Needed: A More Debilitating Resistance


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.


  1. Wow, what a plan for America. To turn it into a hell hole like the neighborhoods that Alinsky and his disciples “organized” in Chicago.

    Chicago has one fourth the population but more murders than LA and NY combined. The murder centers are the neighborhoods that Alinsky “organized”. These “organized” neighborhoods have fewer jobs today than they had in 1960.

    What fun, everyone should go watch Clockwork Orange for inspiration.

    • Well, John, if Bob is going for a “debilitating resistance”, turning our towns into little Chicagos is one way to do it.

      I also think it is a formula to ignite a 2nd Civil War since a significant number of towns and cities in America are not filled with snowflake democrats stupid enough to surrender their security and their guns to the empty promises of a government unable to protect them.

      I have always thought of Alinsky as one of those people who is very talented when it comes to clever ways to disrupt and destroy, but who is clueless when it comes to building and improving. History has been filled with people like him…people who were skilled at tearing things apart but once they acheived their goal had no idea how to rebuild something from the ashes of the old.

      I like Bob Lord a lot. He is smart, quick minded, and knows a god awful lot about everything. I suspect deep in his heart he is a bomb throwing radical (figuratively speaking) who wouldn’t mind seeing the old order shaken up. Gosh knows, I can relate, albeit from the opposite perspective. Still, to paraphrase the 1895 U.S. Army Officers Manual concerning Sergeants, “[He] is exceedlingly cunning and sly and bears considerable watching.” ;o)

      • > are not filled with snowflake democrats…

        Ironically, one of the biggest predictors of Trump support is the extent to which a person believes that ‘Whites & Christians face significant discrimination against them’, according to a recent Gallup poll.

        Perhaps the snowflake moniker should be affixed to WASP American Trump supporters instead.

        • “Perhaps the snowflake moniker should be affixed to WASP American Trump supporters instead.”

          No, it fits democrats much better, Edward. I chose that word very carefully to describe people who surrender their rights on the promise someone else will take care of them. As Franklin once said, “Those who trade their liberty for security find they have neither.” The places in this Country where such exchanges have taken place are the havens for leftists, liberals and democrats.

          As to “Whites & Christians [feeling they] face significant discrimination against them” being a precusor to following Trump, ask yourself why that might be. Let us put it more personal terms: If you are talking to someone and they make a point of telling you they are a Christian, what happens in your mind? Is that a positive things? I doubt it…it is sort of offputting and your opinion of them drops and your concern about what they are saying drops also. They have less legitimacy in your eyes because they are Christians and whatever they say or think is tainted by “Bible Squeak” and has little or no validity”.

          The same thing happens if they make a point about being “white”. Immediately the fact that being white is important to them taints what they have to say because they have always enjoyed “white privilege” and have no legitimacy in complaining.

          I don’t expect you to answer these questions, I just want you to be honest with yourself about what goes on in your mind when you are talking to “whites” and/or “Christians”.

          • I think that applies to Conservatives just the same. Was it not the self-proclaimed Conservatives celebrating immigration bans under the guise of ‘public safety’? And for all the whining you hear about ‘safe-spaces, I see them just as much on the right as well. Except they tend to be gun ranges, Fox News, and outdoorsy stores (think Gander Mtn.) instead of universities. And there was just as much animosity from the right about Obama, funded by shadowy donors, as there is against Trump (which has been alleged to be funded in part by a different network). I will admit to being part of some of those protests, but disclose that I have never been paid, nor offered compensation for my attendance. In fact, I’m usually out money on making signs, travel, etc.

            What I will say is that the left doesn’t seem to know a way to talk about racial bias and injustice in a way that isn’t immediately off-putting, for the reason that you just elaborated; I am about as pale-skinned as you’re likely to see in Tucson and am of predominantly Eastern-European ancestry (though born & raised in OK).

            What I feel that the left really can stand to do a better job of talking about is to explain that there are intergenerational effects that still linger from the past injustices of slavery, Jim Crow, racialized implementations of the GI Bill and other veterans’ benefits, institutional redlining in housing policy by banks & financial institutions, disparate outcomes based on race in the legal system, and so forth. But at the same time, there are a lot of white people who are really struggling too, particularly in the rural south, and I think there is a fair amount of hostility because they don’t see the same opportunities and believe that welfare systems are disproportionately set up to benefit racial minorities at the expense of whites left behind at the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. And that’s not getting into the ‘left-wing’ radicals (little different than the fascists they claim to oppose in my opinion) who want to lump every white male into the bin of ‘axis of evil’.

            Regarding Christians, I think the problem is that a lot of people of religious minorities don’t give a damn (some do, I don’t) what you choose to practice privately. But I do think there’s a lot of people who oppose the fact that the Christian religion is being used as justification for bringing anti-LGBT discrimination into the legal system, which is supposed to be based on secular principles. And that comes off as hypocritical when people want to stand opposed to marriage equality on religious principles, while they themselves are having affairs or multiple divorces & re-marriages in violation of their own religious texts.

          • Thank you, Edward, for taking the time to write such a well composed and carefully though out message in response to my earlier posting.

            “I think that applies to Conservatives just the same.”

            Yes, it does. That is one of the oddities about the whole “right vs. left” thing. If you analyze the constituencies, they are mirror images of each other. Characteristics you find on the left, you will also find on the right.

            “And for all the whining you hear about ‘safe-spaces, I see them just as much on the right as well. Except they tend to be gun ranges, Fox News, and outdoorsy stores (think Gander Mtn.”

            Good point! One I had never thought of. I guess we all have sanctuaries where we gather among similar thinking people.

            “I will admit to being part of some of those protests, but disclose that I have never been paid, nor offered compensation for my attendance.”

            I don’t think most people who show up for those protest are paid. Unfortunately, on many occasions, paid schills are used by the democrats (primarily union members, I understand) and that taints a lot of you in the process.

            “What I will say is that the left doesn’t seem to know a way to talk about racial bias and injustice in a way that isn’t immediately off-putting…”

            That is true. Primarily because they feel the need to blame someone for it and that someone is white males. You can’t blame someone for reacting badly when accused of crimes againsy humanity, especially when they didn’t commit the crimes (I am speaking specifically here about slavery; racism and other things are subject to debate depending on whom you are discussing).

            I have to tell you, Edward, that you seem to be a reasonable person (for a liberal) that I could discuss things with. Unfortunately there are far too few of us around and things have degenerated into what we see today. That’s too bad…

          • Special Snowflake Syndrome:

            “A malady affecting a significant portion of the world’s population wherein the afflicted will demand special treatment, conduct themselves with a ludicrous, unfounded sense of entitlement, and generally make the lives of everyone around them that much more miserable.”

            Or, in other words – Donald J. Trump and his supporters.

  2. COMMENT #2:
    “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.”

    In planning your “More Debilitating Resistance” you are forgetting a large segment of the population: Those who are indifferent to Trump and those support him. What are they going to do while your side is doing what it can to bring the Nation to it’s knees? Do you expect them to remain silent and passive? Do you anticipate ANY response at all?

    • Honestly, Steve, I think this country is going to fracture sooner than later. It’s not just because various people here in the US have different values; if it were just that we have different priorities about where we should allocate resources or choose to value one set of liberties over another (say, whether workers have a right to a living wage), then I think the political system can accommodate these sorts of disputes and theoretically reach some sort of compromise.

      But I think the problem is that Left and Right in this country, by and large, cannot even agree on the basic underlying facts and data, let alone the best interpretation of the same and what policy might do to affect them. If we don’t even agree on the most basic and objective information, then any hope of politics and compromise is going to be doomed from the start.

      • “Honestly, Steve, I think this country is going to fracture sooner than later.”

        Sadly, I have to agree with you, Edward. I think we are looking at rocky times ahead. And I think all of the demonstrations, rioting, marches, etc., are simply speeding up the process by inciting both sides to take a harder stance.

      • That’s what this blog should be about, hammering away at the underlying facts and data to build a foundation for truth and good policy.

        Conservatives believe things that are not true – they believe that illegal immigrants take jobs away from natives. Texas was creating half the jobs of this country because it was the epicenter of immigration. California is creating jobs and prospering because it is now the epicenter.

        Liberals believe things that are not true – they believe the revenue maximizing personal income tax rate is over 70% when it is really below 25%. That’s an insane level of error sustainable only with massive contortions in the research journals.

        Liberals believe that illegal immigrants automatically have crime rates lower than natives. In fact, an even casual perusal of the research shows that immigrants from south america have crime rates double those of the United States. This myth is sustainable only by pretending that legal immigrant crime rates represent all immigrants.

        Conservatives would have us believe that “it is the law” and we must obey. That is not the way of Platonic western civilization. We say “it is the law, but is it good?”

        And, that is the raging debate.

        • The Congressional Research Service disagrees with the continued claim that you have made, that the reduction in marginal tax rates since Reagan has been a principal contributor to economic growth over the past 30 years.

          www. dpcc. senate. gov /files/documents/CRSTaxesandtheEconomy%20Top%20Rates.pdf

          (You’ll have to remove the spaces yourself – I don’t know what this site considers as a link, and it removes my comments for moderation if I post one.)

          • Facts don’t work on Falcon9, but just for fun, here’s the conclusion from the report.

            “The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.

            However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.”

            The fact is that rich people don’t get rich by writing checks, and spending money is how we grow a consumer based economy.

  3. “My friend emailed me to note that anyone opposed to Trump who serves as a juror must refuse to convict ANY defendant…”

    Bob, usually when you post your ideas from the “Radical Shelf”, I don’t respond because there isn’t much to say about them except either I agree with you or I don’t and that seems kind of silly. But I have to say, in regards to the quotation above, that THIS IS DUMBEST THING YOU HAVE EVER POSTED! I can not believe that if you understand the crimes being prosecuted in our Courts you would suggest such a thing. As a little hobby, I like to go downtown to the Courts and watch the trials, sometimes. They aren’t just trying shoplifters, jaywalkers, petty thieves and DUIs. A large percentage of them are being tried for murder, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, rape, gun violence, attempted murder, etc. There are a LOT of very nasty people being tried that if your little plan of finding them “not guilty” were to be carried out would cause major problems back out on the street. I think that for the jurors, they could well be setting themselves up to become victims of the people they release back on the streets.

    Now, having said all that, I know you are smart enough to have thought about everything I mention (and likely more) so why do you think it would be a good idea to find ALL defendants “not guilty”? Is it that you don’t think there is a downside to doing that? Or do you think it would be worth the downside for the effect it would have?

  4. thanks bob. I hope others here won’t be afraid to take direct action. I have studied the system for many years looking for where it is vulnerable. as bob said marches don’t matter unless we march to the border and bring guadalupe garcia rayos back home to her children. here is what can be done. refuse to sit on juries until she is brought home to her children. if forced to sit on jury by court tell them you will automatically find not guilty. get the message out to the media as others here in arizona want to fight back but don’t know how to do it effectively. the establishment needs the courts to further their power and this will poor sand into the criminal justice systems gears. if we can get the word out no justice for mrs.garcia rayos then no justice for the state either! the people are angry and want to fight back and don’t know how this will work better then anything else we can do for now. no justice no peace.

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