Resistance Portfolio: Practical Steps to Escape Normalization

We each need two types of list these days. One is the sort recommended by experts on nascent authoritarianism: a daily list of acts that are not normal but which the authoritarian is trying to normalize. This kind of list keeps us alert, prevents us from being lulled, tricked, or distracted into accepting incremental steps toward the unacceptable.Here is an example from Amy Siskind.

The other list we need is one that helps us keep track of resistance measures, especially organized and lawful ones. When millions of people are engaged in a political fight, concerted efforts come from many quarters. Nobody can participate in every one. Some efforts do not merit serious participation. People have to decide which efforts engage them, where they can participate meaningfully. They also need to remember what else is being done, to keep track of successes and failures, and to look for synergies. People’s lists of resistance efforts will vary, according to their particular interests and capabilities.

Here’s my own current list of resistance efforts.

  1. Promote efforts to educate and advise Presidential electors of the nonpartisan constitutional grounds that warrant a refusal to select Donald Trump unless he liquidates his current assets and places them into a true blind trust.(Further discussion here, here, and here.)
  2. Donate time and money to organizations with experience, expertise, commitment to safeguarding civil rights and/or combating misogyny, patriarchy, and white supremacy. (The ones I have chosen are discussed here.)
  3. Boycott retailers carrying Donald J. Trump and/or Ivanka Trump brand merchandise. Work to extend boycott to media that accept advertising from Trump companies. (Detailed information re targeted retailers, alternatives available here. See also my posts on concept and implementation)
  4. Watch for and publicize, via social media, inaccurate coverage of vote recounts and audits (example). Where possible, provide accurate information especially with links to primary sources (example). 
  5. Support the Women’s March on Washington.
  6. Work on practical programs to assist progressive young lawyers to run for office or to head campaign of a young progressive running for office.

This list helps me balance

  • short, medium, and long term resistance measures
  • measures more and less likely to accomplish their ends
  • resistance measures that require varying degrees and kinds of effort
  • measures in need of my particular skills and measures that will profit from anybody’s involvement

Thus my list functions like a financial investment portfolio. When aiming toward a financial goal it makes sense to to choose different kinds of investment and saving vehicles to optimize one’s chance of meeting the goal. If one investment fails, for example, the success of others can offset the setback. Same thing for my Resistance Portfolio. Like a financial portfolio, it will need revisiting and rebalancing over time if it is to (roughly) optimize my efforts to defeat Donald Trump, his appointees, the Republican politicians and others who have brought us Trump; and my work to preserve civil right, ensure a pluralist society, and to advance the liberation and equality of women.

Continually updated version of my own Resistance Portfolio.

I strongly encourage others to devise, maintain, and share their own Resistance Portfolios.

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Resistance Portfolio: Practical Steps to Escape Normalization

Wearing a Safety Pin

Today I decided to wear a safety pin, visible to all, every day. I will hand out safety pins to trusted friends, students, and colleagues for them to wear. The safety pin signals to all that I will not tolerate bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, racism. If I see it directed toward any individual, I will aid. If I cannot aid, I will summon aid.

Wearing a safety pin is not the only resistance I am taking in the face of the Trump era. Before today I have begun to help organize the Women’s March on Washington, I have donated to extra-governmental organizations with experience and focus on protecting civil liberties and subordinated groups, I have been publicizing  the boycott retailers selling Trump brands.

But today is different. Today is the day that the President-Elect of the United States of America announced that when he takes office his Chief Strategist will be a man who is a publicly avowed white nationalist, an active advocate of misogyny and anti-Semitism, a promoter of the “alt-right” world view. In other words, today the Republican President-Elect elevated and institutionalized modern-day American Nazism.

Today is the day that I realized that people need to put on safety pins before they are forced to wear other, sinister badges. People need to put on safety pins because people of color, women of conscience, brown and black people, Jews and Muslims, LGBT folks are now overtly under threat from the highest executive office in the United States. Already, alt-right violence targeting us is ratcheting up. We need to know who is prepared to stand against this violence, who is ready to act in its face. Wearing a safety pin is a simple visible way to communicate your readiness, your resistance.

Others are wearing safety pins for similar reasons. On Twitter you can check the hashtags #SafetyPin and #SafetyPinNation.

Wearing a Safety Pin