Women Skeptical of the Women’s March

Yves here. I’m hoisting this discussion from Water Cooler the day before yesterday. It echoes other doubts raised about the Women’s March, such as the ones in the Counterpunch story, No Pink Woolly Caps for Me. Seasoned protestors point out that the track record of non-issue-oriented marches, no matter how large scale, is poor, and the status of this march as officially sanctioned (blanket media coverage when other marches of hundreds of thousands of people have been minimized, police not tricked out in their usual riot gear) also indicates that the officialdom does not see it as a threat to the status quo.

In addition, as the discussants point out below, the March organizers’ demands were vague and not internally consistent. The reality was that the march was against Trump, as opposed to for a concrete policy program.

And the problem with pressing for a quick solution to le problème Trump is that the likely outcomes are almost certain to be worse. A Constitutional outcome means President Pence, with even more retrograde policies. (It is oddly unacceptable to point out that Trump spoke out forcefully about the importance of protecting gays after the Florida nightclub massacre, a first for a prominent Republican.) Pence is more conservative, has strong relations in Congress, has a smoother persona, and would create vastly less controversy than Trump. That means Pence would have greater ability to unify his party and get his agenda through.

And an unconstitutional solution, such as a coup, which too many people who should know better are cavalierly advocating, is hardly going to be a plus for the members of the 10% save those who feed at the military/surveillance state trough. People who carry guns for a living are conservative. And in Tahrir Square, where the demand of Mubarak was simply “Leave,” and the protesters had no plans for the day after their victory, ordinary Egyptians were worse off a year later than they were before the protests.

Finally, the continuing strong focus of the Democratic Party on rallying women does not look like a winning path back to power. Without making women a prominent theme of his campaign, Obama got 55% of female vote. With Hillary Clinton, where it was a cornerstone, exit polls showed 54% of the women voters surveyed saying they voted for Clinton.

All the participants below are women.

From comments:

Arizona Slim
February 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I just had the same conversation with my Trump-supporting tax accountant. What were those women marching FOR?

To us, the Women’s March seemed to be a protest against this, that, and the other thing.

We also found ourselves agreeing on a lot of other things.

February 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm

The women I saw interviewed and whose stories of their experience that I read all expressed that they were there to support – i.e., being FOR – reproductive freedom/rights, equal pay, gender equity, income equality – all things they – and many of us who didn’t march – feel are more threatened than ever in a Trump administration.

And while you may not have intended this, your use of “those women” carries with it no small amount of derision that I honestly just don’t understand the need for.

Maybe try looking at the Women’s March website, where you can find this:

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

And this, the Unity Principles, which include, and are described in more detail:









This seems like a lot of things to be for.

February 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

I know I’m beated a well-worn drum head here, but this messaging is vacuous.

We’re not going “end violence.” We’re not going to kill insects hitting our windshields? People drove and flew in fossil fueled vehicles to demand “environmental justice”? How? Where?

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

Who is “we”? Who are their partners? Does the word “diverse” include diversity types that are not biological, like geographic diversity, value diversity? The wording is unintentionally revealing. They aren’t demanding protection for ALL Americans — just their partners and children, in their vibrant and diverse communities. What about communities that are no longer vibrant, because they’ve been destroyed by Democratic governance? What about communities not diverse along ethnicity and sexuality lines, but more diverse along economic lines than Manhattan now is? Do they care about those communities, too?

Some of those listed rights are functionally in opposition to one another. What do they mean by “immigrant rights”? And how do we reconcile them with “worker’s rights?” What workers? What rights? Jennifer Palmieri said today that the Democratic Party is *only* about identity, not interested in $15/hour minimum wage. So what immigrants and what workers will find a home in that tent?

This isn’t hard. That march was a sham. Please stop promoting that approach. They could have used the march to promote the water protectors and pipeline protests all over the country. Did they? They could have pushed $15/hour minimum wage, which helps women more than men, workers generally, and immigrants. They could have pushed for the already popular universal health care, for which legislation already exists, demanding it cover abortion access in hospitals. The current paradigm works great for women on the coasts, and the female CEOs of “pro-choice” organizations, who happily handed their endorsements, cash and organizing capacity to the anti-choice Hillary Clinton. But for most women in the United States, the current approach to reproductive rights has already failed. So what, exactly, were they protesting to change? It really does matter. The people who have abandoned the Democratic Party are not idiots, and they won’t come back if all that’s on offer is the same failed messaging, tactics and policies.

If the Democratic Party wants to actually get back into power at the federal level to do more to protect people marginalized by identity or physical condition, they have to deliver along economic and concrete lines to the non-affluent. As long as they refuse to do that, they will not return to power, and all these lovely slogans will be meaningless. Because people of color, people with non-binary genders, identity or orientation also need to eat. They need homes. They need health care. That is what binds a majority together.

Please, Anne. I’ve read you for months. I respect you. Please rethink your approach here. You are letting yourself be led by the nose, and I need you on my side, the left side, the side with the potential to deliver the policies and rights you care about. That is not the side that promoted and organized the Womens March. I understand that all sorts of people came, and there were less top-down marches all over the globe was well. But if they mimicked the DC march, that’s a problem. That’s mis-training, to go along with the misleadership class.

Yes, Donald Trump is a bad man. Barack Obama is a bad man. Hillary Clinton is a bad woman. Don’t waste your time or your emotional energy on that stuff. Help organize to remove the neoliberals from the Democratic Party and from government, or listen to music in the car and enjoy cocktails.

Black people lost more wealth under Barack Obama. Women lost more ground in reproductive rights and economic security under the New Democrats than before. The New Democrats have been bad for workers rights — in fact, most of those unity principle goals have gotten worse under the New Democrats. I totally understand that as a bourgeois feminist, it feels more comfortable to continue to align along the class lines you know and the messaging you’ve heard for decades, but the world is different now, America is different now; there is no secure middle class now, so there’s no pathway to broad support for that approach. First, we have to address the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs for the broad middle — unless you’re actually fine with just killing them off or going Hunger Games to control the masses while the citadels feast. But I don’t think that’s who you are. As a lifelong feminist, I don’t enjoy criticizing a Womens March. But then I remember that I care more about actual women, and helping them have better lives. And I have learned, painfully, that the Democratic Party and this kind of affluent liberalism is both politically disemboweled and functionally abusive.

You have allies waiting for you. Really.

You can read the rest of the conversation here.

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  1. Roger Smith

    Thank you for sharing this Yves. I missed this previously.

    Further, thank you to aab for the excellent breakdown.

    1. sgt_doom

      I concur, and I suspect — since monies were flowing to organizers from outfits funded by the likes of George Soros (who has strenuously lobbied in the past against “buy American” clauses and movements) and the Koch brothers, neither of whom are interested in the improvement in the lot of the serfs — they were really marching on behalf of the financial hegemons, as opposed to the 1960s, when the protests were AGAINST the financial hegemons!

      I didn’t vote for Trump (and have never voted for a Bush or a Clinton, unlike Sen. Warren, who strikes me as terribly confused sometimes) but am jubilant at his screwing with the Globalists!

  2. Joanne M

    I marched in Boston: the turnout exceeded all expectations. During the course of the day we learned that similar events, at this scale, were happening all across the country. The marchers, in my estimate, included as many men as women. I was happy to be participating in an event which I understood as a way of pushing back against Trump’s image of America. I did not know about the Unity Principles, perhaps people who did not attend are more focused on this kind of information. Also, sure, roll your eyes at the pink hats, but isn’t doing so fairly condescending? I would think if you want to change people’s minds, you start with where they are.

    Since marching I have signed out to numerous actions to call representatives in DC, organize to do outreach in swing districts, and other projects. How do the people who criticize the march know that it didn’t have a similar effect on other people?

    Thanks for this blog.

    1. Jim Young

      We couldn’t find hotel space for us to go to the D.C. march so we went to the local one in Riverside California with around 4,000 others, where we were able to meet old line Democrats and Bernie-crats, as well as so many other groups and individuals that had never gotten out to meet such a diverse crowd.

      We joined others, individuals, and people from 45 other groups at the Sana Bernardino Unity Action Expo a week later. That led to 3 more meetings that week, starting with a League of Women Voters moderated meeting on “Protecting Our Mountain Water” which included 4 main groups and many more individuals that made up the 500 or so participants, from far more than the single issue.

      Common aims, and consideration of everyone’s concerns, were the prevailing discussions, as well as so many people looking for the best ways they could organize or join organizations that seemed closest to their concerns. Some high points included looking at the Deliberative Poll sampling of the widest array of concerns, to me exemplified by the PBS “By the People: What Next California” portion of their project and John Sarbanes H.R. 20, “Government By The People Act.”

      Vote Smart was pointed out as one non-partisan source for information on 40,000 politicians (their speeches, positions if they want, their actual votes whether they want to share or not) so people can see where they are doing what they want and where they might need some more encouragement, support, or opposition.

      FairVote was pointed out as an excellent source on how voting can be improved “making democracy fair, functional, and more representative.

      Long story short, far more determination to organize and cooperate than we were able to achieve from the roots of the Occupy movement and all previous attempts to achieve reform from disconnected groups.

      1. jrs

        Yes, I think such protests do have the potential for that, to serve for further organizing and activism. Of course they don’t all achieve this.

      2. mpalomar

        Thank you, this provides concrete rebuttals to the criticism of the women’s march on NC. I hope people read and consider it.

        Having followed NC for some years for the economic reporting (brilliant and insightful) it seems to me it has jumped the shark on Trump. If it wasn’t clear how bad the Trump administration would be for most people in the US and the rest of the world it should be evident after the first few weeks of his administration.

        The 2016 campaign has further damaged a polity already apathetic and doubtful about their political class. The betrayal of the poor, working class and middle class has been massaged as just doing America’s business by the elite in both parties. Comments sniping at the motives and working class purity of people who have made the effort to take to the streets for demonstrations against what they perceive as a threatening new administration strike me as misguided.

        Offered constructively, a critique of issues and motivation is necessary and helpful in clarifying goals. A blanket definition of the participants as of the wrong class, not serious enough or too gender defined is reductive and hardly helpful.

        Defining goals and debating issues in the drawing room is helpful but without active participation is likely an exercise in futility. As Jim Young noted a crucial function of organizing resistance entails people coming together to discuss, connect, educate each other and organize further.

        Identity politics has taken a hit and NC is quick to point out its failures. History is clear that the damage and hurt is not distributed evenly by the oligarchs; various threatened groups who will take the initial brunt of the punishment will likely organize among themselves. Criticizing the organizing done by women, blacks, native Americans and gays as divisive identity politics fails to understand that the mobilization of the population at large will likely begin within the vulnerable groups most adversely effected.

        The powers that be control a paid, full time army of activists, militarized police, lobbyists, think tanks and intelligence agencies. To succeed against establishment power of that magnitude is an uphill battle; resistance requires the tent to be large and welcoming. Spinning wheels over messaging and issue purity is not a viable option at this point, though it should never be lost sight of either.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Criticizing the organizing done by women, blacks, native Americans and gays as divisive identity politics fails

          Had you considered reading the post? From the Principles:

          We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

          aab responds:

          Who is “we”? Who are their partners? Does the word “diverse” include diversity types that are not biological, like geographic diversity, value diversity? The wording is unintentionally revealing. They aren’t demanding protection for ALL Americans — just their partners and children, in their vibrant and diverse communities. What about communities that are no longer vibrant, because they’ve been destroyed by Democratic governance? What about communities not diverse along ethnicity and sexuality lines, but more diverse along economic lines than Manhattan now is? Do they care about those communities, too?

          Your characterization of her position isn’t simply poor; it comes perilously close to straw-manning. At the very least, you assume what you must prove, and fail to engage on substance.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            mpalomar said:
            Criticizing the organizing done by women, blacks, native Americans and gays as divisive identity politics fails to understand that the mobilization of the population at large will likely begin within the vulnerable groups most adversely effected.

            this is a coherent response to the argument of aab you excerpt above; what makes you think she didn’t read it?

            1. aab

              I was going to stay out of this, but this caught my eye, so in I come.

              There is a lot of strawmanning of my positions going on in this thread. It can’t all be mere misunderstanding.

              Evidence suggests that march was mostly by and for affluent white women — exactly NOT marginalized and vulnerable people.

              That is the core critique of the march: that it reflects the perspective and desires of Hillary Clinton’s real base: affluent female professionals, mostly white, often racist, who had it good under Obama and want the statuo quo back. These are people who are FINE with exploiting their fellow citizens; they just don’t want to know about it. These are people FINE with blowing up Muslims — but if they have the social and economic capital to get to an American airport with a Visa, then they care about them. Are they protesting all those brown people working in sweat shops overseas, or here at home? Nope. Those people don’t get to travel America on a visa, so they’re not worth concerning themselves with.

              There were numerous reports of women of color and other marginalized biological identities being mistreated by the affluent white women who were the majority participants at the major marches.

              Agree with me or don’t, but trying to turn my positions as stated above into me being an agent of white privilege is pretty rich.

              I am aware that serious activists engaged with that march, to try to get real value out of it. Whenever I read reports of that having happened, I am thrilled. My critiques of that march are intended to support doing more of that.

              That is the point of my critique: that if people copy the “official” march, or allow themselves to be used by the Democratic Party for more actions like this: the pink postcards, the strike to obtain Trump’s taxes (seriously, REALLY?), there will be no change. Even those of you who just want the Democratic status quo back, you are probably not going to get it this way. You are not “100,000 votes in three states” away from regaining power.

              If you want the New Democrats back in power, then go ahead, do all this stuff: wear the cap, as if Donald Trump’s ugly words are worse than Bill Clinton’s ugly rapes; send him pink slips in the hopes of making him mad (because the wise thing to do if you’re fighting a power-mad dictator with the largest military and heavily militarized police force is bait him), demand his personal tax returns, give Tom Perez your money. I mean, I don’t think that will actually return the New Democrats to power, but maybe I’m wrong. If you think the current iteration of the Democratic Party is awesome, then of course follow its lead.

              But then don’t pretend you want to help marginalized people. Because the Democratic Party doesn’t do that. Its policies kill more Muslims than it helps. It deports more people than it gives sanctuary to. It has never elected a pro-choice President, didn’t intend to this year, and has thrown reproduction rights out of the bus at the slightest urging in every legislative battle.

              If you want the tasteful window-dressing type social justice to return to primacy so you can feel good about your own status and privilege, you will, sadly, need to work for causes you don’t care about that are economic in nature — because most Americans suffered economically under Barack Obama.

              Focus on universal economic policies — it’s what people need, and it’s what the Democratic Party has been refusing to deliver, so if you offer it, they will be far more likely to believe you’re a change agent.

              Focusing on universal economic policies as a foundation is also good for social justice. If something is universal, it’s harder to demonize it: look at Social Security. Can you imagine how someone in a dead factory town whose pension, job and home were taken and is now watching their friends and neighbors die of opiates that sooth their despair feels hearing about how San Francisco is a “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants? I am completely on board with what “sanctuary city” policies actually do — but why is it so easy to sympathize with undocumented immigrants and not American citizens? I want to help both groups. And to do that, we need to end globalized capitalism, stop destabilizing other countries, and deliver economically stabilizing benefits to American citizens. Otherwise, you are handing power to nationalist authoritarians.

              The point is that you should distrust the Democratic Party and all of its proposed protests, because they will not work, and they do harm by intentionally mis-directing resources and promulgating unuseful messaging and strategies.

              And to pretend that criticisms like mine are attacking professional white women en masse, implying that they can’t be allies of change, is absurd. Yves and I are both white female Harvard graduates. But yeah, a lot of affluent white women are not allies in the fight for real change. They tell me so themselves. That’s another advantage to focusing on policy and not identify. I can be allies with anyone who will push for universal health care. My allies on that include black people, brown people, white people, trans people, gay people, poor people, precariat people, queer people, even rich people. My side includes people in West Virginia and people in San Francisco. I like my side.

              I don’t care whether you focus on registering voters, taking over the Democratic Party at the grass roots, working with Brand New Congress, helping establish a third party — I mean, I have my preferences in terms of what I think will work, but there’s a lot of work to do, in a lot of different situations. There’s no one correct path.

              But — to reply to Schnormal — if you think we currently HAVE reproductive rights in this country that you want to merely protect, you are part of the problem. “We” do not. Most women do not. When my daughter applied to college, we talked seriously about which states would be safer for her to live in in terms of her reproductive care access. And a lot of schools were struck off the list for that reason.

              That is WHY a vague message like that is harmful and divisive. Because the women waving a sign like that around are signaling to the interior that they have no idea what their lives and like, and don’t care. I realize that’s not the signal they think they’re sending. But communication is often like that. What you think you’re communicating is often not what you actually communicate.

              Yes, as Schnormal said, those women “protesting” in that way, perceive themselves as working to protect something. But only they have it. That’s the problem. They are telegraphing their lack of awareness, sympathy and solidarity with their fellow women, while they think they are doing the opposite. And so the divisions and fractures deepen.

              If you want reproductive rights, push for universal health care, so non-affluent, non-coastal women can also have it.

              If you want to show solidarity with Muslims, push to end our brutal wars.

              There is a lot people can do, and I hope they do. I get that people who felt really good doing the Womens March don’t want to hear criticism. I still don’t enjoy it when Lambert or CWaltz mention their support of Clinton in 2008 because of Obama’s known horrible positions. I have no regrets voting for him over Clinton, because I still think she would have been even worse — although maybe her ugly personality and open grifting would have led to protests while she was in office. But I definitely regret giving him my money and my time. I regret spending any time at all believing the Team Blue nonsense served up even now by various web sites. I’m ashamed I didn’t figure it out sooner. I realize that emotion is uncomfortable. But since I care more about outcomes than feelings, I get past it.

              I hope people do productive and effective protest to change how this country operates, to better serve its citizens, and do less harm to people who are not its citizens. I do not think Democratic Party leadership and #TheResistance are allies in that fight. I hope people here — even those who seem determined to misread me — are allies in that goal.

              1. Patricia

                It seems like the primaries again; well, a continuation. The same disregarding/minimizing of real issues/people while the fake is intoned everywhere. If the same battle is being fought in this march-movement, maybe we can separate the parts.

                Yep, the Dems will do whatever it takes to keep their places. They don’t give a ratsass about anything else. They’d rather the party loses than they themselves lose. They’d rather that nations fall and the planet collapses. But I suspect the worst, to them, would be if those lefties marching next to them would win, because it would expose their emptiness. They can’t stop sneering about purity and unicorns.

                So our enemies are kept close. As long as the good people involved recognize that, or learn it tout de suite…

              2. Susan C

                Thank you aab for explaining your positions on these matters, and adding your intensity and passion to this discussion. However I would have never known your thoughts on these matters as you express a certain anger that I cannot comprehend. The Women’s Marches were more grassroots than you are imagining – so therefore I see some of your wrath misdirected. Was it a dog and pony show brought out by the Dems – this I did not see as the marches were being developed and organized and I don’t think there were enough women at these marches who were advocating a return to the Dems and HRC. If anything these marches were against Trump and signaled a solidarity with and for women, without a pre-set agenda. Maybe that is what annoys – that the marches were not neat and tidy and directed towards specific policy issues.

                1. aab

                  Again, my ire and argument is directed against things like the official Womens March messaging, and the evidence of the Democratic Party’s intent with it, and people who are either actively or passively going along with that. Yves and Lambert, as well as other commenters in this thread and in previous threads have provided additional data and evidence of this problem.

                  Even some of the march’s defenders here have unintentionally proven my argument, by exulting about how much fun it was to insult Trump and hug policemen, how it made them feel GREAT, when as Hillary Clinton supporters, frankly, they should not feel great.

                  I’m a woman. I didn’t feel solidarity with those exultant Hillary Clinton supporters having a great time. I’m not having a great time. I don’t give a crap about Donald Trump personally. He’s no worse or better than the Clintons, to me. Why should I think otherwise? He’s been their friend, donor and Bill’s golfing partner for years.

                  Yes, I AM ANGRY. I am angry that people who live in comfort because other people are exploited don’t care about that. I am angry that I helped put Barack Obama in power, and he did terrible things to my family along with millions of other people. I was talking to a woman just yesterday who had to choose between several different equally unpalatable options to keep a roof over her and her daughter’s head to avoid returning to homelessness. She’s working full-time. There are regular commenters here at Naked Capitalism, whose homes were taken illegally under Obama, whose pensions are gone. People saddled with soul-crushing amounts of non-dischargeable student loan debt thanks in part to kindly “Uncle Joe” Biden, our recent Vice President, who can’t get any kind of job for years at a time. These things make me angry. Don’t they make you angry?

                  Yes, I’m angry. I tried to get Bernie Sanders elected President, and I watched the party I was a registered member of for 30+ years cheat him out of the nomination, and give us Trump. So, yes, I am angry at Hillary Clinton supporters who refuse to acknowledge that the party cheated him and then went to have an enjoyable day in the city and felt GREAT about their ability to take a day off and go into the city and make fun of people who can’t take a day off and can’t travel to the city, who are so desperate they felt they had no choice but to vote for a game show host for president. That march crapped on their inaugural weekend, too, you know. That was the point. To ruin that weekend for everybody who voted for Trump. They couldn’t wait until the next weekend. Nope, they had to show up the Inauguration, and how poorly attended it was, without acknowledging that at least some of that was people who can’t take the Acela to DC.

                  The aspect of the march I object to — which has been proven a thousand times over to be the actual foundation of it — is the part that helps corporate Democrats and undermines working for and getting real economic change for the better for most citizens.

                  Supporters of the march keep trying to wave that criticism away, pretending that the evidence isn’t’ there. But it is. If your march in your town held teach-ins and took down contact information, that’s awesome. I’m not criticizing that. But I deal with a lot of Hillbots, online and in real life. Go read Sady Doyle’s Twitter feed some time, or Amanda Marcotte’s. Those women are not my allies, because they do not want reproductive access for all American women, or redistributive, universal economic policies. The fact that they are also vagina-havers means nothing to me. There is no solidarity to be had between Sady and me. We want different things.

                  So, yes, I’m angry. I believe I have a right to be angry. I enjoy Lambert’s ironic cool, but that’s not my way.

                  If you are on my side — pushing for tangible benefits for ALL and the removal of the New Democrats from power — I don’t care how you march or if you march. If you agree with my goals, then we can talk further about why I believe “protesting Trump” is so unproductive. But the participants in the March that I condemn are those who do not agree with my goals. They just want a restoration of their tribe to formal power, and the eradication of any guilt they may feel for having brought us Trump. Yes, I am angry at those people. I consider them my enemy. Aren’t they yours, too?

                  Yes, I am angry. And I am not angry at Trump. If he hadn’t have run, who would it have been? I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with Donald Trump, but I save my anger for those who gave us Donald Trump, and refused to allow rumpled Bernie to show up the smooth elite jazz of Barack Obama and GET PEOPLE HEALTH CARE.

                  1. TheCatSaid

                    I so appreciate your responses, aab. The anti-Trump crowds are misguided, largely a result of deliberate machinations from behind the scenes. It’s a way of corralling and controlling people’s righteous anger so that it will, in the main, be ineffective.

                    The common talking points, coverage by, and active encouragement by the media are blatant.

                    People are so easily led. They refuse to see the extent to which they are being manipulated and further disempowered; it is just too painful.

                    My personal efforts are focused on what I am creating in the moment, aiming at something better for all of us, rather opposing something or someone.

                    Opposing only feeds that which we oppose. It guarantees pushback.

                    A different mindset and focus is needed to create something new.

                    There were some positive outcomes from the marches, and I join you in celebrating them where that occurred. That does not take away from the points you make so effectively about deep, constructive, effective change not being the intent of those who initiated and promoted the marches or their overall result.

                  2. Susan C

                    I understand what you are saying and the reasons for your anger with how things are, how things have recently been, and what needs to take place to bring us to a better place economically, socially and politically. I do not share your reaction to the Women’s Marches as we have different beliefs about what they meant and what they accomplished, different world views perhaps. I see the bigger picture of the pluses of seeing people organizing and getting out onto the streets for once and participating in our democracy – finally. And speaking up and holding signs and unifying. I think we were all given a horrible choice on election day and I especially blame HRC for pushing Bernie out of the running – it was Bernie’s to win. You tend to think it was HRC people that were out there marching – I tend to think it was Bernie supporters who were particularly galvanized. Regardless change to our system is necessary and this is one way to start the process. By people speaking up and listening to each other. There has to be a way to break through this madness.

                    1. Lambert Strether

                      > You tend to think it was HRC people that were out there marching – I tend to think it was Bernie supporters who were particularly galvanized.

                      Once again, an estimate of signage (on Katie Halper’s podcast) was half Clintonite talking points (recall the Post’s approving citation of Putin jokes), a quarter Sanders policy points, and a quarter snark.

                      It’s a mistake to cast the marchers as entirely Clinton supporters. My concern (expressed elsewhere on this thread, see the material about personnel) is about the leadership, and what that portends for the “movement’s” capture and decapitation (as with Black Lives Matter).

                    2. aletheia33

                      thank you for clarifying the distinction between the leadership and the participants. my thinking is not always that clear and i had not seen my way to that important point. had it been made earlier and often, perhaps some of the tangles of readers’ disagreements here could have been forestalled. at the same time, that your point comes when it does, fairly deep into the ongoing discussion since day of the march, highlights how helpful debate can be in prompting clarifications to emerge. you’ve given me a great avenue to address the issue with friends who do not want to hear my concerns. i’m looking for a wedge, and this will help me to fashion a very good one.

                      thank you, yves, and the expert debaters in the commentariat for fostering and modeling the kind of debate here that can help many people not just to engage but learn how to engage more and more effectively. such learning can be slow when one is up to one’s ears in other responsibilities and cannot always practice. but it is happening, i can attest, for me, and i’m sure, for others here.

                  3. Fiver

                    I think maybe you underestimate the degree of genuine fear and loathing that exists re Trump and his people and his Party among informed, smart urban professional women at large. When Trump delivered up the travel ban there was within hours a demonstration at the US Embassy in my country where thousands of men and women linked arms circling it. Many of those same people also participated in marches in sympathy with the Women’s Marches in the States, and actually, around the globe. The response was much bigger than DNC, or Clintonites or just ‘Soros’ and media could’ve delivered without there also being an unprecedented amount of genuine fear, anger, anxiety, despair and in some places, guilt, spanning the generations.

                    You (and TheCatSaid) say you advocate a different approach – one of being ‘for’ something as opposed to what you say is simply ‘anti-Trump’. I guess I’d put my hand up and say :

                    “OK, I know where you stand vis a vis Obama and Clinton Dems and the Dems before that and that, and yes, there has to be some form of new or (doubtful) radically reformed old organization around a set of intelligible, genuine, morally and ethically and practicably sound demands. But until then, what to do in response to what have in fact been deliberate, daily punches to the heads of all the people involved delivered by the new President of the United States and an assemblage of bad actor kleptocrats, Banksters, ExxonMobil, and the military/security complex in his Cabinet and White House. Forget what the msm or Clintonite Dems had to say about it, what did ordinary men and women have to say about it? I actually think Trump might’ve learned a little something this week, and dialled back some. But he/they have made commitments to do things that are going to be fraught for all manner of reasons. He’s doing things right now. Pipelines. Big gifts for bigger banks. No need to divest any of businesses. OK with selling his daughter’s stuff right out the White House. Along with a fist-full of threats to other countries. At what point would you (and TheCatSaid) consider a red line of sorts to have been crossed. What does the public do when the first cluster of murders happens and Trump simple refuses to call for an external investigation (a fair enough hypothetical)? I honestly think the Trump White House and Republican lineup pose a threat comparable at least to Bush. How to stop him?

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      I don’t know how you claim to speak for “informed, smart urban professional women at large,” particularly as a man whose social circle presumably includes more men than women.

                      Pretty much every woman I know is in that cohort. I found to a shocking degree that when I made it clear I was ambivalent about the election (as in I said I hated both candidates), virtually to a person, every “urban professional” woman I met, and many of them are highly credentialed and in very high profile positions in their fields, said they loathed both candidates. And a surprisingly high proportion indicated a willingness to consider Trump. Some even said they would reluctantly vote for him.

                      But I take it these women don’t count as “smart” by definition. And when you get outside NYC and California, “professional women” either voting for Trump or being merely unhappy about him is not unusual. I’ve met “professional women” in Alabama who are very successful and love Trump. I’ve met “professional women” in Dallas, and they were either firmly for Trump or voted for him reluctantly (the latter was a very liberal woman by Dallas standards, which meant among other things she didn’t hang with a church crowd, had regularly voted Democrat but turned independent in recent years, and didn’t carry a gun in her purse, which is frighteningly normal there).

                      So I don’t see why you anecdotal sample is any better than mine. I have not met a single woman, including women of color, who is afraid of Trump, even the articulate ones who happen to be working in positions where you would presumably dismiss them because they are not “professionals” and therefore can’t be “smart” (Tom Frank has underscored how in the Dem hierarchy, only 10%ers or credentialed aspirants are up for consideration as “smart’ where I similarly give them rein to express their views (having done thousands of interviews as a consultant, I’ve made a career of being able to give people space to have their say because what they think and believe is more important than my opinion when I am in information-gathering mode). The women from minority groups are not happy about Trump. They regard his as crass, lowering America’s standing in the world, likely to implement bad policies, but even among them there was deep disappointment, but not “fear and loathing”.

                      Where this sentiment is strong is around universities. I suspect your sample skews heavily that way.

                      Go look at bluecollarAl’s stats on how the female vote actually broke.

                    2. TheCatSaid

                      I always ask myself what actions are appropriate for me to take. What actions best support my values? This isn’t a matter of a “red line”, it’s a personal choice and it will look different for each person.

                      For some people, participating in a march will have been a personally and socially meaningful participation. And for some or many, they might have simultaneously unwittingly served as fodder for others organizing from the top who had a different agenda.

                      I keep my eyes open to who/what is organizing things I might participate in, to help me evaluate if their values are ones I want to support or not–particularly when it is likely there are hidden agendas at play.

                      Is it really “grass roots” that organized mass marches within hours across the USA and beyond? I don’t think so. I am amazed so many cannot perceive how well-organized the “anti-Trump” attacks have been, across numerous demographics and various issues. The same key words are used. It penetrates peoples’ consciousness; practically everyone I meet asks within minutes “what I think about Trump”. This kind of mass media penetration does not happen by accident.

                      I have opinions about Trump. My opinions are even stronger about the degree of large-scale social manipulation to which USA people are easy prey. Protesters are chickens going out en masse to support marches organized by foxes dressed in chicken costumes. Some chickens will have some good meetings–but the real winners of these events are still the foxes.

                2. Jim Young

                  Whatever the organizers intended, it brought out far more than Hillary or Bernie supporters, got many more people talking to each other, and seeking far more groups they might want to listen to, even participate in, or support.

                  After the first march, Unity Action Expo (45 groups), and 3 more multi group meetings, came a meeting with a local Democratic congressman’s representative that had to be moved to a larger venue because of all the new people brought out by the Indivisible Groups inspired by congressional staffers that want to get far more non-partisan input and exchange. The meeting included Republicans and others as it was particularly civil and encouraging of everyone being heard.

                  It might be hard to approximate what was demonstrated in Deliberative Poll sampling of the widest array of concerns, to me exemplified by the PBS “By the People: What Next California” portion of their project, but it should set an example of what we can aim for.

              3. Norb

                The responsibility of citizenship is just beginning to hit home with many people, myself included. For far too long, being self absorbed in everyday life obscured the daily work needed to maintain a healthy democracy. aab, you are demonstrating to everyone here what proper social discourse is all about- thanks.

                There is a sickness inflicting our society that has its origins in selfishness. The affluent and well off mask their inherent selfishness by doling out small drabs of their immense wealth to the less fortunate and call it a day. One small act of charity masks a mountain of injustice. The fundamental building blocks of a just society are then left to decay. Safe work at a living wage for all , proper healthcare for all, living in peace instead of constant war are deemed to complex to address, so are ignored. All this laziness is made possible by the illusion of material abundance.

                The change that is coming, will be ugly and require levels of effort and work that most are unaccustomed to in America. It will test the bonds most people have forged throughout their lives between family members and local community. Chris Hedges has been going on for some time now about many are behaving like children and I tend to agree. Liberalism has morphed into a form of infantilism, where the main focus is on self-absorbed identity politics, where one is left screaming,what is in it for me. Celebrity and the self are raised to unhealthy levels. Is it any wonder that liberal politics have become cult like? Healthy critique and self-reflection are impossible because that would take a level of self-deprecation that is anathema.

                Challenging corporate power is the root problem and most still don’t want to face that fact. It is scary. It will entail physical suffering. My only question to those demanding uncritical support for these simple efforts is where do they see themselves standing when the real resistance work begins. Who will they support? If you are not threatened with jail, you are not challenging the system.

                The curtain hiding the horror that is American Empire is slowly- inexorably- being pulled aside. The first step is overcoming the mental barrier preventing change, correctly, and clearly identifying the real oppressor.

                1. aab

                  Thank you for your compliment. This is a great comment. I’m glad Schnormal summoned me back to the thread so I could read it.

              4. Schnormal

                Hi aab, I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment until today. You probably won’t see this, so I’ll have to catch up with you in another post.
                I appreciate your comments and I’m sorry if I misunderstood you. I understand and agree that “If you want reproductive rights, push for universal health care, so non-affluent, non-coastal women can also have it,” but don’t you agree that for the people who aren’t all the way there yet, hitting the streets to defend their rights, even in a selfish/privileged way, is better than doing nothing? I’d love to bring my bougie friend with me to a single payer meeting, but she won’t come, for a variety of reasons not all bad. She only has so many hours in a day, and she’s being barraged with emails from the DNC and PP telling her that Trump is Hitler and will overturn Roe v Wade any minute now. If she lives in a state with liberal abortion laws, then her going out and demonstrating to keep those rights is a good thing, both for herself and for the other women in her state. Granted it won’t help women in other states, but I don’t see how it could harm them either.

                Anyway this post is already more than a day old, and I feel strangely alone, ooh la la la la

                1. aab

                  Schnormal! Hello!

                  I haven’t looked at anything else added here today. Thank you so much for replying. I felt really bad that I didn’t respond to you directly and instead dropped that reply into a comment to someone else. I reached the point where I figured I wasn’t adding anything useful, so I got out of the fray — maybe a bit clumsily.

                  I disagree that it’s better for your friend to listen to the DNC and PP. That’s exactly what I’m worried about, actually.

                  She will accomplish nothing good by giving her time, money and respect to the DNC or PP. Both have proven themselves to be corrupt and not serious allies. If she wants to donate to PP clinics, that’s her business. But PP chose to support an anti-choice candidate this past year instead of a pro-choice candidate. That’s reality. Hillary Clinton’s expressed intent, this campaign cycle, to accept a constitutional amendment restricting abortion simply can’t be acceptable as “pro-choice.” That really would have impacted your friend’s access in her liberal state.

                  If your friend has limited energy or focus, she needs to unsubscribe from the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, PP, NARAL, and all the other co-opted, corrupted ally organizations of the Democratic Party. Just not listening to them and helping them helps us. Every time she clicks on one of their links, gives them money, or does what they tell her to do, she helps them cement their hold over the institutions they need to be purged from, and allows herself to be used as a distraction from necessary conversations, education and actions.

                  Nothing the DNC or PP is asking her to do, nothing they will or can do at this point, will protect abortion access in a meaningful way or return it to the vast majority of women who have lost it. We can talk about that more if you want a more explained explanation of why that is so. But the current Democratic Party is dead as a national political power. Re-animating that corpse will only help the parasites still feasting off its carcass. It won’t help regular people.

                  If the Republicans really do overturn Roe v. Wade, she will still be fine personally most likely, if she has money and lives in a liberal state. Allowing herself to be used by the Dems and PP now won’t change that.

                  The only thing that will change this dynamic is a new Democratic Party, purged of neoliberals, focused on universal benefits that will reduce suffering and economic inequality, that addresses things like abortion access in newer, better ways. Universal health care, free public college, a Post Office bank, enhanced Social Security — these are things that could build a broad coalition that could return a truly left wing party to power, a party authentically dedicated to abortion rights, not just paying lip service.

                  If she can’t be an ally in that fight, better she stay home.

                  1. Schnormal

                    aab, you came back! Well I guess I’ll push my luck and say that as a Bernie supporter I share your disgust with the corrupt DNC machine. But I think it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to get people to even turn their attention to that aspect of it, let alone fight it. Many people I know (men and women) are being driven not by rational policy demands, but by an intense and visceral disgust, more with Trump than with injustice. I hope this changes. But at this point I don’t think wild horses could drive them from fighting him in particular.

                    But maybe that’s okay. We’ll keep doing our thing too. And for the ones who grow disillusioned with the machine, we’ll have already started building an alternative.

                    1. aab

                      I agree with you that it will take a lot of time and effort. That’s why I’m begging you to get your friend to stay home. Helping the current leadership is bad. It hobbles all efforts at change. Distract her. Take her to the movies or do a Netflix binge. I’m not kidding. Better she do nothing than she help keep the Vichy Democrats in power.

                      Perhaps calling them that will help her to see that she’s supporting cowardly crooks? That’s where we have to get with a lot of affluent women, I think. We have to get them to see the current leadership as cowardly, tacky, losers, too declasse to be cool.

                      At least try to keep her from giving them money. That money always gets spent on anti-choice corporate candidates.

                      This is actually an interesting problem: what can be done to at least neutralize all these affluent suckers being led by the nose by Dems? That’s a tactical problem, really, and I don’t have an answer.

          2. mpalomar

            I read the post by aab and though I share the frustration with the failed Democratic leadership and a good deal of the party I don’t agree with much of what she says. Instead my comment was directed to the post by J Young under which my comment is found. What Young noted was what happened at the protest he attended, much of it sounded good to me.

            Otherwise my comment was in reference to the general drift of the NC comments during the 2016 campaign. I may well be wrong but my reading of the blog over that fractious time has been a frustration toward and condemnation of the strategy of identity politics.

            As far as the anger directed at the marchers and their motivation and failure to delineate precisely where they stood on immigrants, minimum wage, climate change, water protectors; I find it misplaced. A march aiming for a large turnout on relatively short notice is aiming for inclusion and numbers. There is a certain eloquence to numbers.

            I suspect some of the anger here is from Trump supporters who are watching what is happening and beginning to suspect they have been fooled again. Some thought Trump was going to stick it to the establishment for the little guy. Jeff Sessions, Tillerson, Devos, Mnuchin, Pruitt, Price, Gorsuch suggest otherwise.

            “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” aab says, “Who is “we”? Who are their partners? Does the word “diverse” include diversity types that are not biological, like geographic diversity, value diversity? The wording is unintentionally revealing. They aren’t demanding protection for ALL Americans — just their partners and children.”
            The train of logic fails me in this refutation. Diverse means diverse, in a march of more than a million people; my reasoning is they meant everyone.

            1. Susan C

              I for one am so glad you replied to the criticism as your thoughts well capture my own. I too watched in almost horror at how some of the NC commentariat have lampooned many of the other types of observations of the Women’s March. It was almost as if a small group of people are fighting what was happening and it may well be due to wanting to make sense of it for themselves and in light of Trump’s taking office. It doesn’t seem to fit a narrative that fits easily into their mindsets. I think we need to be more open-minded and feel free to share and discuss this issue as this new presidency affects us all.

              1. adrena

                The Women’s March was far from perfect but if it has kick started a deep analysis of what would be the best way forward it has achieved its goal.
                So there’s that.

              1. Lambert Strether

                You don’t get to straw man simply because you also emit the virtue signal currently en vogue. Mpalomar’s comment was serious, as was aab’s original discussion on that topic. Yours was driveby snark. Shape up.

  3. Kokuanani

    Before, during and after “The March,” my Facebook feed was crammed with testimonials and selfies of my various friends and their pink hats. I refrained from commenting.

    Then yesterday I received an e-mail gushing over the enclosed “great idea:”

    On March 15th, each of us will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure. We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means. And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired.

    Each of us — every protester from every march, each congress calling citizen, every boycotter, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — if each of us writes even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math.

    No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury. Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’re setting a new record: over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.

    So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

    Fortunately I was able to stop myself from putting a foot or fist through my computer screen in reaction to this garbage. I simply cannot BELIEVE that women think this is a “great idea” and that it will make any difference. Perhaps it is a Russian plot to get individuals to waste their time and energy on such foolishness, as opposed to anything useful.

    And I used to think a great percentage of my friends were intelligent!

    And yes, thanks, Yves, for sharing.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Some of them are. Sanders groups have been pretty active from what I’ve been reading although they aren’t getting nearly the coverage that the march did.

        The revolution will not be televised.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          “although they aren’t getting nearly the coverage that the march did”

          Shocker. Debbie and Donna did their job last year, now media can go back to ignoring him.

          Empire in decline.

    1. tony

      That reminds me of the comments I read on Alternet about women’s march. People disagreeing were attacked as losers who can’t get laid. Obviously no connection, just trying to shame and hurt others into submission. Same thing with this, so called activists try to hurt Trump’s feelings and accomplish something.

      It’s like they have no conception of politics as groups of people with interests. They see some sort of social thing. I hope that makes sense.

      That being said, if Donald actually were a narcissist, this could work. Thank God he is not, because the resulting narcissitic injury and rage could kill us all.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I would speculate freely that it’s a consequence of the microaggression mindset. They seek to turn what they see as their enemy’s weapon against him. And tit for tat is a viable strategy, assuming that the tits and tats are commensurable. Unfortunately, microaggression (bullying) isn’t the source of Trump’s power.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          “People say things that hurt my feelings, especially since I live in a confirmation bias bubble…so I’m going to lash out at Trump and hurt his feelings.”

          Truly pathetic reasoning. Hey snowflakes, he thinks he’s the Overman. And you’re trying to hurt his “feelings”?

          Have these people never read “Ten Days That Shook The World”? “The Art of War?” Have they ever seen a newsreel of what it took to get rid of Mussolini?

          If you think he’s AmericanDictator(tm) , why are your tactics so marshmallowy soft?

    2. JohnnyGL

      No mention of firing Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, huh? No interest in clogging their mailbags with angry letters? What about tossing McConnell or Paul Ryan? Again, no rallying cry there?

      There’s no point in getting rid of Trump just to restore the pre-Trump status-quo. After all, pre-Trump status-quo is what created Trump in the first place.

      Go back to 2008, Trump is unelectable. Think about 2012, again Trump is still unelectable (but maybe could have created a Sanders-style insurgency near-win against a Republican base that was deeply unhappy with Romney, but hadn’t reached a tipping point). One could see a scenario where Trump lost to Romney because of Romney’s ‘electability’. But, then, of course, Romney lost. So that’s out the window. Only in 2016 was Trump possible. And it’s the Dems and Reps that made him possible.

      Treat the disease, not the symptoms!

      1. Brian Lindholm

        Yep. I have friends (who are normally reasonable and sane) who are openly hoping for an assassination or coup to eliminate Trump. But who would that leave us with? The same jerks in DC who did such a terrible job over the past 16+ years that the maniacal Donald Trump somehow seemed the lesser of two evils. [And looking at Hillary Clinton, he truly may have been.]

        Yep, we’d have the same damned jerks doing the same damned crappy job, except now with Mike Spence at the helm. The status quo, except with a conservative slant on identity politics.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Yes, bring on Lord Protector Of The Faith Pence.

          Sometimes I think Donnie picked him as an assassination insurance policy. I know because I’ve heard no less than 3 people I used to consider rational muse out loud, “no, we can’t kill him, Pence would be worse.”

          And not in jest.

    3. Anne

      Do you have the same angry reaction when you are urged to call, fax or e-mail your Senator or Representative to express your opposition or support for something/someone that is coming before them? Do you hold people who do contact their elected officials in the same contempt?

      Heck I remember back when Jane Hamsher was running FireDogLake, and came up with a campaign to send rubber stamps to Congress to let them know what we thought of them. Some people thought it silly and a waste of time and money, but others felt it sent a clear message.

      Just curious, but what do you do, or what would you suggest as a means of making a difference?

      1. Anarcissie

        That’s the problem. Nothing makes a differene. I don’t have contempt for the people who tell me to write to my senator (the aforesaid Schumer) but — been there, done that, for many decades now.

        But I liked the Pussy Power hats.

      2. Anonymous

        > call, fax or e-mail your Senator or Representative to express your opposition or support for something

        The passage of TARP in 2008, despite the overwhelming opposition of the callers, faxers and emailers in the public, sent a clear message: on issues that genuinely matter, where trillions of dollars and financial justice are at stake, our “Representatives” – in both parties – do NOT represent the population as a whole.

        At this point, nothing but the uprooting and wholesale reform of both parties will suffice to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”.

        Trump certainly uprooted a large chunk of the Republican party, and Clinton’s disastrous defeat should lead to a massive rethink among the Democrats. But I fear the election simply put another fox in charge of the chicken coop. And the fact that the Democrats haven’t replaced their failed “leadership” also bodes ill.

        1. Carla

          “And the fact that the Democrats haven’t replaced their failed “leadership” also bodes ill.”

          Not nearly as ill as the fact that WE haven’t replaced the Democrats.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Change is coming. Whether it looks like 1787 in Philadelphia or 1789 in Paris is largely up to the Plutocracy.

          Still time to head off the torches and pitchforks, Oligarchs. Economically just societies are cheaper per capita than that swanky bunker you think you’ll be able to ride out the collapse in…

      3. Lambert Strether

        I remember FDL on health care policy very well. SEIU funded a daily health care policy columnist who never mentioned single payer, not once. Single payer advocates were suppressed and banned.

        So my reaction to being urged depends very much on who’s doing the urging. Personally, I would urge people to call, fax, or email (in that order) their Congress critters. I would also urge them to write letters to the editor, which are very effective locally and read by staffers. (No click through money from LTEs, though, which is why they don’t get the same push as petitions, etc.)

      4. TheCatSaid

        “Making a difference” might be something small and local. It might mean starting to attend local school board meetings and speaking up. It might mean doing something to help 1 individual in your neighborhood. It might mean writing 1 article in a local paper. It might mean sharing one good source of information on NC.

        Do what’s right for you. “Small” actions that move consciously in the direction of what you want to create can be surprisingly powerful.

    4. Waking Up


      I agree with your reaction. If people believe Donald Trump has “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, as defined by the Mayo Clinic in part as follows:

      If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care. At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

      Then, how can they possibly believe it would be a good idea to “overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure”. He is more likely to do what we have seen in the past…which is to lash out at the very people who want different results from him. I don’t see this ending well at all.

      If people want a different outcome, they have to take the “politics” out of this and quit making it “about” Donald Trump. Focus on the issues, especially of inequality (should be #1 priority as most other issues are related). Pressure ALL of the politicians (Democratic and Republicans) in Congress and the President.

      1. PhilM

        Does Trump have a personality disorder? That would require evidence of functional impairment. He seems to be doing too well in life to show much of that. Narcissism (except with the demonstrable functional impairment that qualifies it as NPD) is unusual in this regard: that its “sufferers” not only are happier than most people, but also achieve great things in life, make fortunes, build empires, enjoy satisfying and eventful social lives, become presidents of great powers, and marry choice partners.

        In judging functional impairment one might also contemplate Solon’s dictum, “Judge no man successful until he is dead” (“successful” is too commonly mistranslated as “happy”). Trump might yet reveal, in some stunning act of hubris, his functional impairment, to all our real (rather than anticipatory) horror and dismay; but he has not done so yet. All we have seen are a few rookie blunders you would expect from a man who, never having held political office, suddenly becomes the chief executive of the Imperial United States, and starts swiftly probing the limits of his new power.

        One thing for those who make so much of Trump’s instability: he is keeping his promises, for better or worse. His Youtube video after the election was completely out of the ordinary: he addressed the camera directly and, without rhetoric, without intermediation, read his agenda to the people, point by point. Now he is carrying that agenda out, point by point. That is a new paradigm, one that Trump’s present critics should have established years ago.

        1. TheCatSaid

          It is amazing to see an elected politician start to take immediate action on exactly the things he said he was going to do.

          If he can do it, why aren’t any of the other elected politicians doing it?! It really shows them all up, and shakes up the system in an interesting way.

    5. Kukulkan

      And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure. We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means. And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired.

      Isn’t this something out of Heathers? Or Mean Girls?

      You’re unpopular! And no-one likes you! So you should just leave!

      1. Aumua

        Haha it is like Heathers. Except not even high school level, more like grade school playground: “Trumps ugly and smelly and no one likes him nanny nanny nee ner”. This is really not going to push his buttons, at all.

        However, you best believe that Trump has buttons, and that people who may be in a position to actually push them are lining up to do so as we speak.

        Kind of looking for Christian Slater to show up and blow the school up, tbh.

  4. Deadl E Cheese

    The Women’s March shows the tightrope non-establishment left-liberals will have to walk while the Democratic Party (hopefully) dies an ugly and well-deserved death.

    The Hillary-Obama consensus is unpopular and will only get more unpopular as Silents and elderly Boomers die off. They can only wield power being contrasted against something more unpopular. Hence why they’re doing all in their power to use the anti-Trump energy to push their dumb ‘America is Already Great, So Long As You Leave It To Liberal Technocrats’ agenda and tried very hard to appropriate the Women’s March. And are right now trying to push their stupid Tax Day march.

    Probably the easiest and only ways to shake off these vampires is either to make the protests extra-spicy (see #J20) or explicitly agitate for policy their paymasters will not like (single-payer health care, mass unionization, elimination of charter schools, Black Lives Matter, etc.).

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        This is exactly what I’m talking about. All of this activist energy is going to… what, exactly? To make Trump more unpopular? What cause does that serve? I suppose it’s good in theory if you’re an establishment Democrat vampire who is hoping to smear Donald Trump enough so that your party might get the House — without doing those pesky things like agitating for non-neoliberal policy.

        Don’t get me wrong, breaking the Republican stranglehold on government will be very important in the short-term, but the thing is that A.) there are much better avenues to attack him on if your intent is just to raise general unpopularity and B.) it doesn’t do anything to advance left-of-center causes and in some ways sets them back.

        1. cocomaan

          Many, if not most of these people haven’t ever protested in their entire lives. This is a generalization, but many stayed home during George W, didn’t make a peep about Obama for whatever reason, and Bill Clinton was embarrassing, not apocalyptic to them.

          I think we just need to arrive at the lowest common denominator conclusion here: they don’t understand what is and is not effective because they just came online politically. Some still think they can write petitions to an all-powerful government.

          So I have some empathy for them. It must be alarming to suddenly realize the country is going down the tubes. But people who have been paying attention have already seen, for instance, the idiocy of empowering the chief executive with incredible power. The women’s marchers are way too late. The damage is done and they did not prepare themselves for the awful stuff to come.

          1. Deadl E Cheese

            That’s why I think that it’s vitally important to no-platform establishment liberals, especially Clinton and Obama. It’s really easy to soothe the newly politically awakened into a lullaby with the right messaging. I pretty much dozed off after the Obama 2008 campaign and it took until the Simpson-Bowles debacle to realize that things was really messed up and that the liberals (and their subalterns like Stewart and Kos and Krugman) were a contributor to how things got so messed up.

          2. sufferinsuccotash, normalized

            What are activists supposed to do three months after an election when the next election is a year and a half away? I would appreciate hearing some kind of response from the people who say marches are a waste of time, feel-good politics, etc.. I suppose the marchers are supposed to send Valentines to Donald, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan & Company with notes asking them Pretty Please With Sugar On It Pass Liberal Legislation.

            There are such factors as morale-building, fund-raising, and publicity-hogging. The marchers’ opponents excel in all three areas, particularly the last what with the Publicity-Hogger in Chief sitting in the Oval Office. The “pro-lifers” have been marching steadily in Washington every January for the past 40+ years and it certainly hasn’t hurt their cause any. Quite the contrary.

            Like the man said when kicked by the jackass, consider the source. This finger-wagging disapproval of marches probably originates either in a kind of covert conservatism, or in resentment towards activists on the part of people who’ve long since been burned out on activism.

            End of rant.

            1. Deadl E Cheese

              What are activists supposed to do three months after an election when the next election is a year and a half away? I would appreciate hearing some kind of response from the people who say marches are a waste of time, feel-good politics, etc..

              I think this comment rather revealingly shows how much the Clinton-Obama consensus enabled activist decay. Most left-of-center people can now only think of political efficacy through the lens of imminent elections.

              With that viewpoint, things like protests and townhalls only make sense viewed through the lens of building strength for the next scheduled confrontation. So a march that made no concrete demands of the status quo other than a show of strength isn’t a wasted opportunity, because there was no opportunity in the first place.

              This viewpoint is really convenient for orthodox liberalism (well, when they’re able to shoo the fascists away from the levers of power, which they’re having a very hard time doing these days) because it makes movements easier to hijack. Obama and Clinton and Schumer and Pelosi give each other desperate handjobs at the thought of extra-election movements like BLM and Fight for 15 becoming little more than a Get Out The Vote apparatus for their ridiculous Democratic toadies.

              1. sufferinsuccotash, normalized

                Most left-of-center people can now only think of political efficacy through the lens of imminent elections.
                Right-of-center people, OTOH, never think of winning elections and they’ve been getting clobbered at the polls for the past 30 years.
                Sarcasm aside–and sophomoric cynicism about the political process aside–elections make things happen in this country. It’s not “playing into the hands of Obama, Hillary, & Co.” to work towards winning House and Senate seats next year. All depends on the issues raised and here the Dems badly need to move leftwards, away from an intellectually and morally rotten neoliberalism. But this won’t happen unless people are mobilized in large numbers and that won’t happen unless they are engaged and kept engaged. Events such as marches are a necessary part of the process. It’s hard to imagine the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts without the 1963 March on Washington.

                1. Deadl E Cheese

                  Sarcasm aside–and sophomoric cynicism about the political process aside–elections make things happen in this country.

                  Only in the context of a strong activist and/or labor movement to hold elites accountable.

                  A non-reactionary in office is, at best, the absolute bare minimum of what you need for change. It’s like a weight-lifting plan where the first step is ‘stop injecting yourself with bubonic plague’.

                  The reason why orthodox liberals emphasize electoral politics so much is because for people who want actual change, it’s like step 1 of 20. But for craven careerists who just want free tickets to Hamilton and Morning Joe, it’s like step 1 of 2.

                  All depends on the issues raised and here the Dems badly need to move leftwards, away from an intellectually and morally rotten neoliberalism. But this won’t happen unless people are mobilized in large numbers and that won’t happen unless they are engaged and kept engaged.

                  And what makes you think that the Democratic leadership has any interest in being anything other than an obstacle to a progress? Not well-meaning dopes who need to be shown a better way and will gladly go along with a path that promises better electoral and moral returns — an actual obstacle to human progress, who would seriously rather watch the world burn while they write Harry Potter and West Wing fanfiction from the comfort of their 6-figure salaries than risk the short-term wrath of displeased paymasters?

            2. diptherio

              How about some actual policy demands? How about healthcare for all? How about a job guarantee? How about working for something concrete? That is the critique. The pro-lifers march every January with a policy proposal to push. Where’s ours? “Ending violence” and “Environmental Justice” are not policy proposals.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Or registering voters. If you can go to Washington and stand around for a few hours, you can register voters outside a Wal-Mart or anywhere “deplorables” might be.

                People move all the time especially youth and minorities.

                Of course, activistism might mean the average Hillary marchers might have to encounter an actual poor person, and that would be unpleasant.

              2. reslez

                If they made concrete economic demands they’d be dropped like a steaming potato by the mainstream media and Democrat establishment, plus they might cause uncomfortable moments at the dinner parties and neighborhood book clubs they usually attend.

                Demanding economic justice means getting beaten up by police and called a rioter on TV. That isn’t any fun. Why do that when you can wear a pink hat, mill around outside for a few hours and be safely ignored.

                1. Deadl E Cheese

                  While I am deeply cynical about the Women’s March, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the current leftist trend to paint any non-pinko opposition to Trump as simply spoiled bourgeois feminist whining.

                  Yes, those people are really hecking annoying. And, unfortunately, they will be controlling our discourse until capitalism is wrecked. But most anti-Trumpists aren’t spoiled bourgeois feminists. They may be politically unaware or shallow or even outright stupid, but the Marcotte and Doyle and Reed set are a super-minority for a reason.

                  There is going to come a time really soon when the bloated corpse of the liberal-conservative consensus bursts, especially if the GOP decides that they’ll never get a better chance than now to pass the Ryan Budget. And they’ll want blood. Don’t be the guy who sneers at working class Jacobins as being pawns of the French military elite, truthful as it may be. It won’t end well.

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    Until they do something beyond marching for nothing in particular in approved public spaces, it is whining and little more.

                    It’s not common knowledge, but MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech” and the whole Washington March was largely a victory lap. The real fight was done by registration drives, sit ins, and targeted boycotts. When they marched, they marched in traffic. No one is mocking the cabbies who risked something.

                    They’ve had eight years to speak up, and now they’ve had a sad. The low black, youth, and Hispanic turnout could have been avoided if they actually did anything.

                    If Democrats don’t bother to ask for votes, they won’t get votes. It’s astonishing. The marchers were too lazy to take three hours in August to register or share why Hillary was a great candidate ( I know it’s virtually impossible to make a rationale argument), but they found time for a meaningless march.

                    1. Lord Koos

                      Blaming people for being manipulated or co-opted seems pretty counter-productive. Both parties attempt to exploit and control grass-roots movements. Mass political consciousness doesn’t get raised overnight, it’s a process. Bashing an uninformed electorate (which also applies to both sides of the aisle) for being activists, while not offering (or organizing) any effective alternatives is bullshit. Perhaps these vehement critics of the recent march can tell us what more effective activism they are planning to carry out? It’s so easy to keyboard quarterback.

                  2. cocomaan

                    I’d just submit that the identity politics surrounding the marches are anodyne. They are things most can agree on. That’s why they are tolerated at the moment.

                    I guarantee that if the millions of people started to say “CANCEL ALL DEBTS” they’d be hosed down.

              3. Arizona Slim

                Here’s what I’d like to see. For the rest of this post, I’m going to be playing the part of an advocacy group. Here goes:

                We oppose Trump’s policy on [name of issue here].

                This is why we oppose it. [Reasons stated here.]

                This is what we propose instead. [Summary of the advocacy group’s solution.]

                Here’s how we plan to bring it about. [Synopsis of the group’s action plan.]

                And now, the last and best part: Join us!

              4. nycTerrierist

                This! cannot be repeated often enough.

                Focus on policy demands! otherwise, energy goes nowhere.
                and even worse, potential activists feel they’ve ‘done something’ when they haven’t.

            3. NotTimothyGeithner

              Considering the “activism” by the Democrats to elect Hillary, it’s unfair to call people who took a walk in January “activists.” Watching Maddow isn’t activism.

            4. Joel Caris

              I don’t know about others, but something I’m interested in organizing is . . . wait for it . . . legislation! Have we forgotten that the time period between elections is when policy actually occurs?

              H.R. 676 is a straightforward Medicare For All bill that is currently in the House. So one thing I’ve done is call my Rep, Blumenauer, thanked him for being one of the current co-sponsors, and encouraged him to work to get as many Democrats as possible behind it as the proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Then I called Wyden and Merkley, asked them to advocate for Medicare For All and to bring a companion bill to the Senate.

              Of course, I’m not delusional enough to think this is actually going to pass in this Congress, but wouldn’t it make sense for the Democrats to coalesce around this proposal, push it relentlessly, and browbeat Trump and the Republicans with it as the only replacement plan that would actually cover more people and bring down costs? (i.e. The exact demands laid down by Trump himself?)

              I mean, my god, this seems like a straightforward win-win for the Democrats if they actually wanted to push universal programs that improved people’s lives and achieved the precious talking points they so often repeat. They would clearly stand for something, it’s a program that polls have shown has two thirds support across the country, and they would offer up a clear alternative to Republicans that could be one of, if not THE, defining plank of their alternate platform. It would both excite the base and appeal to a good chunk of independents, as well as a few straggling Republicans who would actually consider swing voting.

              So if we’re going to go out and march by the hundreds of thousands, or flood the postal service with millions of postcards, why not do it demanding Medicare For All and demanding the Democrats coalesce behind the proposal and actively campaign on it, or risk losing votes? That’s a solid, policy-based, actionable plan that happens to also promise political dividends to whatever group of politicians take it up.

              Isn’t this obvious? Or am I just crazy?

            5. Big River Bandido

              What are activists supposed to do three months after an election when the next election is a year and a half away?

              *Real* activists would be attending their local Democratic committee meeting, running for those positions, and attempting to take over the party machinery starting from the ground up. Or registering and organizing voters. Protests are useless when you have no power base capable of implementing the policies — even if policies were actually specified (which they weren’t).

              Protests are great for raising wads of cash for the establishment crooks who ran the party into the ground. They LOVE them some protests — just as long as the protesters send checks to the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, MoveOn, CAP, NARAL, etc. and then go home and watch teevee.

              Until the real left (as opposed to this “progressive welfare” crowd with its corporate-approved astroturf #Resistance being led by the likes of Schumer, Pelosi, Neera Tanden and Jennifer Palmieri) actually controls the machine and purges such crooks, we’ll just get more of the same in 2018 and 2020.

              1. Anne

                *Real* activists would be attending their local Democratic committee meeting, running for those positions, and attempting to take over the party machinery starting from the ground up. Or registering and organizing voters. Protests are useless when you have no power base capable of implementing the policies — even if policies were actually specified (which they weren’t).

                And what leads you to believe that they are not doing these things? Protests are not useless if they provide the impetus for action – and from things being reported here, and things I have seen and heard elsewhere, that is exactly what the march seems to have done – provide fuel for more and more specific action.

                When marches inspire people to run for public office, when marches inspire people to get involved in local politics, when you start seeing people gather in living rooms and library meeting rooms to strategize, it may be time to stop demeaning the effort and start acknowledging its positive effect.

            6. cocomaan

              Deadl E Cheese hit most of the points I’d want to hit.

              Again, I’m not unsympathetic to the marches, because I’ve been in my fair share of left wing protests. Several ended in confrontation with the cops. I remember being filmed by DHS at some point and waving to the camera.

              Women’s Marches indeed might get out the vote. But I fail to see how it’s driving the Democrats leftward. I haven’t seen a single instance of that, have you? Was any of the messaging in the Women’s Marches involving leftist ideas, other than identity politics? Any moves to get rid of Pelosi or Schumer?

              I guarantee that when the women’s marches actually get leftist, they will be described as violent. And, yep, here we go. Now that’s a protest!!!

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Are you kidding? A protest to make him release documents that he isn’t even legally required to release? And what are we going to find out if he does – that he took a bunch of yuuuge, ethically disappointing but legal tax deductions?

        What next, surrounding his house until he coughs up his grocery list?

        1. jrs

          Well we might find out exactly who he does indeed OWE and exactly how corrupt he is. So yes the tax returns would be nice.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Lordie. You don’t get that from tax returns. Even on a normal individual tax return, you don’t show what bank holds your mortgage, you just take a mortgage interest deduction if you itemize.

            Trump’s return would only show capital gains from any investment sales, income paid out of various partnerships, and the salaries he got from his various companies and director fees if any from boards on which he sat, interest income, and any tax losses. That’s it. The most interesting information would be the various legal entities….but he already disclosed that in his election disclosure forms.

        2. polecat

          I say open Soros’s ‘books’ first (and others of his ilk) and have a looksie into Those pits of deception !

  5. visitor

    This criticism is being raised in various places, for instance here.

    Without much effect so far, as the pro-pink-hats articles overwhelm those skeptical of those marches and their avowed objectives.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      This is a great article, and a cogent, well-reasoned critique.

      “It is telling that the march was promoted and praised by the very political establishment that let people down, as a way to scapegoat the new Commander in Chief for the shortcomings of the last, and subsume a more menacing societal malaise under the mantle of feminism.”

      “The last eight years of deception and ‘gaslighting’ is finally taking its toll, and the loss is being felt. Rather than accept defeat, the ego readily deflects the blame. And there is now a perfect target for that latent frustration. But think again, ladies. You have the wrong guy.”

      And after you’ve read this article, go back and read the “call to action” from Kokuanani’s email.

      1. Roger Smith

        “Finger-painted placards proclaiming an almost infantile genital fixation on the part of today’s supposedly liberated woman were just some of the many unimaginative variants of hipsteria on display.”

        Ha! “Hipsteria”, great word/description. Thanks for sharing this visitor.

  6. Moneta

    So what aab is saying is that we should take the millions of protestors and ask them to protest by cause.

    Neoliberalism is complicated as it has infiltrated every part of our life… and now we are being asked to stick to 3-point PowerPoint presensations… because that’s how our leaders make their decisions anyway?

    So what cause do we start with? It seems to me that we start with a general march and analyze it on NC to refine future ones. IMO the march served a purpose. Don’t movements typically start with a flutter?

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      The neoliberals want to steer activist energy towards activities that further their goals and away from stuff that doesn’t. This is how the Tea Party was hijacked and drained of energy.

      The left-of-center gets a tailwind, though; the Democratic Party leadership has almost completely given up activist and even retail politics. Their pied pipers have sold their instruments for booze money and can only play their tune by borrowing someone else’s instruments — preferably a popular musician at a large venue.

      I was very worried that Hillary Clinton was going to show up to the Women’s March. Even though she’s a sociopathic corporate warhawk liberal Boomers and Silents love her for some bizarre reason. If she had said something like ‘get Trump impeached’ or ‘let’s see Trump’s Tax returns’, the movement would’ve been easily hijacked.

    2. hreik

      It did serve a purpose, if only to demonstrate how many people can ‘protest’ / ‘march’ / ‘be there’. Sizeable ranks. Yes, the thing about a march is that there is fluidity and it’s a resource as well as a motivator. It’s over now anyhow and I wonder why all the hand-wringing here about it.

    3. HBE

      What movement? Marches and protest based movements never achieve anything without a violent contrast (Nehru to Gandhi, truly violent and massive riots to MLK, etc.) without the contrast a movement is a moderate nuisance and won’t achieve anything (Iraq war protests) beyond “awareness” which can be helpful if you have a concrete message, but the women’s March didn’t.

      So in probably the biggest March this “movement” will ever have they didn’t make people aware of anything in particular around which a movement could be based and certainly nothing which could lead to the creation of a needed contrast.

      I view the March as clearly class based and that class is not going to do anything that would even slightly threaten their position to benefit all those who have been economically trampled and forgotten by their beloved identity only neoliberalism.

      This wasn’t the start of a movement it was a show of solidarity with idpol neoliberalism and a digging of heels against the unwashed populist hordes, by well off liberals.

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        We’ll see what happens in about half of a year, whether the GOP really has the guts to pull the trigger on the Ryan Budget and repealing the ACA. That, or, a recession extraneous to a specific policy.

        There isn’t a violent contrast to the marches right now because a lot of the marchers, while they may be truly ashamed or worried about Trump’s herrenvolk authoritarianism, aren’t personally uncomfortable yet. We’re getting close, what with income inequality exceeding that of Hoover, but there’s still that tiny bit of hope for internal reform. If unemployment shoots up to 9-12% because of that fucking Ryan Budget, that’s when things start getting ugly.

        That said, while the GOP isn’t as overtly suicidal as the Democratic Party, the overclass has never been able to restrain themselves from maximally looting.

    4. justanotherprogressive

      Perhaps we should first be honest with ourselves. The Women’s March was nice but it really was just a social event and not much more, mostly the more well-off women getting to show their frustrations. And yes, it did get a lot of women participating, but so did the parade in Boston for the Super Bowl winners. I see nothing useful coming out of that March as much as I want to.
      I look back in history to those marches and movements that did get results and I see a couple of things. All those movements, good and bad, were very specific in their demands. They weren’t just fuzzy read good feel good social events. For instance, look at the Viet Nam War protests. Everyone knew exactly what they were protesting against. Look at the Civil Rights Movement – any question about what they wanted? Look back as far as the 20’s to the Veterans movements. Look at the Tea Party. Did you not know exactly where they stood on major issues?. I could go on ad nauseum… Do you see my point?
      And again, the Woman’s Strike on March 8th will be the same thing. It will mostly be populated in the US by women who can and will take a vacation day off from work to “strike”. And then again…..exactly WHAT will they be striking for? You can bet it won’t be populated by women who can’t afford to take a day off for a social event.
      Yes, there should be protests against neoliberalism, but what specifically about neoliberalism are you going to protest? You need to think about exactly what your aims are or your protests will sound more like the Commie witch hunts in the 50’s. Yes, everyone was sure they were against Communism, but there weren’t sure WHAT it was about Communism they were against – they were just playing follow the leader…..

      1. Dave

        Think about the social event aspect of the pink ribbon marches against breast cancer–sponsored by cosmetic companies with carcinogens in their products.

        1. Binky

          This makes the point that for some critics there is never anything good enough. A giant No True Scotsman fallacy that is exactly the kind of attitude, setting the perfect against the good, which will ensure that nobody ever listens to the hobby critics or people stop going to these events.

          Sounds like butthurt and envy and bitterness. Acts like acquiescence. Reminds one of the People’s Front of Judea, never to be confused with the Judean Peoples’ Front.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            At least some of the longer critical comments here do not match your description well. Your language and metaphors (“setting the perfect against the good,” “the People’s Front of Judea”) suggest that the critics and the most influential voices within the march start from the same fundamental values and analysis.

            Whether you agree with them or not, that is precisely what these critics are disputing.

    5. lyman alpha bloba

      It’s not that a general march was completely useless, but that it can’t be all there is.

      With all the talk of dismantling the ACA, it would be great if people started rallying for single payer as a replacement for the next protest.

      Instead, per the comment above it seems the next protest will be about Trump’s tax returns.

      And that protest will be relatively cop free and will get 10x the coverage that one for single payer would get.

      Wonder why?

  7. Eureka Springs

    Brava to all.

    After all this time I had no idea Arizona Slim is female. And I had no idea three new letters have been added to LGBT.

    aab is right on target. Even though I disagree with thinking there is hope to be found or manufactured in the d party I think some points should be made in re her assertions whether aimed inside the d party, or with a third party or with an organized march.

    A democratic process needs to be established. This needs to somehow include polling in a manner which really understands what participants want, rather than always having someone no matter how articulate or well intentioned at the top telling others what to think. Any ‘leaders’ should be reflecting established consensus or leading debate on topics where consensus has not been attained. Also, transparency in matters of financial sources, established policy on what funding will be allowed or not, as well as publicly listing all expenditures with no delay.

    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      Arizona Slim is female? is my first thought, but was slow to read this posting so got beat to the punch. :-(

      Well, as the the rest of it, count me in the aab (now there’s a feminine name for you!) column.

  8. CitizenSissy

    Last I checked, the First Amendment specifically affirmed to right to peaceably assemble. The March, IMHO, wasn’t a policy directive, but rather a collective response to a laundry list of very ugly campaign promises tinged with a thinly veiled misogyny. As a visual, it succeeded wildly well. Don’t like the pussy hat? Don’t wear one.

    I’ve worked on labor and reproductive rights issues for a very long time, and I’m more than aware that the groundwork for change requires unglamorous, steady grunt work.

    1. jrs

      I question whether the hats succeeded, although the hats are a bit of a tangent. But it’s like blacks using the N word. At this point all the pussy hats seem to have done is empower a bunch of misogynistic jerks to refer to any women opposed to Trump as pussies, fully reveling in their ability to do so.

      1. CitizenSissy

        Misogynistic jerks feeling empowered? That ship sailed long ago. I do appreciate the power of irony, sarcasm, and handknitting.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Irony is important and useful::

          Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) I was terrified of him. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

          Interviewer: What did he do?

          Vercotti: He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

          But it takes more than irony:

          Interviewer: (off-screen) He nailed your head to the floor?

          Vince: At first, yeah

          Cut to presenter.

          Presenter: Another man who had his head nailed to the floor was Stig O’ Tracey.

          Cut to another younger more cheerful man on sofa.

          Interviewer: Stig, I’ve been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.

          Stig: No, no. Never, never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to give his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.

          Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.

          Stig: Oh yeah, well – he did that, yeah.

          Interviewer: Why?

          Stig: Well he had to, didn’t he? I mean, be fair, there was nothing else he could do. I mean, I had transgressed the unwritten law.

          Interviewer: What had you done?

          Stig: Er… Well he never told me that. But he gave me his word that it was the case, and that’s good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn’t want to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. There’s nothing Dinsdale wouldn’t do for you.

          Interviewer: And you don’t bear him any grudge?

          Stig: A grudge! Old Dinsy? He was a real darling.

          Interviewer: I understand he also nailed your wife’s head to a coffee table. Isn’t that right Mrs O’ Tracey?

  9. craazyman

    The WaPo actually ran a poignant profile of a “marcher”. A mid-50s woman from small town PA who’d married early an attractive confident strong man who offset her shyness and insecurity. He became a successful retailer store owner in her town and bought a nice house in the nice part of town. Then he got into drugs and drinking. They had a son with learning disabilities. He over time grew violent and estranged and at one point punched her out and said he’d kill her if she called the police. Eventually she left him, although it was hard given her lack of self confidence. I think with her son. She felt Trump mocked a disabled reporter — who reminded her of her son — and that he mocked women. She looked around her in her town and saw pain and drugs. She felt Trump mocked that too.

    On the radio she heard about the march. She felt empowered. She felt it spoke to her at a spiritual level. She felt Hillary’s campaign spoke to her too.

    It was hard to read this stuff. You can understand on a human level the pain and, also, the delusion. The pain and delusion, the way a personal calamitous crash with existence gets spun through a vertiginous, irrational, dizzying kaleidoscope of associative thinking into what seems to be a rational point of view — whatever rationality is. And then it coalesces like setting concrete into an “identity”, formed around the idea of rebellion but unmoored like a drifting boat from any of the epistemological anchors that rebellion needs to endure — or rather the one anchor, a universalism founded not on transitory identity but on the permanence of a set of values that apply to all people everywhere. Where someone can say “This will not be permitted” regardless of the “identity” of victim or perpetrator.

    So now Hillary like a vampire that raises up from a casket and says the future is female. Oh Boy (no pun intended). They haven’t learned a thing, they will never learn a thing, perhaps they can’t learn a thing — until they say the future is human and they define it across a set of universal values that have no sex, skin color, or idea of what somebody does with their peepee. I suspect this is beyond them, and their rhetoric in the meantime will do what it’s always done — empower their own self-advancement, their own narcissism, their own lust for power — while their victims, whose energies they suck like blood, await the day when their final crash either kills them or shows them the only thing that will save them is a transcendent consciousness that understands identity formed around anything — other than that of a human being — is a graveyard.

    1. PhilM

      craazyman nails it in prose poetry. Thanks, now I do not have to write what would not have been as good as that.

  10. Praedor

    The Women’s March for Everything is a failure/must be a failure, just as Occupy was. They were the same in that they were in favor of so much general mushy stuff and against a lot of whole slews of other general stuff, but they were NOT specifically FOR this, this, and this. No coherent demands, just, “This sucks!” and “We don’t like this stuff!”

    The two were different in that the Women’s March was propped up and heavily organized by rich neoliberal organizations while Occupy was much more spontaneous. The Women’s March suffered by not wanting to offend the Democrat Establishment and its neoliberal policies. The Occupy movement suffered by not wanting any leaders or leadership at all, and thus no coherent organization.

    1. oho

      >> Occupy was much more spontaneous.

      I was under the impression that Occupy was made viral by Moveon dot org. Don’t know if that’s a fact.

      IIRC Moveon also had a big and in the Women’s march.

      1. diptherio

        MoveOn would love you to believe that. They sure didn’t have anything to do with the two Occupations I participated in here. Occupy became viral because the situation was ripe for it, not because of MoveOn.

      2. jerry

        I believe adbusters was the original outlet that called for the zuccotti park gathering, then it just took off from there on its own.

        And it would never have stopped had the police not forcibly removed peacefully assembling people, a point that often gets forgotten.

        1. nobody

          No Occupy didn’t just take off on its own; read the post by David Graeber that I linked to below for the details.

      3. Lambert Strether

        Absolutely not. Not only that, but Occupy was preceded by a global wave of protests that occupied space, from Tahrir Square, through the indignados in (IIRC) Madrid (as well as Paris and Athens), through the state Capitol occupations, and then Occupy proper, which was followed by the Carré Rouge movement in Quebec. (The Thailand protests of 2010 were not IMNSHO a precedent for any of this, but they were certainly similar tactically.)

        Way, way bigger than MoveOn.

    2. nobody

      The original Adbusters call to occupy Wall Street; the lower case bolded emphases are mine:

      On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

      Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?

      The most exciting candidate that we’ve heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we’re doomed without it.

      This demand seems to capture the current national mood because cleaning up corruption in Washington is something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind. If we hang in there, 20,000-strong, week after week against every police and National Guard effort to expel us from Wall Street, it would be impossible for Obama to ignore us. Our government would be forced to choose publicly between the will of the people and the lucre of the corporations.

      This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement…

      David Graeber and his friends nixed that notion:

      Two days later, at the Outreach meeting we were brainstorming what to put on our first flyer. Adbusters’ idea had been that we focus on “one key demand.” This was a brilliant idea from a marketing perspective, but from an organizing perspective, it made no sense at all. We put that one aside almost immediately. There were much more fundamental questions to be hashed out. Like: who were we? Who did want to appeal to? Who did we represent?

      1. nycTerrierist

        Interesting comment and relevant to our current impasse.

        We can take this lesson from Occupy. (Not a total failure, because it raised awareness, even class-consciousness, of the 99%…and laid the groundwork for the Bern)

        Adbusters were right. Now that people are activated, one uncomplicated demand is the way to go.

        I would suggest single-payer, for starters. Let’s get rid of the health in$urance middlemen.

      2. Patricia

        Interesting to quickly re-run through the comments under that Graeber post. DKos was still something in 2011. There was optimism. Wonder how the limited results of Occupy contributes to current crankiness.

    3. Anne

      What “rich neoliberal organizations” organized the march? Or propped it up?

      Asking because my understanding is that this started with a retired lawyer in Hawaii, who put up a Facebook post suggesting women should march; overnight, her post went viral across social media.

      In addition to Shook, who originated this idea,

      The primary organizers were Bob Bland (a woman), a NY fashion designer, Tamika Mallory, a gun control advocate; Carmen Perez, head of the Gathering for Justice, a criminal-justice reform group; and Linda Sarsour, who recently led a successful campaign to close New York City public schools on two Muslim holidays.

      In a situation where damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t is a given, I prefer to focus on the fact that millions of people decided to get off their butts and out from behind their keyboards, and some 13,000 women have expressed interest in and intent to run for public office.

      I get that people are afraid this opportunity will be squandered or co-opted, but I don’t quite get the it’s-not-good-enough, it-wasn’t-done-the-right-way, it-doesn’t-mean-anything-if there-was-no-violence attitude that feels like efforts to squash this incipient interest in activism, rather than encourage more citizen participation.

      And squashing it would be a huge gift to the forces who would be happy to take us all back to the days when women were chattel, a huge opening to allow it to be killed, and I’m not sure that’s what those criticizing and critiquing really want to have happen. Or is it?

      1. hreik

        good comment couldn’t agree more.

        I can chew gum and walk at the same time. I can (and did ) show up at my local event, I also phone banked and canvassed and donated to Bernie. I donated to NoDAPL, and got a client to give a ton more.

        The names of many of those marchers are in some data base…. (most, not all) so it’s a resource for the future also. As I said I’m not sure why the hang-wringing here. I went and went gladly. I also do other stuff. Not mutually exclusive.

      2. altandmain

        What I see is a group of upper middle class women throwing a temper tantrum because their chosen one, Hillary Clinton, didn’t win.

        As Sanders notes:

        But, but, here is my point, and this is where there is going to be division within the Democratic Party. It is not good enough for someone to say, “I’m a woman! Vote for me!” No, that’s not good enough. What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry. In other words, one of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics. I think it’s a step forward in America if you have an African-American head or CEO of some major corporation.

        We don’t even have Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs transcripts. Why? They would have ended her candidacy right then and there. The election is over and we still don’t have them.

        The other big problem is that as others note, this is class based. If Clinton had won and decided all of a sudden to pass TPP, I doubt we’d see this type of reaction from the protestors.

        It’d be the poor and middle class people that get hurt the most. What jobs remain in much of middle America, will be sent overseas. Drug prices will go up, which upper middle class people can afford, but the working and middle classes are already at the margins, to say nothing of the poor.

        Meanwhile, the women protesting here might call that “empowerment” because a woman is president.

        They’re just unhappy their elite white feminism didn’t prevail.

        Trump’s awful, but that doesn’t mean that Clinton would have been a good president.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          “What I see is a group of upper middle class women throwing a temper tantrum because their chosen one, Hillary Clinton, didn’t win.”

          Yes, while I get that all kinds of people went to the march, it definitely does seems to be more about virtue signaling for this group than anything else.

          My town just passed a resolution last week that basically says we all agree to be nice to Muslims. I attend a lot of sparsely populated city council meetings but this last one was packed and the vast majority in attendance were a group of fairly well off white women of retirement age or close to it. It was quite clear that this resolution had been put forward by this group just in response to Trump’s election because it could have and should have been brought forward at any point since the turn of the century. One after another they got up to speak about what a great idea it was and how great our town was because of it which is all fine but that was about the depth of it. I don’t mean to disparage this group because they have gotten organized to do some very good things for our town in recent years, it’s just that this didn’t go far enough or recognize the fact that Trump didn’t happen in a vacuum.

          I did agree with the resolution but also pointed out that the reason we have so many immigrants and refugees is because of all the people displaced by wars that the US started in Muslim countries under both Bush and Obama, that the problem didn’t start a few weeks ago and won’t end in a few years, and that maybe we should all pay a little more attention to who we are voting for the next time around so we don’t have such a war mongering refugee making government in the first place.

          1. marym

            Most of those women wouldn’t have heard what you said, maybe wouldn’t have heard a similar point raised elsewhere within their particular bubble, if you hadn’t gone to the meeting, probably communicated in some way your approval for past work, and supported their resolution. Isn’t this how we build something?

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Good point and a couple of them did come up to me afterwards to say thanks for what I’d said.

              Personally I think the discussion on this subject here has been productive and as someone who is extremely skeptical about the motives behind this recent march, it has helped me see the good in it.

              It is great that some people have become politically active for the first time and great that the march did help with organizing and getting people motivated for further action and I’m glad to hear from those who participated in it directly.

              I think part of the difficulty with this discussion has been the difference between what really happened for the individuals who went and how the march has been portrayed to the rest of us through the media. The way it has been portrayed does make it seem like it was just a bunch of butthurt Clinton supporters complaining because they didn’t get their way. And the usual suspects really are trying to get out in front of the parade and coopt any movement for themselves.

              But it is enlightening to learn the actual motivations of people who went. There were a lot of veteran activists who attended from what I’m gathering by reading here, not just a bunch of dilettantes in pink hats. So thanks to all for the dialogue here and hopefully this march will be the start of something productive rather than the end of not so useful venting session.

            2. ChiGal in Carolina

              it is disheartening to see the purity police beating the drums every day on NC and heaping snark and disdain on those privileged coastals who “don’t get it” – without making any concrete suggestions as to how to meet them where they are at and bring them along to work toward economic justice (and for that matter i would like to see some evidence that it was nothing but the 10% who were marching to begin with)

              the content may be different, but in their structure and function too many exchanges on this site of late precisely mirror the dismissal of the white working class as a bunch of “deplorables” – throwing out the baby with the bathwater

                1. ChiGal in Carolina

                  i would encourage all NCers to ask each other what concrete policies they support, before assuming there aren’t any

                  and if there aren’t any, use the socratic method to help them clarify their priorities so they can identify concrete policies that flow from their values and principles

                  isn’t that much of what the work is now, engaging with those not identically minded but where there is common ground to be built on?

                  as for me, i think it is no secret that single payer is my choice for #1 and i will be hoisting a Medicare for All sign in a crowd of pink hats (which i will not be wearing but neither will i sneer at those who are) in the hopes of starting those conversations that build consensus

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    You write:

                    the purity police beating the drums every day on NC … without making any concrete suggestions

                    I wrote:

                    One very concrete suggestion, made by many at NC, is to present concrete policies rather than vague “principles.” Your thoughts?

                    Perhaps I wasn’t clear that the suggestion was being made to Women’s March leadership, and not to the NC commentariat.

                    Regardless, my point is that concrete suggestions are being made. Adding that to characterize NC commenters as “purity police” is a little rough around the edges, tactically.

                2. Altandmain

                  Most believe in MMT economics for example or perhaps something like what Michael Hudson is proposing.

                  I think a case could be made for

                  – Student debt relief and affordable university education
                  – Universal healthcare
                  – Jobs guarantee
                  – Bilateral free trade agreements
                  – Steeply progressive taxes and high inheritance taxes
                  – Stronger consumer protection laws
                  – Enforcement of anti-trust
                  – Strict regulations of finance
                  – Arrests of former CEOs, PE types, and other vultures
                  – An aggressive attempt to crack down on rent seeking in America
                  – Ending pointless wars abroad and reigning in military spending
                  – Reductions in legal immigration
                  – Reinforcement of civil liberties
                  – Addressing the gross corruption in politics
                  – Investments in infrastructure, education, and public spending as a whole

                  Plenty of policy to begin with. We could make a longer list, but I think that the majority of people who read NC regularly can agree to these.

                  Perhaps there needs to be a post on what people here support.

      3. Foppe

        Anne: with regard to the question who organized/propped up the march, I’d say the primary platforming agents were Facebook (which censors a lot of stuff, very noticeably during the primary season), and the MSM (who decided to cover this, positively). Meanwhile, the (overall) noncontroversial stance helped to keep police oppression away (compare fight for 15, for a recent example, e.g. this report: http://fortune.com/2016/11/30/minimum-wage-15-protest-arrests/ ). Without that, it would’ve been far different.

  11. oho

    >> (It is oddly unacceptable to point out that Trump spoke out forcefully about the importance of protecting gays after the Florida nightclub massacre, a first for a prominent Republican.)

    This was then the identity politics left had a divide by zero error.

    Also when I decided Trump ain’t so bad after all (so flame me) :)

    1. Lynne

      That, plus the pictures of him up on the stage in Colorado with a rainbow flag, together with his statement that he didn’t care what bathroom people used. Last night, I heard the director of Human Rights Watch state that Trump was a danger to human rights because he was racist etc, citing the alleged statement that Trump said all Mexicans were criminals. All I could think was that the establishment still hasn’t learned that their blatant overstatements are costing them dearly if they don’t realizethat people can pull up YouTube and see what Trump actually said, and learn that while Human Rights Watch may get $$$ from scaring people who are in their echo chamber, that group of people is diminishing no matter how much they scream. I’m no fan of Trump, but he gets plenty of sympathy, including from me, when places like the Guardian promote this “strike” as a way to “oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies,” when nobody — including here when I asked the other day — can point to those aggressively transphobic policies. And then now to say they want Trump out so we get Pence??? I just keep wondering what they are smoking.

      Finally, let me just say that the women I know personally who participated in that march will never convince me that they care about all women as more than an excuse to party until they start to show anything other than vicious hatred and ridicule for women who aren’t in their cushy suburbs or trendy coffee shops.

  12. hemeantwell

    What I’ve distilled from reading poll summaries over the years is that the majority of Americans, and a larger majority of American women, would support more specific progressive positions on a variety of issues, e.g. health care, reproductive rights, more spending on schools, support for unions, even — ta da! — cutbacks in military spending because it so ridiculously unnecessary and dangerous. So, if maxxing inclusiveness is a goal, at a mass level you could get more specific without worrying about losing people. It’s at the elite level where the problem of division looms. I have little sense of the background of the organizers, but it seems that they are either of that elite, or feel obliged to orient themselves to elite policy preferences.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > if maxxing inclusiveness is a goal, at a mass level you could get more specific without worrying about losing people. It’s at the elite level where the problem of division looms.

      Excellent point. And one looks again at the composition of the board. Is the Women’s March volunteer organizer, who previously organized volunteers for Clinton in Wisconsin (!), a “never, ever” person on single payer, or not?

      Personnel determines policy applies here as well….

  13. Anne

    I could be wrong, but it appears to me that the one thing the march did was scare the bejesus out of the establishment Dems, who don’t care for the feeling of not being in control of what happens next; look how fast they glommed onto it, how they are using it. But nothing makes it clearer how superficial their so-called support is than what it taking place in downtown Baltimore at the Democratic retreat.

    Unless, of course, the Democratic “leaders” think that march was about women expressing support for the neoliberal agenda – which would show just how clueless they are. Because otherwise, what the hell is Third Way doing there in such a prominent role? So, apparently, the march didn’t scare them smart, it just convinced them to double-down on the same failing strategies that handed them electoral defeats up and down the ladder. They still think this is all about showing their support, but I think we’ve all had enough of being patted on the head and told we must hand over our votes and let them worry about it.

    I’ve said before that I like that millions of people – not just women – decided it was time to get active, but if that kind of massive presence is to mean anything, it has to have its own voice and not be co-opted into being an arm of the establishment.

    I’m not an organizer or much of a joiner, so I don’t have the first clue how one goes about building an movement that not only speaks for itself, but calls the tune.

    1. Mark Anderlik

      Anne thanks for your resolute comments. I went to the local Women’s March and it was the largest we had ever seen in recent Montana history.

      I had many interesting conversations with people, at the march and on the bus ride there and back. And yes participants were all over the map. Some were unreconstructed Clinton supporters, some were seasoned veterans of various movements, some were Sanders supporters, some were Republicans, most were brand new to any kind of activism.

      The speeches had some common themes: marching isn’t enough, solidarity with others is essential, workers rights are women’s rights.

      It was an amazing experience that lifted everyone’s spirits, as these kind of events are meant to do.

      What is additionally inspiring, and what points the way ahead, was what took place in my town the day before the march. About 300 people participated in a teach-in “Organizing for Power.”

      We had 16 “classes” taught by local people on topics ranging from progressive occupation of the Democratic Party to planning for strategic nonviolent direct action, from a panel of local participants of the Standing Rock occupation to how to conduct a successful neighborhood canvass operation, from songwriting for the movement to know your rights with the police in potential arrest situations.

      The teach-in was held in several locations, with the main hub being the Union Hall. Unions, a youth group, reproductive rights groups, Native American groups, feminist groups, Sanders supporters, and others organized the event.

      The seeds planted we hope will grow into a movement that becomes a leader in transforming our society.

      1. Patricia

        Thanks for your report. I’ve read similar from other local groups.

        As time passes, the divide will become apparent, I’m sure, and eventually will split. As long as there are enough people like in the Montana bunch, there’s reason to hope. I’m feeling better and better about the whole thing.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > We had 16 “classes” taught by local people on topics ranging from progressive occupation of the Democratic Party to planning for strategic nonviolent direct action, from a panel of local participants of the Standing Rock occupation to how to conduct a successful neighborhood canvass operation, from songwriting for the movement to know your rights with the police in potential arrest situations.

        That’s very good!

    2. lambert strether

      > scare the bejesus

      Given that DWS* and Cory Booker were up on the stage at one point, I suggest that the Democrat establishment has little to fear, at least from the organizers. A quick look at the connections between some of the march national co-chairs and the Obama administration leads to the same conclusion. Of course, the movement could always break out of the box, which would be good. Probably not, if the Volunteer Coordinator, who served as “Deputy Operations Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Wisconsin” (which Clinton famously did not visit) has anything to do with it.

      For the skeptical, one excellent litmus test for having broken out of the box would be to make concrete policy proposals that are popular with voters but anathema to the Democrat leadership.

      * See DWS here on the excellence of the Women’s March list. She seems to assume that Democrats will have access to it.

      1. Patricia

        I’m wondering what other way this could have gone, though. It was an outpouring, a confluence, in the same way that Occupy was. This was emotionally-based, the shock of the naive, fast and hardly planned.

        MSM wouldn’t have noticed as much if Dems hadn’t quickly stepped in front of it. And why were they the ones who stepped in front? Why not the always-prepared always-alert leftists? Lambert, you recently asked the same question re the Third-Wayers at Baltimore DNC conference.

        There certainly is damage being done by making this all about Trump rather than critical issues but can we expect anything different from the Dems? They got out front! And it was all emotions, first time around.

        I’m glad there are others on the left who aren’t as fussy, who are moving things along locally. There are many newbies out there. They need context/guidance. But maybe we aren’t ready to forgive them quite yet.

        We’ll see what comes next. We can assume the media will pay attention to the Trump’s tax postcard thang, etc, and ignore/belittle the real stuff, as it has done for the last 50 years, as done to Bernie, as it ever was. News will come through blogs and in comment threads.

        There’s so much stomp-it cynicism here (rather than skeptical yet ready); maybe many need some solid getaway time, to revive.

        1. Patricia

          I apologize for being cranky and snarky in above comment. To make up for it, here’s a link to Way of the Bern, an interview of young man who left Our Revolution last summer. He has a proposal for getting Bernie to go third party—and how to make it work. I linked to Way of the Bern because comments show how badly people want something that works.


          1. Lambert Strether

            I don’t see a reason to apologize, and not only because at this point I have a hide like a rhinoceros.

            I think “And why were they the ones who stepped in front?” is a fair question, but I also see Sanders (and other lefties in that confluence stepping “in front” on policy constantly, as in Sanders Town Halls, aiding the Nissan strikers, and so on.

            Of course, he doesn’t get wall-to-wall favorable treatment by the media, the good will of the police, and so on and so forth. Perhaps there’s a reason for that?

      2. Anne

        I think it was precisely because of the anticipated numbers of attendees all over the country that the Dems wanted in on it; they are nothing if not opportunists, even if they have a disappointing record of reading the opportunities all wrong.

        One more thing: I think we are all getting a little Pavlovian in our automatic rejection of anyone who is at all associated with Clinton without knowing anything about them. I understand it, but at the same time, it’s not uncommon for someone who worked on X’s campaign in one election cycle could be working for Y’s campaign in the next.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      i too would like to thank you Anne for your steadfastly independent thinking – whether the dismissiveness is coming from the D establishment or commenters/moderators here, you don’t let yourself be intimidated. NC is the better for it

  14. Katharine

    I don’t actually disagree with the comments, but I think too much energy is being spent explaining why other people are wrong, which is really just a repetition of what was criticized in the marches. Why ask what they are doing to make a difference? What does that accomplish? What are you doing to make a difference? For some of you, the answer may be, a lot. But it is the only question to which you can change the answer.

    As for what difference might come from the marches, here is one possible element:


    I don’t believe it is ever useful to evaluate an action only by what it appears to accomplish at the time. You cannot know, ever, what effects it is having in the minds of people who participate or observe it.

    1. diptherio

      too much energy is being spent explaining why other people are wrong

      Everyone should get this tattooed on their forehead.

    2. nihil obstet

      The 17,000 person march I went to brought out people who don’t often go to marches or have never been to a march before. It was fun: entertaining signs, feel-good talks to other people, sense of sharing concerns that many don’t realize are so widely shared. I think that political movements ultimately depend on solidarity, and sharing good times helps. I believe that many will be back for other events, and ultimately we may have recruited more policy-focused activists.

        1. nihil obstet

          Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve had two experiences since the march.

          1) An organizational meeting for a local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America drew 20 people. This may not sound like many, but only if you haven’t tried to organize a chapter before. Events that people cited as impelling them to come: Occupy, the Sanders campaign, the Women’s march. We broke into action groups, one of which is to create a local community land trust. I hope that meets many people’s definition of specific action, even though it will take a few years to have an actual impact.

          2) Our 11th annual local lefty, hippy march yesterday drew its biggest crowd, at least 20,000 and organizer estimates at 80,000. There are a bunch of YouTubes up depicting it. Here’s the Common Cause one that’s a little less hand-held smartphone than most, that interviews a few people about their march experiences. Here’s a believer’s account. Again, there’s no overnight success here — we’ve been doing the damned thing for 11 years with weekly events for much of the summers — but I think the getting together of the different groups (it’s consciously a fusion action) is valuable.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    I missed the conversation too, and I’m sorry I did.

    As a lower middle-class female reaching adulthood in the early 70’s, the array of previously limited opportunities newly on offer to women, however grudgingly, was, as far as I was concerned, amazing. While I wouldn’t actually characterize my feelings in those days as radical feminism, I felt a serious responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities. Not only to better my own position, but to prove that women had the same desires, needs and competencies as men, and that biology had nothing at all to do with it.

    I naively believed that once women demonstrated their abilities, the issue would be resolved, and biology would stop being such a significant determinant of perceived brainpower.

    Fast forward to 2017, where it is, apparently, considered serious and legitimate to “protest” the “misogyny” of pu**y-talk by dressing up as one and carrying self-identifying signs, and to effect much-needed social restructuring by cheering the likes of madonna hurling eff bombs.

    Somehow back in the 70’s I thought we were aiming higher than the right to be foul-mouthed with a bullhorn in public.

    The vague, unfocused purpose of the “march” and its carnival-like atmosphere seemed like a betrayal, reminiscent of the popular accusation from past decades that women were too “scatter-brained” or “hormonal” to be trusted with power. I couldn’t help but wonder what the women trying to make ends meet flipping burgers for $7.25 an hour were thinking. “Another squandered opportunity.” ” Another chance to party.”

    “Thanks for nuthin’, ladies.”

    1. Debra R

      Also as a lower middle-class female reaching adulthood in the early 70’s, I agree 100% with your comment and it was very helpful to me to read your explanation. It helped me to understand and process exactly what about the march didn’t feel right to me.

      I’d also like to say, as a frequent NC reader, but first-time commenter, I appreciate all of the articles and commenters here. I can’t get over my feeling that electing Bernie Sanders president was the last chance, in my lifetime, to have a president who could make a difference. I am so disappointed, and I hope I’m wrong. But there was nothing about that march that helped me to get over my disappointment.

      1. jerry

        This election was so interesting for the reasons you mentioned, and as a Sanders supporter from day one, it was and remains heartbreaking to see the choice that America made. You had the power of the populist vote clearly on display, and the primaries ruined it. The mainstream Democrats were too scared to go for Bernie, and by playing it safe they cost us the election.

        My hope is that this what was necessary, we have to go through the chaos and insanity of this presidency for people to really wake up.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          “The mainstream Democrats were too scared to go for Bernie”

          Because to Third Way Clintonite scum, Bernie Sanders winning is worse than Trump winning.

          With “allies” like them, who needs enemies?

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I felt the same way about Bernie.

        He framed the serious issues clearly, stuck to them doggedly, didn’t sweat the small stuff, and never, ever felt the need to desperately pander for clicks or likes or hashtags. And he got them anyway.

        I have faulted him for eventually capitulating to clinton but even so, the women’s march looked like a clueless, cheap, Chinese-made, pop culture, techno mess next to what he accomplished.

        He told them what needed to be done. He told them what to say and how to say it. He wrote the script. That they chose not to follow it made the whole thing suspiciously off the mark for me.

        1. fred


          In light of your prior comments in the preceding part of the thread doesn’t Bernie fit in with that part of the “establishment” that spent eight years deceiving those who voted for “hope and change”?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I don’t see it that way. One thing almost everyone, including his detractors, agreed on–he’s been consistent in his positions throughout his political career. I’m not a Vermont resident so I’m not familiar with everything he’s done. But to the best of my knowledge, what he talked about during the primary is pretty much what he’s always believed and worked to achieve.

            I guess I could be wrong, but I was on board with what I heard.

  16. Wyoming

    I am being very careful with how I respond to my wife over this march as she is very proud of it and really does think it was significant and will have a lasting impact. But I agree with aab and think it was worse than pointless as the long-term effect will be detrimental to reversing the recent political trends. This is not how you overturn the system – which has primarily served to put those same soccer moms in the position to play these games.

    When, if ever, was a movement for the scale of change which is called for now – peaceful? None that I know of. While one may choose to refrain as much as possible from violence in the initiative or in response as MLK and Gandhi tactics encouraged, it does not in any way mean that movements do not require violence. They wanted the violent response of the authorities as that was the only way to turn public opinion towards their side. Passive resistance just means your side does the bleeding.

    When the police are facing hundreds of thousands of protesters and see no need to bring out the riot gear, the dogs and the water cannons you know without question that there is nothing of consequence going on.

    When the women protesters are seen bleeding in the streets, getting maced, gnawed on by a German Shepard, and stories abound about what is happening to some of them once in custody you will be getting somewhere. If the authorities have no fear of you, if the police see the well dressed polite soccer mom and chuckle, if there are not a few police being hauled off to the hospital, a few fires burning…well you are pretty much wasting your time.

    1. Eureka Springs

      And this goes to the first rather vague item on the list – Ending Violence

      The confines of our constitutional republic are not representative, democratic, which allows for change by the will of the people in a non-violent manner.

      It’s time for a major overhaul.. a new constitution. Anti Trump, anti Hillary is self-defeating if that’s where it ends. The bill of rights is too short in the extreme. The system is not what these marchers wish it was. That goes doubly for either major party and of course liberalism itself.

      I hope you print out your comment and share it with your wife.

    2. Jamie

      In my understanding of Gandhian non-violence as a method for social change, violence by the other side is not necessarily a desiderata (though many in the Civil Rights Movement in the US felt that it was). The point of a well designed protest is to force a concession. There is nothing wrong with getting the concession instead of getting the beating. Consider Gandhi’s march to the sea, for example. The government arrested Gandhi, but the principle was so simple that millions of Indians broke the law and got their own salt, effectively breaking the British salt monopoly. The eventual violent response by one law officer brought international attention to India and Gandhi’s struggle, but there’s no way this protest would have been called a failure had the government failed to respond violently. A lot of people confuse glory-hounding with protesting and think that protests are all about winning the minds of the fence sitters. Yes, that’s part of what’s going on. But it’s not the main thing. Getting the concession is always the better option. This is what people are talking about when they say things like the movement is unfocused or unclear in its demands. And this is why the image of a lone person standing in front of a tank is more powerful than the image of 10,000 people walking through the streets of Washington (with or without the burning barricades). Today many people think that “non-violent” means obeying the law. 10,000 women breaking a law together would have much greater impact. The challenge for activist leaders is to determine what laws to break and how to break them so that the response, violent or not, of the government is irrelevant to the success of the protest. That’s why illegal strikes, sit-ins (“occupations”) that interfere with business as usual etc, are effective. Sit-ins that allow the unjust machinery to go on undisturbed are useless, as is making “demands” that require active participation (like gifts) from the rulers. The demands that are effective are the ones where the people simply take over and do things differently… stop us if you dare.

    3. Mark Anderlik

      This is rather a circular logic argument constructed in what I guess is a purely theoretical environment. Having been a part of nonviolent resistance over the decades, I have met few people who sought violence (upon themselves) in direct actions. Efforts were made by nonviolent actors to minimize potential violence on all sides. But there was a resolute determination to speak truth to power, sometimes in very creative ways. But all of which is done with the risk of arrest or violence being done upon the actor. The power is not in the actual violence, it is in the courage and commitment to embody truth to power despite the risks. The most profound change comes to the actors themselves and those who know them as a practiced shedding of fear. It is fear that keeps all of us in line. Shedding fear to act begins to reclaim the power we have over the 1%.

  17. The Trumpening

    Americans generally don’t get out and walk enough (with the exception of those living in big cities) so it was great to see all these women out burning calories. In some ways Trump did more to combat female obesity in his first weekend than Michele Obama did in eight years.

    An older guy on Facebook, who luckily I really like, said something like “today belongs to the women”. Oh my gawd, he used the racist “the”! It seems people felt sorry for him and no one called him on it but many women responded that it belonged to men and women.

    My only comment was the march was overwhelmingly white women who voted for Trump at a 53-44 rate (or something like that). I suppose the point of the march was to reclaim some Pokemon Victim Points for white women by showing them to be on the right side of things. I’m not sure how 1 million women marching makes up for 30+ million white women marching to the polls to vote for Trump but it sure doesn’t hurt to try.

    Nowadays women as a political entity is always going to be problematic. Not only is there too much fraternizing (and worse!) with the enemy, but there are actually many women who really love their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers, etc. Besides with Sarah Palin, Betty DeVos, Michele Bachman, Theresa May, etc, it is beyond obvious that women hold very diverse political opinions.

    And so with that in mind, and although I think it may have been a bit optimistic, I was happy to see Hillary Clinton endorse Marine Le Pen by claiming the future would be female and that glass ceilings (presumably that of the French Presidency) will soon be smashed everywhere!

    1. Lambert Strether

      > In some ways Trump did more to combat female obesity in his first weekend than Michele Obama did in eight years

      This is stupid and insulting and counter-productive and wrong on so many levels, including the sexism.

      I’m going to leave it here to rot in the sun.

  18. DH

    David Frum has an interesting piece in The Atlantic on how the protestors are likely playing into Donald Trump’s hands, and will just strengthen him. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/03/how-to-build-an-autocracy/513872/

    He did an interview on “Indivisible” last night that was very interesting: http://www.wnyc.org/story/can-protests-make-difference-indivisible-podcast/

    The same podcast has a follow-up discussion on First Amendment rights and safe zones on campuses.

    He cited MADD as the classic example of how to execute a movement to effect major change. He pointed out that if you watched clips of Dean Martin on TV in the late 60s, it would be unimaginable to have that on TV today because of the societal shift against drunk driving that was quietly, but effectively, pushed by MADD in the 70s-90s.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yup. Dean-o drinking on TV.

      Know what he was really drinking during those shows? Apple juice.

      Like many good actors, Dean-o didn’t drink alcohol while he was performing. Why? Because it dries the throat.

  19. DanP66

    I wonder if there are any “Women’s” issues anymore.

    Seems to me that these issues are issues for both men and women.

    1. Does any husband want his wife to make less money? A father want that for his daughter?

    2. I know plenty of pro-life women and many more who are indifferent. I know plenty of pro-choice men. Not sure abortion is even a gender issue anymore. More than a few men have breathed a sigh of relief when their girlfriend had an abortion. I and my wife are both personally pro-life while recognizing that there is no good to be derived from making abortion illegal. Our daughter is vehemently pro-life with no tolerance for abortion at all.

    3. The majority of the population is not LGBTXXXX…whatever. Most of the people I know just dont care about someones sexual orientation. I do know a few that get annoyed that they have to deal with ANYONES sexuality and resent being accused of being anti-gay because they have no interest in attending a Pride Day or having to explain what it is to their 8 yr old. How is this specifically a woman’s issue?

    4. How are workers rights gender specific exactly? Pretty sure I have seen plenty of men put in dangerous positions working under the table. I was one of them years ago.

    5. Did not know that the environment was a gender issue.

    6. Is there violence? Sure. Humans can be awful. Is violence against women a particular issue? Probably. But do people think that there is a father or a brother out there that would not want to kill anyone that hurt their daughter or sister? We also might want to talk about violence BETWEEN women, something that has been on the rise for over 15 years. Heck, 8 girls jumped another two towns over. Beat her senseless. These girls were 14. What about violence by mothers against children? Seen plenty of that.

  20. Steely Glint

    Thanks for asking the question Yves. I’ve been mulling this over since a comment from DC (something) was pretty thoroughly trashed. I think it all depends on how you label the march; either as protection or protest. I come from a large diverse family. My husband’s side I tend to call the Texas tribe & my side the Flyover side. Included in this family are 13 females between the ages of 21 & 45. These females range from a 3rd generation Republican who would never vote Democratic, to an Evangelical quiver fuller/home schooler, liberals & leftists. With the exception of 2, who were ambivalent about the march, the rest supported it & were happy to have those who could attend, demonstrate on their behalf. They did not view the march along political lines or abortion lines ( the abortion division was put there by MSM ). None, including myself, felt it was a get Trump out of office march, but a warning march to Trump & their state reps. that they were tired of having their gains trifled with (like dismantling Planned Parenthood), while hoping for more (like Parental Leave).

  21. Susan C

    Good grief – I cannot believe the Women’s March is still being discussed here at NC. And derided, much like it would be from people who are looking at it from the outside rather than being on the inside – like if you don’t understand what the phenomena is it must be a bad thing and then up for critical review, for weeks obviously. I agree with Anne’s take on the March but wholely disagree with the unnecessarily long winded response by aab which I didn’t find at all clarifying or constructive. My best guess is that a lot of men – on this board? – voted for Trump and were taken by surprise that a number of women had a real problem with putting that guy into office. Really guys? You didn’t think there would be blowback for that? Seems like a lot of guys here are constantly trying to figure that all out – and are spending too much energy slicing and dicing it when it is not an object it is a phenomena of crowds, it was a groundswell. Because the largest marches were in large cities – which is not mystifying – it brought in the women from those nearby urban and suburban areas period. Who dressed well.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      The problem with the March, and the need to continually explain why it was unhelpful is that the participants and their supporters are only seeking a return to the catastrophic POLICIES of Clinton/Obama/neoliberalism.

      They’re not for the betterment of others, they are only interested in regaining their own comfort.


      1. Susan C

        You are imagining and surmising that is what the Women’s March was all about but you don’t actually know that. You are guessing, you are pinning it on something that makes sense to you. Don’t forget that HRC was widely disliked by most women as well as men. As was Trump. Perhaps it was/is time for new voices.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, the march had a position statement, and leading figures, and organizers. There’s no guesswork regarding the thinness and vagueness of the objectives. And with all due respect, you are deluding yourself if you think this was about, or even helped promote “new voices”.

          As many NC readers have reported, people who did not vote for Hillary (as in merely stayed home) have been excoriated by women on FB. Some have lost friends over this issue. It isn’t guessing to say that the overwhelming majority of women who attended this event were Hillary supporters. The media reports support this idea.

          1. Susan C

            But how many women read the position statement before they decided to go out and march. And of those who attempted to read it, how many saw the No Violence aspect and closed the page, satisfied that there would not be violence if they marched?

      2. Anne

        Really? Millions of women did all that just to try to get back to the comfort of a neoliberal world?

        So, women past their childbearing years didn’t march for the right of younger women to make their own reproductive decisions? Fathers didn’t march in support of wives and daughters to gain full equality? No one marched for the LGBTQ community to hold onto the rights they’ve gained? White people didn’t march for voting rights to be protected and preserved? People of all colors and beliefs didn’t march in support of civil and human rights for all people? No one marched in support of health care for all, for a living wage, for clean air and water?

        Do you think all those people knew that they were marching for neoliberals to come rescue them from doom?

        I think a lot of the things people marched in support of are things that a neoliberal agenda would not help them achieve, and I would be shocked if none of the people marching knew that. I find it hard to believe that the Sanders supporters who were there decided they would march to support the neoliberal agenda.

        Yeah, there were Clinton supporters there, but I’d be willing to venture that the Sanders supporters outnumbered them.

        If you can point me to a link or a site or something that supports the assertions you’ve made, I’d be happy to take the time to read them.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          There was nary a pink pussy hat to be seen until Trump’s election. Ergo, the pink pussy hatted, well-off “activists” saw nothing prior to Trump that “motivated” them to march. No “health care for all” marches 4 years ago. No mass marches against the ongoing rape of our natural environment. You can’t tell me that the Women’s Marchers care now when they didn’t care then. If Hillary or Obama had done every thing Trump has done, THEY WOULD NOT AND DID NOT CARE. But virtue signal Lgbtqxxx rights, or women’s rights, or insert political “identity” here, blah, blah and they hyperventilate….

          These are EXACTLY the reasons we have a Trump presidency.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          I guess my best rebuttal to the question of why I dismiss the march and even its most well-intentioned supporters is…

          Why now?

          Why “march” for women’s rights now when thousands of brown women have been KILLED in the last 8 years?
          Why “march” for LGBTQ rights now when Obama (and Clinton and hell, Barney Frank!) was against gay marriage rights?
          Why “march” for clean air and water now when BP destroyed the Gulf 7 years ago, under Obama’s watch?
          The list goes on, and on…TPP, NAFTA, Fight for $15, Obamacare, drone murders, Wall Street bailouts, torture, Gitmo…

          Until these “activists” start targeting Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, Booker, Harris, et al, and all their media sycophants (NYT, NBC,CNN, etc) I will continue to regard them as what they are…

          useless tribal hypocrites out to protect their own comfort.

          1. Anne

            And I guess I would ask, why not now? Can you really be saying that anyone who failed to march for or against something at some particular earlier time is forever barred from marching/protesting in the future?

            Seems to me that kind of eliminates the chance that any protest and any protester can ever be credible, doesn’t it?

            I’m not sure you appreciate the ripple effect of something like the Women’s March, that people make connections with others who have, perhaps, been more involved in the past, who can enlighten and educate about how the Democratic Party and people like the ones you named have betrayed and abandoned them. And who knows what will follow from that? Perhaps more of a shift away from blind loyalty and defense based on party affiliation, and toward a more results-based metric.

            I have to think there were many conversations taking place during the marches, between people starting out marching because of their opposition to Trump, and those who could tell them that where we are today is not just something to be laid at the feet of the GOP, but belongs to the Democratic Party, as well. That if we want to make any progress, everyone has to be held accountable.

            The college students and teenagers and twenty-somethings were babies or in elementary school 10, 15, 20 years ago. Back when Bill Clinton was president, I was a working mom with school-age kids who had no time for political activism – there simply wasn’t enough of me to be able to peel off another slice to march in the streets. That’s where my daughters are today – working moms with children who range from 1 to 4.

            As I’ve said before, I simply fail to understand why there can’t be appreciation for the massive numbers of people who showed up for the march as a sign that people are waking up. Isn’t that what we want them to do? Do we really want to hit them with charges that their participation meant nothing because they didn’t do it the way you think they should have?

            Why would you want to kill that? It’s bad enough that people don’t feel like anyone in power is hearing them – why reinforce that by telling them that you’re not interested in what they have to say, either?

            Please tell me what that accomplishes, and then maybe you can share with us what it is that you’re doing.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Anne, I think we continue to talk past each other. There are good people doing good work out there (our hosts are amazing examples!) Of course I would applaud the millions of my fellow citizens waking up…IF they were waking up.

              They’re not.

              As long as the neoliberals and their supporters are welcome, they’re not “woke”. As long as women’s right’s means I have to buy health insurance that covers my pregnancy (yes, I’m male) then it is just a pablum and not really about making the world better for women.

              The people who voted for Hillary in the primaries are the problem. And my own eyes told me who was “marching” in the Bay Area. And they were Hilbots.

              As for what I’m doing? Not voting. Not selling myself to facebook. Not accepting any fake politicians or news. Not believing anything will change until the Democratic Party is gutted and left for dead or rebuilt. And I’m doing my best to wake up very comfy Democratic voters to the fact that they are to blame for this mess our country’s in. The Republican elite is hopeless but we know that. It’s the Democrats that have betrayed us.

              I’m self-employed, work 80 hours a week to cover a 22% increase in my rent. I drive a 20 year old truck. I have no health insurance and have paid nearly a grand for the privilege of being uninsured. I won’t buy any identity wedge as anything but a headfake until income inequality and single payer health care are addressed. That’s where I’m at.

            2. aletheia33

              anne, 2/10/17, 2:59 p.m., your words: “As I’ve said before, I simply fail to understand why there can’t be appreciation for the massive numbers of people who showed up for the march as a sign that people are waking up. Isn’t that what we want them to do?

              my response: plenty of appreciation has been expressed here at NC of the march as a hopeful sign of an awakening.

              anne: “Do we really want to hit them with charges that their participation meant nothing because they didn’t do it the way you think they should have?”

              moi: you are oversimplifying what is going on here at NC. it would be more accurate to recognize that the concern of some at NC is that the participation of a massive number of first-time demonstrators–a promising development–could all too easily turn out to have little to no effect if they naively allow their fervor and poorly articulated concern to become coopted by the neoliberal/dem party/media powers that be, whose existing vast powers many of them clearly do not accurately perceive or fully understand. this site is dedicated to helping readers come to that accuracy of perception and fullness of understanding. it should be no surprise to see NC focus on their lack among naive demonstrators as a deep concern.

              anne: “Why would you want to kill that?”

              moi: to attack people’s naivete and gullibility and attempt to kill it is not the same thing as attacking the people. yes there have been some harsh criticisms here of liberal bourgeois feminism and trump hysteria on the part of “comfortably off newly retired female hillary supporters” and their ignorance of the political and economic system that has allowed them to flourish while it has been crushing a great number of people. much of this criticism stems from the recognition that such women–by allowing themselves to become blindly fixated on the idea of “female president now” and by not bothering to inform themselves (perhaps because it might be too uncomfortable for them) about what has become of the democratic party–played, due to their laziness and complacency, a big, willing part in the repression of the candidacy of bernie sanders, and as a direct result of that repression, the victory of the president whom they so despise.

              anne: “It’s bad enough that people don’t feel like anyone in power is hearing them”

              moi: your use of the terms “feel like” and “hearing” sounds somewhat naive to me. do you really believe that “feeling like” someone in power “hears” one–after decades of PR reassurances to cynically manipulate people emotionally into “feeling like” someone “hears” them, without that someone actually trying to make any change in policy–can today be a sign that any kind of difference at all will be forthcoming in the number of lives being ruined by unemployment, big pharma, big insurance, big finance, and the democratic party’s patent eagerness to abandon its base of poor and working people in exchange for the riches that those interests have offered its operatives?

              anne: “why reinforce that by telling them that you’re not interested in what they have to say, either?”

              moi: who here is not interested in what these women “have to say”? what DO they actually have to say? can you articulate it? (perhaps you already have here on NC and i’ve missed it, i have not read all of your comments)

              anne: “Please tell me what that accomplishes, and then maybe you can share with us what it is that you’re doing.”

              moi: again, what one hopes to accomplish here at NC is to participate in educating and informing the uninformed and naive–including oneself. many of us, i for one, came here originally in such a condition. i was shocked by the level of cynicism and impolite telling of hideous truths i encountered here. i kept reading and discovered that i had been out of touch for many years with the evolution of america’s current neoliberal oligarchy and the shredding of the constitution that had taken place while i was thinking about other things. i’ve been saddened to realize, to reluctantly come to accept, the magnitude of the forces that are now arrayed against everything that is humane in humanity worldwide. in turn, this has rendered my thinking deeper, more careful, more pessimistic, and, i believe, more realistic and wiser than when i first arrived at NC. so now i come here also to share that perspective with others of like mind.

              surely, you can see what is being accomplished here at NC? can you really not see “what it is that [we’re] doing”? do you seriously not understand that what go on here at NC are useful actions–the communication of vital information, and debate and collaboration in an effort to see how best to carry on the fight against the frighteningly powerful forces actively working against the well-being of the 99 percent?

                1. aletheia33

                  i’m honored you would say that. but no, not at all superior. just a different way of expressing. i admire the clarity of your white hot anger. keep it coming!

              1. Lambert Strether

                Shorter: At least with regard to my own comments, “can’t be appreciation,” “hit them with charges that their participation meant nothing,” “not interested in what they have to say” are all strawmanning.

                I’m worried about capture and decapitation of the “movement” by a rebranded Clintonite leadership. The personnel on the About page give ample cause for concern, as does the lack of policy proposals.

                1. nowhere

                  I could have sworn that lack of specific policy proposals was a strength of OWS, at least according to this site and the commentariat.

                  I seem to remember the reasoning being that by not focusing on any one proposal it would allow for the PTB to pickoff and corrupt any specific demand. Being somewhat nebulous was a strength. This was then reinforced with local groups coming together to solve actual localized problems (Sandy, Banking Group, etc.).

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    OWS lasted all of two months, and it was genuinely a grass-roots movement; there was no time to formulate policy demands before Obama’s 17-city paramilitary crackdown shut it down. Even so, OWS organizations like OccupyTheSEC and OccupySandy had considerable influence, the former on policy, the latter on the provisioning concrete material benefits for citizens.

                    It’s important to contextualize “What are your demands?” as well, because the question (itself a demand) wasn’t made in good faith by the establishment leaders who asked it. Rather — I would argue — it was an effort to flush out the leadership and to co-opt them (or, if need be, brutalize them in some way).

                    There was also the perspective that Occupy’s decision-making process and nascent institution building efforts were important in themselves regardless of the demands that emerged from them; see Stoller here and here. (A similar argument is being made on behalf of the Women’s March, and while I don’t accept the argument in strong form that organizing is always good, it seems good to me in this case.) My view is that we have a negative result, which could be summed up — let me caveat that I’m feeling my way here, and haven’t thought this through — that anarchism doesn’t scale. For example, the Occupy general assembly, though intriguing, clearly skewed away from working class participation, because it was lengthy and open-ended. (Roberts Rules would work better, for that reason; there’s certainly a way to implement the “stack” without creating a structure where meetings go on and on and on….)

                    Occupy was 2017 – 2011 = 6 years ago. That’s time enough to learn some lessons. One of my takeaways is that demands are, in fact, important. And what the Sanders campaign crystallized for me is that there are demands, supported by large majorities of the American people, that are well-understood and implementable and have successful track records in more civilized countries, and that would bring concrete material benefits to millions and millions of people, especially the working class, which includes the great majority of women. Single payer is one, free college is another, a Post Office Bank is another, and (going further afield) hand-marked paper ballots hand-counted in public is still another. The Women’s March leadership — again, see my comment above on the About page — is well seasoned with political professionals. If they are not advocating for concrete policies, there’s a reason for that. I would like very much to think that the reason is a good one. So far, I remain unpersuaded by what I see on this thread, excellent though it is.

                2. ChiGal in Carolina

                  why it is not straw manning is because so many of the comments are disparaging of the actual marchers rather than focusing on how to combat the leadership

                  this cannot be done by making fun of women in pink hats. it should rather be done by disseminating information on the various outrages perpetrated by those still in positions of power (Schumer, Pelosi, et al) and going amongst them and educating them as to who really has their interests at heart

                  reading NC is constant learning; now we need to do something besides fight amongst ourselves with our knowledge

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    > so many of the comments are disparaging of the actual marchers rather than focusing on how to combat the leadership

                    The tendency to identify the marchers with the march leadership isn’t helping, either. As aab originally asked, who is “we”?

              2. ChiGal in Carolina

                the education in what is really happening that NC provides is invaluable. but it is not the case that the rank and file, either of Ds or Rs, whites or blacks, or any other groups, read this site.

                so the issue is how to get from the analysis to engagement with the world out there.

                i think Anne is saying, don’t write anybody off in that regard, and certainly don’t approach them with dismissive contempt – that is not the way to share your awareness or raise their consciousness.

  22. medicalquack

    Sure we need to bring attention to important matters, but I looked at this as being a physical protest for folks wrapped up with virtual values and not looking at the real world. Look at what is mentioned about everyone getting on Facebook. Personally it’s juvenile in my opinion for any member of Congress or any law maker to be on there. Why do people knowingly go there to a site that buys your credit card data, profiles you and sells behavioral scoring to make big money. I used to write software and folks, using Facebook to further spread your messages is a double edge sword, its what I call the “One Trick Algo” game as it works on your emotions to get you to dump more behavioral data about yourself.

    We had the same questions with the Occupy movement, everybody asked why as they knew something was wrong but didn’t understand what it was. We live in a world run by algorithms that touch you everywhere and their makers, who are human know the power. Real world or virtual world values, people can’t tell the difference anymore.


    It’s ugly with how corporations and government are using algorithms to score people and determine their worth and I write about that all the time and truly this is where the battle is as with software you can do something about anything, create little virtual worlds where people live with their beliefs of whatever they are and totally lose track of the physical real world values. I’ve had a page out there for a few years now with videos from folks smarter than me that help explain how this duping works, and we are all under the attack of killer algorithms.

    I’m glad I don’t do help desk stuff anymore, as the attitudes of anger are frustrating when you try and help a user with a software problem anymore, as they have never written a stick of code but will rip your face off telling you how to fix the issue as they are just so mad over algorithms ripping them off and they just see that conclusion. I was the one who showed up to help and got my face ripped off so I had to say good bye to that as the anger and perceptions that were not real were just too crazy. If you want to watch some videos and get another view and a look at the real world of algorithms, some that cheat and lie for profit and control, there’s the link below. So in summary, yes this protest didn’t do a thing as it was not focused at what the problem is, the machines and the algorithm creators running this country with their own versions of Operation Perception Deception. Other than being a big huge social event that got women out to talk to other women and make some new friends, I too see little purpose.



  23. Tigerlily

    Well…yes and no.

    Full disclosure: I attended the local women’s march, somewhat against my better judgement. I was (and am) skeptical about its effectiveness for the very reasons outlined above, and plus I’m not really a joiner, but I had some friends who were going and I thought I should support them. In reflecting on that experience I don’t think the “therapeutic” dimension should be ignored. The election of Donald Trump was very stressful for many women, and women manage stress by expressing affiliative social behaviour (or “tending and befriending”). So I think there was value in that, at least.

    The big picture is more problematic. The reality is that it can be a lot easier to unite people AGAINST someone than achieve consensus on a public policy agenda. People may dislike Donald Trump for all kinds of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to support a $15 minimum wage, or universal health care, or any other specific objective that might be proposed. The more you take the focus off of Trump and try to nail down specific policy positions the more you risk fragmenting the movement. Also, when you consider the marches were organized in a few short weeks, largely through social media, it’s not surprising protestors didn’t show up with a well thought out policy documents in hand ready to chart an alternate course for the country.

    Just so I’m not misunderstood I want to repeat that I agree that the protests are unlikely to have a major impact so long as they depend on opposition to Trump as their central unifying principle. On the other hand formulating a coherent platform that can be presented as a viable alternative to Trumpism would be a formidable challenge for a large, established organization with a lot of resources (an organization like, for example, the Democratic party). Whether such a project can be achieved through the highly diffuse medium of social media is at best an untested hypothesis.

    1. reslez

      They can’t support something like paid maternity leave? The US is one of like 2 countries in the world that has zero mandated by law! “Oh, it’s too difficult to come up with something we’d all agree on”. Give me a break. Not venting at you personally but what I perceive as the vapidity of the protests.

      You absolutely need to show up with a concrete policy. How else can you exploit your moment of media attention if you have nothing to show them? Total amateur hour. Or, rather, professionals with zero interest in rocking the boat. Exploiting people frightened by Trump to expand their email list.

      1. Tigerlily

        I think you underestimate the likely obstacles to achieving the consensus necessary to build a mass political movement. Sure, in theory it should be staightforward, and in theory we can have unlimited quantities of free, clean energy -all we have to do is abolish the First Law of Thermodynamics. The devil is always in the details.

        So this is the moment things start coming undone:

        Protestor #1: “Pushing for a $15/hr minimum wage is a no brainer”.

        Protestor #2: “Well of course a $15/hr minimum wage would be great, but how can we even think of spending time and energy on that when Trump is about to launch an all out war on womens’ right to choose?”

        From there, it’s all downhill.

        Even when people broadly share a common ideological outlook and are committed to the same goals there are inevitably going to be differences, and sometimes quite sharp differences, over priorities, tactics, and personalities, not to mention policy specifics. Traditionally mass political parties provided the structure, organization and leadership to manage those differences and build consensus. We have seen that social media is a useful tool for getting people who are already sufficiently motivated out onto the streets, but whether it can do the work of a traditional party is still very much an open question.

  24. Pat

    As I said when it was going on the march itself is nothing but a feel good attempt to deal with both anger and fears. Whether it will mean more will be what happens going forward.

    If what comes out of the march is lets embarrass Donald Trump and pink slip him and a march or two, it remains nothing but a feel good thing. It takes more and harder work to change things.

    suffering succotash, normalized above mentions the yearly ‘pro-life’ marches. If all those people did was march annually, they would not have made so many inroads on access to reproductive services. Nope they have done much more than march. Women’s March activists would do well to look at them check out what has been done between marches. The Women’s March participants will have to hone their message. They will have to, yes, instill the fear of crossing them into politicians. “Support this or you are gone. We don’t care if we get the other guy, you will not get elected because you pat us on the head while happily supporting our enemies and killing the legislation we elect you to pass in back room deals. We recognize that doesn’t advance our cause.” And then take them out. And that means having less nebulous clearer policy goals and if a fifteen/hr minimum wage floor is one of them they need to tell people speaking for ‘them’ who pooh-pooh it to get the hell out.

    Just like Trump and Clinton, if you honestly think half these politicians care one way or another about Women’s reproductive rights, gay rights, free education, health care for all, you are kidding yourselves. They care about 1.) their campaign donors and 2.) getting elected. Sadly it is usually in that order, but if they can’t get elected their donors really don’t exist. Tea Party/Anti-abortion activists have both moved beyond the usual co-option of policy support on the right (same as the left) by making it clear that they understand their greatest tool is ‘co-opting’ the electoral process so that the politicians fear them deeply.

    There are local elections in the next year in many locations. They need to start there, and keep moving on. And yes I chose that last phrase on purpose because Move On might have started to be more than it is, but what it is today is a rubber stamp, they stopped trying to force the system to heed the activists and became one of the forces to convince the activists/electorate to accept the status quo.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      MoveOn is a PAC founded to support the Clintons in 1998. It’s membership is well to the left of its actual founders and employees. Occasionally, it makes noise but will always wind up assimilated.

      1. Pat

        As someone who has long been a recipient of their mailings, there is a reason its membership is well to the left of what they really support. So not the perfect example of letting yourself get co-opted but how ideas get co-opted and real movement in that area gets knee capped.

  25. Eclair

    I have just spend ten minutes reading about whether the woman’s marches were good or not and will spend another ten minutes writing this comment (slow typist). I’m old and I’m grumpy, because life is running out and twenty minutes is precious.

    I didn’t go to our local woman’s march. I have stood vigils against the VietNam war with white-haired Quaker ladies, I’ve marched against the Iraq war and for immigration rights. I travelled to DC (by train) for the Jon Stuart Rally for Rationality (or something). I helped start our local Occupy group and marched every weekend and watched the police tear gas Occupiers. I had other uses for my limited physical energy; but for thousands of women, this may have been their first step towards empowerment and revolt. A tiny first step that should be encouraged.

    The women’s marches are over; can we stop talking about them and begin asking the participants and ourselves … what are you going to do now? What are you ‘for?’ Medicare for all? $15 minimum wage? Free public education through college? And professional school? Because it’s all going down the drain; health care, schools, job security. Begin to organize. Talk to your friends. Start holding little meetings. Network.

    And, for those who assert that there are no ‘women’s issues?’ Until we live in a society where a woman routinely keeps her own family name upon marriage, where maternity (and paternity) leave is routinely at least one year long, where birth control is as available as aspirin, where almost-naked men routinely parade about at Hollywood events and on click-bait websites in an equal ratio to almost-naked women, where women’s breasts are viewed as primarily for feeding babies, where women (and men) sex-workers are not criminalized, (deep breath here), then there will be no women’s issues.

    Gotta go support the AIM NoDAPL people this morning. Aux barricades!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is why they need to be discussed.

      The same groups behind the vaunted March are now proposing to write post cards to mail to Trump, so he will know they don’t like him. This accomplishes nothing.

      Change is ugly and hard work. Last fall, I was chatting up a cute bartender who was a recent graduate of my Alma mater in the “People’s Republic of Charlottesville” and the sight of the highest wealth disparity in the state, and I asked her about the female congressional candidate who was supported by every women’s group (PP, NARAL, Emily’s List). The young Sanders voter didn’t even know the Dems had a candidate. All the “women hear me roar messaging” didn’t reach this girl, and at one point, she was bright enough to get into UVA.

      As bad as it is, I was essentially the first contact this girl had from a campaign professing to be big on women’s issues. Democrats held this seat in 2009, and the relatively decent Republican congressman (from a constituency stand point) was retiring with a gross prick on the ballot. It’s important that people understand these weekend marches by people who are upset they won’t get to read Internet memes about Bill Clinton stay at home husband aren’t powerful or worth anyone’s time. Plenty of well meaning people will be attracted to the enthusiasm on display.

      1. Anne

        First, I think the Trump post card action was more than just “we don’t like you,” but if you’re going to simplify it to that level, how is sending a post card different from people calling and e-mailing their representatives? Isn’t the point of that to express a “we don’t like _________” or – when things go well – “thank you for ____________?”

        Second, for those of us who can’t seem to get enough information, ever, about what is going on in the country and the world, running into people who evince that level of ignorance is pretty shocking. Since you mention the encounter was last fall, you really can’t blame the Women’s March for her failing to know pretty much anything; I wonder what she knows now, if it’s more than what she knew when you ran into her.

        Third, how do you get people more involved and more aware? It’s not like there aren’t a gazillion ways to educate one’s self, so it comes down to people actually wanting to learn and wanting to know. I truly believe that as long as people don’t feel affected or impacted by things, they won’t muster up much interest in them.

        Sometimes I kind of hate the internet and smartphones; I am sick of seeing people so cocooned in their bubbles, seemingly physically unable to put their damn phones down, look up and see the world around them in real time and not on a screen.

        Don’t worry, I’m not at “hey, kids – get off my lawn” senior dotage level yet, but I may be getting close.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          You are being told how to get involved. It’s put up or shut up time.

          Hillary supporters and Democrats knew how to win (registration and gotv of deplorables) and chose to chase after fascists, “moderate suburban republicans.” Tell me how many voters you registered in 2016. Any? What about 2008? 2010? 2012? 2014?

          The problem is the old activists on trust Democrats anymore. We saw where you were during the last eight years and what was done with unprecedented majorities, and we don’t young people or the naive but enthusiastic to be preyed upon by the likes of Obama and Clinton Inc again. Where were all these people during Occupy? Ferguson? Oh, right.

          Even now, Democrats are holding pow wows to discuss how to win suburban republicans with their anti women views because that’s who the Democrats are and want to be.

          The march might be cathartic, but it’s meaningless without action. Once the likes of DWS and Steinem were tolerated the marchers made it known where they stood.

        2. Lambert Strether

          I looked at the first action on the Women’s March site. Here it is:

          Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’re offering printable postcards for you to download.

          I agree that’s not a “we don’t like you” message, but only because there seems to be no message at all other than how many postcards were sent (which undoubtedly will be contested). Operationally, the “printable postcards for you to download” are excellent data to refine their mailing list, but is there much else here?

    2. Susan C

      “for thousands of women, this may have been their first step towards empowerment and revolt. A tiny first step that should be encouraged.”

      Brava +1000

      1. archmagus

        Yeah but what are you revolting against?

        The hypocrisy remains: if you’re American and you own a car, your carbon footprint relative to anyone in a 3rd world country is off the charts. So your not REALLY about saving the environment, you just want everyone to know how morally righteous you are.

        Same thing with ending violence. First off, you wont. Secondly, your not furthering the cause by “raising awareness”. This “raising awareness” is the American way of saying “im too lazy to do anything other than post on social media”.

        All the “rights”, like “worker’s rights”, “disability rights”, are so vague. Which people are you trying to help? Bankers are workers too. The disabled have rights as well. Which grievances do you have with what laws?

        Abortion is the only one I agree with. Why are old white men voting on clear-cut women issues that have to do with their own bodies? Never understood that. Had the Women’s March solely been about this, I think some progress could have been made.

        But this Women’s March really failed to deliver any hard message. All the Anti-Trump, Pro-Hillary BS is nauseating. One of the biggest problems in America is how people either deify or demonize politicians. Politicians are like everyone else: lazy and stupid. The only solution is to limit their power because they honestly all suck at their jobs.

        But while all these marches and protests complain about government, they also want to EXPAND government. They want government to PUNISH more people. They think its ok to “punch a Nazi” because they have different ideological views. They essentially want a more totalitarian regime that stands up for the little guy, a complete irony to those that have lived in socialist and communist republics. The want MORE laws, MORE intervention. They want ENFORCED equality. It’s a substance-less pursuit of superficial outcomes.

        1. jrs

          “if you’re American and you own a car, your carbon footprint relative to anyone in a 3rd world country is off the charts. So your not REALLY about saving the environment, you just want everyone to know how morally righteous you are.”

          so what is your point, that people should march for better public transit or something. Ok, not a bad idea especially many places where there is very little support of it (some cities are much more on the ball than others here) but … People drive first and foremost to get to jobs, they have to get to jobs because it’s about the only way to get the money in this society for the things that they need to live, they could try to live in working distance of work but even rentals are sometimes unaffordable there etc.. And there is the problem in that with two wage earner families it’s hard to find a place that will be near BOTH their jobs. Homeowning is way too incentivized in this society as well though which also contributes to long commutes probably.

        2. Vatch

          The hypocrisy remains: if you’re American and you own a car, your carbon footprint relative to anyone in a 3rd world country is off the charts. So your not REALLY about saving the environment, you just want everyone to know how morally righteous you are.

          Have you seen any pictures or videos of the air pollution in Third World mega-cities? Sure, an American with an SUV or a non-hybrid luxury car emits a heck of a lot more carbon dioxide that the average Third Worlder. But an American with a fuel efficient car isn’t so bad, and has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. People can’t be blamed for living their lives. They can be blamed for being excessively wasteful and for producing too many new humans.

          1. archmagus

            You do realize that a massive portion of goods made for Americans is made overseas right?

            And either way we consume the most of the worlds resources by far, which means we also destroy the environment most, by far.

            EDIT: Average American generates 35x the carbon footprint of an average African. The second you go on a plane, you already are top 10% of the world. Even if you’ve only flew once.

            1. Vatch

              I doubt that the average American has a carbon footprint that’s 35 times the average African’s, although it’s possible. The average American’s ecological footprint is 6 to 8 times the average African’s (I realize this is a slightly different concept):


              Issuing a jeremiad against the average American won’t achieve any results — you’ll just alienate people. It’s also inaccurate, for when one considers the high degree of inequality in the United States, I think it’s very likely that the mean average American footprint is much higher than the median average footprint, whether it’s a carbon footprint or an ecological footprint. And it’s the median that is the important average when the sample set is so skewed near the top.

    3. jerry

      There’s a difference between womens issues and sex differences. Is whether a woman keeps her name after marriage really what we need to discuss as a nation? What we should continue to work towards is equality of opportunity for women, politically, career-wise, etc. And then is manifesting itself pretty well in my opinion, obviously as time goes by this change becomes more apparent as the generations shift.

      Women choose to take their husbands family name if they want to. There aren’t naked men on click-bait sites because women do not care about that kind of thing, womens breasts will never be viewed primarily as for feeding babies, sexual desire is not going away. Men and women are not the same! You cannot change biology. So yes, equality for women, but we also need to recognize that men and women are, and always will be, DIFFERENT. And that’s OK.

      1. Eclair

        Lordy, it’s late and I’m tired because I’ve been marching with the local AIM folks at the Wells Fargo headquarters, protesting their investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline, but your statement that “There aren’t naked men on click-bait sites because women do not care about that kind of thing,” just needs to be responded to.
        Even if you are a woman, you certainly can’t speak for all women. Who says that ‘women don’t care for that kind of thing?’ The arrogance of that statement appalls me. Yeah, I know lots of women (well, probably all the the hetero/bi women I know) who like to look at buff male bodies … but because of the still-skewed gender power dynamics in our society, males get to pull their power tactics and splash nearly naked female bodies all over web-sites. It’s a way of asserting dominance.

        And, making a sweeping statement that ‘womens (sic) breasts will never be viewed primarily as for feeding babies:’ how do you back that up? There are certainly cultures that do not indulge in our fetish for female breasts, complete with augmentation surgeries. And, biologically, female breasts are primarily for feeding babies, much as dominant males would like to deny that fact. The fact that our society still hassles mothers who breast feed in public testifies to the power of patriarchy in trying to control the function of the female breast.

        When there is a situation in which one half of society appears at public events with the bodies almost completely clothed, and the other half appears with at least half of their bodies naked and exposed for the viewing delight of the clothed half, you have to begin to ask why this is the case. It is a skewed power dynamic that brings to mind the slave markets in the early days of our country, where naked Africans, of both sexes, were displayed publicly. Whites were asserting their power and dominance over Blacks.

  26. Bee

    My problem with the march is that the marchers are not only protesting Trump, but the people who voted for him who they tarnish as racists and sexists. Yet, I believe the many of those who voted for him did so because they thought the economic situation was so bad that they were willing to risk putting an inexperienced man with no decorum into the White House. But, the protesters want to pretend it was just about race and xenophobia. So that negates the major reason why Trump won in the first place and it’s made to silence all the “deplorables.” I find it pretty disrespectable to your fellow citizens. It was a fair election, please respect that.

    1. jrs

      I’m not so sure it was a fair election with all the voter disenfranchisement etc.. U.S. elections are known to be rather banana republic. But nonetheless, clearly some people did vote for Trump, and one can hardly know all the reasons people did so, because everyone had their own reason for doin so.

  27. George Phillies

    The people advocating a coup should consider that after they have torn down the walls of law that protect them, the people performing the coup are well to the right of Trump and, when unconstrained by law, may well put into effect the final solution to the liberal problem. [Yes, I chose that final bit on purpose.] Their perspective on million person marches is likely to be that there is nothing wrong with a million person march that a moderate number of air strikes will not cure.

    And, unlike the right, the American left tends not to be people who own guns who can take corrective action by shooting the politicians, media folks, and other soft targets who are on the wrong side.

    Coups are really bad ideas.

    1. Karl Kolchak

      Indeed. I read a statistic recently that, while I don’t recall he exact figures, said something like 80% of guns in the U.S. are owned by just 10% of households. I don’t know for sure, but I would gather that 90% or more of that 10% are likely NRA supporters, who were among Trump’s strongest constituency. Those Clinton die hards and the media enablers who throw around the idea of removing Trump seem clueless that doing so risks starting another civil war that will end very badly for them. Red state America, or more accurately the non-big city metropolitan areas, own most of the guns, control most of the agricultural land, and populate most positions in law enforcement, the national guard and the military.

      Any “Second Civil War,” would likely be a very short affair, with the “blues” being ruthlessly savaged and starved into submission. I grew up in a small rust belt town and have spent most of my adult life in tony Northern Virginia, so I’ve lived among both sides. I deplore Trump, but I also hate what was done to my hometown by feckless politicians like the Clintons and Obama. Had I stayed where I where I was born, I would likely be as angry as they are at what has been done to them. Those calling for Trump’s ouster should stop and seriously consider the consequences because it would end very, very badly for them. They need to look at themselves and realize that rather than continuing to demonize the opposition, they need to advocate economic policies that will win a majority of them back even if it means their own taxes go up a bit or they have to pay more for their Uggs, their Starbucks and their North Face jackets.

      Otherwise, the country is indeed doomed.

  28. Toni Gilpin

    I am a middle-aged woman, the daughter of a UAW organizer; I’m a labor historian who studies left-wing unionism and the history of organizing generally and I’ve co-authored one book on a successful organizing effort (the Yale clerical workers’ strike of 1984). I believe that radical change needs to happen through the working class. I do as much union support work as I can. I spend a lot of time thinking about how movements work, and don’t work. I’ve been to a lot of demonstrations in my day, including the Solidarity Day march in DC in 1981, which was supposed to jump-start the labor movement. Still waiting for that to happen.

    But I also went to the women’s march in Chicago, though sans hat. I went for the same reason that a lot of union organizers and rank-and-file activists that I know, from the Teachers’ Union, the UE, and the UAW, were there (many of those same people have been at the O’Hare protests since, btw). They are people who, like me, agree with much of what aab says about the failures of the Democratic Party and the ravages of neoliberalism. But we went to the march anyhow, and those who insist that only upper-class women were in attendance are simply wrong. A friend of mine, another labor historian who also recognized all the shortcomings of the march (and who was with me on Solidarity Day), provided the best reason to go: now that they’ve called this thing, it’s important that it be big. And it was important, in the sense that it registered the beginning of the wave of “resistance” (not my favorite word either) to the Trump administration. I don’t know how that will play out, but nobody here does either. Maybe it will die down or simply get co-opted by the Democrats and/or by corporate American for its advertising campaigns. But for the moment it is causing disruption within the Democratic Party and making Trump and the GOP work harder to get their nominees and their agenda through. Which is all for the good right now.

    I also live in a fairly affluent and mostly progressive community in the Chicago area, and I know a lot of pink-hatted women who went to DC. Many of them come from privilege, were Hillary supporters, and want only to reset the calendar back to October 2016. Much of what some of them have decided to do since the March strikes me as misguided or downright goofy. But still, I will not dismiss them all with condescension, which I do think is happening in the comments here too often. Some of these women have never done anything political before. They are, like the rest of us, grappling for what to do now, and some – not all, but some – have begun to acknowledge that the Democratic Party even under Obama was failing miserably. In my conversations I’ve found many of them surprisingly angry at the Democratic Party in general and fully on board with the notion that the whole Party needs fundamental change. I live in Jan Schakowsky’s congressional district, who is often viewed as a progressive icon, but many of the pink-hatted women are now recognizing that Jan has done little for years beyond preaching to the already converted and has failed to build any sort of grass-roots organization. The progressive energy that could have been harnessed here to mobilize elsewhere has been squandered. So now these women are trying to figure out how to press the Democrats to push back hard against Trump and the GOP. They aren’t really sure how best to do that, but who is? If anyone has the sure-fire formula for that I’d like to hear it.

    And just because these women – or anybody else – may be a long way from endorsing the views held here on NC, does that mean they are not worthy of engagement? Because they made some silly signs, hold unfocused views, or don’t recognize who the real enemies are (a description that applies to working-class Trump supporters, I would note) we don’t think they will ever be capable of reaching (or being pushed toward) the right conclusions and the right causes? Holding that belief – that the only people worth talking to are those who already agree with you – is the exact opposite of organizing. For many of these women their worldview (including their view of the Democratic Party) was shattered on November 8. That means they are capable of thinking differently going forward.

    So like others on this thread I would really like to hear from those on NC about what they think are the effective means of protest right now. I mean literal, on-the-ground activities that people are participating in that they believe will have meaningful impact, either in the short or long run. In or outside of electoral politics. That would be a genuinely useful conversation.

    And as a historian can I also note that there is too much simplification of the protest marches of the past. From the Eight-Hour day general strike back in 1886 on through to the March on Washington in 1963 and beyond: all those events were also marked by serious discord among the organizers about message and tactics, about who should speak and what should be said, about the efficacy of demonstrations and whether they bolster or hinder grass-roots local organizing. The March on Washington, for instance, surely assured the passage of civil rights legislation but its message on jobs and economic justice quickly faded from view. So was the March a success or a failure? Clearly there is no one right answer to that. I don’t think we can know for sure about the Women’s March yet either.

    1. annie

      right now i’d like to see protests targeting this upcoming rigged dnc vote where obama’s perez seems sure to beat sanders’ ellison.
      how can this be done?

      1. Toni Gilpin

        Thanks for the nice comment, Steely G. — I appreciate it. I like much of what is in Barber’s piece and certainly the message about race and class in it, and the need for coalition building: I would just argue that we could actually just kind of use the same old language (solidarity) and the same old fusion (inter-racial class-based organizing) which is more or less what Barber is saying, of course. But I note that the word “union” is not in this piece anywhere, unless I missed that. So I’d want him to emphasize that it’s through workplace-based labor organizing that we’ll build the fusion we need.

    2. Mary

      No one who is energetic enough to write a comment has reported that a second outcome of the march has been to suggest “huddles” — local self-organizing meetings to focus on specific issues. Four thousand huddles have been announced to date. I will go to one tomorrow on gun violence/children, appropriate for Chicago to say the least. See: https://www.womensmarch.com/100/action2/.

      I agree with the comments that say the criticism is unfortunate and it may be that specific action will be broad and useful. But I am sure someone will find something wrong with 4,000 local meetings on specific issues!

      1. Anne

        Mary, I saw it on the site, and was trying to figure out a way to say something about it that wouldn’t devolve into criticism that calling these neighborhood meetings “huddles” was proof that this couldn’t possibly be a serious movement.

        I think what bothers me a bit is that it doesn’t seem like those who are most critical have taken the time to even look at the WM website. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I found this list of action ideas from the site quite good:

        Other Action Ideas

        – Attend a Town Hall meeting near you that a Member of Congress is holding the week of Feb. 20. Click here for a current list.

        – Joining or hosting a Tax Day March on April 15 calling on Donald Trump to release his taxes or driving local legislation to force presidential candidates to disclose their taxes to qualify to be on your state’s ballot. See attached story from Massachusetts as an example.

        – Joining the March for Jobs, Justice and Climate on April 29 in Washington, DC

        – Getting involved with electoral politics in your town, city or state. A couple good places to start are Working Families Party and SwingLeft.

        – Hosting workshops relevant to your community, such as a Know Your Rights Workshops or How to Run for Local Office workshop.

        – Calling, emailing, or circulating a petition to your mayor demanding that your city either become or remain a sanctuary city.

        – Thinking about longer term local actions like Forming and recruiting a rapid response team. Opt-in to our rapid-response team and we’ll help you set up a text system to alert your entire group to an immediate and pressing action i.e. a protest, a sit-in, organizing against an immigration raid/deportation, etc.

        – Initiating a voter registration drive. Consider tabling in high-traffic areas around your community.

        – Anything else?

        To me, this looks like organizing. Is it everything? No. But I think it shows that interest being involved and active didn’t end when everyone packed up and went home. And I think people fail to consider that how politicians and elected officials respond to being challenged and questioned and tasked as they haven’t been before is going to have a lot to do with what happens next.

        1. Vatch

          Toni asked:

          I would really like to hear from those on NC about what they think are the effective means of protest right now.

          And Anne provided a wealth of good suggestions. I’m going to repeat a suggestion that I have been hammering for the past couple of months: contact your elected officials and let them know what you think about specific bills and nominations. It’s easy, inexpensive, and it does not take much time. Tell your Senators that Steven Mnuchin should not become the Secretary of the Treasury and Scott Pruitt should not become the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Tell your Representative to co-sponsor H.R.790 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017. In the months to come, there will be plenty more bills to support and oppose.

          Some might object that the Gilens and Page study shows that elected politicians aren’t responsive to constituents, and only respond to the needs of rich donors. That is largely true, but in the past couple of years, there has been a significant expansion of political awareness in the U.S., and politicians may need to pay more attention to the needs of their constituents. Let them know what you think, and do it frequently. And pay attention to the candidates in primary elections. In many locations, that’s where the general election is effectively decided.

        2. lambert strether

          Hmm. To me these “action ideas” look like systematic erasure of every single policy issue raised by Sanders, as well as his perspective that the country is an oligarchy. Why is my perception wrong?

          Sanders did very well with young women, of course. I really don’t need to hear “never, ever” single payer. I’m basically silence = death on this, to steal ACT-UP’s phrase.

          1. Mary

            I don’t understand why these action ideas are anti-Sanders. Aren’t they efforts to organize. Was Sanders against that?

            1. Lambert Strether

              Did you read my comment? I didn’t say they were “anti-Sanders.” To repeat:

              Hmm. To me these “action ideas” look like systematic erasure of every single policy issue raised by Sanders, as well as his perspective that the country is an oligarchy. Why is my perception wrong?

              Does everything have to be about personalities?

              Organize for what? The conservatives do a lot of organizing, too. Is organizing good as such? I tend to be trustful that it is, but that’s not the same as saying it always is.

          2. Toni Gilpin

            Well, yes, the “action ideas” are pretty much all about process and entirely within the framework of electoral politics: few issues are emphasized. But what issues those people who might go to town halls might be raising or what platform they might put forth if they choose to run for local office is left open to interpretation. So if former Sanders people read this, for instance, they might be doing precisely what you’d like to see if they follow these guidelines.

            But regardless I don’t think too many people, whatever they think politically, paid much attention to the Women’s March website or are taking their cues from it now (the women I know who went and who are trying to figure out what to do now haven’t mentioned it, nor have I seen it posted on FB, and I have a lot of FB friends who wear pink hats.)

            But would I like to see, on anyone’s action agenda now, things like: seek out a strike or lockout somewhere near you, visit the workers there, and see what assistance you can provide. Find the Fight for $15 group close to you and join it. Find out if your city council is considering raising the minimum wage in your town, and if not, ask why not. If you live in a right-to-work state, or a state where anti-union legislation is pending (Iowa), contact your state reps and let them know that you find such laws harmful and you’d like them to explain why they think lowering workers’ living standards is a good idea. And etc.

            1. aab

              But would I like to see, on anyone’s action agenda now, things like: seek out a strike or lockout somewhere near you, visit the workers there, and see what assistance you can provide. Find the Fight for $15 group close to you and join it. Find out if your city council is considering raising the minimum wage in your town, and if not, ask why not. If you live in a right-to-work state, or a state where anti-union legislation is pending (Iowa), contact your state reps and let them know that you find such laws harmful and you’d like them to explain why they think lowering workers’ living standards is a good idea. And etc.

              I co-sign this. And if people wear pink caps to this sort of effort, I will start to feel differently about the pink caps.

              1. Toni Gilpin

                Okay, now about this: in mid-December I sent an email out to a big list of people I know and posted on FB asking for donations (with either $ or Xmas presents for kids) for UAW members in South Bend who’ve been locked out by Honeywell for 9 months. I framed it this way: “Indiana is Trump country, and South Bend is precisely the territory where building interracial solidarity is so critical. These workers – white, African-American and Latino, male and female – are doing that on the ground every day. But going up against a powerful company like Honeywell can be a hellish experience. And the longer it goes on, the more it feels like a private hell – the bills mount up, the picket lines get colder, and it seems that no one else in the world knows or cares about you.” I asked only for a token donation along with a note if that’s what people could afford — it really is as much the thought, and the support, that makes a difference in situations like this.

                I have to say I was surprised by the response I got. Some of my super-leftie Sanders-supporting friends failed to respond. On the other hand, some of my well-to-do women friends, who I did not expect to hear from, donated generously. Wrote warm notes of support. Told me how much they appreciated being asked to help. Almost all of these women made little hats and went off to DC a month later.

                So people can surprise you. In some cases it turned out that these women had grown up in union households and know how much it matters. Or they are anxious to reach out to workers in IN, our neighboring state, because we’d sent delegations there from my home town on behalf of Obama in ’08 and they know they are not all racists. At any rate I had been wrong about my assumptions about some people, for better or worse, and I learned something. (BTW I am going back to South Bend tomorrow for another support action, on the 80th anniversary of the Flint sit-down strikes.

                But I totally get your full-blown criticism of the Dems, aab. My biggest fear is that all this will just get co-opted by the establishment. I think we have to be amongst all those “resisting” to make sure that doesn’t happen.

      2. marym

        Apologies to Mary and Anne as I made a somewhat redundant comment below before reading all the comments. May I add that the combination on the website of multi-faceted traditional organizing and the ready-response section seems to be a good idea for building solidarity across issues. A quick response to communicate, attend a rally, make a phone call to officials to object to arrests, etc. is a way for people normally focused on other issues and tactics to provide mutual support.

    3. Watt4Bob

      Thank you, thank you!

      I would like to recommend your comment be front-paged, as it seems to me the most comprehensive, insightful exposition of the difficulties faced by those who would organize the American public to work for a better, more equitable future.

      It seems to me we have been so thoroughly trained over the last few decades, to understand ourselves as members of one identity group or another, that we are no longer able to see or feel the necessity of making common cause.

      I think it would be a useful effort to promote Solidarity First as an antidote to all the vague misgivings we feel about this or that affinity groups efforts to resist.

      In essence, we’re all resisting the same perennial, repressive evils, we just don’t feel it in our bones yet.

      We have to work on that.

    4. Fiery Hunt

      Nice comment…agree with most if not all of it. I tend to be hard on the “Yay, we’re empowered!” attitude of the marchers because I see them so easily duped and co-opted by the neolibs. And the enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

      So here’s my thoughts on real actions to take for my potential allies:

      Change your voter registration. Drop the “D”. Let the neoliberal Demo elite SEE that you are prepared to bolt. Let them explain the massive loss of registered voters. Guage their response and follow thru.
      And obviously do not donate a penny. The only things that matter to the people who’ve fostered this mess is money and votes. Show them they should fear the loss of both.

    5. lambert strether

      I’m seeing a huge focus on means, little focus on ends.

      Why not send post cards with a policy message? And so for most of the means suggested.

            1. Watt4Bob

              I’d remind you of the successful efforts of the California Nurses Union’s Sanders delegates in resisting the gangster tactics of the Clintonite ‘Security’ team at the Democratic convention.

              And those same Nurses later success at winning a majority of California’s Democratic delegates in recent elections.

    6. Lynne

      “Because they made some silly signs, hold unfocused views, or don’t recognize who the real enemies are (a description that applies to working-class Trump supporters, I would note) we don’t think they will ever be capable of reaching (or being pushed toward) the right conclusions and the right causes?”
      No, but because they spent years denigrating and mocking women not fortunate to be in their socioeconomic class. Because they sneered over and over again that obviously Trump was reprehensible because he said he and the people in his campaign “love the poorly educated.” Because they don’t consider the poorly educated as people entitled to respect, let alone the same rights that they enjoy. Because they are the kind of people who cheered when the establishment of both parties routinely demonstrate their contempt for anyone other than wealthy white women. And if you think otherwise, why did they all condemn Trump when he went to LA to bring TV coverage to the flooding, or when he condemned the shooting in a gay nightclub in FL? They wanted TV coverage just as much as he did; their real objection was that the “great unwashed” were shown as something other than stereotypical figures of fun.

      If you doubt that, just remember that you say they “want only to reset the calendar back to October 2016.” They are FINE with the misery most people face everyday, because THEY have THEIRS. Why do you think that is so admirable?

  29. Annotherone

    My own feelings about The March are confused. I’m female, War Baby generation. First: it seemed to me to be too soon for such a protest. Second: the necessary fight and, importantly, it needs to be fought by everyone, not just females, ought to be against the oligarchy, Wall Street and the 1%. Syphoning frustration and anger into an “I don’t like Trump and he’d better not mess with women’s issues” protest wasn’t too helpful to the bigger picture, yet had some people waking up who might otherwise have continued to doze, both among participants and watchers. The March had benefits, but could have been so much more, better timed, and all inclusive.

  30. Bittercup

    Could we just channel all that march energy into a Medicare for All march next? Or, instead of “mail[ing] Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him,” mail him a postcard asking for Medicare for All instead? If you see the march as a galvanizing and organizing experience, wouldn’t this be a logical next step?

    Or is this already being coordinated and planned somewhere, and I’m just completely unaware of it?

    1. jrs

      If you wanted youth turnout, the focus would be more student loans than Medicare for All though, just saying, a bunch of 20 somethings mostly don’t give a @#$# about @#$# healthcare, but they do about their debt.

      1. Bittercup

        Disagree. We 20-30-something-ers do care about our student loans, but we are also absolutely terrified of what’s gonna happen when our health begins to fail but we still don’t have secure jobs or safety nets (and still have to pay those dumb loans…). It’s bad enough to have to scrabble to get an abscessed tooth pulled, birth control sorted, antidepressants prescribed, or a broken arm fixed now, but something more serious and chronic than that? It might be easier to ~just die~. (© Lambert.)

        I mean, we’re already seeing that happen to some of our older siblings and parents. I think it’s more of a generationally unifying issue than you think. We’re not oblivious, we’re just hoping like hell things will work out, somehow. Given a chance to participate in that, a lot of us will.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian


          Thank you for bringing this to the fore. You know, this high level of support among the 18-29 year old echelon is scarcely surprising if you think of it. This echelon has been victimized to an inordinate degree by the “get a bachelor’s degree, or even better, a higher degree, and the world will be your oyster” scam. If the jobs that would justify all of this effort, and even more importantly, the likely massive educational loans incurred in this counsel’s pursuit were actually in evidence, then it would not be a scam. But sadly, for all too many, this is exactly what it has turned out to be.

          You have already pointed out how frightening facing large medical expenses on their own can be, let alone when these are coupled with the simultaneous need to pay off those educational loans. People of all ages are in peril when going uninsured, or even when they are “insured”, but with such high deductibles that financial ruination is a Sword of Damocles constantly suspended over their heads. Employment is no guarantee of health insurance, and if you are forced into the “gig economy”, or even if you are an entrepreneur by choice, the ability to maintain any sort of viable insurance coverage is out of reach. That people, confronted with these realities, no matter their age, support universal coverage is entirely logical.

          There is Issue #1. Without a reasonable chance at health, the “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” patter is a sad joke. And the assault on this issue is a made-to-order attack on the darkest thicket of NeoLiberalism, because it is an attack on its Rule #2, “So, go die”. The society-wide liberation from fear and anxiety, and the resultant opening up of vistas for creative activities could be breathtaking for the citizenry,

  31. Dandelion

    As a former 1970s radical feminist, the march was both a joy and a grief to me. A joy to see so many younger women waking up, and a grief that feminism has slipped so far that it’s hard now, even to define,since “inclusivity” now means feminism is about everyone. Including men. But when we talk about the condition of women and we talk about their relative position on a hierarchy, who is at the upper end? What other social movement is required to include the very people they’re struggling against? I’m speaking here of men as a class, not individual men, and of women as a class. It’s still true that women, controlling for education, earn less than men, particularly as the years go on. It’s still true that many more women than men are in poverty, and are raising children in poverty. It’s still true that women are raped and assaulted at very high numbers, and are generally first creeped on my men between the ages of 11-13. It’s still true that women do not have full control over their reproduction. It’s still true that most of medical and safety research was done on male bodies and so in some areas actually bring danger to women. It’s still true that once women become mothers, they will be regarded as the least capable workers by other workers and their employers. It’s still true that women, overall, perform the lion’s share of unpaid domestic and caring labor. It’s still true that male violence is a very big problem, with men responsible for over 90% of violent crimes, and it’s still true that men beat women in the home. (Yes, women can be violent against men, but the impact of that violence is completely asymmetrical, largely due to the real differences between male and female bodies.) And women are still pimped and trafficked into prostitution, where their life expectancy then shrinks to about 35, and they are depicted in ubiquitous porn as liking the most degrading and violent abuse imaginable for the sexual pleasure of men and boys (while we deny these images have any effect and at the same time keep cigarette advertising on TV illegal because of its effect. In any event, it still remains true that the abuse on film isn’t fake; it’s happening to a real, living woman.)

    And so we have a women’s march and a feminism that men can enjoy because it doesn’t challenge their power. In fact, a self-confessed rapist took the stage at one of those events.

    It’s not: end violence. It’s: end male violence against women. How? By actually prosecuting and sentencing rapists, for a start.

    It’s not: sex worker rights if that ncludes pimps and brothel owners, and it does. It’s: end prostitution by arresting johns instead of women, and help women exit into safer employment with sufficient income. (Nordic Model.)

    It’s not: reproductive rights. It’s abortion on demand with complete access. It’s requiring doctors to train in the technique and that they cannot refuse to perform it, because one person’s subjectivity doesn’t trump another’s material reality. It’s making birth control easier to obtain by not requiring six month cchecks between Rx renewals and by allowing RNs to prescribe.

    It’s not: equal pay, which is so easily gamed. It’s better pay, and yeas that includes men. It’s a network of public childcare and much greater services for elder care.

    These were all things we were fighting hard for in the 1970s, and we’re still here. Much was gained in the 60s-70s, and then very little from the 80s on, when “choice” feminism took hold and then when everyone was a feminist just because they believed in some vague “equality.”

    What the platform showed me was that a women are still not permitted to march strictly for themselves. Our activism on our own behalf isn’t legitimate unless we’re also, as a women, serving the needs and interests of other social justice issues; in fact, at times, centering those above our own. Which is exactly what feminism was supposed to end: the notion that women existed primarily FOR others.

  32. Fake rights

    “What are activists supposed to do three months after an election when the next election is a year and a half away?… I would appreciate hearing some kind of response…”

    Gee, hmmm …because there are no institutions or binding legal authorities you could invoke, except for crooked Democrats installed in rigged elections, Right?


    The Democrats perpetuate their function as a roach motel for aspiring reformers with their central Big Lie: that civil society begins and ends with electoral politics. The Dem Party exist to divert the subject population from taking part in expert independent human rights review by treaty bodies, charter bodies, special procedures.

  33. James McFadden

    “A Constitutional outcome means President Pence, with even more retrograde policies.”

    I would have to disagree with Yves on this.

    Actually I think the choice is between President Pence and President Bannon. Bannon is pulling the strings much like Cheney was for Bush. As bad as Pence is, Bannon is worse. Bannon seems to be out to destroy the last remnants of democracy and civil rights. If the Trump administration is able to consolidate power, which the Republican Congress is pushing and which Dems are allowing (thinking they will gain a political advantage in the next election cycle), then I suspect the fascists will try to call a constitutional convention to impose their authoritarian beliefs on the rest of us. The convention will eliminate the few civil and human rights we still have left, consolidate power in the executive, and bypass judicial and legislative checks in the name of national security. This will complete the merging of corporations and the state into a truly fascist regime. The key is whether the police, homeland security, and the military fall in line and support the constitutional coup. Those loyalties are being bought right now with initiatives like “blue lives matter.” You can bet similar bones will be soon thrown to the Joint Chiefs. In this soft coup, the wild card appears to be Bannon and his supporters. I wonder what would happen if Trump got pissed off and fired Bannon? Or if Bannon was eliminated some by some other means. Without the mastermind, we just have a 10 year old child-president throwing tantrums and playing with his twitter – much less to worry about – perhaps better than President Pense. The other clowns around him are just boot-lickers – incompetent doofuses. With a de-Bannoned presidency, we might just be able to bide our time. When the economy collapses, both the Dems and Republicans should get the blame and we throw out all the incumbent bums and finally drain the swamp.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “President Bannon” is the latest talking point. I don’t see a reason to trust any of the Kremlinology. Billionaires do not typically become that way by allowing themselves to be the puppets of subordinates.

      1. Susan C

        Really? Trump is in way over his head – it is Bannon who is calling the shots. And not for the good of this country by any measure. Control through chaos. Nice mess they got themselves into with the ban.

        1. Lambert Strether

          That Bannon is calling the shots is the latest Democrat talking point. As I’ve said before, a billionaire is unlikely to have achieved that happy state by allowing subordinates to lead them around by the nose. There are plenty of other places to sing such talking points in chorus with others. Try there.

          1. Susan C

            I see Trump as a nasty bully who has spent hours fighting with the banks et al to get to where he is financially today. He may be a billionaire but he knows nothing about how to run a government.

      2. James McFadden

        Democracy Now reported: “Meanwhile, Reuters reported Thursday that President Trump denounced a treaty limiting U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a “bad deal for the United States” during a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Reuters cited three unnamed officials with knowledge of the January 28 discussion who said Putin asked Trump whether he favored extending the New START treaty, which was approved in 2010. Trump reportedly paused the discussion to ask his aides what the treaty was, before telling Putin it was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration and that it favored Russia.”

        When billionaires are out of their league and don’t have a clue, then they must rely on subordinates and can be easily manipulated – which is what Bannon is doing. Just because the media and comedians were a bit slow to pick up on this dynamic doesn’t mean they are wrong. Trump may be a capitalist genius with his ruthless leveraging of money as a developer, a sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder who is willing to screw anyone to maximize his profits, but in the political world he is a doofus. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t know history. He has the vocabulary of a child. He throws tantrums. Surrounds himself with brown-nose toadies. He doesn’t understand the political world. He doesn’t understand economics any more than a child who wins at the game of monopoly. He must rely on his daughter and son-in-law to advise him because he is clueless and incapable of complex thought. Without the masterminds behind the thrown, and Bannon is one of them (there are others), Trump’s incompetence will prevent anything significant from happening – which is probably the best we can hope for during the next 4 years.

        1. lambert strether

          Unfortunately, the access journalism on Trump is all anonymously sourced, and I see no reason to trust any of it, given that the press are now openlt partisan players on all sides. Hence my resort to first principles.

          I mean, suddenly these guys are friends, after suppressing or smearing Sanders for the entire campaign? How soon we forget!

          1. James McFadden

            Lambert – Ok, dismiss the DN! story.

            But you can’t ignore what Trump says on camera, what he is saying via twitter, and what his staff is saying in front of cameras. The guy is a doofus who surrounds himself with sycophants. He might be a genius at capitalist theft and as a master manipulator to close a crooked developer deal, but these abilities are of no use for running a country where one must have a grasp of history, global politics, and economics. I’ve talked to a dozen PhD psychologists who all agree he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and very limited mental abilities (hence his childish vocabulary). They are not just saying he is a narcissist, a racist, a misogynist, a serial liar, and a sociopath (he is all those things as are many politicians), they are saying he has NPD, a severe mental illness which is much worse. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-greene/is-donald-trump-mentally_b_13693174.html)
            He lives in a world of “alternative facts” where anyone who disagrees with him, or his delusional world view, must be a liar. He is the perfect puppet when outside his element because he doesn’t have a clue what to do. Those manipulating him just have to tell him that Obama negotiated something — and bang Trump will be against it as a knee jerk reaction. There is a plan to this Trump administration’s madness – but it isn’t Trump’s plan because it is beyond his mental abilities. There are a few who are not doofuses – and Bannon is one. I don’t think most people saw this coming – they assumed he would be like other sociopath politicians. People didn’t expect to get a child-monster for President who lives in a delusional world. He is like the Billy Mumy character in that old twilight zone episode – and we are stuck with him for 4 years. And those who point out Trump’s flaws are not just sore loser Hillary supporters – I wouldn’t vote for either monster. But we got the worse monster and must now deal with it. The best we can hope for is that the masterminds behind this madness get wished into the cornfield.

  34. Schnormal

    This post is fantastic; I look forward to reading through all the comments later.

    I think aab’s and Anne’s different approaches to understanding the Women’s march are part of the larger “clarifying” phenomenon that the election precipitated. The tension between the two positions is due to the fact that there is no real left party in the US, so an unmanageably wide swath of interests are forced to define themselves in relation to the “Democrat” space (e.g., the tension between people who are down with Black Agenda Report’s take on the Obama admin vs all the people in my Facebook feed who express genuine admiration for the Obama family, or between single payer activists who have been fighting for decades vs the people who have an immediate need for keeping the ACA intact).

    Concerning the women’s march, the basic tension seems to break down into people who see themselves as defending gains that have already been made (e.g., access to safe abortions and birth control, or the right to work in traditionally male-dominated fields), vs people who are fighting for issues as yet unwon but equally crucial (equal pay, child care, universal healthcare, etc.).

    In other words, the pink hat wearers are positioned on the inside, defending the store of previously won spoils from what they perceive as a barbarian invader (and thus they risk being appropriated by corrupt elements in the status quo, who rule the inside space). The pink hat eschewers are fighting for rights that aren’t yet recognized as “legitimate” demands, so they are necessarily positioned outside the status quo space, where they risk being disregarded. Both positions are valid, and the same woman can hold both at different times..

    Sorry if i’m being vague/simplistic; I’m just trying to get at the underlying terms, which may seem obvious but are almost never overtly expressed. Both approaches are valid in different contexts, and context is everything. The comments in this and other posts are invaluable for helping to define each position. But it’s also important to acknowledge that you can’t have one position without the other, and the spatial divide between the two is unavoidable (kind of like both sides of a coin). Getting caught up in finding the “correct” position can create a lot of unhelpful distractions, which are easily exploited by TPTB to deny women previously won rights and stymie future progress.

    FWIW I did go to the nyc women’s march. I didn’t wear a pink hat, but I carried a “Medicare for all” sign. I kind of felt like a party crasher, but I met plenty of allies.

  35. marym

    Generally speaking I agree with Anne’s take that the women’s march (to me particularly the hundreds of local events) included real people, real issues, and connecting links to other issues; and with aab that solidarity with a few key issues like Fight for 15, the water protectors, Medicare for All, and public education holds the most promise for some type of national movement.

    How we get there I have no idea, but it’s going to take all of us.

    While I think a fake general strike by women whose jobs and lives provide for discretionary time off, or sending letters to Trump saying they don’t like him (someone mentioned the latter above, though I haven’t seen it elsewhere) are counter-productive, I don’t think that’s the only outcome of the nationally visible aspect of the march.

    According to the womens’ march website, they appear to be doing long-range planning through local meetings and deciding locally on action plans. Suggestions for local groups include participation in the April DC climate march, running for local office, attending Congressional town halls, and working with other organizations. They have organizing guidelines; links to additional documentation; and a section for organizing alerts and ready responses.
    Their recent twitter feed is about issues including the Muslim ban, deportation raids/sanctary, #BLM and the recent policing EO’s, and #NoDAPL, including links to organizations and documents.

    In addition to the Chaffetz and Amash town halls being reported today, there were at least a few over the week-end where people spoke out. I saw mention that last week the Congressional switchboard received double its previous record volume.

    As with Occupy, #NoDAPL, and #BLM actions, not everyone will be in the streets and on the front lines. Nor should they be, due to personal limitations (health, age, etc.) or the recognition among those at the more comfortable end of the discontent spectrum that in some struggles (#NoDAPL and urban policing issues are good examples) others must lead.

    Also, if there’s going to be a mass movement, general strike, new political party, storming of the Bastille, etc. someone needs to provide for those who are on the front lines: legal support; jail support; local political pressure; voter support; travel, shelter, medical, and respite support; collecting and sharing information; food and blankets. Let’s not be too quick to denounce the pink hats. Revolutions need the knitters too.

    Thanks to all for the post and comments.

  36. blucollarAl

    Culture, class, and religion mattered much more in the 2016 election than did gender. Despite all of the passion and emotionally charged arguments about the so-called Women’s March and the present and future role of American women in the “Trumpian Resistance”, consider a few facts and their plausible interpretation.

    First, Hillary did not overwhelmingly win the woman vote. She won the aggregate by about 54 to 41. She lost the white woman by about 42 to 53, a not insignificant 11 point margin. States like Florida and Michigan were lost in large part because she could not decisively carry the woman vote.

    Hillary won by a very large margin the non-white woman vote.

    It would appear that race and NOT gender played a much more significant role in the election as a predictor of electoral outcome.

    Hillary won the unmarried woman vote by a large 63 to 32 majority. Among married women, however, the outcome was a virtual tie (49-47 for Clinton). Trump, by the way, won the totality of marrieds by 52 to 44 and lost the unmarried (men and women) by a large 55 to 37 for Clinton.

    We can debate precisely how and in what ways marital status reflects other social-cultural determinants. Does, for instance, marriage tend to make one more “conservative” (whatever that means, since there are numerous mutually exclusive groups in America claiming that title)? At least more culturally conservative, I think. Does marriage focus one’s attention more on children’s issues? More antagonistic to contemporary gender-radical movements? Etc.

    The take away, however, is that the so-called women’s resistance may not speak for a a large population of American women, married, mainly white, and….

    Hillary was trounced while competing for white women with no college degree, by 34 to 61, a huge 27 point difference. This includes women with some college or post-HS training, by the way. I could not find numbers for HS educated white women alone, but I suspect the margin would be equal or greater. Clinton won the vote of white women with a degree, but not by a whole lot, 51 to 44. Surprising?

    The take away, at least in part, I think, is that white women, except predominantly the young, unmarried, college-educated, did not much like Clinton and no doubt still don’t. Without further data (much is still coming in at this point), I wouldn’t want to say absolutely that we are talking about working class, lower-middle class, and mid-middle mainly non-urban women, but it sure looks that way.

    OK, now religion. Very telling. Those women and men who said they attend religious services (of whatever religious faith) at least weekly voted for Trump by a wide 55 to 41 percent. Those who attend not weekly but at least monthly gave Trump a small 49 to 47 margin. Those who never attend any religious service voted overwhelmingly for Clinton, 62 to 30.

    The take away is that when religion matters a whole lot in American lives, the vote was largely for Trump. Including women.

    Finally income. I could not find income breakdown by gender, something difficult in any case because income is usually reported by family in these cases. But Hillary won both the under $30k (53 to 40) and $30-50k (52 to 41) family income groups. So much for a lot of the blabbering about Trump’s win based on appeal to redneck poor white trash honkies. Trump won the $50-99k and the $100-199k groups by a tiny margin, basically even (49 to 46 Trump, and 48 to 47 Trump). The $200k and more vote was basically split equally.

    So, it would appear, gender was not very important as a factor in either predicting or explaining the election of 2016. Yes, Hillary overwhelmingly won the non-white women. But she also overwhelmingly won the non-white men. As for white women, she won by about 10 or 11 points, but this margin seems mainly a function of other factors like religiosity (little or none), age (young), and marital status (unmarried). Even educational status appears to be not that significant, with college degree women only giving Clinton a 7 point win whereas non-college grad white women went for Trump by a huge 17 point margin. Non-white women in all categories, we know, voted for Clinton in substantial numbers although it appears a bit below the numbers given by them to Obama.

    If religion and culture, trying not to draw unwarranted conclusions, mattered let us say at least a great deal, then one question we all have to face up to is how to incorporate these phenomena, these existential realities, into our analysis of where America is and where it can or should go. Historians of unions and the working class can say what they will, but perhaps this time in America is in some serious ways different from what came before, when both shop owners and clerks, plant managers and assembly line workers, accountants and plumbers, shared many of the same social-cultural values, so that debate and conflict took place on the level of things like sharing profits, reducing working hours, bettering conditions of employment, pension guarantees, longer vacations, etc. If today’s anti-Trump marches persist in being about a plethora of relatively newly discovered “rights”, few of which were recognized by either constitutional scholars, politicians, or the general public 50 years ago, and that potentially or actually challenge or are felt to challenge the basic cultural-religious-social bedrock axioms of a still sizable portion of our population, both men AND women, then it appear that a major task is to re-think the way in which common ground between these segments of America can be reached. One thing appears certain: common ground embracing many of the dissatisfactions of both groups will not be reached with more agenda like that that appeared or at least was msm publicized in the Women’s March.

    We at least have to become more focused on class and economic, bread and butter pocketbook issues (those who said the effects of international trade created jobs voted 59 to 35 for Hillary; those who said trade takes jobs away voted 64 to 32 for Trump). And we have to begin by finding issues that will transcend these real cultural differences that are not about to disappear. Health care would be a real good start.

    [sources for voting stats can be found easily enough online at CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, fivethirtyeight, qz.com, and pew research]

    1. Foppe

      Finally income. I could not find income breakdown by gender, something difficult in any case because income is usually reported by family in these cases. But Hillary won both the under $30k (53 to 40) and $30-50k (52 to 41) family income groups. So much for a lot of the blabbering about Trump’s win based on appeal to redneck poor white trash honkies. Trump won the $50-99k and the $100-199k groups by a tiny margin, basically even (49 to 46 Trump, and 48 to 47 Trump). The $200k and more vote was basically split equally.

      If you look at the changes from 2012-16, one of the major reasons why Trump won was that he was able to carry a far larger percentage of the sub-$50k voters than Romney did, but that he nearly lost because Hillary got a far larger %age of the >$100k vote than did Obama.

  37. Tobin Paz

    I have yet to see the two most crucial issues facing humanity mentioned in the comments. If you are not against war, you cannot be for women’s, immigrant’s, labor, or LGBTQ rights. Same thing for the environment. The United States has embarked on a quest of death of destruction that is reminicsent of a gentler and kinder Nazi Germany. In the last sixteen years the United States has illegaly bombed at least seven countries, destroying both the physical and social fabric of four of them.

    Woman and children, both in their respective countries or in flight, have been raped, mutilated, captured into sexaul slavery, or just slaughtered. As you read this, the United States is in Syria in violation of international law and committing a war of aggression. They are also arming al Qaeda and ISIL, also in violation of international law, and supplying and supporting Saudi Arabia and Israel in the massacre of the poorest populations in the Middle East. Do people not care about this?

    What’s amazing is that we apparently have no problem funding these crimes against humanity at the expense of our water, infrastructure, healthcare, and better living standards. Where is that outrage? Most people I would hope oppose war, but that is no the case if you supported Clinton, Obama, or the Democratic Party. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. We are seeing the largest refugee crisis since WWII. They are on our doorstep and the majority can only think of what a bad man Trump is for refusing them entry.

    This is beyond ridiculous. We can spend $500 million on illegally training five “rebels” in Syria, but we can’t allocate $120 million for Flint. But the tragedy doesn’t end there. The Pentagon is one of the largest contributors to global warming.

    I’m not saying that these issues are not important, or that they shouldn’t be addressed. But we are standing on the precipice of abrupt catastrophic climate change. Temperatures in Arctic are up to 30 C above average and the sea ice looks like it’s not going to survive. Only one percent of the captured methane needs to make it’s way into the atmosphere for an extinction event. Seeing how we treat our fellow humans and the environment, it’s difficult not to agree with Guy McPherson.

  38. Vatch

    Today at lunch I overheard fragments of a conversation about what’s really important: Who’s tougher? The Keanu Reeves “John Wick” character, the Liam Neeson character in the “Taken” movies, or Denzel Washington’s character in “The Equalizer”?

    Why are we wasting time discussing severe economic inequality, women’s rights, the withering away of the middle class, abuses of private equity, pollution, climate change, the vast power of multinational corporations, the quality (or lack thereof) of nominees for high office, etc.? Movies! That’s what’s important! Also sports!

  39. Synoia

    If the Democratic Party wants to actually get back into power at the federal level to do more to protect people marginalized….

    1. Support Unions
    2. Demonstrate and blockade to support unions
    3. Shut things down to support striking workers.

    It requires organizing, accepting the violence and suppression, and blocking things, just as the DAPL protectors did.

    Borrow much from Ghandi. Prepare to be beaten.

    1. Anne

      I think the support for unions needs to focus on the rank-and-file, because the leadership seems quite willing to sell them out to establishment interests; I think there is a similar correlation to what rank-and-file voters are experiencing with a party leadership that seems quite content to sell them out over and over and over again.

  40. dbk

    Wow, what a thread. I’ve read about half, will read the remainder tomorrow morning.

    I have lived abroad for nearly 40 years, but am back in the U.S. for several months each year (family reasons).

    (1) As a retired educator, I followed the nomination process for Sec of Ed most closely (committee hearing, 11 hours of the floor debate live).

    The result of a spontaneous groundswell of opposition – more than a million messages/letters, hundreds of thousands of phone calls – is an active mailing list for the National Education Association of a million names, and a mailing list for the Network for Public Education of 300,000. Those are not small accomplishments.

    (2) As a long-time reader of NC, I’ve followed Lambert’s many posts on the ACA over the past couple of years.

    Republican Congressmen are encountering some amazing push-back at town hall meetings and other fora – the result, at the moment, is that the Republicans don’t know what to do about their “repeal” of the ACA.

    A humble suggestion: this is a crack in the wall that could be exploited – at similar meetings, folks could attend and insist, when their Republican Congressman starts in on “saving money, increasing coverage” etc. etc. etc., “Medicare for ALL!” (And come armed with Lambert’s posts, and those of the Physicians for a National Health Program and/or Health care-NOW!).

    1. cm

      Maybe you can explain something that I have not understood… My preference is to see the Dept of Education (ED) abolished. I’d rather have education at the state level. Can you explain the downside? Thanks!

      If you think the ED should not be abolished, can you then defend/explain Common Core? Thanks again!

      1. tongorad

        I’d rather see education at the national level. Fiat spending to the rescue.
        Common core does suck, but it’s not axiomatic for everything at the federal level.
        State level programs and initiatives suck just as bad at times.
        Local control is a cute meme, until you happen to live in Texas.

  41. Norb

    One question I have for participants of the women’s march, is how women feel about the emasculation of men that is inherent to the capitalist system i.e.. cheep labor or the elimination of labor. Men gain much of their identity and worth from providing for family and what does it say for social health and equality when at root your economic system undermines basic family cohesion?

    The tone deftness, and failure of feminism outside elite circles is that who gives a damn if the emasculator is a man or a woman? Women in power prosecuting wars, outsourcing jobs, and setting public policy that break up families and drive people to poverty are no better than a white male. The Clinton crowd was the epitome of that historical path and thankfully, they were driven from power never to return. They represent the WORST of all worlds.

    Fighting for common rights for all is what is needed. Healthcare is a right. Work and a living wage is a right. Security from constant war is a right. Only by achieving these goals will the JERKS of the world, men or women, be defeated.

    What is truly divisive is the obfuscation of these common rights.

  42. Portia

    dear “seasoned protesters”: this is a good thing

    officialdom does not see it as a threat to the status quo.

    this march was not for officialdom, it was for the people, a forum to encourage each other and to let us all know how many of us there are, a convention if you will to meet and share and network. Methinks seasoned protesters are thinking of it as a profession and have fallen into the same trap as perpetual campaigners–they have become an organization that needs to run protests their way.

  43. Eureka Springs

    I have many questions about placing value and trust in Unions.

    When it comes to the old guard in the D party they seem to be part of the problem.
    When it comes to making single payer for all happen they seem to be part of the problem.
    When it comes to fight for 15 they are in the way. Even in L.A. they got it then turned around and asked for a carve out of sorts… for hotels to actually be exempt from paying their own union members 15.
    I would wager they are part of the problem when it come to pension looting, or advocating for stronger SS pay as well.

    The ‘benefits’ of a union, in order for them to be needed by their members keep them from advocating in sincerity for the betterment of all.

    Don’t even get me started on police and prison unions.

    I think we need to rise above the limits and gate-keeping of unions in the old sense anyway.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Obviously we clearly tell them they are part of the problem. That it’s time for single payer, 15 ( i believe 20, but either way) for all… and their continuous embrace of a party apparatus which holds the rising tide from lifting all boats will not stand in any quarter.

        Just like the women marchers shouldn’t let ex Hillerites lead a call against 15 or pretend they ever were for non-violence.

    1. aab

      That was really interesting. Thanks for posting it.

      The more interesting question is, can this woman and women like her become allies of the left? How would you reach someone like this to get them to understand that supporting Barack Obama’s policies and Hillary Clinton’s candidacy led directly to President Trump? How would you get her to support concrete policies that really would protect access to abortion, like universal health care with abortion access in hospitals locked in? (By the way, I doubt the current legislation for Medicare For All does this — lock in abortion access. I couldn’t quickly pull up an answer, other than reading the entire bill. Does anyone have a better link?)

      That’s what didn’t really get discussed well yesterday. I don’t believe there is any solidarity to be had with elite female liberals unless or until they turn left. If they espouse the belief that all women deserve abortion access, yet only continue to support the current liberal Democratic establishment and its satellite organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, I will treat them as my enemy, because they are. I realize they may claim lack of knowledge about the system, but that’s no excuse at this point. I did my homework when Barack Obama tricked me. They can do the same. If they won’t, they can’t be my ally.

      That’s another reason why the label “Womens March” bothered this woman. Having the same sexual organs doesn’t automatically deliver political solidarity. I was horrified by that poster for the march with the Muslim woman in the American flag hijab. Yes, it was a beautiful image, and I’m sure the people involved thought they were expressing solidarity with Muslim women. But they were also expressing solidarity with explicitly misogynist, religiously-justified oppression of women. The fact that the woman in question has internalized the oppression to the point that she rationalizes it as an expression of her personal choice makes no difference to me. I’m also opposed to female genital mutilation.

      Does anyone here want to defend the promotion of the hijab as a symbol of American feminism?

      I only bring this up because the vaporous notion of identity-based solidarity accomplishing anything politically other than the oppression by capital of labor more politely needs to be killed with fire, then buried in the same sarcophagus they’re going to erect around Fukushima.

      (And yes, I understand many people went to various marches who are not Clinton-supporting elite feminists, and that wearing a pink hat does not itself make one a bad person or unreachable as an ally, and all that. This is not a question about the march. It is a question about moving forward, one that addresses a real problem too many are trying to wave away.)

      1. Altandmain

        Let’s think this one through very carefully.


        Based on interviews with numerous women from banks, hedge funds, other asset managers, financial law practices and private equity firms, it appears that dozens of industry women in New York, and perhaps significantly more, intend to make the trek to Washington to participate in the march on Saturday.

        Some are driving, embarking in the wee hours to make it in time for a 10 a.m. rally. Some grabbed early Amtrak reservations before many of the trains sold out or, in one woman’s case, put 70,000 frequent-flier miles toward a ticket. Others, including a group of high-ranking women from Bank of America, are traveling by charter bus. Many describe it as a signal moment in politics, women’s rights and American history.

        “I’m not a frequent demonstration participant,” said Jodi Schwartz, a corporate tax lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a firm in Midtown Manhattan known for advising companies and banks on mergers and acquisitions.

        I don’t think there’s much opportunity for solidarity.

        Many of the hedge fund, private equity, and other finance types are the types screwing people over. A VP of Finance of some big shot PE firm is not going to be our ally because of her gender. She’s going to be a part of a vulture capital operation that screws people out of their jobs.

        That isn’t pretty, but that’s the reality. These are the people that Occupy Wall Street was opposed to. Don’t let any of stereotypes about woman being “gentle” or any of that fool you. They are ridiculous stereotypes anyways and play right into the dishonest “identity politics” hands. Note that most are in professional services. These are careerists.

        They are not happy that Clinton lost. It is no wonder they supported Clinton. If Clinton won, they would proceed onwards with the looting of society. They would care nothing about the rest of us. They were part of the system to advance themselves at our expense.

        I have zero sympathy for this crowd. Frankly, in a just world, many would have their wealth seized and given to the poor … who as we know have a life span below the poor citizens of Bangladesh.

        Sure, the non-elite woman can certainly be allies, and I have no issues against them, but not Wall Street types.

        1. aab

          Couple things:

          – I fundamentally agree with you. I strongly doubt these women can or will become our allies.

          – It is Anne, Chigal, and some others saying they believe these women can become real allies. I certainly hope they’re right.

          – Yves, our host, fits the superficial description you gave. Yet here you and I are, talking about how affluent professional women in finance suck, on a site founded by an affluent, professional woman in the finance sector, that’s considered so left wing she’s had to launch a lawsuit to clear her and the site’s good name and reputation.

          So while I don’t think the astroturfed fauxtests will accomplish anything, I’m unwilling to give up on all these women. Can some of them get peeled away from supporting morally monstrous policies, if the reality of what their own luxurious lives rest on is forced upon them? I don’t know. I always recoiled from neoliberalism, even when I wasn’t fully conscious of what it really was. I’m temperamentally different from them. I have — or it might be more accurate now to say “had” — friends like this, but I never figured out how to get them to see the reality. But just because I couldn’t doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

          If we had a left wing Democratic Party that was inclusive, and the Republican party didn’t move towards greater inclusiveness, they’d have to pick between their pocketbook and their conscience, and least they’d have to overtly choose, instead of getting to pretend otherwise. Yet another good reason to purge out the New Dems!

          1. altandmain

            Yves is an example of an insider who saw the light.

            There are other examples.
            – Paul Craig Roberts arguably is an example of another.
            – John Perkins, who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is another.
            – Chalmers Johnson is an example of another; former CIA analyst who became a huge critic of the US

            Too many more to list here – just listed some of the first that came to my mind. I’m sure that there are people who realized after going into investment banking, management consulting, private equity, etc, that what they were doing was at odds with their moral values. You could argue that every whistleblower who ever did was a person who had strong morals.

            I’m not giving up on most women – just the very wealthy, some of which are women. The cruel reality is that many will not see the light and will fight for the status quo. We’re not going to get women to “lean in” to Bernie.

            The thing is, we’ve got a huge potential base as is:

            – Most Generation Y women voted for Sanders on the Democratic/Independent side
            – For every well-off upper middle class career woman, there are millions more that are not doing so well
            – Even many older women voted for Sanders; Clinton’s support was far weaker than expected

          2. Altandmain

            Somewhat off-topic, but the big challenge is that being a whistleblower is tough.

            A lot end up like this:

            Others have to fight very long fights.

            I have a lot of respect for whistleblowers for that reason.

            Disgracefully, even the Obama administration was known for their unprecedented war on whistleblowers. Even the pro Obama NYT had to admit that:


            But in terms of women and co-option, let’s face the reality.


            But if you’re a woman living paycheck to paycheck and worried sick over the ever-diminishing economic prospects for you and your children, you’re unlikely to be heavily invested in whether some lady centimillionaire will shatter the ultimate glass ceiling. Exacerbating the problem is that Clinton, the person whom feminists blithely assumed that working-class women would deeply identify with (because after all, didn’t they?) was such a painfully flawed candidate. In addition to a political record littered with betrayals of women, people of color, labor, and other key constituencies, she showed arrogance and terrible judgment by giving the Wall Street speeches and setting up her own State Department e-mail server. That was gross political malpractice.

            We’ve got a divide here. The professional class really wanted Clinton. The rest of us just wanted someone to address our economic situation, factoring in Obama’s betrayal.

            Most knew what the Democrats really stood for after Bernie lost too:

            Why do white working-class people vote against their interests? They don’t. Corporate Democrats have never advanced their interests—and at least Republicans offer a basic, if misleading, story about why they are getting screwed. When I first started organizing in Youngstown, Ohio, many people told me I must read Sean Safford’s Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown, which argues that Youngstown collapsed as a result of a lack of social networks. It is an absurd explanation for what happened to the city—but embraced by many thoughtful progressive leaders there. In fact, Youngstown has been left hobbled because progressives failed to secure economic power.

            Ultimately, I don’t think that we are going to turn many of these well-off professional class protestors into people that can relate to that. I personally don’t think that is as big a barrier, simply because there are few upper middle class people.

  44. Sharon

    It’s kind of fucked up that a man is writing to dis the Women’s March. As for the Women’s March not being a threat to the “status quo”, just a reminder that no one thought Trump was a threat to the status quo either, and look where that got us. Just the sheer magnitude of the Women’s March sent a message to Trump that we (women, men and children who marched) were opposed to everything he represents, and that from day one we were pushing back against his fascist regime. Better get on board, Yves, because the future is female. And fuck you and your condescension.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      My goodness, biased and angry too, aren’t we?

      Did you miss that all the women in the post were female, including me? You attacked me without doing the most basic homework.

      And I am also quite certain I’ve been up against discrimination of a far more serious kind that you ever faced. I have been sexually harassed at work and eventually quit as a result. I have been in positions never held before a woman or for that matter, by a westerner (the first non-Japanese ever hired into the Japanese hierarchy at one of the most prestigious financial institutions in Japan) in a famously woman-hostile society. I’ve written articles about discrimination in organizations that were cited by heads of corporate HR as the best piece they’d ever read.

      You are the one who is out of line here. You get told facts, by women as well as men, about effective protest and how the Women’s March fell short and how it is compromised by the participation and influence of elite women, who aren’t prepared to fight for issues that are of paramount importance to lower income women. You take them as a personal diss and lash out. You are shooting the messenger.

      And I object vehemently to “the future is female”. It implies a matriarchy and that is not in the cards. This fixation on gender does not help women. You want that no longer to be an issue, as opposed to highlighting it as some sort of general problem (as opposed to women having specific grievances that need to be addressed) and implicitly pitting women against men. Women will never win a fight between genders because women bear children. Pregnancy and child-rearing responsibilities that can’t be shifted onto men (nursing, unless you want to bottle-feed the child, which isn’t ideal for its health) means most women will face breaks in their career and will need assistance, from a partner, from a relative, from the state, or from privately paid help.

      Keep this sort of thing up and the Dems and women will continue to lose.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I can’t help but wonder if this comment is a parody.

      1) Automatic man-blaming (“Yves Smith” is, in fact, a woman)

      2) Persuasion by insult, a classic Clintonite tactic (“Fuck you”)

      3) Threats, another classic Clintonite tactic (“Better get on board”)

      4) Third Wave triumphalism (“the future is female,” a Clinton remark flagged in Water Cooler)

      5) Epistemic closure:

      a) skepticism = “dis”

      b) “no one thought Trump was a threat to the status quo either.” Nobody in the Clinton bubble or the Beltway did, true, but see, e.g., Chris Arnade on volatility voters, or Mark Blyth, who also called his shot early. Or any amount of commentary at NC, both posts and comments. I guess Sharon means “nobody important,” or “nobody who is anybody.”

      It would be difficult to combine in one caricature the qualities of the sort of apparatchik who must be purged from the Democrat Party if it is to regain its national viability. And yet Sharon has managed to achieve it! Kudos!

    3. HopeLB

      What is” f”-ed up and is that you are dividing us with your “the future is female” Bernaysian quote. The fact is it all of us together. Everyone in EVEN MEN who have fared poorly lately. You seem to be drilling down on the indentity politics of “I”m with her”. Well, I am female and I am not with “her” and never have been. Obama, a man by the way, deported 2.5 million “undocumenteds”. Hillary insisted even the unaccompanied minors fleeing the violence from the Honduran Coup be sent back “to be taught a lesson”. It is a shame you didn’t come out to marches earlier like when Obama was suspending habeas corpus and drone killing without judge or jury even US citizens, or when he bailed out the Banksters and let main street rot. Or when Occupy was in full swing. Check out his parting gift Obama gave to our Tangerine King, Executive Order 12333.

  45. Anonymous2

    The Dems and Republicans love the Women’s march. The march is nothing more than the Democratic Party’s attempt to resurrect Clintonian identity politics. I am waiting for the backlash from the Right. The Republicans are of course also beneficiaries of the identify politics. Politicians of both parties make a living on identity politics. This type of politics allows the political misleadership class to distract the population with hot-button divisive issues while both parties continue to implement economic policies that benefit their rich campaign donors at the expense of everyone else.

  46. Hana M

    Lots of thoughtful comments–Thanks! Let me add a note of reality here about what the Other Side is doing. My sister is a big Trump fan (I am a Bernie supporter and Trump agnostic). Since presents should always be chosen to give pleasure to the recipient I bought her a Make America Great Again hat tree ornament and an inaugural shot glass from the Trump Inauguration web site for Christmas. [PS she loved it].

    A couple of weeks later I got a letter from Reince Prebius and the RNC thanking me for my donation and outlining the key goals for the new administration along with comments about the importance of maintaining and increasing a Republican Congressional majority.

    There was also a long, thoughtfully designed and rather interesting questionnaire. What was striking was the total focus on ISSUES. Rock solid stuff that people care about. Very wide-ranging, very down-to-earth. There were even questions about money in politics and staying out of foreign wars,. Of course I filled it out with some Bernie type notes on single payer health care.

    Mostly I was seriously impressed with the ground game. I’m a registered Independent in Massachusetts. In my old home states of NJ and NY I was a registered Democrat. I’m on record as a fairly generous Bernie Sanders supporter. Yet the RNC reached out to me with an issues-oriented effort, asking for my opinion…not telling me what to think, not telling me how awful the opposition is, just saying “Tell us what you think.”

    For comparison, not once was I contacted by the DNC when I switched from Democrat to Independent (two years ago); not once was I asked for help or funds by the DNC or the Clinton campaign; and over the entire election cycle I saw only one Clinton lawn sign and only two Clinton bumper stickers in a heavily Democratic neighborhood. Seriously, who likes to be taken for granted?

    If Clinton, Inc and the DNC are The Resistance better plan for eight years of Republican rule.

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