For the last two years, feminists, their numbers swelling, have stuck to the letter of nonviolence doctrine, inherited from the civil rights movement. The Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, which kicked off a new highly organized and seemingly dauntless phase of feminist activism, was organized in part at the Gathering for Justice, a nonprofit headquartered in New York and founded by civil rights agitator (and actor and singer) Harry Belafonte. The call for the January march, timed to coincide with President Trump’s inauguration, sparked a record-breaking single-day protest, the largest in American history. For a global protest of that size to be thoroughly peaceful, as the Women’s March was, is almost unheard of.
And without striking physical blows, #MeToo and the latest wave of feminist activism has been almost terrifyingly effective. Feminism now pervades liberalism, and it has become its leading edge, deftly sidestepping the defeatism that nips at the edges of other liberal causes in the Trump era, notably climate activism. Since the 2016 election, feminism has grown much, much faster, bigger and louder than Trumpism.
Armed anarchists at the turn of the century, literally gunning for the elites, didn’t manage to strip even one robber baron of his privileges. By contrast, the whistleblowers of #MeToo have gotten men fired, shamed, investigated and in a few cases charged. It’s staggering: #MeToo, in its early days, is already one of the most effective social-justice movements in American history.