Trump's immigration ban drew thousands and thousands of protesters to airports and to cities. The total may never be known.
Great news for people that oppose Trump comes in certain facts and past trends. It has been reported that Trump got only eighteen percent of Americans to vote for him. Just twenty five percent of eligible voters. Hillary Clinton defeated him soundly in terms of the popular vote and got around two point eight million more votes.
His approval rating is historically low for a new president and plummeting. Far below fifty percent of Americans want him as president.
There is a crucial question for Trump opposition. Should we use peaceful resistance or more extreme and radical tactics ?
I have personal experience with being a zealous fanatic and radicalized in a mass movement. I am extremely reluctant to return to such a position again. There are several distinct liabilities to such a position. You are quite likely to use brutal or ruthless means in such a position. I have found evil means often never lead to just ends and so your means in truth are your ends. You do evil today to get to good tomorrow and that tomorrow never comes.
But I have very good reason to encourage nonviolent resistance continues and in fact grows now. Erica Chenoweth studied many cases of nonviolent resistance and concluded it is far more likely to overcome a regime than violence. And that often only three and a half percent of the population resisting is enough to win.
WhyCivil Resistance Works The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
"Conclusions and Implications The central contention of this study is that nonviolent resistance methods are likely to be more successful than violent methods in achieving strategic objectives. We have compared the outcomes of 323 nonviolent and violent resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006, and we have compared these large-n ªndings with comparative case studies of nonviolent campaigns in Southeast Asia. Based on the combined statistical and qualitative research, we can make several claims. First, resistance campaigns that compel loyalty shifts among security forces and civilian bureaucrats are likely to succeed. Such operational successes occur among violent campaigns occasionally, but nonviolent campaigns are more likely to produce loyalty shifts. Although in the quantitative study these findings are qualified by data constraints, our case studies reveal that three violent campaigns were unable to produce meaningful loyalty shifts among opponent elites, whereas such shifts did occur as a result of nonviolent action in the Philippines and East Timor. In addition, repression against nonviolent campaigns in the Philippines and East Timor resulted in well-timed international sanctions against the opponent regime, which proved instrumental in the success of these nonviolent campaigns. The domestic and international political costs of repressing nonviolent campaigns are higher than for repressing violent campaigns. Our case studies also suggest that violent and nonviolent campaigns that fail to achieve widespread, cross-cutting, and decentralized mobilization are unlikely to compel defection or evoke international sanctions in the firstst place. Broad-based campaigns are more likely to call into question the legitimacy of the opponent. The political costs of repressing one or two dozen activists, easily labeled “extremists,” are much lower than repressing hundreds or thousands of activists who represent the entire population." End quote
Here's another quote from the Guardian article:
It may only take 3.5% of the population to topple a dictator – with civil resistance
The Women’s March on Washington and its affiliated marches – which may have been the largest single-day demonstration in US history – show a population eager and willing to show up to defend their rights.
Of course, nonviolent resistance often evokes brutality by the government, especially as campaigns escalate their demands and use more disruptive techniques. But historical data shows that when campaigns are able to prepare, train, and remain resilient, they often succeed regardless of whether the government uses violence against them.
Historical studies suggest that it takes 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple brutal dictatorships. If that can be true in Chile under Gen Pinochet and Serbia under Milosevic, a few million Americans could prevent their elected government from adopting inhumane, unfair, destructive or oppressive policies – should such drastic measures ever be needed.
Erica Chenoweth is the co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
If this information is accurate and the millions and millions of Americans that are in extreme danger from Trump's actions and words stand together we may far exceed the threshold to overcome him.
If the women, gay and bi and trans people, Muslims, black folks, immigrants and a variety of others slated for a severe loss of rights all stand together then our victory is possible. The US military at some point will have to choose to disobey orders to arrest, detain and possibly even shoot or even execute peaceful protesters.
We must remain peaceful in this model of resistance. That's absolutely essential to avoid abandoning our likely best chance for success.
It won't be effortless and sadly without casualty. American people will get arrested, assaulted and likely killed. That's unfortunately the nature of clashes with power.
But outright violence against Trump and his administration will play right into his hands. The use of force and disproportionate retaliation gives the regime the excuse to crack down brutally and kill dissidents. They can simply say they were violent or threatened violence and the associated violence that others did will be good enough to justify the new violence.
Asymmetric warfare would be extremely difficult. The training and experience needed is not easy to find. And it is in my opinion very nearly an absolute last resort.
It's almost suicidal and quite likely to fail more often than suceed. People would throw away their lives to fail and give Trump justification for martial law.
If protest is allowed, dissent isn't censored, the press continues to report on Trump's lies, abuses and crimes and tens of millions of Americans still passionately oppose him then nonviolent resistance is in my opinion our best option.
In nonviolent resistance you are not killing innocent people. That matters. In nonviolent resistance you can make a mistake and have far less dire consequences.
I loathe the white supremacy and fascist values Trump embodies and inspires. But I don't want us to destroy ourselves to stop him. And fortunately good reason may show our best option for winning is to use nonviolence. And that brings me peace of mind.