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Learn from How Italians Ultimately Defeated Silvio Berlusconi

This OTYCD entry originally posted in January 2017.

 

Trump has been likened to Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th-century autocrats, but his closest analog is Silvio Berlusconi, the blustering, womanizing media mogul who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2001.

 

In this November 2016 New York Times op-ed, Luigi Zingales shows us how to avoid the mistakes of Berlusconi opponents, which had the effect of prolonging his grip on power.

The key point to remember:

 

Attack what Trump does, not who he is. Yes, he’s morally bankrupt. Yes, he’s an awful human being. Yes, he’s unbelievably ignorant. Yes, his view of women is horrific. Yes, his twitter-squawkings are insane. Yes, he looks goddamn ridiculous.

 

If you need to complain about things like that, vent in a private Facebook group, or some other protected space. Empty it from your mind, then go out and shine a light on what he is doing, and explain why what he’s doing is bad.

 

You need to do it in a way that spotlights the consequences of his actions as president, and not on why Trump, the man, is repugnant. The instant you start attacking his character, you make him sympathetic. It’s not fair, but it’s what it is. The anti-Berlusconi crowd made that mistake and got seven years of his rule. Do you want eight years of Trump? Then lay off.

 

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Prepare For A Rapid Response In Case Trump Fires Special Counsel Bob Mueller, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Or… (Updated April 2018)

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.

 

Update, mid-April 2018: This update is just to reflect that the scope of the actions covered by the rapid response plan has expanded.

Be prepared to act if:

Trump fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller

OR

Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

OR

Trump attempts to compromise the Mueller investigation by other means.

 

As of mid-April 2018, more than 300,000 people have RSVPed to the Nobody Is Above The Law website coordinated by MoveOn.org.

 

To RSVP and learn where your nearest rally site is, follow the link below. Also, scroll down this OTYCD page for specific time-linked instructions on what to do and when.

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

 

Update, mid-March 2018: After the FBI carried out the firing of already-outgoing deputy director Andrew McCabe on March 16, 2018, John Dowd, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, urged Rod Rosenstein to end the probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

 

When asked for comment on a Trump tweet about the firing, Dowd wrote, “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

 

See an article about the Dowd statement by The Daily Beast:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-lawyer-its-time-to-fire-robert-mueller

 

For this reason, we at OTYCD are asking you all to refresh yourself on where you’re gathering if Rosenstein fires Mueller; to consider RSVPing to the link below if you haven’t yet; to start or restart talking about your walkout plans with friends and family; and to start or finish getting your protest signs ready.

 

 

Update, January 2018: On the evening of Thursday, January 25, 2018, news broke that President Trump attempted to fire Robert Mueller in June 2017.

 

Only the refusal of White House counsel Don McGahn stayed his hand (Trump evidently wanted McGahn to carry out the action; McGahn refused and threatened to quit.)

 

See the New York Times story on the incident:

 

As we ready this update, more than 180,000 people have signed on to join Nobody is Above the Law rallies. Please consider doing so if you haven’t yet.

 

Learn what to do if Trump actually up and fires special counsel Bob Mueller. Be ready to act on the spot.

 

The Minutemen of Massachusetts got their name because they stood ready to muster against their British overseers at a moment’s notice.

 

This is the modern version of the Minutemen militia–you need to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to muster and defend our democracy if Trump actually does the second-dumbest thing he could possibly do and fires Mueller.

 

Moveon.org has detailed plans to hold emergency ‘Nobody is Above the Law’ rallies if this happens.

 

Below is a link to a map with a search tool that will show you where your nearest rally would be held if Trump fires Mueller (and let’s hope fervently that it never happens).

 

Here also are general instructions from Moveon.org:

 

Rallies will begin hours after news breaks of a Mueller firing:

  • If Mueller is fired BEFORE 2 P.M. local time —>  events will begin @ 5 P.M. local time
  • If Mueller is fired AFTER 2 P.M. local time —> events will begin @ noon local time the following day
    • This is the general plan—please confirm details on your event page, as individual hosts may tailor their events to their local plan.

 

 

Again, we at OTYCD hope this plan will never need to be enacted. But we also think it’s a good idea to think about your daily patterns and cross-match them against the map, so you can make sure you can get to what would be the event closest to you.

 

 

See where your nearest emergency rally would take place:

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

 

 

This link includes organizational materials, including training videos, images to share on social media, de-escalation tips, and a downloadable sign:

https://act.moveon.org/survey/mueller-firing-rapid-response-materials/?

 

 

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Learn How to Be a Silent Trump Protestor

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

Not everyone can afford to be out and proud opponents of Trump. Spouses, bosses, grown children, religious leaders, caregivers, and others we depend on can make it difficult and dangerous for us to express our views freely and honestly.

A November Medium piece by Patti Mulligan outlines five ways to protest Trump without taking to the streets or battling trolls on social media.

To find it, search for ‘5 Ways to be a Silent Trump Protestor’ under Mulligan’s name. (Attempts to post the link here aren’t succeeding, sorry.)

The good news is, if you’re a regular reader of OTYCD, you’re already doing at least some of the things she recommends.

Her five actions boil down to:

Donate to worthy causes that fight Trump, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Lambda Legal, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, and the Human Rights Campaign;

Call your Congressional delegation often, even daily, about issues that matter to you, and ask them to act;

Sign up for newsletters from web sites and digital organizations that are devoted to helping you push back against Trump, such as Wall-of-Us;

Listen to reputable political podcasts, such as Keepin it 1600 and NPR’s Code Switch;

And take care to cheer on and support your friends who can afford to protest Trump in public.

 

 

View story at Medium.com

Marches and Protests

Honor Those Who You Carry With You When You March

Honor those who you represent when you march or protest.

 

When you go to a march or a protest, it’s not just about you. You stand for many other people who want to be there, but can’t.

 

Maybe they’re working. Maybe they’re care-giving. Maybe they’re cramming for finals. Maybe they’re traveling. Maybe they’re too sick to go. Maybe they live too far away to make the trip. Maybe they can’t afford it and would be insulted if you tried to pay their way. Maybe they’re dead, but would go without hesitation if they were alive to join you.

 

Find a way to bring these people with you even though they can’t come in person.

The cheapest and easiest way is to write their names on a piece of paper and tuck it in your pocket.

 

Sit and think. Who would want to come with you? Your mother. Your great-grandfather. Your cousin. Your favorite teacher. Your sorority sister. Write their names. That can be enough.

 

You could also build a charm bracelet or a necklace, with each charm representing a person who you’re “bringing” to the event.

 

Jewelry isn’t as cheap as pen and paper, but it can be pretty cheap (see the link below).

http://www.fitnessfinders.net/school-awards-and-tokens-s/147.htm

 

And when you do this, find a way to carry the memory of Heather Heyer with you. She was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 when a 20-year-old man deliberately drove his car into a group of anti-racist protesters.

 

Heyer’s favorite color was purple. If you have purple clothing, you could wear that to remember her and carry her with you. Or maybe you could carry or wear a violet–she named her dog Violet.

 

Never lose sight of the fact that when you lace up your marching shoes and ready your signs, you are not alone, at least not in spirit. Draw strength from those who you carry with you.

 

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Marches and Protests · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Invite a Friend to Come With You to Marches

This OTYCD entry originally posted in July 2017.

 

Are you going to a protest or a march in your area? Invite at least one friend to come with you.

 

First, please read the post titled Learn to Welcome People to the Movement, Period, Full Stop:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/04/03/learn-to-welcome-others-to-the-movement-period-full-stop-2/

 

Part of your power is the power to encourage others to join you in protest. If you’re going to any of the marches this month, make a point of inviting others to come with you. If you’ve already invited people to come with you, try to add someone who has never come to a protest march before, or hasn’t come to one in the Trump era.

 

Be prepared to offer extra help. Do they need a ride? Do they need money for lunch or snacks? Do they need cold-weather gear? See what you can do to remove whatever’s standing in the way of their participation.

 

It’s not about offering someone an engraved invitation. It’s about using your power as someone your friend respects and trusts for good. You matter, and they matter. Going to protests matter. Join forces and do so together.

 

 

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Action Alerts · Community Activism · Marches and Protests

Join the National School Walkout Planned for Friday, April 20, 2018, the Anniversary of the Columbine Shooting

Join the National School Walkout planned for the morning of Friday, April 20, 2018–the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

 

The Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida spurred action never before seen.

 

Students who grew up under the pall of the 1999 Columbine shooting, and grew up with school drills that taught them what to do if an armed assailant attacked their classroom, are totally goddamn sick of it all and are determined to change things for the better.

 

The latest action is a nationwide American school walk-out protest planned for April 20, 2018.

 

Organizers of the National School Walkout are asking participants to wear orange and walk out of their schools at 10 am in their time zones, sit outside, and protest peacefully.

 

If you are a teacher or a school administrator, please plan for the protests and please consider joining your students. At the very least don’t forbid them from protesting and don’t punish them for doing so.

 

If you are not in school or you can’t physically participate for some reason, follow and boost the #nationalwalkout hashtag on social media.

 

 

See and sign the Change.org petition that supports the nationwide event:

https://www.change.org/p/u-s-senate-national-high-school-walk-out-for-anti-gun-violence

 

 

Follow the event’s Twitter feed:

@schoolwalkoutUS

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Keep Up the Good Work: Pushing Back is Having an Effect

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

One of the most welcome bits of news to arise from the Trump administration was the huge and immediate resistance movement that sprung up.

This is a landing page for good news about protesting, and other push-backs that got results, and stories that show that such efforts are effective.

 

Between 3.3 million and 4.6 million people marched in the January 21 Women’s March on Washington or one of its sister marches in America, making it the largest protest in the country’s history.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/womens-march-protest-count/514166/

 

According to this TEDX talk, it might take as little as 3.5 percent of a country’s population to engage in successful civil resistance against a brutal dictator. In case you’re wondering: The population of the U.S. is 319 million, and 3.5 percent of that would be 11.1 million.

My Talk at TEDxBoulder: Civil Resistance and the “3.5% Rule”

 

 

Read this February 6, 2017 Vox piece that recounts the first two weeks of Trump’s term and shows how pushback from the public slowed his roll:

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/6/14473482/resistance-works-anti-trump-protests

 

The straightforwardly-titled What Calling Congress Achieves, from The New Yorker, is a heartening and nuanced look at the history of constituents calling their Congressfolk and bringing us up to the present crush of activity, and how effective it has been. (Spoiler alert: Very!)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/what-calling-congress-achieves