We may finally be seeing the first, tentative waving of the white flag when it comes to the question of whether or not these “massive” protests against the Trump administration which the media fixates on are a legitimate grassroots uprising or corporate sponsored theatrics organized by George Soros and his friends. There have been plenty of indications that it’s the latter, with discoveries of paid shills at the tax day protests, at Berkeley, all through the Dakota Access Pipeline brouhaha and, of course, at the Women’s March. And it’s hard not to suspect that the fix is in when thousands of people show up with identical, professionally printed “protest signs” and shirts.
The usual liberal and media (but I repeat myself) response is that this is nonsense. Even if a stack of posters somehow showed up here and there, these are all sincerely upset Americans who spontaneously left their homes and took to the streets in a desperate bid to save their country. But these explanations seem to be wearing thin, so what other options are available? Leo Gertner and Moshe Marvit showed up in the pages of the Washington Post this week to unveil a new strategy. Okay… so maybe some of the protesters are paid and the events are orchestrated by well funded groups, but… so what? It doesn’t really matter.
[A]llegations that even one participant is paid immediately calls into question the legitimacy of a cause. Behind these accusation is the idea that social movements should be entirely spontaneous, volunteer-driven, and untarnished by the exchange of money. Anything else would betray a lack of moral purity and reveal ulterior motives. And although successful protest movements rarely if ever succeed without an investment of resources, we create simplified mythologies that perpetuate these ideas of monetarily immaculate conception.
In reality, organizations often do sponsor or support rallies and send paid staff to help organize them, although unpaid protesters typically outnumber organizers. Nonetheless, history suggests that strong movements do well with both paid and unpaid agents agitating for change…
So the next time someone tries to discredit a movement by insinuating that some of the people on the ground are being compensated, ask the all-important question: So what?
I suppose there should be some credit given where due here. Admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, after all. But there’s a bit too much denial of reality going on. Does anyone remember the Koch Brothers paying for all of the buses, hotel rooms, poster board and magic markers for the Tea Party rallies back in 2008 through 2010? No… neither do I. And local events like GOP town halls which used to include some firm but polite challenges to the positions of insufficiently conservative incumbents were mostly just that… local. The end result was that such things tended to be messy and frequently confused, but they were sincere. The lack of central casting in building that movement led to all sorts of infighting, with various Tea Party groups frequently being at each other’s throats, but that’s the nature of Democracy sometimes.
What we’re seeing now is something entirely different. The authors can try all they like to summon up the ghost of Rosa Parks (who, as they point out, was an NAACP staffer and activist) but that doesn’t change a thing. When you have mailing lists numbering in the millions summoning hoards of people who apparently have no day jobs to hinder them, and you’re paying for their transportation, lodging and signage, you are essentially just a wing of the Democratic Party. The “sacrifice” is less, and as such it simply doesn’t carry the same impact.
But, as I said earlier, this is still a sign of progress. Admitting that the liberal mobs of protesters are frequently on the Soros payroll is at least a step in the right direction. If the voters are to be treated to constant displays of these protests on cable news, the least you can do is let them know who’s financing the whole thing.