Inauguration Protests – a user guide
Fortunately for me, my anger and confusion about the election results were quickly redirected. Within a day of president elect Dumpster Fire’s electoral college coup the requests started coming in. “Where can we stay in DC for the inauguration protests?” “Are you coordinating transportation to these events?” “Which action can I get arrested at?” “Which actions are permitted and family-friendly?”
Then began the frustrating and confusing task of figuring out what actions were in fact happening around the inauguration. Unsurprisingly, part of why this is confusing is Trump’s partisan Inauguration Committee is working hard to ban protests from happening anywhere near the event. They will fail.
Fortunately, my friend and world-class organizer Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network did much of the information gathering for me. Mike compiled a list of most of the known actions around the inauguration, which I turned into a Google document and started adding information to about how many people are attending and whether these are likely arrest actions.
DC area intentional communities are planning on hosting known out-of-town protesters (or perhaps we should take a page from the Dakota pipeline activists book and call them “Democracy Protectors”). If you are planning on coming to these events and need housing, let me know.
In order to build the kind of power that creates change you need a direct action campaign that harnesses a series of actions into an escalating sequence. Millions of Americans have participated in the past half-century in such campaigns: bus boycotts and lunch counter sit-ins, the Fight for $15, farmworkers, campus divestment campaigns on South African apartheid and fossil fuels, strikes against corporations, impeding mountaintop removal coal mining, blocking the U.S. plan to invade Nicaragua, preventing the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite this, most Americans don’t understand the difference between a protest and a campaign.
I think it is a good idea to go to these protests to help prevent them from being just one-off events and turn them into an on-going campaign and movement. This means that countering “he who shall not be named” and his plunder monkeys is going to take a lot more than freezing our butts for one weekend in late January in DC.