give the issue more consideration himself."
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:11 AM on November 12, 2016 [37 favorites]


I'm heartened by the fact the protests are nationwide. That the kids are getting up and walking out of schools and protesting in something like 30 cities is the only thing that encourages me to keep going when the election night nearly caused me to overdose.

It's not just Portland. It's everywhere. Don't wave this away as just more wacky stuff from "Portlandia". We know people are going to die. If not this minute, soon. We've already lost at least 8 transgender kids, who knows how many more, on day one.
posted by Queen of Robots at 6:17 AM on November 12, 2016 [22 favorites]


It should be pointed out that the people protesting aren't just a monolithic group, but a collection of groups. It appears as though the violent wing of the protests are a small portion of the whole. This has been denounced by lots of folks, including many who are protesting, and some of the protesters are even raising money to help with the damages.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


I watched a live stream of high school students who staged a walkout and peaceful protest in Minneapolis yesterday. There was something really heartening about it. I'm proud of these kids.
posted by missmerrymack at 7:04 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Actions taken by the U.S. can have a big impact on other countries. Hearing abstract numbers of how X % of people did not vote for Trump is not as powerful as seeing images of Americans protesting the election results. It is a visible message to people in other countries that there are a lot of us who do not agree with his point of view, and will not condone his harmful actions.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 7:56 AM on November 12, 2016 [24 favorites]


This is all well and fine but do they have to do it in the road.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 AM on November 12, 2016


What is the point of these protests? Can someone explain it to me?

Just one person's perspective:

It's not about trying to reverse the election. You can consider this a message that we will not allow a fascist administration to become normalized. We will resist. If you're a racial/religious/sexual/whatever minority, we will fight for you and your rights.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:09 AM on November 12, 2016 [14 favorites]


"Be nicer. Stick to the system. Work quietly behind the scenes. You know, just like the exact same things that led us to this point. I promise they'll work better this time."
-- The Other Side, ca. every time a protest happens
posted by Etrigan at 8:18 AM on November 12, 2016 [42 favorites]


If you're a racial/religious/sexual/whatever minority, we will fight for you and your rights.

But only if you're American...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2016


But only if you're American...

If I implied that I didn't mean to do so. Sorry.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:20 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


If I implied that I didn't mean to do so. Sorry.

I was just commenting on the moral depravity of protesters who claim to be fighting "fascism" in the form of Donald Trump while they have spent the last 8 years supporting President Obama and the totalitarian regime of terror he presided over in Africa and the Middle East among other places. Trump's sin is that he doesn't sugar coat American fascism and wrap it in the social justice/humanitarian intervention flag.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:32 AM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, look: I get eyeballing protests skeptically. As folks have noted, these handwavey arguments against come up literally every time there's a discussion anywhere of protests, and it's not because everybody making them got together to form the Anti-Protesting Squad and shared notes. It's so messy, noisy, obnoxious; people just want to smash stuff; it's uncivil; why not do some thing x instead; it's inconvenient; it turns good people off; it won't do anything anyway. Every time, it all comes up. I get all that. I get wondering if a protest is going to make things worse.

But protests and demonstrations like this aren't responses to everything being great. They aren't spontaneous tantrums or folks just inventing a reason to go make a mess. They're a response to something being wrong. Wrong enough that being loud and messy and inconvenient to sound a note of anger and alarm is an appropriate and necessary response. Protest is an explicit answer to "what if it makes things worse", saying "how on earth is this situation not already considered 'worse'?"

It's protesting the situation, because the situation is bad. Trump has run on the worst of our national instincts, exploited and celebrated poison and hatred and a fear of the very same diversity that in textbooks and storybooks our country is praised, however dreamily, for founding itself on.

And beyond that, it's protesting the normalization of the situation. Because there's plenty of folks who agree that Trump is bad, is an embarrassment, shouldn't have won, etc., who are nonetheless more comfortable reacting to his election with "ah, well, what are you gonna do" than with continuing to say out loud that there's a problem here. Major chunks of the political machine is rolling with it; major chunks of the media likewise. Trump is bad, but Trump won, so let's shake and make nice and forget about all that campaign stuff and hope for the best. What are you going to do?

Protest. Is one of the things people are gonna do.

You don't have to go out and do it. You don't have to think it's not messy or complicated. But find a way to realign your understanding of why others are doing it and why they think it's important enough to do even though a lot of folks will hrm and tsk about it.

Because you may not think of rejecting protest as an act of normalization, you may have nothing but good intentions in criticizing it. But protest is a clear statement that the situation is not okay, that it is not normal. It's a way to actively signal that this isn't and shouldn't be okay and acceptable as a national direction. It's a refusal to normalize Trump by quietly letting the shitty situation just be.

So when the main thrust of your reaction to people protesting this situation is to say they shouldn't because what's the point and let's not have needless trouble, you are helping to normalize the situation. You are, however well-meaning you may be, endorsing a new normalcy. And that systemic normalization of Trump's bigotry and sexism and xenophobia and bald-faced lying has been the worst part of the last 18 months and is one of the biggest risks of the next four years.

The point of protesting isn't to magically change the last week. The point of protesting is to fight against accepting whatever comes next. The point is to say this isn't normal and shouldn't be accepted as normal.
posted by cortex at 8:34 AM on November 12, 2016 [81 favorites]


It appears as though the violent wing of the protests are a small portion of the whole.

This always happens at large protests (especially large protests in Portland/PNW, see . Thousands of peaceful protesters, and a couple of dozen self-described "black bloc" anarchist assholes who are just there to smash shit up.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 8:36 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


The "point" is that people are unsettled. From the perspective of someone deeply entrenched in the Democratic party's fear machine, Trump is the leader of a coalition of KKK members and skinheads. The terror for this mob is not that he won, but that 50% of the people around them are secretly white supremacists and Nazis. Of course, this is not literally true. However, if you have listened to the machine spinning up fear for the entirety of this election cycle and you've already decided that it was inevitable for Hillary to win because she was The Good One and that things are going well politically in the country because a progressive agenda is on the table, it would seem as if the world had just ended. The narrative is completely broken and it will take some time to repair it. Namely I think it will take Trump actually acting more presidential and falling into the role of GOP pawn, which he will do eventually.

I think the outrage around this election is a result of astoundingly effective bipartisan propaganda on both sides. It is interesting to compare the current outrage on the left to the anti-Obama paranoia on the right. The GOP spin machine convinced a large swath of America that Barrack Obama was a Manchurian candidate. For years, many Republicans believed that their current sitting president was completely illegitimate and needed to be removed immediately. Likewise, Trump must be demonized into something more closely resembling the foe that Democrats expect. But Donald Trump is an ex-Democrat from Manhattan. He isn't a neocon Texan playing the moral card, he is a foul-mouthed old man. He is a truly weird GOP president. His "agenda" is so illogical and clearly pandering that he can't fit the character of the villainous Republican president unless you believe he is nefariously advocating on behalf of the KKK. In an oddly perverse way it is comforting to believe he is a Nazi.

So I think there's two things happening. One is the usual demonization – the GOP president is evil, he's going to round up minorities in a cattle car, etc. What is different with Trump, I think, is that Trump himself transcends that demonic role. He doesn't work as the demonic GOP politician. He is an unknown, a wildcard, and he was never supposed to happen. It would be easier to accept Ted Cruz for president. At least then you know what to expect. If Ted Cruz had won would anyone be protesting in the streets? I think this is the origin of the over-the-top hysteria on the left this past week. It is the terror of not knowing what Trump will do, masked in standard protest/demonstration language. E.g., "support LGBT rights, don't let Trump take office" is not really about LGBT rights, it is about fear of a complete unknown taking the reigns of power.

None of which is to say Trump is a good thing. But I think it is worth trying to understand the reaction.
posted by deathpanels at 8:43 AM on November 12, 2016 [17 favorites]


I hate that the black bloc and their violence has become synonymous with anarchism. I think of them and their ilk as activist machismo. A desperate need to proove their credit by being violent as if the tactic chosen is the only measure of the depth of rage.
posted by chapps at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


On the purpose of the demonstration, I see it as akin to any mass gathering following a public tragedy.
posted by chapps at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm not happy about this election, but it is over. Let it go, put that energy into a force for 2018. I'm done. Glad I didn't have kids.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Regardless of the system of laws, democracy relies on the consent of the governed.

These protesters are saying: "We do not consent to this."
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:51 AM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


I attended the protest in Orlando last night. For me, there were 2 purposes: 1. An enormous signal boost of the message "this is not okay". That some people have been paying attention to all the crypto fascist talk and are responding with a collective "no." 2. Show solidarity with everyone under threat right now, regardless of whether that threat comes from the official administration or from people emboldened by its rhetoric.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:58 AM on November 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


Someone said it well in another thread. In addition to the spontaneous anger explanation and the anti-normalization goal, there's the implied threat. I don't think anyone thinks the election result is going to get reversed because of protests.

But the elected President doesn't have to follow the predicted script. The protests are a message. Your plan is not going to go smoothly. When you're considering that piece of legislation, or that executive order or that policy fucking over the minority... consider also whether you want it bad enough to blow up all the big cities like this again. Is that what you want? Because that's where we're at. Past "unhappy" to "just plain unacceptable."
posted by ctmf at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2016 [18 favorites]


And yes, there's always the "what if it was the Trumpists after a Trump loss, would it be ok?" argument. I'm not judging or supporting, just describing.
posted by ctmf at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2016


I'm not happy about this election, but it is over. Let it go

Spoken like a straight white man who has nothing to fear from the policies of a Trump presidency. A lot of people can't afford to "let it go".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2016 [51 favorites]


I wonder how many of the "violent protestors" are inexplicably muscular "vegans" with high-and-tight haircuts and boots that are identical to police officers' for some strange reason?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2016 [19 favorites]


And beyond that, it's protesting the normalization of the situation.

It's a little late for that. Shit's been "normalized" by one Barack Hussein Obama. He's taken the worst characteristics of all classic totalitarian regimes and codified them into the U.S. code. You remember, the temporary ones that "W" put in place. Let's see: secret prisons,secret trials, secret kill lists, secret assassinations, secret surveillance, secret wars, ect... These protesters have apparently had their heads up their asses for the last 8 years. Furthermore, they are apparently oblivious to what's been going on in the rest of the world under a "progressive" administration. Now they want to protest after their fucking guy has given the keys of the kingdom to a strongman?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:10 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Trump's sin is that he doesn't sugar coat American fascism and wrap it in the social justice/humanitarian intervention flag

I, personally, think that this is bilge of the highest order, which neglects the real reasons to fear Trump, and indicates an attitude of mind that cares little about people and everything about occupying the moral high ground.
posted by howfar at 9:12 AM on November 12, 2016 [22 favorites]


[One comment deleted. jeff-o-matic, take a day off. Cool this off right now.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:13 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Donald's supporters were literally threatening to take to the streets with guns if he didn't win the election. The handwringing and bitching that people marching in solidarity to show that his rhetoric is not acceptable to them now that he's won, that this is somehow beyond the pale, is fucking laughable.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:14 AM on November 12, 2016 [45 favorites]


Trump ran a campaign on disrespecting the rule of law: with regards to unconstitutional religious tests, with regards to committing war crimes. People turned out for him despite him pointedly refusing to say he'd accept the outcome.

These people are accepting the result of this election.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:20 AM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


Some on the right are already complaining about Trump Derangement Syndrome, what with the protests. Idiots. It’s not unreasonable to be very deeply worried that the man really meant some of those things he said, even if it’s not obvious he did. Why not go from taking him literally but not seriously to taking him literally and seriously? That seems like a rational progression. Republicans went nuts and freaked out when Obama was elected. That was nuts of them, because – just look at him – he’s Obama. And, lo and behold, he turned out to be a moderate progressive, as promised. By contrast, it’s not nuts to think Trump is some crazy outsider who might smash the place up in at least some of the ways he’s promised. He’s Trump. He’s not normal. (As I think Trump himself has promised not to be.) Different cases should be responded to differently, based on facts. That’s not deranged.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:21 AM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


I wish all this energy could be channeled into a focused effort to get enough states to add up to 270 EVs to sign onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. I don't really see how it could happen in time to save us from Trump, but it's a worthy goal that we may need again in just four short years.
posted by HotToddy at 9:27 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hi, all! No link, but I wanted to speak directly to a bunch of folks who misinterpreted my meaning because I never said "sit on your hands" or "do nothing."

The trouble here is that the canary in the coalmine died sometime back in 2014. The time to protest was when we were being immersed into an almost 2 year long distraction with super duper poor choices between candidates. That was the clue something was terribly wrong. Also, that we all seem to have a habit of saying snarky easy things on the internet and not really trying to understand each other, especially the people who don't seem to agree with us but do share citizenship and a civic duty with us.

Everyone did a really great job during an exceptionally long election cycle of not listening to each other. We got the result we invested in because instead of working on our problems together, we let labels keep us from dialoguing on important matters. This despite unprecedented connectedness via social media. We are collectively responsible in this regard and it's healthy for us to admit where we made mistakes.

So. More yelling and not listening is not helping and is probably a poor way forward. Depending on a system that currently exists only to bolster it's own power + harness our collective power instead of serving us, well, this is not an entity we should be lobbying for relief.

We need conversations about how power works. We need to hear other's grievances, even if it is difficult. And we need to be honest with ourselves about the things we have personally and collectively done that have harmed ourselves and others.

Um. I'm old now. I've served in local gov't, been an activist and community leader, ran an activism project on a national level, and waaaay back even did something in the same civic minded mode, but on an international level. It's not that I don't care. It's that spinning our wheels or taking the bait dangled in front of us (what do you think a nearly 2 year long divisive election cycle was about? it's a combo of a few interests, none of them ours) is just getting us stuck in deeper. Like one of those finger puzzles, the more we struggle, the tighter the restraints. We owe ourselves the chance to get it together. Panic serves authoritarianism, the platform our president-elect ran on. Don't sit on your hands, just calm down and think for a minute. Stop vilifying the other guy or jumping to conclusions. Teach yourself to listen.

I've said this elsewhere, that 99.9% of us are facing the same risks and are in the exact same boat. If we can recognize and communicate that, there's a lot of consensus to be developed. The thing most feared is that we will fail to police ourselves, that we'll fail to be controlled via persuasion and application of brief violence here and there. We're a lot of people. Imagine if we all agreed? No wonder so much diviseness is being cultivated. Don't fall for it.
posted by jbenben at 9:28 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Honestly, people who question the value of protests typically are not engaged in any reform or political process at all because their own situation seems stable enough to merit sitting on their hands.

I strongly, strongly disagree, and I say this as someone with eight years' experience of organizing protests as part of a nonprofit.

I think protests don't work and I question their value. I question their value because we had SO MANY anti-war protests, and I didn't see a single one of them do a damn thing. No matter what we changed, legislators just plain didn't care, and nothing actually got changed. They became essentially party get-togethers where you would see the same people and feel good about yourself, but they didn't change the system at all.

I am frustrated by the protests right now, because I think that there is a real danger the Trump presidency will hurt people, and I think that these protests are ineffective and people need to be setting up networks instead, figuring out actual ways to help, and aiming their passion at their legislators to rile them up into fighting against the Trump administration. Yes, they're organic, yes, people are expressing their anger and pain, but what does it do? How are the people Trump is likely to target any better off because you blocked traffic? Everyone knows what happened. There's no "Raising Awareness" for this.
posted by corb at 9:29 AM on November 12, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm seeing more enthusiasm in the past few days than I saw over the entire election season. If half this much effort had been put into not electing Trump, that would have achieved the results they want.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:34 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


What about the people who worked hard for Clinton and are still protesting? Do they not count?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2016 [12 favorites]


I think that these protests are ineffective and people need to be setting up networks instead, figuring out actual ways to help, and aiming their passion at their legislators to rile them up into fighting against the Trump administration.

I can't favorite this more than once, but it is so, so true.

In addition to the creation of networks to support people who will be most affected by Trumpism Unchained, I think there are forms of civil disobedience that will matter, but they will have to be targeted, well-planned disruptions or rejections of specific interventions from D.C.
posted by kewb at 9:46 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


[One deleted. Aelfwine Evenstar, you've made your point above about how Obama is bad. Don't keep hectoring people who're trying to talk about the protests or about the current situation.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:47 AM on November 12, 2016 [10 favorites]


I was working nights all this week at Bergdorf Goodman's (Christmas decorations) just 2 blocks up from trump tower...the protests have seemed mostly peaceful, but the sheer volume of police presence (and all the dump trucks full of sand) has just been so ominous and oppressive.

Putting up Christmas decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving? Just want to watch it all burn doncha.
posted by hal9k at 9:52 AM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was caught in one of the protests two nights ago while riding in a bus over a bridge. I'm not sure how long it lasted. The crowd chanting, a few people hitting cars and the bridge in tune to the chants. Two people with good cameras approached the bus in quick succession and took photos of me -- just me, with my husband behind me in the aisle seat. Another man peered into the bus for a moment and then threw the riders a Nazi salute. I assume that the gesture was meant to mock and call out any Trump voters inside. I almost can't believe that's what I really saw, but it was very clear in the moment, the hand at waist level, then high.

I support the culture of protest and I understand that the people who are just breaking shit don't represent the protest as a whole. (I'm familiar with what anarchism actually is, even though I've lost the faith in humanity necessary to believe in it anymore, so I won't call them "anarchists" as the police do.) But it was frightening to be there. The crowd and the chanting. The bus immobilized. Everything moving so fast. To have my photo taken against my will as I sat there looking frightened, and then even more frightened that perhaps the photographers were misconstruing my anxiety as support for the enemy, disgust with the protest.

And, dude, I realize a lot of it was in my head! I have an anxiety disorder and I can be very paranoid and I'm always looking for evidence that the world sees me as evil! But the salute didn't help me with my recovery, to be honest.

There's so much to respect about these protests. Portland's Resistance, the most prominent of the protesting groups, has a local as well as a national agenda -- they want Portland to become a better city, rectify our wrongs, learn to stop denying our racist past, become a "beacon" to the whole Northwest in the times ahead. They've raised money to help people who were hurt by the actions of the dudes with the bats. They're veterans of causes I deeply admire.

But I just can't be part of the street protest, it doesn't help me and I won't be able to help it. I have to contribute in my own way (mostly by doing suicide crisis work). And I'm sorry to post something so personal here, I know it's not about me. But this is my perspective as a Portlander who was devastated by the election result, along with everyone I know, and still is.
posted by thesmallmachine at 10:03 AM on November 12, 2016 [16 favorites]


As far as I know, the people protesting are also creating networks, finding ways to take action etc. Last night, people were handing out ACLU literature. A speaker addressed the need to press our government to change the Electoral College. A lot of the women in my local secret Hillary FB group are planning meetings with local government, Democratic party reps & ACLU chapters. Most of us are not "just protesting."
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:07 AM on November 12, 2016 [20 favorites]


A movement that's 100% through the political process or 100% through protests isn't going to work. There needs to be a balance, and I think there will be in this case. Right now people don't know what to do so they're taking the streets. As networks form and connections are made to the political process, the protests will likely diminish. Right now people don't even know what they're fighting with Trump -- as my Holbo link above says, he could be Berlusconi or Mussolini. How the adversary governs will determine what form the opposition takes.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on November 12, 2016 [10 favorites]


This is really reminiscent of the criticism of occupy. Now that a decent number of years have passed, can't we look back at the networks and movements that formed out of that initially "unfocused" and "pointless" protests and see that it did some lasting good?
posted by Joe Chip at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2016 [19 favorites]


"The revolutionary despises public opinion. He despises and hates the existing social morality in all its manifestations. For him, morality is everything which contributes to the triumph of the revolution. Immoral and criminal is everything that stands in its way"

-Sergei Nechayev.
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2016


Protests also help people who are alone, terrified in their own homes, too afraid to go outside because they believe that a way too large of a percentage of American citizens want them dead. Like, they've seen the violence and the rhetoric that's been targeted at them. They've heard the threats of Trump supporters who have talked about what's going to happen to them when Trump is president. And that's fucking terrifying and there are people sitting at home in complete despair who have barely eaten or taken care of themselves since the news came out.

A protest in the street is a way of telling them that they are not alone, that there are people out there who are furious and motivated to do something about this. And that's powerful and important. And that can be a first step to creating the motivation to go out and do whatever sort of constructive things that you feel that they should.

I am frustrated by the protests right now, because I think that there is a real danger the Trump presidency will hurt people.

The Trump presidency has already hurt people. The violence and hatred is already out there spray-painting swastikas and racist hatred; it's putting up posters at universities. Suicide hotlines, especially for LGBT community, have seen record increases. People are going to die and be killed. But yeah, let's talk about exactly how people should be networking and the correct ways to protest when they've had less than a week to absorb and process such a horrific and disgusting result.
posted by Neronomius at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2016 [37 favorites]


I, personally, think that this is bilge of the highest order, which neglects the real reasons to fear Trump, and indicates an attitude of mind that cares little about people and everything about occupying the moral high ground.

Except that it is specifically because of the far reaching and totalitarian powers now given to the chief executive that Trump is dangerous, is it not? If Trump was about to assume an office that had its power tempered by a rigorous set of checks and balances we would have much less to worry about.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:49 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


If y'all wanna follow the Portland protests then add Cameron Whitten on Facebook (and probably twitter). He's been live streaming all of them and has been a constant voice in the activist community for years now, coming out of Occupy and a mayoral run. He's a good guy. The Evolution of Cameron Whitten

I went to the protest last night when it was still around City Hall, but left before people started marching. It was fun listening to the speakers. The vandalism and other things a few nights ago were an incredibly small group of people separate from the main protests, as corroborated by witnesses and disavowed by the main protest leaders, who have now raised over $10,000 to help repair the vandalism, as well as hosted a volunteer cleanup, so don't be so jumpy to paint all of us as anarchists and criminals.
posted by gucci mane at 10:50 AM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


We need conversations about how power works. We need to hear other's grievances, even if it is difficult. And we need to be honest with ourselves about the things we have personally and collectively done that have harmed ourselves and others.

I really struggle to understand what this would look like, other than more years of Democrats in Congress bending over and letting the GOP implement it's bullshit agenda, while the victims of bigotry and hate tell the bigots that it's ok to feel like that, but like, couldn't they stop being so mean about it?

I've said this elsewhere, that 99.9% of us are facing the same risks and are in the exact same boat.

When the president elect is promising to deport millions of people, implement torture against Muslims and empower the police to further brutalise black people, this seems like an almost wilful denial of reality.
posted by howfar at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2016 [21 favorites]


What will the protesting really accomplish besides the divisiveness they claim to be against?

Are people claiming to be against divisiveness? Speaking only for myself, I'm not. I would like to divide out the fascists from the non fascists. Unity in and of itself is not a virtue.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:58 AM on November 12, 2016 [30 favorites]


jeff-o-matic; just because you've caved to cynicism and apathy does not mean we all have. Anger is the only appropriate response to this situation, and "sublimating" that anger into productive (however you define productive) means is one way of coping with and not internalizing how fucked up this situation is. The protests are just the beginning, and an important beginning. "By the people, for the people"; even shouting down a dark well is taking a stand in some capacity, and that is important.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.


An aside; being apathetic to this is to AT LEAST condone racism, misogyny, etc etc etc and as a survivor of sexual abuse, letting this situation slide tells 'my' rapist that sexual abuse is OK. IT IS NOT OK.

Bury your head in the sand, at your own risk.
posted by erattacorrige at 10:59 AM on November 12, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm seeing more enthusiasm in the past few days than I saw over the entire election season. If half this much effort had been put into not electing Trump, that would have achieved the results they want.

What a remarkably stupid comment this is! We had a full campaign pouring millions of dollars and millions of volunteers into not electing Trump. For months and months, we called, donated, and finally voted. It was covered in the media every single day. Countless articles and essays were written. People marched to the polls, people knocked on doors. I don't know where the fuck you were in the last year, but there was a significant amount of focused and determined work put into electing Clinton - much more so than LESS THAN A WEEK of protests.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on November 12, 2016 [60 favorites]


Except that it is specifically because of the far reaching and totalitarian powers now given to the chief executive that Trump is dangerous, is it not? If Trump was about to assume an office that had its power tempered by a rigorous set of checks and balances we would have much less to worry about.

OK, now that you have told us so, any suggestions for what to do going forward?
posted by kewb at 11:11 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Everything that corb said. That's all I meant.

We don't have the power. It doesn't matter who is first up on the list, we're all on the list somewhere because we are the resource/nuisance the power on top are fighting over. Pointing to a particular placement on the list is a distraction. We're truly all in the same position. Even Trump voters.

I'm still a little numb, but I'm looking forward to what's next. This is not the end.
posted by jbenben at 11:14 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I too feel rather numb. I am also defending my thesis in less than a month and regardless of what happens, I don't think torpedoing my masters is a good response to such a tragedy. One thing I have noticed about numbness, though, is that it can lead to saying things to people that come off badly or insensitively. Everyone needs to get through these feelings so they can get to their next step and I so I have generally found refraining from telling people that what they are doing is wrong — especially with no concrete suggestions — is definitely the oppposite of helping.
posted by dame at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


I really struggle to understand what this would look like, other than more years of Democrats in Congress bending over and letting the GOP implement it's bullshit

Starting to follow the thesis here then I re-read your highlighted qoute. I read it as in individuals, polity has its place of course but polity is partly about the individual and thier interaction with society.
As an example, during the early 60s' a small civil rights protest march through the university of Michigan caught my dads attention because people literally fell in line. All sorts of folk and my father said hey, this is what I'm doing now. It was the momentum and not with just white people walking, a shift occurred that is still being fought.
Moving forward, we have a splintered electorate, both claim moral high ground that that won't due in the nature course of events.
Ethics, forget that given the tactics of the recent election so it's a battle for the moral high ground and that has to be won by the conviction of the people.
Good day and good luck.
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on November 12, 2016


Hi. I'm speaking as someone who used to be pretty deep in the Portland protest scene (old friend of Cameron Whitten), and here's my two cents:

(1) Yes, there is a Portland protest scene. It's a social scene and activity for progressives who want to socialize and feel useful while doing so. In some ways, the cause du jour (Iraq war, Occupy, Bush, Trump) is less important than seeing and being scene, conferring with your allies, and organizing what comes next. The progressive bloc plans while we march.

(2) People don't understand the black blockers and the Kremlin. The Kremlin is SE Portland, specifically Water to 39th, Powell to Hawthorne, the most liberal area of one of the most liberal cities there. There's a longstanding Oregonian tradition of communalism- Oregon state fair- and in the Kremlin, well, my band-mates used to joke that Portland was the land of 1,000 couches- lots of places where people can crash, lots of communal houses.
Black blockers are those who despair of peaceful means of protest. There's also machismo and love of violence, but a lot of it is the conviction that you can only get coverage when you wreck shit, combined with the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. It worked for Trump, why not for us?

(3) There's something else fueling this, which is the demographics and gentrification of Portland. Portland is turning into San Francisco north. Once, it was possible for a whole bunch of LGBT teenagers to eke out a fringe living from renting a house- a dozen residents would turn rent into $200/ month per head.
The poor bohemians of Portland are being driven out by the rent bubble. Just like the Village in NYC, just like SF. And we're angry as fuck about it, about losing our Northwestern neverland.

So very few of you understand that these protests are not about our enemies, or about 'effecting change'; they are about who WE are, as a people, about expressing what WE believe, and refusing to be silent.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 11:47 AM on November 12, 2016 [17 favorites]


there was a significant amount of focused and determined work put into electing Clinton

Yeah, lots of work done, just not a lot of enthusiasm generated. A lot of money spent, a lot of ads run, but a lack of emotion. A lot of people voting against Trump, but not nearly as many voting for Clinton.

The stakes in this election were pretty clear, and that still wasn't enough to get people enthusiastic about voting for Clinton. Left-leaning Americans had a golden opportunity to secure the Supreme Court for a generation, enact campaign finance reform, enhance health insurance, restore voting rights, and destroy the Republican Party's fascist wing. Oh, and make history. All they had to do was come out in equal numbers to four years ago, and they couldn't be bothered to do that. She got fewer votes than Romney.

It was the most clinical, most professional, most planned/scripted/deliberate campaign I can remember. And too many people stayed home. It sucks, I understand. It's not the result I wanted. But it's the result you got.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:53 AM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've been trying to call the protests "demonstrations" instead. I want to DEMONSTRATE to the rest of the world that we are not all in favor of the changes to come. I want to DEMONSTRATE to those in more immediate danger that I am an ally and I will not stand by as rights are eroded. I will DEMONSTRATE that I will not let racism, homophobia, anti-woman and trans attitudes be normalized.

I've been in the streets but I have also been organizing and acting in other ways. This is just one way to be visible.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 12:05 PM on November 12, 2016 [17 favorites]


It's not about protesting the results of the election to me, it's about being aware of history and seeing what's possible if we are not vigilant.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 12:06 PM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'd like to add that in the age of TRAP, Oregon - and specifically Portland - is a bastion of reproductive healthcare and abortion access. This promises to change under the VP-elect's theocratic and virulently anti-abortion agenda, and a lot of folks I know are protesting this specifically -- not just from a reproductive justice/policy perspective, but out of fear for their jobs, their bodily safety, and the safety of their families.
posted by sutureselves at 12:11 PM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


can't we look back at the networks and movements that formed out of that initially "unfocused" and "pointless" protests and see that it did some lasting good?

What good did it do?
posted by jpe at 12:24 PM on November 12, 2016


If it will help raise the Metafilter averages, my whole family is walking on Fifth Avenue just now, heading for the mass protest at Trump Tower. It is not likely to make me feel better if something happens to them, seems like a lark at the moment.
posted by Oyéah at 12:30 PM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


What good did it do?

From a liberal/leftist perspective, it paved the way for Sanders and Warren to welcome being described using the words "liberal" and "socialist" instead of fearing them being used as epithets. It let them talk about actual full-throated income redistribution knowing there was a visible movement out there that agreed that this was a good thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:31 PM on November 12, 2016 [13 favorites]


This is really reminiscent of the criticism of occupy. Now that a decent number of years have passed, can't we look back at the networks and movements that formed out of that initially "unfocused" and "pointless" protests and see that it did some lasting good?
But how, exactly? There's now a slew of right-wing governments across Europe with more poised to take power, the finance and banking systems are completely untouched, Clinton got the nomination, and I can't help noticing you guys seem to have elected Trump there.

At some point, symbolic victories and political theatre cease to have any purpose or meaning.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:38 PM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well God knows silence and going along with things works well to create change.
posted by taterpie at 12:40 PM on November 12, 2016 [21 favorites]


I think the protests are healthy. The fact that people feel strongly enough and comfortable enough to go out and protest is a good thing. They don't have to have a purpose other than that. Look at this for example. There are places in the world where a person would be killed or sent to a prison camp for something like that. I understand that a typical cynical response is to say that's a low bar, or to say "not yet" in despondency. Well, I am not going to give in to despair, and I am heartened to see that people out on the streets haven't either.
posted by Potsy at 12:49 PM on November 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm distilling what jbenben, Greg Nog, and GhostintheMachine have posted earlier in this thread.

I respect and admire the people who are protesting, especially when they do so peacefully and respectfully. But I would gladly exchange all the protests between now and 2018 for one simple act:

Every person who voted in this election for Hillary Clinton pledges to vote in the 2018 congressional elections for the Democratic candidate. And then does so.

If you can convince one other person opposed to Trump who didn't vote in this election and or didn't vote for Clinton to vote this way in 2018, the more power to all of us who oppose Donald Trump. I cannot promise you I will march in the streets. I promise you I will do this.
posted by bunbury at 12:49 PM on November 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


I've attended protests in two different cities so far, Seattle and Oakland, and I'll say this re window smashing and unruliness: I saw absolutely none in Seattle (the shooting that night was unrelated), and in Oakland, I saw the usual (small) black bloc contingent being stymied at every turn where possible by the peaceful protestors there. Media coverage of these events is thoroughly sensational for obvious reasons, and I'd encourage anybody who's evaluating these demonstrations from afar to keep that in mind before forming an opinion. From my perspective as an attendee, characterizations of these gatherings as a "roiling, possibly out-of-control mass of people" aren't at all factual.
posted by invitapriore at 1:02 PM on November 12, 2016 [17 favorites]


[One deleted. "It's the protesters' fault that Trump won" is just as good as trolling in here, please don't.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:09 PM on November 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


The stakes in this election were pretty clear, and that still wasn't enough to get people enthusiastic about voting for Clinton. Left-leaning Americans had a golden opportunity to secure the Supreme Court for a generation, enact campaign finance reform, enhance health insurance, restore voting rights, and destroy the Republican Party's fascist wing. Oh, and make history. All they had to do was come out in equal numbers to four years ago, and they couldn't be bothered to do that. She got fewer votes than Romney

I'm sorry, but this position appears to be entirely incoherent. People who did work and campaign and/or vote should not do anything more because some other other people didn't vote in sufficient numbers? I mean...I get that you're feeling down, everyone is, but all you're actually doing is scolding some vast amorphous abstraction of "the left" for its failure to win, and then somehow making the leap from this to the idea that continuing to struggle is in some sense inauthentic. It doesn't really have much (anything?) to do with concrete political aims right now, or how best to achieve them.
posted by howfar at 2:48 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Protests also help people who are alone, terrified in their own homes, too afraid to go outside because they believe that a way too large of a percentage of American citizens want them dead.

I remember living in the family apartment complex by the airport in 2001. A couple of days after 9/11, the Arab boys left their apartment and grilled food on the front lawn. It was sheer bravery.
posted by mecran01 at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2016 [9 favorites]


“Every person who voted in this election for Hillary Clinton pledges to vote in the 2018 congressional elections for the Democratic candidate. And then does so.”
Yeah, THIS.

It’s easy to get spun out and want to go looking for payback. I’m pretty wrecked emotionally. I look at the photo from this (GOP feuds over how to kill Obamacare)
piece and a see people saying “Yay! Let’s kill Smedleyman’s kid!”

But as much as I’d like to poke someone in the apricot as a little ‘wake up’ prod, it’s pretty much just going after the dog and raising property taxes on infrastructure to cause damage and bug the police. It’s like yelling “Gestapo!” at the mailman to quote Lenny Bruce.

And, I find this in the police discussions from otherwise thoughtful people here too, people can’t seem to be able to separate Authority and people who have authority vested in them. The Law and law enforcement aren’t the same thing. They think they’re demonstrating against Trump or for health care or whatever, but they’re actually demonstrating against the police department.

Might as well bust up a post office under the same thinking.

"There's also machismo and love of violence, but a lot of it is the conviction that you can only get coverage when you wreck shit,"

You know who else had that conviction?

(bit tongue in cheek there, but yeah, the ends =/= the means all that)

If you can put a mask on and go punch a cop looking to make a statement, but you can’t punch a ballot for it, you’re a hypocrite and worse than useless. (Speaking of the hypothetical 3rd person "you", not you personally LeRoienJaune)

And we know "terrorism" laws are going to be used on everything from spitting gum on the sidewalk to actual terrorism. Being right isn't a bulletproof shield. You have to play with the rules as they exist, not what you want them to be.

Do the Gandhi salt march thing. Yeah you take a beating, but that's the point, to demonstrate the injustice and violence inherent in the administration.

Cogent demonstrations work, the Take Back the Night stuff for visibility, but again, yeah, organize, bug your elected reps to change the system and turn out and vote to make achievable political goals a reality.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:26 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]



and actually, there are a lot of elected officials and people who just got done working for clinton's election who probably question the value of these protests


They all failed to affirmatively say what Hillary was going to bring to the table besides not being Trump, and can all be sacked for all I care. They aren't the moral authority on how to proceed now.
posted by aydeejones at 4:15 PM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


She got fewer votes than Romney.

False. You're basing this off of incomplete popular vote totals. She already has more than Romney and there are still many ballots to count in California.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:17 PM on November 12, 2016 [13 favorites]


Civil?

This sort of weak discourse above all handwringing is part of what cost Hillary the election. There are more important things than playing nice when dealing with monsters.
posted by aydeejones at 4:19 PM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think what many people fail to realize is that Democrats have been practicing politics while Republicans have been practicing war.

Until we that concept sinks in nothing will change in this country.
posted by Max Power at 4:25 PM on November 12, 2016 [18 favorites]


I respect and admire the people who are protesting, especially when they do so peacefully and respectfully. But I would gladly exchange all the protests between now and 2018 for one simple act:

Every person who voted in this election for Hillary Clinton pledges to vote in the 2018 congressional elections for the Democratic candidate. And then does so.


Just a reminder: voting in midterm elections in 2018 and recovering Congress is useful and important. But we can't wait two years to act.

Electorally: first, nominations for state Democratic committees and similar behind-the-scenes infrastructure is happening now. Second, we need to have well-prepared candidates for the 2018 elections, and that needs to start now. Third, to get out the vote in the midterms, we need to maintain momentum from now; it is much harder to get people's attention back after going quiet for a bit.

But even more importantly in the short term, Muslims, women, immigrants, glbtq people, and other people targeted by the Trump campaign are being attacked and harassed now. We need to be visible in pushing back to show those who now feel emboldened to act on their bigoted beliefs that the majority of the country does not support hate. We need to join the groups that are forming to organize local defense of vulnerable people and groups - whether than be planning for medical care if Obamacare or parts of it get repealed, through planning for disrupting immigration raids and fighting racist mass deportations. Some people's lives will depend on what the rest of us do immediately and over the next six months, in the streets and in our communities.
posted by eviemath at 4:37 PM on November 12, 2016 [18 favorites]


Also, a lot of places have off-year elections (especially at local levels), so 2017 is important too.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think what many people fail to realize is that Democrats have been practicing politics while Republicans have been practicing war.

even further, the radicals on the right are armed and have actually interfered with stuff

everyone talks about the conversations the occupy people started - but what about the bundys?

think carefully about what i did and didn't say this morning in this sentence - messing up downtown portland and blocking a freeway with pedestrian traffic is not going to interfere significantly with the running of that government or of the republican party

no, i'm not spelling it out - i'm not even sure it's time

but what's happening in portland is a dead end
posted by pyramid termite at 5:23 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's why I don't particularly like these protests: after a few days, everyone will settle in to the new (sur)reality, and that will be the end of that. And when Turnip and Penis actually take office and strike their first real, non-rhetorical blow against civil rights, or the environment, or whatever else... no one will come out. It seems like well-timed, repeated, multi-city protests in response to specific actions could be quite effective, but everyone will just get it out of their systems now, and in the crucial years of 2017-2018 there will be nothing.
posted by Behemoth at 6:18 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually protesting if done in the right locations (say for example outside of every Trump owned property) could be really really effective because lots of sustained protests could make Trump properties even more toxic than they currently are.

It's quite possible that even a single year of boycotting Trump Hotels could pretty much bankrupt his properties which seem to be leveraged to a ridiculous extent.

More than any other president in US history the public has near direct control over his assets. It could be really fun to encourage him to step down simply because otherwise he will be ruined.
posted by vuron at 6:50 PM on November 12, 2016 [14 favorites]




Vancouver protest tonight was a pretty much a dud, although I left early. A Trump guy filmed everyone's faces the records and then several speakers opined that Americans really need to learn to empathise with racism and misogyny or we'll never get anywhere. Canada seems like it isn't going to be much help.
posted by ethansr at 7:48 PM on November 12, 2016


Here's why I don't particularly like these protests: after a few days, everyone will settle in to the new (sur)reality, and that will be the end of that. And when Turnip and Penis actually take office and strike their first real, non-rhetorical blow against civil rights, or the environment, or whatever else... no one will come out.

Hmm, I don't know. I think now's a good time to protest - before he's sworn in, before any real clampdowns happen- because momentum can be built. I know it seems like a feel-good thing, but I think that giving visibility to dissent motivates others to take any action at all. I think the alternative, just collectively rolling over, isn't so great either. Even if protests don't achieve any concrete goal (do they really have a single goal anyway, other than expressing outrage and defiance?) Visible and vocal dissent creates a groundswell; it's not everything but it's something.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:55 PM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


They all failed to affirmatively say what Hillary was going to bring to the table besides not being Trump

Do we have to do this nonsense again? Because we totally said what Clinton was bringing to the table: extremely solid, extremely nuanced policy solutions, decades upon decades of experience dealing with pretty much every aspect of the presidency, and the single most liberal platform of a party that might expect to win the presidency, ever. The fact that they're not protesting in the streets means a lot of things, including lacking the privilege to protest. (*)

And some of those protesters (the ones from the Green Party who swore to 'fight evil in the streets' and not in the ballot box) could have voted for her but didn't.

(*) The privilege to risk the consequences of protest is totally something that I think is under-discussed in liberal circles, because it's something shared by both the very privileged and the people who have nothing to lose. Not to mention: being a politician means respecting the rule of law. Protests are possible but very difficult when you run the risk of being stuck in the middle of a riot.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 8:58 PM on November 12, 2016 [14 favorites]


after a few days, everyone will settle in to the new (sur)reality, and that will be the end of that. And when Turnip and Penis actually take office and strike their first real, non-rhetorical blow against civil rights, or the environment, or whatever else... no one will come out.

I think 2017 is going to be the year of some real violent protests. Trump, the law-and-order racist, is going to embolden some local police forces to really go all-in with the tanks against "those people", and then support starts pouring in protesting that too. All it's going to take is something like any of the larger BLM protests in the last year. Some place is going to get fucking wrecked and a lot of people hurt.
posted by ctmf at 9:11 PM on November 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


At some point, symbolic victories and political theatre cease to have any purpose or meaning.

Well, the Tea Partiers had lots of ridiculous political theater and despite the ridicule they brought upon themselves, they tapped into a lot of existing rage and created Trump's base of anti-Obama, anti-government "take back America" supporters. Racism was also evident in the birthers, and they tapped into that and created a bigger space for it. I recall one Tea Partier that had an Obama-as-monkey doll; once that tone was set, others felt they could let their racist flag fly. And now it's flying high. The Tea Party's antics were a big part of making all the reactionary wackadoos come out of the woodwork once they felt they had strength in numbers. They emboldened each other.

And they did have strength in numbers; we just badly underestimated it. We wrote them off as a joke, just as some people will write off anti-Trump protesters as a joke.

We laughed at them and called them TeaBaggers as they portrayed themselves as the ultimate patriots, with their silly tricorner hats with teabags on them. They said they were going to take back America, and whaddya know, they fucking did. They are now defining American values, just like they said they would. I think it's worth pointing out publicly and often that their American Values are not our American Values or we're letting them define those values by our silence.

One person's outrageous, pointless stunt is another person's inspiration and call to action, or permission to defy the norm. It can work both ways.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:29 PM on November 12, 2016 [28 favorites]


By the way, I'd love to recycle the Tea Partier's "Not My President" Tshirts and swag but I don't want to given them my money.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 9:35 PM on November 12, 2016


Putting pressure on his holdings while he can't take part in managing them (without doing something impeachable) would be an interesting tactic. Especially if the Dems can recapture the Senate and hold hearings looking into his handling of campaign funds and, after elected, the 'blind trust.'

But given that roughly half the country voted for him, it could just as easily drive record crowds through the doors because MAGA and go fuck yourselves, losers.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:51 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


By the way, I'd love to recycle the Tea Partier's "Not My President" Tshirts and swag but I don't want to given them my money.

I'll be very surprised if Cafe Press isn't about to have a very strong Q4.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:53 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


and actually, there are a lot of elected officials and people who just got done working for clinton's election who probably question the value of these protests

By all means, feel free to speculate, but I know a lot of people who "just got done working for clinton's election" who have been cheering the protests on.

Here's why I don't particularly like these protests: after a few days, everyone will settle in to the new (sur)reality, and that will be the end of that. And when Turnip and Penis actually take office and strike their first real, non-rhetorical blow against civil rights, or the environment, or whatever else... no one will come out. It seems like well-timed, repeated, multi-city protests in response to specific actions could be quite effective, but everyone will just get it out of their systems now, and in the crucial years of 2017-2018 there will be nothing.

The way to keep that from happening is to ... keep it from happening. Pledge that you will protest at that point. I promise you there will be protests - it's up to you to join them.
posted by lunasol at 10:56 PM on November 12, 2016 [11 favorites]


I recall one Tea Partier that had an Obama-as-monkey doll;

I'll be disappointed if Clown-Trump and Hitler-Trump aren't quickly ubiquitous.

Maybe also Porcine-Trump, but I don't think it fits his face as well.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:01 PM on November 12, 2016


he can't take part in managing them (without doing something impeachable)

Wait, what? Are there actually any laws that would prevent him from managing his companies?

I thought it's like how there weren't laws preventing members of Congress from effectively doing insider trading until recently—that there's nothing to stop him from doing anything he wants. Because, why even bother asking about the blind trust if there are laws restraining him from doing anything else? But I don't think I've specifically confirmed that, so do I have a mistaken impression here?
posted by XMLicious at 11:04 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, the Presidency and Vice Presidency are exempted from the strongest, statutory prohibitions. (See 18 U.S.C. § 208, for the prohibition, and 18 U.S.C. § 202(c) for the exception )

But impeachment is pretty loose too.

We'll see if he has the chutzpah to refuse to do the usual blind trust. Once promised and established, violating it would be pretty bad.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:11 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


The other problem with impeachment is logistical. Either the Dems would have to take control of Congress, or it would have to be a violation so egregious that the GOP had no choice (the GOP House might be happy with Pence, but their electorate might not be happy about Trump being ousted).
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 11:15 PM on November 12, 2016


Well, sure, but that's a problem with or without a statute applying.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:16 PM on November 12, 2016


And I think a significant part of their tea-party/red pill/never-Hillary electorate would turn on Trump if he were caught red-handed using Presidency to directly enrich his enterprises or allies; the rest are party-line voters who'd probably be fine seizing the moment without the man.

But it won't happen, because he'll have his sons involved somehow (which is already not a blind trust, but will probably be excused by Ryan and company) and even if the Dems do recapture the Senate they'll probably be reluctant to go after the First Family.

Depends on how bad things get, I suppose.

Mishandling campaign funds, even tax wise, is probably a more likely eventuality. But, Meredith.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:23 PM on November 12, 2016


The blind trust thing is almost so pointless as to be silly. "Oh gosh, I wonder who that building's success might help enrich. Which, building, you ask? Why the one with 'TRUMP' on it in giant gold letters!"
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 12:30 AM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


If there's one thing I am learning from this thread, it is that whatever the response, someone will declare that we are helping reelect Trump.

Please knock that off. You haven't established any credentials as a prognosticator, and it's the most noxious form of concern trolling.
posted by maxsparber at 4:46 AM on November 13, 2016 [16 favorites]


Looking at live streams from last night's protests in NYC, I saw some rich conjunctions:

In one feed, a crowd chanting "Black Lives Matter". In another, at the same time, a symbolic lynching of a Trump effigy, made as a Pinyata, with Mexican kids taking turns to beat it to death.

In one crowd, a woman holding sign with a simple message: "Love". The crowd she was in were chanting "New York Hates You".

Of course people will protest. You can't stop them. But this is dangerous too.
posted by stonepharisee at 7:35 AM on November 13, 2016


I think effigy stuff is kinda complicated at best, but there's a pretty stark difference in the meaning and threat of hanging an effigy of a powerful, well-defended person (where it says basically "we dislike you enough to do this symbolic violence") and the history of lynch mob threats against already vulnerable minorities (where e.g. hanging an effigy of a black man from a tree says "don't forget that we've killed y'all like this before and we'll do it again").
posted by cortex at 7:47 AM on November 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


just as some people will write off anti-Trump protesters as a joke.

The tea party succeeded because they moved quickly from protest to politics. The latter takes attainable goals, sustained attention and effort.
posted by jpe at 7:49 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


So what happens if the intelligence community and the American Deep State figure out that Putin really does have video of Trump fucking underage girls? *

If it really does turn out that the President of the United States is deeply, deeply compromised and in the pocket of the Russian Government, I can't really imagine Comey standing up at a news conference and saying as much to the American people. What I would expect to happen is that they pick one of the dozens of impeachable things Trump is sure to do in his first 100 days, or honestly something he's already done, and the Republican congress proves surprisingly receptive to impeaching a Republican President in favor of President Pence, who they'd really rather have anyway.

It's not like Pence wouldn't be a nightmare for liberals. But, unlike Trump, I think he would have to be accepted as a legitimate (if undesirable IMO) President.


*(And I don't know that that's true by the way. Unnamed former intelligence officers talking off the record - it could well be bullshit, even though it goes a long way toward explaining Harry Reid's weird open letter to Comey after the Huma Abedin email business. It goes a long way toward explaining quite a few things, actually, though I'm not sure it's necessary to explain all of them. But I will say that if you did want to bait someone into a honey trap, I can imagine very few human beings on Earth, living or dead, that would be easier to do it to than Donald Trump.)
posted by Naberius at 8:43 AM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]




there's a pretty stark difference in the meaning and threat of hanging an effigy of a powerful, well-defended person (where it says basically "we dislike you enough to do this symbolic violence") and the history of lynch mob threats against already vulnerable minorities (where e.g. hanging an effigy of a black man from a tree says "don't forget that we've killed y'all like this before and we'll do it again").

I mooooostly agree with you but also think that people burning or hanging Obama or Clinton figures in effigy has also had some pretty awful connotations and I would really prefer we just not hang people in effigy at all so we had some moral high ground to deal with that shit.
posted by corb at 8:50 AM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Moral high ground". Ha.

Yes, there are going to be people saying "Oh, gosh, we'd love to not vote for a racist demagogue [or insert other shitbag here], but I heard about this one time that a bunch of people in Portland hanged Trump in effigy, and that means that we have to vote for this shitbag." But let me ask you this: If such a thing had never happened, do you think they wouldn't make it up, or find something else, or just put their figurative hands over their ears and say "LALALA CAN'T HEAR YOU TOO BUSY MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN"?

Fuck optics. The other side has shown us what they are, and the Beast has no eyes with which to see our primitive pussy liberal "optics". The Beast is blind with rage.
posted by Etrigan at 9:06 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


but also think that people burning or hanging Obama or Clinton figures in effigy has also had some pretty awful connotations

Yeah, I hear that, even if I believe that there's an inescapable historically-rooted difference in kind behind those connotations. Like I said: it's at best a complicated thing. But in a country where rich white men never have had and never will have to fear the real threat of subjugation and mob lynching, I think it's a mistake to make the jump from viewing it as troubling because symbolic violence is risky to viewing it as troubling because it's actually supposedly equivalent to other historical acts of symbolic violence with wildly different and more deadly stakes.

Which to be clear is not to say that that's what stonepharisee meant. Just something that I have been thinking about, and that comment reminded me and got my typing.
posted by cortex at 9:21 AM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


The tea party succeeded because they moved quickly from protest to politics.

The Tea Party succeeded because they were immediately supercharged with massive funding and with institutional support. You want to see the protesters do thr same, put your money where your mouth is and provide financial support and push your politicians to include protesters in discussions about the next step.
posted by maxsparber at 9:33 AM on November 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


So what happens if the intelligence community and the American Deep State figure out that Putin really does have video of Trump fucking underage girls?

Your president gives Russia the countries of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. American voters have taken us to the world that existed before Wilson's Fourteen Points.
posted by My Dad at 10:11 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


The tea party succeeded because they moved quickly from protest to politics.

The Tea Party succeeded because it was an astroturfing gambit paid for by rich people and was supported by Fox News cheerleading.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 AM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


From an historical perspective look at how fascist, authoritarian and other type regime rise. One of the primary factors is the broad forces of 'othering'. This 'othering' process has been happening for years and Trumps campaign was built on this foundation, was blatantly used throughout and people voted for it.

These protests, while perhaps incoherent and without a single concrete message are citizens screaming out against this 'othering' force some consciously and some unconsciously. Many may not even realize this is what they're doing, only that something has gone very, very wrong.

These are the people in history that were dismissed by the masses as being hysterical and over the top in their concerns or not doing their screaming properly.

Maybe they're screaming into the wind and it will change nothing. Maybe they are screaming prematurely and it won't be so bad. Maybe starting the screaming now will help ward off some of the worst. Who knows.

What's happening in the US is not normal. Better people start screaming now and be wrong then everyone sit back and be 'normal' and wonder in the future 'why in the heck weren't more out screaming about this before this happened." How did we not see it?
posted by Jalliah at 10:34 AM on November 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


The Tea Party succeeded because they were immediately supercharged with massive funding and with institutional support.

I think it's all of the above. You need the initial protest movement, you need the media-attention-grabbing events like the Santelli rant, you need the big money support, and you need the politicians to be on board. The money can sometimes push on recalcitrant politicians, and it can sometimes bolster the protests to look more organic than they actually are, but people and politicians being on the same page is an absolute must. The money is necessary, but not sufficient.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Tea Party succeeded because they were immediately supercharged with massive funding and with institutional support.

I think it's all of the above. You need the initial protest movement, you need the media-attention-grabbing events like the Santelli rant, you need the big money support, and you need the politicians to be on board.


I agree; and of course protests have to be followed up with action, money and coalition building. My main point was that the initial appearances were a flashpoint that ignited a huge societal trend.

Also, on the Black Block someone mentioned above; we had them in San Francisco (I'm sure they're priced out now) and they seemed to have moved to Oakland (although I can't confirm that the vandalism was perpetrated by them, it wouldn't surprise me). They are a real problem, maybe not in a lot of cities, but enough to delegitimize protests and justify police violence.

Under Trump, as others have said, I think we can expect seriously violent clampdowns. I think that's one motivation for people who are advocating 'playing nice". I sympathize with that fear; I've seen Black Blockers do things like set police cars on fire, then been charged at by police. I fear the repercussions of violent contingents.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 11:25 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really wish people would stop saying that the Tea Party movement was all astroturf. It's incorrect and actually disempowering to leftists. Yes, it was supported by the Koch Brothers and other huge donors, and got a lot of support from Fox News. No doubt. But it was/is ALSO grassroots movement - I mean, yesterday in another thread, people were talking about how Tea Partiers started flooding Congressional town hall meetings. Money helps with that but you can't do it with money alone. Take it from someone who was an organizer for years - you need actually people to do that. People who are fired up, taking on leadership, putting in the work, etc.

I think this idea that it was astroturf is disempowering because the thing is, what the Tea Party movement did is not rocket science. They basically just applied the principles of grassroots organizing, put resources behind those principles. We could absolutely do the same if we dedicated ourselves to it. And we will probably never have the same discipline or money the Tea Party had but we have a lot of other structural advantages they didn't have (like youth and an entire apparatus of civil society organizations that have been doing this kind of organizing for decades).
posted by lunasol at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


They are a real problem, maybe not in a lot of cities, but enough to delegitimize protests and justify police violence.

Well, "problem" is a loaded word. They're after a different thing (or at a different stage in the same thing). Ideally a protest would be a notice to the Powers That Be that hey, this many people care strongly about this thing. And the PTB would go, oh hey, didn't realize that, ok.

Or, if they were tempted to say they don't care if some people are mad, well then the demonstration might show them that enough people are mad to be a reelection problem. Implied threat.

But if the PTB decide, meh, that's not enough people, or I've gerrymandered this district so bad it doesn't matter, or they'll forget in two years, that implied threat isn't enough. When the majority knows, but is fine with the situation, no protesting is going to work until you can bring a motivating threat. So, escalate to wrecking the place. Now the implied threat is, you ever do that again, count on this happening again. It's an intimidation tactic. If this is where you think you're at, then a peaceful protest that goes away in a few days doesn't get the job done. "Wrecking the place" doesn't have to be violence. It could be strikes or other economic-type consequences, but that requires organization and powerful friends.

I don't really think black blocker types are out to "delegitimize" anything. They're recognizing quicker the same thing corb and others have noted, the protests aren't working. And they're willing to take the next step, because it's that important to them.

You might say it's a small group throwing a temper tantrum to get their way. But you could also say that our democracy was supposed to protect the minority against the majority, and that's failed, so what's left?

I'm not saying I agree with all that, but I understand it. The "problem" is that people feel they're at that point, but the tactics are rational.
posted by ctmf at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like the only protests that might have a real shot are like the general strike.
posted by corb at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well God knows silence and going along with things works well to create change.

I think the reality is that both protests and working within the system are valuable. But protesting should be more than the impulse to go into the streets and working with the system should be more than to acquiesce and just mail in your vote every few years.

Political action is just a lot of hard work over years, sometimes decades. The right-wing idiots who are sweeping across the West put in a lot of hours. They're still idiots, but now they're idiots with power. So go out and march, but also go and get the law degree. Go and get the law degree, but also volunteer and march.

With regards to violence, that's an orthogonal issue. It may be justified at some point. Who knows. If it should come to that -- God forbid -- how are you going to do anything without an organization?
posted by dmh at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Don't sit on your hands, just calm down and think for a minute. Stop vilifying the other guy or jumping to conclusions. Teach yourself to listen.

We've listened, and we've heard. They've said, "If you're poor, nonwhite, LGBTQ, non-xtian, immigrant, or a woman, we plan to hurt you." They've tried to dress it up as economic anxiety when it is not. They've tried to blame the DNC when no rigging took place. They've tried to tell us both candidates are the same when they are not. They have lied, incessantly. We have listened, and we know what they are saying and what they want, and they do not want to work with us. They need to be stopped.

I have not been very political in my life. I donated a fair amount to the Clinton campaign, but was not able to volunteer due to childcare obligations. I am donating at least 5x more now to NARAL, ACLU, PP, NRDC, and BLM than I did during the campaign, and my family will begin attending protests. These protests will help us and others connect with likeminded individuals, get away from false news organization that Facebook has become, and solidify a movement. They should and will continue.

"Accept the results and plan for 2020 and don't yell so much and definitely don't block traffic," is the anodyne song of the tone - policing white moderate. Fuck that shit.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:34 PM on November 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


They are a real problem, maybe not in a lot of cities, but enough to delegitimize protests and justify police violence.
Well, "problem" is a loaded word.


No, sorry, they are unequivocally bad. They reinforce power structures by calling down state violence, which inevitably targets marginalized people first and most aggressively. I'm not grieving for the Audi dealership that got its windows smashed, but all this accomplishes is to amplify police brutality against the groups that already receive the brunt of it. Their tactics are garbage.
posted by invitapriore at 6:41 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Accept the results and plan for 2020 and don't yell so much and definitely don't block traffic," is the anodyne song of the tone - policing white moderate. Fuck that shit.
I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
Of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
As long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crane?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

posted by indubitable at 7:08 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


by calling down state violence, which inevitably targets marginalized people first and most aggressively.

Ok, but aren't you just letting "the state" get what they want with threats of violence without making them go through with it? When the bully threatens to beat you up, does it work to just cave in and give them whatever they want? It avoids the fistfight, I guess, if that's the only thing you care about.
posted by ctmf at 7:57 PM on November 13, 2016


Apparently the media are going to spin 4000 committed, disciplined, peaceful protestors and 20 some bored angry kids smashing things as a super violent out of control riot. You want a philosophical justification for violence? There isn't any. There's just the same anger and hopelessness that put Trump in power. You want a moral high ground for opposing violence as a political tool? That went away when Trump got elected. "Better together" didn't get elected, "Send them home in a stretcher" did.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:06 PM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


And to be perfectly clear, I don't condone violence, but I also want to fight back hard against the notion that the entire power structure of the nation itself did not just condone political violence by electing Trump.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:18 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


ctmf, I'm not saying the black bloc types & tactics set out to delegitimize things, but they do. I've seen it happen on and off for thirty years. Public sympathy matters. I understand what their mindset is, but intention does not equal effect. There is nothing you're saying that hasn't been said before; they're at wits' end, that's all that's left, peaceful demonstrations don't make a difference, etc etc. This is not a new debate.

In fact, I saw the violence vs. nonviolence debate played out in front of me during Iraq 1 protests. Between a skate punk and a hippie in a tie dyed shirt no less. (It was kind of awesome because it was archetype vs. archetype) The skate punk tossed his board into a recruiting office window as the hippie said "no violence". I agreed with both of them; I agreed with the kid who chose a correct target, but I feared he'd get arrested, especially since he was being videotaped.

Now *everyone* carries a smartphone with video on them at all times. What gets done will get filmed. Now we have militarized police forces, they will have means and tactics like never before. Now we're getting a "Rule of Law" president. It's not the 90s anymore. Maybe it's my paranoia talking, but I'm fearing Guiliani Time on a national scale, and before we endorse violence, I'm just asking that anyone who does so looks at the new reality and think very hard about potential outcomes.

They reinforce power structures by calling down state violence, which inevitably targets marginalized people first and most aggressively.

I'm not grieving for the Audi dealership that got its windows smashed, but all this accomplishes is to amplify police brutality against the groups that already receive the brunt of it.

This a hundred thousand times.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:25 PM on November 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


d'oh, I meant a "Law and Order" president, but you know what I mean.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 8:31 PM on November 13, 2016


*donk donk*
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the black bloc tactics are ineffective, and in this era, dangerous provocation.

However, I also think generic street protest has lost its effectiveness. We need to get back to better organized mass demonstrations. 'Actions' - not just assemblies. (Even extended ones like Occupy.)

I'm not sure what that means yet...but some kind of tightly choreographed, mass activity that is about doing something more than showing up and making noise.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:46 AM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


A nationwide strike on Inauguration Day is sounding better and better.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:39 AM on November 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


LDS Preparedness Manual (pdf)
posted by bukvich at 9:48 AM on November 14, 2016


500+ public school students walked out today, some as young as 6th grade.
posted by curious nu at 1:15 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


My niece among them, accompanied by my dad! Get at it, my youths.
posted by cortex at 3:05 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I went to a radical organizing circle in Oakland recently, and there's definitely calls about a january 20th general strike. We'll see how far it gets from the punk houses, but I would definitely support a national walk-out.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:58 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


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