Trump re­sis­tance brews on­line

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

The rev­o­lu­tion may not be tele­vised — but it ap­par­ently will be tweeted. And Face­booked. And In­sta­grammed.

Not long af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tem­po­rar­ily barred most peo­ple from seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim coun­tries from en­ter­ing the U.S., so­cial ac­tivist Dex Tor­ricke-Bar­ton took to Face­book. “I’m think­ing of or­ga­niz­ing a rally,’’ he posted. Within a few hours, more than 1,000 peo­ple ex­pressed in­ter­est. The re­sult­ing protest a week later, in front of San Fran­cisco’s City Hall, drew thou­sands more.

Tor­ricke-Bar­ton is far from alone. From or­ga­niz­ing protests on the fly to rais­ing money for refugee and im­mi­grant rights groups, peo­ple have been us­ing so­cial me­dia to fuel the re­sis­tance against Trump in ways their or­ga­niz­ing pre­de­ces­sors from the 1960s could have hardly imag­ined.

ROOTS OF PROTEST

In Queens, New York, for in­stance, a group of 27 women met up to write post­cards to their state and lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives dur­ing a “Post­card-Writ­ing Happy Hour’’ or­ga­nized through Face­book.

And on Ravelry, the so­cial net­work for knit­ters and cro­cheters, mem­bers have been trad­ing ad­vice and knit­ting pat­terns for the pink “pussy hats’’ that emerged as a sym­bol dur­ing the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton and sim­i­lar protests else­where af­ter Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.

“This is an in­cred­i­ble pro­ject be­cause it’s mixed be­tween dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal,’’ says Jayna Zweiman, one of the founders of the Pussy­hat Pro­ject. “We har­nessed so­cial me­dia for good.’’

In 1969, ac­tivists planned mas­sive marches around the U.S. to protest the war in Viet­nam. The protests, called the Mora­to­rium, drew mil­lions of peo­ple around the world. But “it took months, a lot of effort, a na­tional of­fice of the or­ga­ni­za­tion to get it off the ground,’’ says Christo­pher Huff, a Bea­con Col­lege pro­fes­sor fo­cused on so­cial move­ments of the 1960s. “The women’s march was achieved at a much larger scale at a frac­tion of the time.’’

This im­me­di­acy is both an as­set and a dis­ad­van­tage. While on­line net­works help peo­ple rally quickly around a cause, Huff says, they don’t nec­es­sar­ily help peo­ple grasp the “longterm effort’’ re­quired to sus­tain a move­ment.

ON­LINE, THEN OFF

In Sil­i­con Val­ley and across the tech world, Trump’s travel ban cre­ated a stir that went well be­yond the in­dus­try’s usual calls for dereg­u­la­tion and more cod­ing classes for kids. Be­tween ag­gre­gat­ing do­na­tions, is­su­ing fiery state­ments, and walk­ing out of work in protest, tech com­pany ex­ec­u­tives and em­ploy­ees took up the anti-Trump cause at a scale not seen in other in­dus­tries.

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