Donald Trump and the limits of protest

I admired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was alive.   I admire the thinking of Gene Sharp.  I think civil disobedience is justified when all else fails.

But I do not agree with the non-violent protests that shut down an Arizona highway near a Donald Trump campaign events, nor with other protests intended to prevent Trump from speaking.

Dr. King’s non-violent protests were strategic attacks on structures of power.  His protests succeeded to the extent that people in power concluded it would cost them less, in terms of damage to profits and reputation, to give in to his demands than to fight them.

They also succeeded to the extent that Dr. King was able to convince the larger American public that his cause was just, and his protests were disciplined and organized as to give his followers the moral high ground.

Dr. King had specific lists of demands.  His opponents always knew what they had to do in order to shut off the protests.

trumpblock20Protestors who try to shut down Donald Trump rallies do not hurt either Trump’s reputation nor his profits.  Instead they solidify Trump’s support, while inconveniencing and alienating the general public.

Those protestors are not defending their Constitutional rights.  Instead they are denying Trump his right of free speech and his followers their right to peaceably assemble.

Yes, I know the Constitutional rights of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and other groups have not been respected, and that Donald Trump himself is not a friend of civil liberties.  That does not mean that he and his followers are not entitled to hold meetings or that there is anything to be gained in trying to deny them that right.

As a bystander who is writing from a safe vantage point, I know political activists and street protesters have no particular reason to heed my advice.  I’ll give it anyway.

I think that in the present situation, grass-roots political organizing is more effective than street demonstrations.  I also think that if you want to protest Trump, the best venues are outside Trump businesses.  It is a way to call attention to Trump’s sleazy business practices, and to hurt him where it counts, in his profits and reputation.

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2 Responses to “Donald Trump and the limits of protest”

  1. Dawna Bowles Says:

    Sleazy, really?
    Let’s talk about sleazy…

    A Black Lives Matter activist, thug and criminal by the name of Tef Poe has a message for the white people of America. In fact, it’s a threat. He tweeted out on Wednesday, “”Dear white people if Trump wins young niggas such as myself are fully hell bent on inciting riots everywhere we go. Just so you know.”

    That’s right, this inciter of insurrection, a crime under our Constitution, actually informed people with light pigmented skin that the “niggas” would be coming after us and rioting everywhere, which I assume means in my home town too.
    However, once he was called out on it, he played the victim, removing his tweet and claiming that he never made such comments. But the internet is unforgiving for this man who is taking a page from the sodomite and Muslim playbook of pulling your hair and smacking you in the face only to turn around and claim they are the victim.

    http://pumabydesign001.com/2016/03/18/black-lives-matter-thug-to-white-people-if-trump-wins-n-are-fully-hell-bent-on-inciting-riots-everywhere/

    Now, let’s look at the real sleazy Ted.

    Every day Ted Cruz reaches new lows in outright lies, misinformation, disinformation and twisting the facts. His latest rant has been interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump because his immigrant grandparents were successful immigrants.

    Cruz Mocks Trump’s Wealthy Upbringing

    It’s true that Donald Trump was raised in upper middle class comfort in a house in Jamaica Estates in Queens NY.   Trump’s childhood house.

    The real issue however is how it happened that Donald Trump was lucky enough to grow up in comfort.  The answer is that his grandfather was hardworking and successful immigrant who instilled those values into his son.

    Then there’s Ted Creepy Cruz…a man so blissfully easy to hate that loathing for him has become a form of political poetry: “wacko-bird,” “abrasive,” “arrogant,” and “creepy” are some of the kindest adjectives that have been thrown his way. Cruz has alienated about everyone he’s ever encountered in life: high school and college classmates, bosses, law professors, Supreme Court clerks, and especially his Republican colleagues in the Senate. Some detest Cruz the politician because of his grandstanding, but most dislike Cruz the person. In that respect, he’s really not your average politician—after all, most people hate politicians. But everyone hates Ted Cruz. 

    Oh, and I forgot one thing, the reason why the Republicans and demon’rats hate Donald Trump is that he’s NOT one of them….”hybrids/demonic beings….I’m sure you understand….

    Like

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