Head-Fakes and Chore Charts

The immigration ban is not a distraction, and protesting is an absolutely necessary response to this boundary-testing, for several reasons:

  1. The immigration bans in place resulted in many, many people throughout the country being detained illegally on Friday. In addition to being real people with very real risk of deportation, which would be life-altering and in many cases potentially life-ending, those people are themselves a bell-weather for further fascist activity. It is absolutely vital that we pay attention to what is happening with our most vulnerable populations, because we know from history that fascist escalation begins there but does not end there.
  2. The protests in airports served as very important cover and coordination for the attorneys working in JFK, Logan, Dulles, and elsewhere. They helped attorneys get people access to representation during detention, file emergency motions that created court holdings (in case anyone were curious whether it’s normal for court holdings to issue on a Saturday, it is not), and test our boundaries against this regime — we can’t know whether they will ignore court orders until there are court orders in place, and once they have done so we have really important information about next steps.
  3. It’s extremely important for the average citizen to be doing things they feel are helping resist, both in terms of general morale and because resistance is a natural counter to normalization. Fascist regimes rely on normalization very heavily in order to work properly; it’s why propaganda is so prevalent and it’s also why you keep hearing politicians say the phrase “This is not normal.” Average citizens might not be able to file motions, but they can coordinate with people who can, and they did, and that is in no way “playing into this administration’s hands.”
  4. Protests reinforce the objectively true fact that fascism is not an end goal of a majority of Americans, which is a piece of propaganda we’re hearing over and over again. Though this article contemplates the idea that Trump has lots and lots of supporters, he actually doesn’t, especially on scary fringe issues like whether Bannon should have the authority to assassinate American citizens. Protests help the average American see that. It’s much, much easier to lie about this if active protest isn’t visible.
  5. Most people don’t know what they should be doing instead, and protests give people who want to do something something to do. This is actually really psychologically valuable, and as long as people don’t conclude they’ve done everything they need to do purely by showing up, it’s not a bad thing that they feel they have helped. So the moral is not “don’t protest,” it’s “don’t only protest” (which, to be fair, that article does state clearly). At minimum most people who showed up also tracked the news, which is very important and a thing we all need to be doing.

All of that being said, if we should be doing more than protesting, what else can we be doing?

So, to synthesize for those of you who have less time for a lunch break than I do:

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Boots on the ground for social change, one step at a time.

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Kara Hurvitz

Kara Hurvitz

Boots on the ground for social change, one step at a time.

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