Resistance Report: Wave of protests planned for Presidents’ Day and congressional recess

A sign protesting “President Bannon” is seen in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy @BannonThe45th)
A sign protesting “President Bannon” is seen in San Francisco. (Photo: Courtesy @BannonThe45th)

The protests sparked by the election of President Trump are like nothing the country has ever seen. The Women’s March demonstrations around country were the largest one-day street protests in American history. The congressional switchboard has logged a record number of calls. In scale and scope, the activist uprising against Trump’s agenda has been shocking to even longtime left organizers. The reactions to Trump’s actions have been coming as fast and furious as his administration’s moves. This roundup will serve as a noncomprehensive effort to highlight some of what is happening each weekday.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY PROTESTS. Protests in New York, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles have been called for Presidents’ Day, starting at noon Eastern time. Follow Yahoo News’ live blog for a taste of the action. These “Not My President’s Day” protests are billed as peaceful rallies, with agendas specific to their areas. Notes the Facebook page for the Los Angeles rally: “Donald Trump is literally our President, but figuratively, he has attacked every value Californians embody and does not represent our interests. We will be staging a rally downtown at City Hall to protest the anti-Californian policies of the current White House.” More than 19,000 people have said they are interested in that march. The New York rally is being held outside the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan; 47,000 people have expressed interest in it on Facebook, and 15,000 said they will attend.

RESISTANCE RECESS. A coalition of groups helmed by MoveOn.org has been holding Ready to Resist organizing calls on Sunday nights since Trump took office. On the fourth such call, Ezra Levin, co-author of the Indivisible Guide and executive director of the Indivisible Project, guided more than 30,000 listeners through the protest plans for the coming week, when members of Congress are back in their districts for what is known as a District Work Period. “The Donald Trump agenda does not depend on Donald Trump, it depends on if your member of Congress chooses to resist it or rubber stamp it,” he told listeners, pointing to the tea party movement of the early Obama years as an “inspiration.”

“We think they got it right in terms of strategy and tactics,” Levin said. “If you want to resist Trump’s agenda, focus locally, focus locally, and never give an inch.”

Speakers on the call, which also featured representatives from MoveOn.org and an array of local groups, repeatedly emphasized the importance of nonviolence and discussed detailed strategies for getting called on at town halls, getting members of Congress to hold town halls, and filming video at town halls to share live on Facebook or with the press after the fact. Pro-tip: No one wants to see your vertical video.

MISSING MEMBERS. Those hoping to ask questions at town halls will have their work cut out for them. Vice News reported last week that Republicans will be holding fewer town halls than in previous District Work Periods: “For the first two months of the new Congress, the 292 Republicans have scheduled just 88 in-person town hall events — and 35 of those sessions are for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, according to a tabulation conducted by Legistorm. In the first two months of the previous Congress in 2015, by contrast, Republicans held 222 in-person town hall events.” Some members of Congress are replacing in-person meetings with tele-town halls, which activists find unsatisfying. Other lawmakers are making eyebrow-raising excuses for their decisions to avoid constituents. The Indivisible Guide has responded with a Missing Members of Congress Action Plan to bird-dog members at their offices, petition them for public town halls, and generally raise local and national media awareness of members’ retreat from direct conversations with the public.

RESISTANCE CALENDARS. In the 20th century, activists got the word out about upcoming protests through wheat pasting, phone trees and in-person meetings. In the 21st century, they have Facebook and other digital tools. Among them: the just-launched Resistance Calendar, which lists upcoming major protests across the nation. Washington, D.C., activists have put together a Facebook page collecting news of upcoming protests in the U.S. capital, which sees an unusual amount of in-the-streets activity regardless of who is president, and other local groups also are putting together lists of the events in their cities. And MoveOn.org has launched ResistanceRecess.com to list events.

THE ART OF PROTEST. “Impeach President Bannon” posters went up overnight Saturday as a group put together plans for posting them in “135 locations across New York City, Washington D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco, and parts of Los Angeles.” The “Stop President Bannon” art group is seeking to raise funds online to draw attention to Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s influential role in the White House.

SCIENCE! Scientists gathered at Copley Square in Boston Sunday at a “Stand Up for Science” rally held the weekend of the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting — and they had the best signs.

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“I AM A MUSLIM TOO.” A midday solidarity rally in Times Square on Sunday featured Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour.

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