An estimated 440,000 people showed up at the Women’s March on Washington — over double the number expected. In Chicago, 250,000 people marched — five times as many as anticipated, meaning it was limited to a rally rather than a march for safety reasons. And with events scheduled in over 670 locations worldwide, it’s estimated that millions of people made their views on Trump’s administration known.
The sheer mass of people around the world uniting to resist felt heartwarming and hopeful for a moment, until the speed with which Trump instituted his Muslim Ban shook us all awake again. While Trump argued his executive order was about “terror and keeping our country safe,” as Rudy Giuliani freely admitted on television, this was about blocking Muslim access to the U.S.: “When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,’” Giuliani said. “He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”
Clearly, this isn’t a president who will let his resistance rest on their laurels. So if we want to continue to resist the Trump administration, what should we be doing now?
Let’s check off the obvious to-dos. Assuming you’re already registered to vote (and if not, head here now), do you vote in every single election? Not just for presidential candidates, but for all of the local races? If smaller elections slip your mind, it could be worth downloading apps like Turbovote which send you reminders for upcoming elections.
During his campaigning, Trump vowed to stop funding reproductive health service Planned Parenthood; he reportedly has plans to defund the arts and humanities and since he’s been in office; and under the global gag rule, Trump has cut funding to international health groups if they continue to provide abortions and he’s cut funding for scientific research in the U.S.
Money matters. Support a cause that speaks to you with a donation. As Time has observed, it’s worth doing your research and reading the small print: “you can take a tax deduction for donations only to 501(c)3 charities, which are prohibited from engaging in lobbying activity, except to a very limited extent.”
If you feel strongly about civil liberties, reproductive rights, immigrants’ rights, Muslims’ safety in America, the environment or trans rights, The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, Border Angels, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Sierra Club and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project are all taking donations. If you don’t have the means to donate, consider volunteering at these or any other organisations. Nothing grabbing you? For more ideas for places to donate to or volunteer for, visit Jezebel’s very detailed list.
If the Women’s March was your first protest, don’t make it your last one. Assuming you’ve already visited your local airport to protest the Muslim Ban, add the following dates to your diary: on April 15, the Trump Tax March (taking place in locations throughout the U.S.) will demand that he releases his taxes; on April 29, the People’s Climate Movement on Washington will protest Trump’s environmental policies; on May 6, there will be an Immigrants’ March on the National Mall; on June 11 there will be a National Pride March in Washington.
The March For Science is in the process of being organized but doesn’t yet have a firm date, follow them on social to find out when the countrywide protest will take place. Given Trump’s emphasis on “alternative facts”, science funding being cut and scientists being ignored on topic like climate change, this march needs your support.
Be prepared: not every march will be as peaceful as the Women’s March. On the way to any protest, as Kathleen Hale has previously recommended, be ready for the worst-case scenario by writing your blood type and medication allergies on your arms in marker. If the protest turns violent and you arrive at hospital unconscious, this helps doctors. Don’t bring anything that can be construed as a weapon. Bring a scarf to cover your mouth and nose in case of tear gas. While I’m not saying these things are going to happen, let’s face it: they have and they could.
Inform yourself in a responsible way. You know the drill: the need for online advertising revenue means click-bait has replaced well-researched reporting. But stop tweeting about it and start paying for news. The New York Times have been vocal opponents of Trump from the beginning and The Guardian have broken vital stories like the phone-hacking scandal and Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance, suggesting they’re worth supporting financially.
You could also consider donating to your local NPR affiliate since radio stations do just as much local, non-profit journalism as newspapers do. Want to make up your own mind? Consider doing a deep-dive into which papers have been given Pulitzers for their reporting. Otherwise, reputable former news anchor Dan Rather has recently started a new social media page to function as a “digital news feed” called News and Guts. Rather stated:
“This Facebook page will be under the stewardship of a very talented group of reporters who work at my company. These are men and women who know real news. They’ve reported with me around the globe from dangerous and difficult datelines. I trust them and so should you…In an era of fake news, false equivalence, and too much fluff, let’s take a stand together to demand better, and bring attention to all those doing great work.” Drop them a like and participate in the “new experiment.”
But it shouldn’t be all (or even much) about social media. As 5calls stresses, “Facebook likes and Twitter retweets can’t create the change you want to see. Calling your Government on the phone can.”
If you’ve never made a call to your senator to agitate for political change, this site makes it effortless. You simply pick a cause that’s important to you (ie. Reject the Muslim Ban, Say No to a Border Wall), key in your zipcode and get a phone number, a politician to call and a script to stick to. You can even subscribe to get reminders once a week to call.
Download apps to keep an eye on your representatives: Countable gives you an overview and summary of any bills your representatives are debating and allows you to email your representative telling them how you would like them to vote, while Dollarocracy shows you who your politicians are being funded by, including financial profiles for every member of Congress and displaying top donors and industry supporters.
Ideas for Further Action:
Think about Going into Politics, Especially If You’re a Woman
According to the Center for American Women and Politics, women hold just over 19% of the seats in Congress and 21% of the seats in the U.S. Senate. If you don’t like the way politicians treat women, maybe that’s because there’s not enough female representation in politics — something that felt way too real looking at a photo of Trump surrounded solely by men when signing the anti-abortion executive order.
If you’re female, based in America (or anywhere, given the gender disparity in politics in most countries) and reading this, consider running for office. Check out VoteRunLead which grooms women for public office or EMILY’s List, an organization which aims to get pro-choice Democrat women elected.
Stay Private Online
CNN reported following the Muslim ban that “Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit.” Sadly, this isn’t a post-Trump phenomenon: Politico reported in December that the U.S. government had begun asking foreign visitors to provide social media details voluntarily.
In an age when a person’s digital footprint can be used against them, it’s better to be safe than sorry: a pessimist would argue this is just the beginning of more state intrusion on your internet life, given Trump’s pick for CIA Director, the pro-surveillance Mike Pompeo.
Alternet suggests reading your preferred social media channel’s data policy, setting posts to private on Facebook, using free apps like Open Whisper Systems’ Signal in place of Whatsapp since it provides end to end encryption if everyone you’re communicating with is using Signal too, and stresses the importance of using a VPN. The Guardian has further ideas if you’ve got more time to dedicate to preserving your privacy.
No matter what office he’s elected to, Trump will always be above all things a businessman. Hurt Trump’s business rep by refusing to shell out money anywhere that has links with him or his daughter. Check out this extremely comprehensive spreadsheet but make sure you don’t simply boycott: get in touch to let the company know why you’re boycotting.
Support women of color through fashion. Designer Mary Ping argues: “Our rich and solid garment industry is built on the shoulders of hardworking, talented immigrants (mainly women of color).”
So check out labels: don’t go for fast fashion, but support American brands that pay workers a living wage (which is defined by the Clean Clothes Campaign as “a wage a worker earns in a standard working week (never exceeding 48 hours) [that] is enough to provide for them and their family’s basic needs, including housing, education and healthcare as well as some discretionary income for when the unexpected happens.”).
Resistance via the Law
If you’re an American immigration lawyer and able to volunteer at any of the airports that require legal support following the Muslim Ban, then consider offering pro-bono support. The situation is fluctuating from hour to hour and Twitter is the best way to keep track of what airports need help.
Follow No Ban JFK or scan for recent tweets under #NoBanNoWall. Otherwise consider volunteering at Trans Law Help, an organization that offers free legal resources for trans individuals who want a legal name or gender change.
Resistance via the Arts
If you’re an artist, get involved with 100 Days Action. This San Francisco-based group will be organizing daily art events from January 21st to April 29th, 2017 “to provoke much needed dialogue and action around Trump’s first 100 days in office.” You can find more information here or submit an event idea here.
Or if you’re in New York, swing by Shia LaBeouf’s hotly-debated live video installation, He Will Not Divide Us, at the Museum of the Moving Image where audiences are invited to repeat the mantra of the title into a camera to act “as a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participant and the community.” However, be warned: so far it’s been a mixed bag, drawing many neo-Nazis to the installation.
Prefer putting pen to paper? Follow Write Our Democracy (formerly known as Writers Resist) and join them in their “Words Have No Borders” storytelling campaign, which asks writers to think about immigration, write a story reflecting on this theme and share it with as many people as possible via social media using the hashtags #WriteOurDemocracy and #LibertySpeaks.
Or, if none of the above appeals but you’re a born dancer, consider joining Werk For Peace. This queer-based grassroots movement uses dancing to promote peace and famously staged a dance party outside Mike Pence’s house 48 hours before inauguration. Why was Pence targeted? Because he’s a famous homophobe who has previously supported conversion therapy and who signed a bill in 2013 to jail same-sex couples in Indiana who applied for a marriage license.
Or Resist via Obstruction
On January 30, Trump fired acting U.S. attorney general Sally Yates after she told justice department lawyers not to defend his executive order. It may be the case that official channels of resistance and the administration designed to secure our civil liberties are no longer enough.
Fahd Ahmed, an executive director at Desis Rising Up And Moving gave VICE some tips on non-official ways to resist, and sadly, this advice seems the most relevant of all right now:
“We do need allies to start thinking about, ‘what are ways we can interfere in and disrupt those systems?’ So, for example, if there are registrations for people of Muslim backgrounds, are people doing false registrations to jam up the systems? Are people blockading the offices where those registrations happen to prevent them from happening? Are we interfering with the deportation process, whether it’s in the community, preventing eyes from coming into the neighborhood, or around detention centers? Those are things we need to start thinking ahead to, and we’re going to have to think much further outside the box than we’ve been used to thinking.”
In Obama’s curiously prescient final speech as president, he warned Americans that protecting democracy wasn’t “just the job of our military” and cautioned that “we as citizens must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are. All of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging.”
The pendulum of power has swung into dark new territory: the skewing of facts and authoritarian instincts you expect from a government in a dystopian novel, not reality. Now it’s up to Americans as citizens to work to resist: it’s the only option left.
For more social commentary, check out why the post-Soviet trend might be problematic.
- Lead image: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall