Having failed to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president at the ballot box, with a swing state recount and with an attempt to rally faithless electors, progressives are now planning to simply “disrupt” his inauguration. Michael Moore used Twitter to promote a protest, scheduled for January 20th and 21st in Washington D.C., to his more than 3 million followers. The group says it plans to “shut down the Inauguration ceremonies” and “paralyze the city itself.”
Disrupt the Inauguration. The Majority have spoken – by nearly 2.7 million votes &counting! Silence is not an option https://t.co/HSmP3pREvy
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 7, 2016
That link leads to a website where protesters offer this call to action:
On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States.
We call on all people of good conscience to join in disrupting the ceremonies. If Trump is to be inaugurated at all, let it happen behind closed doors, showing the true face of the security state Trump will preside over. It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United States do not support his presidency or consent to his rule…
From day one, the Trump presidency will be a disaster. #DisruptJ20 will be the start of the resistance. We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear. The parade must be stopped. We must delegitimize Trump and all he represents. It’s time to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and the world that sustains us as if our lives depend on it—because they do.
Another page offers a slightly more specific agenda:
We’re planning a series of massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations–the Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls, you name it. We’re also planning to paralyze the city itself, using blockades and marches to stop traffic and even public transit. And hey, because we like fun, we’re even going to throw some parties.
In case you had any doubt, this is going to be one of those “mostly peaceful” rallies, meaning a rally that quickly devolves into smashed windows, vandalism, fires, etc. How do I know? Because this group says it will be taking “direct action” and embraces “a diversity of tactics.” In fact, the footer on every page of their website reads, “#DisruptJ20 rejects all forms of domination and oppression, particularly those based on racism, poverty, gender & sexuality, organizes by consensus, and embraces a diversity of tactics.”
Direct action is generally nuisance activity like die-ins, blocking traffic, or preventing people from getting to work. Diversity of tactics is a step beyond that. It’s code for a protest group that is willing to intentionally cross the line of non-violence. Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:
Diversity of tactics is a phenomenon wherein a social movement makes periodic use of force for disruptive or defensive purposes, stepping beyond the limits of nonviolence, but also stopping short of total militarization…Diversity of tactics may promote nonviolent tactics, or armed resistance, or a range of methods in between, depending on the level of repression the political movement is facing.
The “diversity of tactics” school has been embraced by progressives at Vox and Salon, with authors arguing that riots are an effective means of social change. One of Vox’s editors was suspended earlier this year when he directly called on people to start riots when Trump came to town.
If this does turn into vandalism and riots, Michael Moore should be held accountable.