How tensions in the leadership of the protest movement burst into the open.
After the divisiveness of the 2016 election, the Women’s March became a major symbol of unity. But two years later, a rift in the movement has grown.
Accusations of anti-Semitism against leaders of the Women’s March organization are overshadowing plans for more marches.
Much of the recent controversy has centered on one leader’s ties with Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam.
As a result of the conflict, two competing protests of the Trump administration will be held in New York City on Saturday.
A funny thing is happening on the American scene: a powerful upwelling of decency.
.. You can see the abrupt turn toward decency in the rise of the #MeToo movement; in a matter of months ground that had seemed immovable shifted, and powerful sexual predators started facing career-ending consequences.
.. You can see it in the reactions to the Parkland school massacre.
.. Even the huge anti-Trump demonstrations just after Inauguration Day didn’t seem to move the conventional wisdom. But those pink pussy hats may have represented the beginning of real social and political change.
.. Political scientists have a term and a theory for what we’re seeing on #MeToo, guns and perhaps more: “regime change cascades.”
.. When people see the status quo as immovable, they tend to be passive even if they are themselves dissatisfied. Indeed, they may be unwilling to reveal their discontent, or to fully admit it to themselves. But once they see others visibly taking a stand, they both gain more confidence in their dissent and become more willing to act on it — and by their actions they may induce the same response in others, causing a kind of chain reaction.
.. Examples include
- the revolutions that swept Europe in 1848,
- the sudden collapse of communism in 1989 and
- the Arab Spring of 2011.
.. nothing says that such cascades have to be positive either in their motivations or in their results. The period 2016-17 clearly represented a sort of Alt-Right Spring — springtime for fascists? — in which white supremacists and anti-Semites were emboldened
- not just by Donald Trump’s election but by the
- evidence that there were more like-minded people than anyone realized, both in the U.S. and Europe.
.. historians have described 1848 as a turning point where history somehow failed to turn: At the end of the day the old, corrupt regimes were still standing.
.. far too much power rests in the hands of men who are simply bad people.
.. his growing backlash is not just its vileness, but its lameness.
.. Trump’s response to Parkland — let’s arm teachers! — wasn’t just stupid, it was cowardly, an attempt to duck the issue
.. Missouri G.O.P. has responded to the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens, accused of trying to blackmail his lover with nude photos: by blaming … George Soros
.. They’ve pretty much given up on making any substantive case for their ideas in favor of rants about socialists trying to take away your freedom.
.. it’s also kind of whiny; it’s what people sound like when they know they’re losing the argument.
.. the U.S. electoral system is in effect rigged in favor of Republicans
.. Democrats will need to win the popular vote by something like seven percentage points to take the House.
The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.
.. She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.
.. Plus, they’ve argued, many of these tweets were written five years ago! Ancient history.
.. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.
.. Like many others, CNN’s Jake Tapper noticed the outrageous tweet. “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba,” he tweeted, going on to mention Ms. Sarsour’s troubling past statements. “Any progressives out there condemning this?” he asked.
.. There’s no doubt that Ms. Sarsour is a regular target of far-right groups, but her experience of that onslaught is what makes her smear all the more troubling. Indeed, the idea that Jake Tapper is a member of the alt-right is the kind of delirious, fact-free madness that fuels Donald Trump and his supporters. Troublingly, it is exactly the sentiment echoed by the Women’s March: “Our power — your power — scares the far right. They continue to try to divide us. Today’s attacks on #AssataShakur are the latest example.”
.. What’s more distressing is that Ms. Sarsour is not the only leader of the women’s movement who harbors such alarming ideas. Largely overlooked have been the similarly outrageous statements of the march’s other organizers... Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convictedof trying to kill six police officers.. But the public figure both women regularly fawn over is Louis Farrakhan... Ms. Mallory posted a photo with her arm around Mr. Farrakhan, the 84-year-old Nation of Islam leader notorious for his anti-Semitic comments.. “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” he warned Jews in a speech at a Nation of Islam gathering in Madison Square Garden in 1985. Five years later, he remained unreformed: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters.” Or this metaphor, directed at Jews: “You have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.” He called Hitler “a very great man” on national television. Judaism, he insists, is a “gutter religion.”.. Mr. Farrakhan is also an unapologetic racist. He insists that whites are a “race of devils” and that “white people deserve to die.”.. Feminists will find little to cheer in his 1950s views of gender: “Your professional lives can’t satisfy your soul like a good, loving man.”.. But the nightmare of the Trump administration is the proof text for why all of this matters. We just saw what happens to legitimate political parties when they fall prey to movements that are, at base, anti-American. That is true of the populist, racist alt-right that helped deliver Mr. Trump the White House and are now hollowing out the Republican Party. And it can be true of the progressive “resistance” — regardless of how chic, Instagrammable and celebrity-laden the movement may seem... Will progressives have more spine than conservatives in policing hate in their ranks?.. what I stand against is
- embracing terrorists,
- disdaining independent feminist voices,
- hating on democracies and
- celebrating dictatorships.If that puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it.