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The next stage: Will anti-Trump marches become a movement?


    High school students protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Students from several Los Angeles schools have walked out of classes to protest the election of Donald Trump as president.

WASHINGTON >> Demonstrators upset over the election of Donald Trump have marched in cities around the country over the past week, and some are making plans to be in Washington for his inauguration Jan. 20. But whether marches will become a movement is an open question.

At this early stage, the protesters who have taken to the streets to brand Trump a bigot and a sexist and chant “Not my president!” appear to be mostly venting their frustrations and do not seem to have coalesced behind overall leaders or a common set of demands.

Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin, who as an early leader of Students for a Democratic Society helped organize an anti-Vietnam War demonstration that brought thousands to Washington in 1965, said the anti-Trump protests by themselves “are not the makings of a movement.”

“A movement requires that clusters of people take responsibility for creating vehicles that can carry through, focus energy, develop priorities, strategize, recruit, figure out how to govern themselves,” Gitlin said.

For that to happen, a critical mass of protesters has to “transform their mindset from protest into successful politics, which is much less exciting,” he said. Gitlin said that means “dirtying our hands in winning local and state battles which are instrumental to changing the national balance.”

On Monday, hundreds of students decrying Trump’s election walked out of schools in Denver, Los Angeles and Silver Spring, Maryland, after a weekend in which thousands of people demonstrated around the country and scores were arrested. Protesters threw rocks at police in Indianapolis and hurled bottles and other objects in Portland, Oregon. Marchers have also converged on Trump Tower in New York, the president-elect’s transition headquarters.

Among other things, the demonstrators have condemned Trump’s behavior toward women and his stand on immigration and civil liberties.

Ralph Young, a history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia who teaches a course on dissent in America and has written two books on the topic, said it is too early to predict what the marches might become.

Once Trump becomes president and starts making policy decisions, that could crystalize opposition and focus people’s attention on certain issues, he said. If the anti-Trump demonstrations are going to become a movement, they also need leaders who can articulate their grievances, he said.

That’s one thing the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality never really achieved — a proper organization, Young said.

Jamie Henn of the group 350, which organizes protests to fight climate change, said liberal activist groups are still scrambling to figure out how they will push back against a Trump presidency.

“There is definitely stuff coming together and being planned that looks like the messy process of everyone and their mother throwing up something on their Facebook page,” Henn said.

Henn said liberals haven’t seen the need for this level of mobilization since the run-up to the Iraq War. But activists remember glumly how little a dent their big marches against the invasion made then, and may use different tactics this time.

Some groups are already trying to come together, though there are differences of opinion, said Greg McKelvey, a protest organizer in Portland, Oregon. McKelvey said demonstrators are trying to organize with counterparts in New York; Washington; Austin, Texas; Oakland, California; Boston; and a few other cities.

Some activists want to prevent Trump somehow from becoming president, while others feel that’s inevitable and instead want to insulate their communities from his policies, McKelvey said. He said his group, Portland’s Resistance, aims to make sure city and state governments are working on issues such as limiting climate change, pushing for better health care and dealing with racial disparities in policing.

Trump’s election has made activists out of people who haven’t been part of any organized demonstrations before.

Olivia Antezana, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Maryland at College Park, had never been to a demonstration before creating and promoting a “Not My President” event on Facebook. By Monday afternoon, 18,000 people had indicated on Facebook that they would be going to the event in Washington on Inauguration Day.

“I will say I certainly underestimated it,” Antezana said.

Still, Antezana said she is not sure what she will do after the demonstration she is planning is over. She doesn’t plan to join a political campaign, she said, though she would like to keep up with activism. Right now, she said, she has another priority: school.


Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at

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    • Not this election, no.

      But may I remind you of another movement — one that began in reaction to another presidential election — a movement of which you may, in fact, consider yourself a member.

      How many Senate seats did the GOP gain in 2010 thanks to this new movement, the “Tea Party”? Six. And how many House seats? Sixty-three. Would those numbers turn the tide for the Dems? You know they would.

      Here’s our new movement’s “new math”: 2018 = 2010

      • IRT HanaBataDays, not for the next couple of Presidential elections. There must be a Countrywide change of ideology, such as Obamacare that over time hurts a majority of Americans. At the present time, the 29 items of the Contract with the American voters that President-Elect Trump will initiated in his first 100 days in Office are the 60% – 70% American support issues. What will be your new ideology? The Tea Party made their gains at the local level with Governors and Legislatures. Eventually the House, Senate, and the White House. With the U.S. Supreme Court remaining Conservative, your group must have a clear Constitutional ideology.

        • IRT TheVisitor967, chances is no recession next year. Why, the confidence of the Market, the initiation of economic growth initiatives, and increase of employment. This will be followed by the reduction of illegal immigrants and shifting of trade for American products and goods. Everything is growth on the economic side.

  • Organize, mobilize, pack your stuff and march your sorry selves to another country. We all knew what the “rules” were, election was held and your man lost. Embrace the suck and move on or go establish yourself someplace else.

  • They can protest right out of the US to Canada for all I care. lol

    Amy (unfunny) schumer
    Lena Dunham
    Barbra Streisand
    Bryan Cranston
    Miley Cyrus
    Amy Schumer
    Jon Stewart
    Chelsea Handler
    Samuel L. Jackson
    Whoopi Goldberg
    Neve Campbell
    Keegan-Michael Key
    George Lopez
    Rev. Al Sharpton
    Let’s see if these Liberal Democrats can be taken for their word on moving to Canada if Trump won the election. Does their words mean anything if they don’t pack up and leave the US. lol, I bet these people will LIE thru their teeth like all Liberals and Democrats do and maybe some Republicans too while I’m at it. hahahahahahaha

  • Yes, this will probably become a movement and IMO it will not only fail but the push back will very possibly make it worse for the protestors. Part of Trump’s victory is due to people becoming fed up with the progressives and their PC world where they control speech, they want to tell you how to live, what to eat, the type of energy we/you use, the names we give things, who gets into universities, which laws we enforce and which we don’t, they want timeouts when their feelings are hurt, etc. and now which candidate has to win an election. Enough already.

  • There are people that are lost sheep blindly following the lead dog. Why would SA publish this piece of trash article which amounts to no more than inciting and fueling the fire? What is the intent? Give it a rest. It is time to get back to business as usual.

  • one big national movement expelling the democrat culture of corruption, fear mongering and hate speech.

    americans of all colors, religions and genders together elected trump president of the united states.

    as bill clinton put it, “the awful legacy of the past eight years” is over.

    the only movement that counts is the liberals moving to foreign countries as they promised if trump won. but, of course they lied.

  • The old socialist’s keep recruiting dumb kids‚Ķbut eventually they get jobs, grow up and straighten out. Must be frustrating. I remember the SDS trying to recruit me back in 1970‚Ķbunch of old commies.

  • He’s not in office yet, and he is already backing down his words.
    From deporting all illegal immigrants to only the criminal immigrants.
    So, It’s ok for the illegal immigrants stealing american jobs to stay as long as they don’t break the law!
    Isn’t being an illegal immigrant in America breaking the law? Hence the word “ILLEGAL” immigrant.

    • he is not backing down he wants to build a wall then go after the illegal criminals in this country including drug dealers, murderers, and gunrunners, then he will look at all the other illegal immigrant problems, so just relax and wait.

    • bakatade – Before any illegal can take a job, someone has to hire them. An employer caught hiring illegals faces serious legal action.

      And lets not forget many of the jobs they do take are ones Americans will no longer do. How many high school kids do you see actually working manual labor today versus decades ago?

      Not saying it is right, USA needs a solid guest worker program as many other countries do. Sad to say our elected bureaucrats lack the cojones to get it done.

  • So many utterly weak of mind millennials who are afraid to leave their “Safe Spaces” and go out into the real world.

    If they are not happy in this country, they can pack their bags and move to another country. They will not be missed. Everyone who leaves will let Trump claim another job opening created.

    Sooooooo what are you waiting for”

  • Nothing better to do? Look, I am saddened by the two candidates for POTUS both IMO are not worthy, period.

    At least I have a view of my beloved Mauna Kea – Big Island Love! OBTW I’m brown and The Donald does not scare me!

  • I got an idea for their movement, how’s about movementing their A$$es to another country if they cannot accept the will of the people. Bunch of cry baby cowards!

  • Movements often start off as misguided because we have a bunch of people with different agendas–and some of these agendas may not be widely accepted–and thus such movements will be viewed by the general public as more of a nuisance than a remedy. Thus a movement should be based on universally accepted principles which will be easily embraced–preferably an issue that many already feel strongly about. So in this case the message could be a very simple one, “Abolish the Electoral College.” In my opinion, it’s always better to be united for a cause than against someone. These protestors are in the minority now–but it could change if they argue on principle–widely embraced and universally accepted principles such as: “Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. In a democracy, shouldn’t everyone’s vote count? Why isn’t she our president?”

  • It’s already a movement – a bowel movement. According to the NBC affiliate news station KGW in Portland, OR, more than half of the protesters that were arrested in that city did not vote or were not registered to vote.

  • and again the liberal media is spinning it in one direction and only one direction. I heard the news last night on KITV talk about how this is the biggest demonstration we have seen in Hawaii for along time…over 1,200 protestors, yet they lied when it was happening with SB1. They reported 300-500 protestors were at the legislature… about 4,000-5,000… about reporting facts and letting people use their heads to figure stuff out…I am so sick of the Main Stream Media… they got it right about the polls and Trump….and folks still just drink it all up

  • Depends whether an organization of the likes of the OSF will fund such a movement. Check IRS Form 990-pf any year after 1993 for the this organization. Recently a suit of 550 million dollars was filed against the Chairman by an individual who suffered damages as a result of the Ferguson riots. It is reputed that it indict this individual through his charitable foundation is responsible. He is a naturalized citizen and ex-noncom of the former German Army whose net worth is over 26 billion dollars. One of the objectives of the organization is formant unrest so that “Marshal Law” is implemented and the country can be controlled by his minions who will by then be installed in positions that matter. Could be Fascism as the objective.

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