Category Archives: Anti-Trump Resistance

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an anti-Trump resistance movement began, drawing on much longer-existing movements ranging from the women’s movement to the Black Lives Matter movement to the immigrant rights movement. While Trump resisters are a diverse lot, in general, they are opposed to both Trump’s political agenda and his personal history of racism, capitalist greed, misogyny, and dishonesty. This opposition has taken many forms from Marches (e.g., the Women’s March) to protests and a greater involvement in state and local politics. Throughout this, one of the main questions has been whether and how this resistance can be sustained in the long run.

The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement

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This past week, the St. Louis branch of the Scholars Strategy Network brought David Meyer to town to discuss his new edited volume (with Sidney Tarrow) called The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement. The book includes chapters by many top scholars in the field and focuses on the origins, organization, and dynamics of the movement while situating these contemporary efforts into their historical context. In his discussion on the topic, Meyer focused on the spread of activism immediately following the election. Of particular interest to the audience, he detailed a counterfactual account of whether the large-scale and highly-resourced travel ban airport protests would have occurred as they did without the Women’s March. Although he noted some features that were unlikely the direct result of the Women’s March (e.g., ACLU and CAIR legal actions) he suggested that the size of the protest, decisions to offer free legal services, and extensive political support would have been unlikely without the previous mobilization effort. Meyer concluded the talk by noting that there is often a desire to create a “recipe” for social movement outcomes, but they are highly contextual and determined by the goals, timeline, and extensiveness of the demands put forth. Social movements, after all, are as Meyer said, “blunt instruments” for sharing solutions to complex problems. The book offers an opportunity to continue thinking critically about the extensive mobilization efforts in the last two years.

 

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Informing Activists: How can activists avoid burnout?

Hava Gordon

How can activists avoid burnout?

Recommended Readings

Gordon, Hava Rachel. 2009. We Fight to Win: Inequality and the Politics of Youth Activism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

Klandermans, Bert. 1997. The Social Psychology of Protest. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

See also: Sharon Erickson Nepstad’s video on the same topic

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White Activists and the Burnout of Activists of Color

By Paul Gorski

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The Sanctuary Movement in the Trump Era: Localized Activism in the Face of Barriers to Federal Reform

By Lisa M. Martinez

Before an audience of several hundred people crammed into a Denver-area community center in April 2017, twelve-year-old Luna Vizguerra confidently approached a podium in front of the standing-room only crowd. Through an interpreter, she spoke directly to the few council members present at the event:

“Good evening. I am the daughter of Jeanette Vizguerra. I am here to talk not so much about her sanctuary but sanctuary policy here in Denver. There are people that are afraid to use the word ‘sanctuary’ but we are talking about the effect here in Denver of having these policy changes. We want to talk about what this policy would do to protect immigrants so that they won’t be afraid of the police and what is happening with this new administration. We don’t want children to live in fear, and we want you as elected officials to take your responsibility seriously so this won’t happen” (Colorado People’s Action 2017). Continue reading

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Sustaining Anti-Trump Resistance: Movement Trajectories and Activist Burnout

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an anti-Trump resistance movement began, drawing on much longer-existing movements ranging from the women’s movement to the Black Lives Matter movement to the immigrant rights movement. While Trump resisters are a diverse lot, in general, they are opposed to both Trump’s political agenda and his personal history of racism, capitalist greed, misogyny, and dishonesty. This opposition has taken many forms from Marches (e.g., the Women’s March) to protests and a greater involvement in state and local politics. Throughout this, one of the main questions has been whether and how this resistance can be sustained in the long run:

Many thanks to this great group of contributors.

Steven E. Barkan, University of Maine (essay)
Anna Brown, Saint Peter’s University (essay)
Peter Dreier, Occidental College (essay)
Paul Gorski, George Mason University (essay)
Michael McQuarrie, The London School of Economics (essay)
Lisa M. Martinez, University of Denver (essay)

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Guillermo Trejo

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The Mixed Blessing of Donald Trump for Progressive Protest

By Steven E. Barkan

A central task of any social movement is to induce people to participate in movement efforts and to sustain their commitment to the cause once they do start participating. This task is especially important for movements that engage in protest, but it is also necessary for movements that limit themselves to electoral and other conventional political activities. The typical absence of material incentives for joining and participating in a movement makes this task highly necessary and one that occupies the attention of movement organizers. Continue reading

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Resistances and Authoritarian Threat

By Michael McQuarrie

 

The election of Donald Trump is rightly understood as a dangerous moment for American democracy, and it has provoked enough anxiety to shake up the orthodoxies of political discourse. Along with this anxiety, then, is the possibility of political renewal. On the Left, the most interesting development is the emergence of “the Resistance” to Trump and his pursuit of a plutocratic and white ethnonationalist policy agenda with little regard for the rule of law. While the resistance is a useful moniker for capturing the variety of forms that protest and dissent have taken since Trump’s inauguration, it is also misleading. On the one hand, it certainly acknowledges the fact that Trump is deeply unpopular and a threat to the values and concerns of much of the country. Indeed, the threat Trump poses to civil discourse and the rule of law means that one of the first tasks of the Resistance, and one that should unify all of its disparate branches, is the defense of the basic ground rules of American public life that enable dissent to thrive at all. Continue reading

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