Fortunately, among those who didn’t vote for Trump (and maybe a few who did) the resistance crowd is prevailing “bigly” over the “give him a chance” crowd.
That’s a great sign. It provides a glimmer of hope.
Here’s a not-so-great sign: Orwell’s 1984 tops the best seller list. Wait, what? “Lord, you quote Orwell incessantly. Now you don’t want people reading Orwell?”
No, reading Orwell isn’t a problem. But not reading Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is. If this resistance is going to succeed, all Americans who don’t share Paula Pennypacker’s medieval worldview must not only resist, they must do so with maximum efficiency.
And that’s what Rules for Radicals is about. Which means people need to put down Orwell and pick up Alinsky. It’s been years since I read it, but the one thing I remember about Rules for Radicals is how outside the box Alinsky thought and how outsized his results were.
A recent email from a friend reminded me of this.
My friend emailed me to note that anyone opposed to Trump who serves as a juror must refuse to convict ANY defendant and that I, as a member of the media (yeah, right), must get the word out. I don’t know if his plan is feasible, but I like the way he thinks. That sort of action puts pressure on the system. You know what doesn’t? Marching on a Saturday.
Can we put pressure on those capable of putting pressure on Trump (and Congress)? What happens if people collectively use cash instead of credit cards, denying the large banks the fees they’re accustomed to receiving? What happens if we all make our mortgage payments on the last possible day, denying banks the free use of the money that’s built into their business models? What happens if we minimize our use of gasoline, through carpooling and other means, in order to drive down the demand for oil and, hence, the price?
I doubt if any of those tactics would succeed. But I’m hopeful someone more clever than I could devise a tactic along those lines that would. The effect would be enormous. There are pressure points in the system. Identify them and figure out how to make the powers that be squirm, and we win. That’s how Alinsky succeeded, sometimes with small numbers behind him. To be sure, there will be false starts. But we have a lot of really smart people on our side. Sooner or later, a corporation or two will take a 15% hit in its market cap. Or some Trump benefactors will find their daily lives uncomfortable. Or Congressional reps supporting Trump will feel some political pain.
Does that mean traditional resistance tactics are worthless? No. They let folks know the numbers are there. They drive media coverage. They have value.
But even traditional tactics could be improved with fresh thinking. For example, the largest marches always are in DC. The masses can’t fly to marches. They drive, sometimes up to 500 miles, but they drive. So, draw a circle with DC in the center and a 500 mile radius and compare to one the same size with Columbus or Cincinnati in the center. Which circle has more inhabitants? And in which city would a huge crowd be more likely to gum up the works? Do we really get the most bang for the buck by having every large march in DC?
One way or another, the resistance must become debilitating to those in power. That doesn’t just happen. A relative handful of people will create the methods by which the resistance succeeds. Who those creative people will be is unknown, but I’m guessing right now they’re racking their brains for ideas. Join them! And if you could use a little inspiration, pick up a copy of Rules for Radicals.