Going to #MarchforTruth? Here’s what you need to know.

1. Going to this march is going to give you all the feels and fire you up. It’s going to leave you convinced you occupy the moral high-ground and can conquer Trump and the GOP through sheer resolve. It’s going to make you feel like part of a broader movement that will end this orange skinned, alt-right nightmare and that you have contributed to this awakening.

And that’s all it’s going to do.

The March for Truth will provide a great deal of psychological satisfaction, but it will not produce the stated goals of achieving an independent and transparent investigation on Trump-Russia, producing the release of Trump’s tax returns, or resulting in prosecution of Trump and his GOP conspirators.

If you truly want these things, you will have to do much more. (What to do is addressed below.)

2. You are joining a long tradition of people with “good intentions” but a poor understanding of the political process and how to engage with it strategically. As a result, participants in marches falsely believe that their actions are enough to create the changes they desire. This false belief prevents them from engaging in actions that would help them achieve their goals, and thus their good intentions serve to prevent the change they seek.

The Women’s March is a fantastic example of this phenomenon. On Jan 21, between 3 and 4 million people in over 300 locations in partnership with a wide coalition of organizations gathered to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families….”

It was the largest march in US history. And it did absolutely nothing to stop Trump or the GOP from completely devastating women’s rights.

On January 25, four days after the march, Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule. This move prohibits any international NGO from receiving funding if it provides abortion counseling. On March 27 he revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces Act. This strategic maneuver ensures that companies no longer have to be transparent about wages paid to men and women. It also allows companies to hide previous accusation of discrimination, harassment, and assault in the workplace from the courts and the public. On April 7, a pro-life conservative judge named Neil Gorsuch occupied the SCOTUS seat belonging to Merrick Garland. On April 13, Trump signed an executive order to stop federal finding to Planned Parenthood and other agencies that proved abortions. The AHCA and the Budget threaten to further devastate women’s rights. The former will cut birth control, maternity care and any program that specifically serves the female population. The later will slash childcare, nutrition, learning centers, head start, transgender rights, and domestic violence support.

The Women’s March, for all it’s good intentions, has not generated a strategy to counter Trump’s legislative assault. Meanwhile, the flames of resistance momentarily fueled by the Women’s March were allowed to fizzle out before they could be translated into effective action.

The Tax March serves as another strong example of this phenomenon. On April 15, 125,000 people in over 200 communities in collaboration with 70 organizations participated in the Tax March to demand that “President Trump must release his full tax returns.” Trump shows no indication that he was in any way moved to do so. The organizers of the march have produced no strategies for how to proceed.

The most recent large-scale march, the March for Science, is one of the most devastating examples of how ineffective marching is as a counterstrategy. On April 22, tens of thousands of people in over 600 cities and over 300 organizations formed together to “unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

This week, Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This move has been described as “a disaster for the world” and positions the United States as both climate change deniers as well as deniers of science in general. This position is also articulated in his budget which threatens to fatally slash the funding for federal science programs. $1 billion is slated to be taken from the National Cancer Institute. A similar amount is scheduled to be removed from the Food and Drug Administration. Approximately $30 billion will be taken from the National Institute of Health and devastating cuts will be mate to NASA, NOAA, the NSF and the EPA.

The March for Science did not strategically counter Trump’s move to exit the Paris Climate Change Agreement and it has no plans to strategically counter Trump’s budget cuts.

And now we have a March for Truth.

Marchers are gathering today, June 3, “to raise our voices and let our elected leaders know that Americans want answers.”

The goals of the march are listed as follows:

· An independent commission must be established, and Congressional investigations should be properly resourced and pursued free of partisan interests;

  • As much information should be made available to the public as possible, and as soon as possible;
  • Congress should require Donald Trump to release his tax returns to clarify his business interests and obligations to any foreign entity;
  • If crimes were committed or if collusion is discovered, it must be prosecuted.

There are no tangible strategies offered through which to attain that goal besides the march itself. As such, there should be no expectation that the march will lead the GOP to engage in an independent or transparent investigation, the release of tax returns, or prosecution. There should be an open and transparent understanding that much more needs to be done to stop the GOP. And that marching for one day may mobilize energy to engage in that process, but it is not guaranteed. In fact, if no avenues for action are provided, it is all but guaranteed that the energy generated by marching will fizzle out unactualized and nothing will be achieved.

Demand more from yourself and from your fellow marchers.

3. You are co-opting and misrepresenting the people that have dedicated their lives to fighting against abuses of power and white supremacy and replacing it with a whitewashed, middle class understanding of what it means to “fight the power.” This is a disservice to the people that have shed blood and lost lives and loved ones in these battles currently and historically.

The March for Truth serves as a textbook example of this process.

The primary demand of the March for Truth is an independent investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia. Unfortunately, the privileged organizers and participants in this action are approaching it as if they are the first to ever have called for an independent investigation against an abusive authority. This approach encourages the use of strategies that are known not to work by people with experience in the field, but seem feasible in the foggy lenses of good intentions. As a result, these efforts are predictable and easily dismissed by the opposition.

Specifically, people of color fighting police abuse have been fighting for independent investigations for generations. As previously reported in Police are Still Killing Minorities. This is what it will take to Change That, “Among the most damaging of…obstructions is the prevalence of internal investigations. Internal investigations allow law enforcement agencies to determine for themselves whether or not one of their own has committed a crime. They collect the evidence themselves. They are allowed to ignore important information, such as prior charges of officer misconduct. And they are often legally required by police union contracts to engage in an investigation process that varies dramatically from those used to investigate the average citizen.”

Countless marches have been organized against internal investigations of police abuse and murder since long before the Black Lives Movement ever existed; however, marches do not repeal the laws or trigger the processes necessary to force an independent investigation of a protected government employee. Marches have not and will not shame the National Fraternal Order of Police or the Department of Justice to take action against themselves. And marching will not shame the Department of Justice or the GOP into authorizing and independent investigation.

This information and the struggles of minority communities have been ignored, though, and many marchers will be led to believe that gathering today with a protest sign or a tambourine fulfills their requirement to fight Trump and the GOP until the next march. Ultimately, they will fail to engage in actions that will actually lead to change. And they will not produce the change they claim they seek.

These mistakes and this predictable pattern could be avoided if the work of elders in the field was respected and their scholarship prioritized over moral rhetoric and personal motivation.

Reform is not only a field, it is a network of many fields. There are a lot of people with opinions and good intentions that are not qualified to lead the fight against Trump and the GOP. Do not follow them. There are people with expertise and experience in various forms of counterstrategy against the GOP and federalized abuses of authority. Consult them. Empower them to lead.

4. There is more that you can do. And you should do it. The stakes have never been higher. And time is running out.

If you want to engage in mass assemblies that build off the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement and are designed to create change at the federal level, click here to learn how: https://medium.com/@SIIPCampaigns/what-history-can-teach-theresistance-about-kicking-trumps-ass-81d8b73086fe

If you want to know what you should pressure the Democratic party to do to ensure they are using every ounce of their political authority and capital to stop Trump and the GOP, click here: https://medium.com/@SIIPCampaigns/we-cant-impeach-trump-but-we-can-burn-him-and-the-gop-to-the-ground-153c3b4f92fd

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