Mueller Firing Rapid Response Rallies of Metafilter November 7, 2018 6:46 PM   Subscribe

The trigger has been fired: across the US, rallies and protests are being scheduled against Donald Trump's firing of Jeff Sessions and replacement of Robert Mueller's supervision with a candidate of this choosing. National guidelines are for protests Thursday, Nov 8, 5pm. Attending MeFites, check in and be excellent to one another; share plans and experiences through this interesting time. Be safe, be kind, be brave.
posted by sciatrix to MetaFilter-Related at 6:46 PM (161 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

Whoops – I just posted my own MeTa about this! You beat me by moments.

You can use MoveOn's search tool to find your local protest. (Be patient with the site; it seems to be overloaded. Which I take as a good sign.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:53 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Going to the Austin one with a handful of people from my office!
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:54 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


If you see a guy in DC with this sign, that's me.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:54 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


It's on for Seattle. 5pm - Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill. March to the Federal Building downtown on 2nd Ave.

An easy way to get to Cal Anderson is to take the Light Rail, and get off at the Capitol Hill stop. There's an exit that leads right into Cal Anderson park. There's also a few buses that go that way (49, 11, 10, 43, 47, 8), but they're subjected to traffic. There's usually not any good parking in the area, and traffic is busy on a day where there's not a national crisis at hand. Good luck all, and solidarity! I can't march because I'm recovering from surgery.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:54 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Irreverent thought running inexorably through my head: I knew it was dumb wearing both my Captain America jersey yesterday and my brand new MoveOn shirt today. Especially since I spilled soup on the damn jersey.

Gotta do laundry tonight.
posted by sciatrix at 6:54 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


If you're attending a protest in a densely populated area, consider installing FireChat on your phone – it's a peer-to-peer chat app that works even if cell networks are overloaded or entirely down (assuming that there are other FireChat users nearby).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:55 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


Another search tool: Nobody is Above the Law
posted by christopherious at 6:58 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Georgia Alliance for Social Justice is stating they can't organize the Atlanta protests due to resource constraints and are looking at other options. I don't intend on showing up to the federal courthouse with no protest going on--or should I? Anything else useful I can be doing aside from lighting up my Senators' phones?
posted by Room 101 at 7:01 PM on November 7


I'll be at the Seattle protest!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:01 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Clearly I’m under knowledgeable about protests. Don’t you mostly just need a portable mic/sound system and a crowd? What are the other “resources?”
posted by greermahoney at 7:03 PM on November 7


The Atlanta metro area has a population of almost 6 million. It's hard to say how many people will attend an impromptu protest on a Thursday night – but protests in areas that dense can get quite large, which causes issues with traffic, policing, etc. That's why you (legally) need a permit for anything larger than a few people on a street corner. (N.B. I am far from a legal expert.)

Organizers also typically handle things like renting stages / sound systems / etc., booking and scheduling speakers, serving as a trusted liaison between the city authorities and the protesters, speaking to the press, disseminating information to participants, handling the official PR/social media, etc. Large protests don't stay organized and peaceful by accident.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:29 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


Where it's being held, for one thing--kind of important for getting that crowd. Where it's going to be held, so that police don't forcibly disperse that crowd and so there's room for it to assemble without packing people too tight and panicking them.

Signs, slogans to put on them. I'll be charging my portable Bluetooth speaker in case of opportunities to perk up a bored crowd with sing-alongs to tunes everyone knows ("Stand By Me," for example). I have a playlist somewhere.

Apps to make sure you can communicate in very high density situations. Advice in case things go sour in short notice. Best and worst case scenarios. plans.
posted by sciatrix at 7:29 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


From my local event:
THIS IS FOR REAL.

Rally tomorrow night (THU NOV 8th)
5-7PM
On Route 7 Outside Comstock's Sterling Office

It will be dark. If you are bringing signs, consider using reflective tape.
Bring flash lights and other forms of illumination.
Wear visible colors.

The message we want to project:
Whitaker Should Recuse Himself.
Protect Mueller Investigation.
Preserve Evidence.
Trump is not above the law.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:38 PM on November 7 [9 favorites]


Any New Yorkers up in here?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:43 PM on November 7


Austin officially set for City Hall tomorrow. Texas encourages us to dress in red, white, and blue, so gonna haul that Cap tunic out of the wash and into the dryer in a sec and stash the plastic shield in the car. Gonna spend tomorrow evening doing some goddamn yelling, cherry red Docs and all.
posted by sciatrix at 7:49 PM on November 7 [8 favorites]


Clearly I’m under knowledgeable about protests. Don’t you mostly just need a portable mic/sound system and a crowd? What are the other “resources?”

Courage, comrade.

I had started using comrade ironically but now... I kinda mean it? 2018, huh.
posted by Justinian at 8:04 PM on November 7 [9 favorites]


Seattle people, does anyone have any info about whether it would be safe/advisable to come to the protest with a small kid? My daughter loves marches, thinks Trump is a stinker (the meanest insult she knows), but is four and easily overwhelmed.
posted by centrifugal at 8:06 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Georgia Alliance for Social Justice is stating they can't organize the Atlanta protests due to resource constraints and are looking at other options. I don't intend on showing up to the federal courthouse with no protest going on--or should I? Anything else useful I can be doing aside from lighting up my Senators' phones?

You show up alone, you're a voice in the wilderness & you get to feel superior to all you survey. If only one other person shows up you can both bask in the knowledge that you saved each other the fate of showing up alone. At three you can organize. At four you get factions. With five you can go out afterwards for appetizers.
posted by scalefree at 8:20 PM on November 7 [30 favorites]


Seattle people, does anyone have any info about whether it would be safe/advisable to come to the protest with a small kid

No one can give this information about an enormous decentralized action. I can only offer a personal perspective: I would not take a kid to this. It's quite different from something like the Women's March or March for Our Lives, where there was a lot of advance notice, wide participation by people of all ages and stripes, and visible, known, and accountable organizers. This is a semi-organized action but it's not going to be that well-organized or that predictable. I can already tell that the one in my own town is going to be shaggy; the three people who signed up to be the producers some very long time ago now are scrambling to follow through - as caught off guard as anyone - and I'm sure there will be more of that. I'm sure everything will be fine but the last-minute, scramble-to-make-it-happen, decentralized, unclear-about-trustworthy-information-sources-and-legality-levels, het-up variety of protest action is not the kind of protest action I would bring children to. I am going, mind you, but I'm only responsible for me.
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on November 7 [22 favorites]


Yeah, that's my instinct as well. Damn. Wishing everyone well who's able to go!!
posted by centrifugal at 8:24 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Well, maybe I need to make my sign say "Trump is a stinker" in honor of the young centrifuge.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:29 PM on November 7 [13 favorites]


I’m having a hard time processing that I am probably going to PROTEST the firing of Jeff fucking Sessions.
posted by rockindata at 8:36 PM on November 7 [19 favorites]


I plan to be representing in Berkeley ,CA.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:38 PM on November 7 [6 favorites]


Going to the Portland one at Waterfront Park and would feel muuuuch better about it if I knew I'd see some familiar faces.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 8:42 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


San Francisco's protest is set for Civic Center, where all the protests are.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:45 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


rockindata: "I’m having a hard time processing that I am probably going to PROTEST the firing of Jeff fucking Sessions."

Not sure that the protest is the firing of Jeff Sessions which frankly the President has every right to do, but it is rather protesting the person he picked as the Acting AG. Picking your crony who wrote an op ed about the very issue he is supposed to be impartially overseeing is, well, bs and protest worthy.

The sad part is that no amount of protests will change this man. He seems to thrive on opposition attacks.
posted by AugustWest at 8:47 PM on November 7 [8 favorites]


after getting a message earlier that the Piedmont Ave. protest in oakland was not yet confirmed as MoveOn was still figuring out their plan, i just got notice from the organizer that it’s going down. I’m gonna try to be there if I can nail down childcare for tomorrow.

maybe we can get a cone at Fenton’s afterward if society has not collapsed
posted by murphy slaw at 8:58 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


San Francisco's protest is set for Civic Center, where all the protests are.

I’ll be there! Maybe I’ll try to incorporate a little mefi logo on my sign and get to meet some of you.

Not the mefi meetup I thought I’d finally attend, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by greermahoney at 9:03 PM on November 7 [10 favorites]


However half-assed this may be, it will be good practice for the big ones coming up.
posted by chortly at 9:38 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Charlotte, NC - anybody else going?
posted by scalefree at 9:43 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I will be in Albuquerque, at 4th and Gold.
posted by maurreen at 9:52 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I'm leaning toward Oakland, CA, but I work in downtown San Francisco and that'd be a bit faster to get to after work. (OTOH, Oakland is easier to get home from.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:53 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Brattleboro VT representin

Anybody else here? LOL!

Bringing a small PA system, materials for signage, warm clothes, my Women’s March T-shirt, and a whole lotta YOURE FIRED!

My kids will get to see the early gathering as they leave their ballet class across the street but then home to bed xxoo
posted by maniabug at 10:17 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Operation Hot Water is a go. (Camping stove, pans and water cube, tea and coffee is packed so I can make lots of hot water for tea and coffee.)

Markers packed for signs. Rain and cold gear packed or ready. Back up camping shelter is ready since I probably won't be able to make it back home until Friday.

Gotta do laundry tonight.

That reminds me, I'm so glad I just washed all my socks. Lesson learned from Occupy - bring spare clean socks. If you're not dirt poor, buy a pack and give 'em away.
posted by loquacious at 2:31 AM on November 8 [11 favorites]


I'm going to be at the Philly one at Thomas Paine Square? Park? from 5 to 5:30. If you see a perpetually grumpy-looking chick with glasses in a wheelchair, that might be me.
posted by angrycat at 2:32 AM on November 8 [7 favorites]


Also, please be safe everyone. Stay aware.

I'm seeing the usual chatter on surface level alt-right forums that they're framing this as "violent liberal mobs take to the streets" even though they're the ones that keep showing up to protests in LARP combat gear.

I'm kind of expecting some push back in the usual likely places around the country. Be brave. Stand up. Resist.
posted by loquacious at 2:35 AM on November 8 [10 favorites]


Be safe, be loud, y’all. Godspeed and good shouting weather!
posted by wenestvedt at 3:07 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


All packed up on my way to work. Spouse asks "In light of the California shooting, should we bring candles to light in memory, or should we just focus on Mueller?" I have no answers, so I'm passing the question on to you all. No signs, but I have my big old plastic Cap shield (h/t nonasuch!) and that will have to be enough for now.
posted by sciatrix at 4:51 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Fuck, I'm recovering from surgery and can't go. Sending well wishes to everyone that is protesting today, I'm offering online comms/organization help to the organizers at the protest location I was planning to attend.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:00 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Another Austinite reporting in! My wife and I will be there as soon as we can after work. We're far north, so it may take us awhile to get down there. Didn't have the time or resources to cook up signage, but boy oh boy did I bring a screaming voice and good things to shout about. Does anyone know why it's at city hall and not the capitol?
posted by Krazor at 5:23 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Raleigh checking in. 5pm Bicentennial Plaza (between the natural sciences and NC history museums, across from the legislature) - NOT bicentennial Mall, many blocks south.
posted by yoga at 6:11 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I really wish I could go. I'm going to be less than a mile from the protest in Ann Arbor tonight but my wife is in the hospital about to give birth so it feels irresponsible to go to a loosely organized protest at night.
posted by zrail at 6:15 AM on November 8 [13 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window: are there any reputable bail funds I could contribute to? I'd like to do something even though I can't get there.
posted by zrail at 6:16 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Should I go to a small local protest or a larger, big-city protest an hour away? I wonder if the many small protests will shrink the giant ones too much. (not an expert or even well informed on this)
posted by theredpen at 6:17 AM on November 8


I'd say that's up to you, and what you feel motivated to do, theredpen. I personally gravitate toward the larger events - but it's probably important for folks to see people in their own community protesting, too.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:22 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


For the Women's March, I remember the sheer diversity of places that protests were made and the little marches in deep, deep red rural areas made nearly as much of an impression as the big city liberal enclaves fielding sheer numbers. No one can complain that it's all the liberals over there when downtown saw Sarah Jane from the grocery and Susan from church standing in the middle of the downtown with posters and hats.

Your mileage may vary, but I would lean towards the smaller local protest because your presence there will make more of an impact. And I say that as a person who did travel for the national March.
posted by sciatrix at 6:22 AM on November 8 [16 favorites]


Another Austinite reporting in! My wife and I will be there as soon as we can after work. We're far north, so it may take us awhile to get down there. Didn't have the time or resources to cook up signage, but boy oh boy did I bring a screaming voice and good things to shout about. Does anyone know why it's at city hall and not the capitol?

Might be the expected size. City Hall is a smaller place so it's easier to make protests there look "full." Probably also easier for the police to monitor the situation because there are less avenues of approach.

It also is closer to the bridges for cutting off the bridges if that's what we decide to do.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:23 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


And lol, yes! What escape said. You do what will make you feel most powerful and seen. Remember, y'all, this is a war, not a battle, and we need you for the long haul and not just today. If you can't show up today, that is understandable. Either way, your support and well wishes are appreciated.

To each according to his abilities, you feel me?
posted by sciatrix at 6:25 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window: are there any reputable bail funds I could contribute to?

Try contacting your local DSA chapter.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:25 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Austin meet up is live on IRL. Don't worry if you can't make it today! I'm sure this won't be the last. All the same, please try to make it, if you can. We'll all be stronger together!
posted by Krazor at 6:52 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Reposting here as I didn't realize we had a thread and this is probably a better place to get info anyway.

I can't make the protest due to a currently bum foot that I need to stay off of, but I'd like to put my money where my mouth can't be tonight. Looking for recommendations for a good place to send some dollars and ways to possibly contribute time virtually.
posted by miratime at 7:00 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Hey y'all, I'll be headed to downtown DC. I'll try to make a couple extra signs to pass around to folks who need them. Sadly no reflective tape on my person.
posted by duffell at 7:02 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Any PDX folks know if the Patriot Prayer goons have made any comments about counter-protesting the waterfront protests? I’ll be there regardless, but I’d like to calibrate myself to exactly what sort of shitshow this might turn out to be.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:13 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I am also in DC and planning to be at the White House this evening, so hopefully I will see some of you there. Please dress warm and make sure you stay hydrated (and bring snackies if possible, it starts at five so if you're missing dinner make sure you at least have something).
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:14 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Haha, I have 6pm dinner reservations with my awful Tea Partier in-laws 2 blocks away from the Austin protest. That should make for some nice dinner conversation! I'll drop in for a bit on my walk from work. Hopefully it's still going afterward so I can stop by again once I'm all boozed up and angried up from dinner.
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:18 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Planning to attend the Durham event, but can unfortunately only be there for 45 minutes or so...but something is better than nothing, i guess? No idea what to expect, since haven’t heard much buzz about it from locals
posted by Dorinda at 7:19 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]




I just realized I can pull the cardboard bit off my now-disused political yard signs and turn it inside-out to make a protest sign!
posted by daisystomper at 7:39 AM on November 8 [9 favorites]


Okay: I never RSVP'd to the original alert when it first went up, and I'm unclear on the need to do so.

I see on the site that the NYC rally is going to be in Times Square. Do I really need to RSVP or can I just walk over there after work to see what's the what?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on November 8


I was going to post this in the DC thread but perhaps it's more broadly applicable so I'll put it here; it's just some suggestions for preparing to protest safely:

I would recommend writing an emergency contact number somewhere other than your arm (I go with my leg where I can see it if I roll up my pants) because stuff on your arm rubs off and can smear. I believe (although I don't know, I've never been arrested) that if you are arrested in DC you are only able to call a 202 number so if possible make sure your emergency contact has that area code. Even if you don't get arrested this can be useful in something like a medical emergency (and when you're stressed out you might forget even phone numbers you know well, it's really not a bad idea to have them written down).

If you take medication, bring only as much as you anticipate needing and leave the rest at home, but bring it in the prescription bottle with the relevant information, including your name (this is most applicable if you think there's any possibility of arrest).

At least in DC it's going to be cool but not super cold, but beware of hypothermia! There's a guide to prevention, symptoms, and treatment here. Make sure you stay hydrated and warm and if you have some candy or similar for snacking so much the better.

In general for protests, it's probably best to make sure your phone is locked with a numerical code instead of something like a fingerprint or pattern and hide sensitive notifications. Depending on what type of protest you're attending, it can also be good practice to turn off location services.

Make sure you have checked in with everyone in your group so you know about other people's needs and priorities (e.g. how they want to handle it if anyone starts shouting at you, whether they have medical conditions you should know about and stuff like where they've got their inhaler if they have asthma). Make sure you have a meeting location and a back-up meeting location just in case you get separated.

As always, take care of yourself and each other! Watch out for people who are physically or emotionally vulnerable and make sure their wishes are being respected and their needs are being met. Make sure you're supporting people's choices and respecting their boundaries. We need to be able to rely on each other.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:17 AM on November 8 [24 favorites]


RSVP is for notification, alerting on changes & crowd estimation. You may want to sign up to be notified when we do it next time. There's no requirement though.
posted by scalefree at 8:18 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Pittsburgh MeFites: If you see an old guy holding this sign, feel free to say hi.
posted by M-x shell at 8:31 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


> Seattle people, does anyone have any info about whether it would be safe/advisable to come to the protest with a small kid?

You could consider coming to the Shoreline one (which I may or may not be at, depending on schedules that are beyond my control). In my experience they're very low key. People who are more grarrrr go to Seattle to be part of the big crowd, so Shoreline protests are old people, people with young kids, people who need the flat surface our tiny protest happens on, etc. It's a slow, short walk on a paved sidewalk, so also good for people with mobility issues.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:33 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Seattle people, does anyone have any info about whether it would be safe/advisable to come to the protest with a small kid

In Seattle, there will be parents with their kids at every protest. Probably not as many at a nighttime one, but still plenty of kids. My general guidelines for protesting with kids is to pay more attention to the mood of the crowd (and mood of my kid) and to leave either when we're tired or when the protesters decide to risk arrest. If you're planning to march, have a plan for transporting your four-year-old, even if they normally are fine at walking, because the angry marches tend to go faster. Have snacks, both for hunger and entertainment. Only stay as long as you really are up for, so that you're up for the next protest too. It's okay to trek all the way there and then leave after an hour.

I don't know if we're going tonight or not, but that has more to do with energy levels and potential homework. I'm not worried about the safety of my kid.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:34 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


My social media feed is pretty full of lefties and activists, and it's surprisingly quiet about the protests today. I'm worried about the fatigue and despair levels. I don't know what to tell people who say it's all hopeless and what good is one more protest. I don't know, but I'm still fucking going.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:39 AM on November 8 [9 favorites]




5000 people have rsvp’d for Philly
posted by angrycat at 8:49 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


My social media feed is pretty full of lefties and activists, and it's surprisingly quiet about the protests today.

Same here, and my guess is that this is kind of akin to a pro-law enforcement protest? I mean it's not Blue Lives Matter bullshit or anything but as protests go "don't shut down a major government investigation" is pretty pro-establishment. I'm tapped into a couple of activist networks and I haven't seen anything about this from any of them.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:50 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I don't know what to tell people who say it's all hopeless and what good is one more protest.

Tell them that a 40+ year old fat, lazy and jaded Gen X slacker is dropping everything to bike/bus about 30 miles in from the country to a small town to attend a small town protest and then probably camping on the beach in freezing weather BECAUSE IT'S THAT FUCKING IMPORTANT TO SHOW NUMBERS OF PEOPLE OPPOSED TO THIS EXTRAJUDICIAL UNCONSTITUTIONAL CHICANERY TODAY.
posted by loquacious at 8:51 AM on November 8 [21 favorites]


(Re-reading, I worry my comment above seems dismissive, which was not intentional! I'm going to this protest and I support it and appreciate people organizing and coming out for this!)
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:52 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Bremerton WA, dress warm! also Briar is an encrypted Firechat like app that cabn mesh without carriers. not as many users but also it routes to Tor when you do connect through mobile carriers...

Illegal orders / criminal president
no one above the law
we the people impeach trump
Whitaker Must Recuse
No kings, no puppets
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 8:55 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Yeah Mrs. Pterodactyl, I'm hearing and seeing the same. It's somewhat mixed. I've been pretty involved in one local civil rights activist group. Several of its members have been glued to the Mueller stuff & Russian election interference and are extremely troubled by the likelihood of collusion. Some others are just sort of "eh, bigger fish to fry," with one or two on the Greenwaldy fringe.

I'm definitely going to be there at the protest too, as you know :-) I feel like the majority of Resistors who aren't necessarily hard-left are pretty fucking alarmed by what's happening here. (I say that as someone who seems to have one foot planted firmly in the "broader resistance" camp and another in the "hard-left" camp)
posted by duffell at 9:01 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


NYC-based mefite here - planning to go to Times Square - and get there around 6 to 6:30. If anyone wants to meet up and walk together, ping me on MeFi mail. If I get more than 1 or 2 responses, I can set up an IRL event.
posted by jilloftrades at 9:06 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Just checking in to say that I will be at one of the Torrance, CA protests. Printed up a bunch of signs that say "No One Is Above the Law" on my letterpress last night. Will be handing them out to anyone who wants one.

Don't just sit there, Go!
posted by spudsilo at 9:20 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Weeks ago, my boss scheduled a mandatory work event for tonight. I can't find a way out of it that involves me keeping my job.

My heart is with you guys.
posted by rue72 at 10:37 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


rue72, gosh, aren’t you feeling very, very sick right now? Yikes, that seems like a 24-hour flu coming on.

Just kidding! Next time. Sadly, there will be more protests.
posted by greermahoney at 10:54 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Grrr yes they faked the Acosta video yes yes we know why are people on twitter breaking down every aspect of the video they faked they lie all the time their being lying liars is not the red line crossed firing Mueller has been the red line this whole time this whole time we were advised THIS is the moment to take to the streets and I really really do not understand why my twitter feed is not all take to the streets one and all.

Are people depressed? Overwhelmed? Yeah that was a splashy show-down with Acosta and total bullshit but COME ON
posted by angrycat at 10:56 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I think it's a mix of several things:

-people think the fact that Dems just won the house means that we don't have to panic quite as much?
- people are exhausted from the midterm rush
-people are confused about why firing Sessions is Real Bad because Sessions was bad, too
-there hasn't been tangible big press about Mueller Time in awhile and people are fatigued/depressed about whether the investigation is really going to do anything
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:08 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


rue72, gosh, aren’t you feeling very, very sick right now? Yikes, that seems like a 24-hour flu coming on.

Hahaha I wish. This is a job where my boss has literally sat in her office vomiting into her wastebasket and still wasn't permitted to go home (I had to share the office at the time, it was horrible). Tonight is Event #1 in the annual retreat and if I don't convincingly act like it's the best thing to ever happen to me, my job is in real danger. And since the CEO won't even tell us where the event is being held until we're on our way, I will be relieved if it isn't at Trump Hotel (which is a real possibility). Shit, not even lying about being sick to my stomach and having a migraine at this point.
posted by rue72 at 11:10 AM on November 8 [9 favorites]


I just fucking tweeted at cardi b asking if she could amplify message of the protests
posted by angrycat at 11:15 AM on November 8 [10 favorites]


FWIW I'll be heading to Times Square after work, arriving probably shortly after 5, although I can only stay for about an hour.
posted by Devoidoid at 11:21 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


OH FOR PETE'S SAKE
I was going to make eggplant parmesan tonight. I was going watch The Good Place and work on the rug I'm crocheting.
But no.
Now I will have to pick my preschooler up early from school, stuff the kids and my sign in the car, and go to the goddamn Boston Common, there to spend the evening yelling.
I am tired of this shit. We've got to get this turd impeached, you guys. I've got other shit to do. This rug isn't going to crochet itself.
posted by Adridne at 11:22 AM on November 8 [23 favorites]


Rue, ugh. That all sounds awful, but especially 1) not being able to take sick time and 2) sharing an office with someone vomiting.

My sympathies.
posted by greermahoney at 11:22 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


An FYI... when I installed FireChat on Android, it seemed to try to force access to my device's contact list, repeatedly popping up a dialog when I tried to cancel out of it. I was subsequently able to un-check that in the settings. Joke's on them, though, I installed it on my tablet which has no contacts on it.

Of course there are a ton of other privacy-violating settings you should also turn off...

I would also recommend the Briar Project as an open-source alternative, though its capabilties for dealing with a network blackout don't meet up with FireChat's yet.
posted by XMLicious at 11:23 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


The Seattle protest Facebook page says Pramila Jayapal will be there. Not seeing it on Jayapal's own Twitter account yet, but that sure seems significant.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:25 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Enthusiasm here in Houston seems low, too, probably for many of the reasons folks listed above. Among lefties there's a definite "how can anyone support [leftist position], then go and protest Sessions getting fired?" vibe. I understand the sentiment, since I don't like being in the position of defending the FBI, but since replacing Sessions with a puppet strikes me as straight out of the fascist playbook, it seems mistaken to treat this as something minor, or as a purity test.

It's frustrating, but I'm going to the protest anyway. If anyone else from the Houston area is going, let me know.
posted by heteronym at 11:56 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Ah, one more: I think people are also confused because the bright line at one point was "firing Rosenstein", and they didn't do that: they just announced that Whitaker was now in charge of the probe instead, right? Which is the same end result, but still confuses people.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:57 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


The messaging our Indivisible group has been pushing (incorporating the Indivisible National talking points at https://indivisible.org/resource/trump-just-interfered-mueller-investigation-heres-what-you-can-do-next):

"Trump has fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General to oversee the Mueller investigation. Whitaker has long advocated publicly for limiting or completely shutting down the Mueller investigation and has a conflict of interest. This is a clear attempt from Trump to seize control of the investigation, ONE DAY after Democrats have taken over the House and can begin oversight investigations.

This is a red line, and we must respond."

Not perfect, but:
- Leaves out Rod Rosenstein completely to not confuse people. Whether they know about Rosenstein or not, the end result is that Whitaker is still being placed in charge of the investigation
- Points out Whitaker's conflict of interest
- Points out the timing as a reason to be angry and to mobilize. We KNOW you wanted to rest, those bastards ARRRGHH

We've had success in our group with people seeming to get the gist from this and avoiding the questions about why, is this good strategic timing, etc. We've also pushed that in the end, the rapid response plan was to get people to mobilize when it was important, and the call has gone out, so... mobilize.
posted by orbit-3 at 12:22 PM on November 8 [12 favorites]


Just outside DC, in Silver Spring, MD, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen will be speaking at the local rally.

Although a Marylander and a resident of Montgomery County, I work in DC so will be attending the protest downtown.
posted by duffell at 12:42 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Chicago! Federal Plaza (219 S Dearborn) 5pm! Dress warm (have a bag full of chemical handwarmers but it's really not cold yet!)

Thanks, everyone, who can show up tonight. Thanks, everyone, who will show up at the next one.
posted by crush at 12:52 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Why is it so hard to come up with a sign for this moment. Short and direct and on-topic and not subject to misinterpretation.
Why. Why, I ask you.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:58 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


FIRE TRUMP.

Short, to the point, fits on a sign that can be folded into a backpack.
posted by muddgirl at 1:03 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


INVESTIGATE works too

There are ... More events in New Jersey than I expected. I'm wondering if there's supposed to be an additional confirmation from the local organizers, because I don't quite see one, but anyway I'm going to the one at Westfield.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 1:13 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I was thinking "AH FUCK I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'VE DONE THIS" which could at least be re-used but not sure if the meme is universal enough.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:13 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I am thinking "NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL" which feels right to me but I'm also worried that might look like I'm in there mocking the protest?

I'm okay with being there as another body to stand up and be counted. But I hate the chanting. I really do. So I figure maybe I should at least have a sign?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:15 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if there's supposed to be an additional confirmation from the local organizers, because I don't quite see one, but anyway I'm going to the one at Westfield.

My impression is that if the date & time were updated to Nov 8 at 5pm, then the local organizers received the call from MoveOn and updated the event info so it's probably on. If you click through an individual event there may be more contact information for the local organizer such as a facebook page.
posted by muddgirl at 1:15 PM on November 8


LEAK the PEE tape
clap, clap, clap clap clap
posted by theodolite at 1:16 PM on November 8


I'm not a chanter. I'm not even much of a sign guy (although I do have a sign this time). I'm just there to add to the numbers.

Do whatever you feel motivated to do. There's no right or wrong way to do it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:17 PM on November 8 [8 favorites]


Twitter hashtags that might be worth following include: #WhitakerMustRecuse, #ProtectRosenstein, and #ProtectMueller.

Disclaimer: I suck at Twitter, and for all I know, these are astroturfing by Russian bots.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:21 PM on November 8


Ah – #NoOneIsAboveTheLaw looks like the best one for protest-specific info.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:22 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'm going with two sign designs: WHITAKER MUST RECUSE HIMSELF and DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OBSTRUCTION
posted by duffell at 1:22 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


One sign in Philly is just NO!
posted by angrycat at 1:50 PM on November 8


Another sign has the definition of kakistocracy
posted by angrycat at 1:51 PM on November 8


I'm heading downtown now. Figured out this morning I could fit my speaker into a water bottle holder, so let's see how well it works to carry this way.

Works pretty good! It's a touch muffled, but a slightly smaller holder would be perfect.
posted by sciatrix at 1:59 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'll be at the Zorinsky federal building in Omaha. You'll be able to pick me out of the crowd by the firery anger in my eyes.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:00 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Butte County's fire has cancelled my attendance at the Walnut Creek protest (outside the Supreme Court, situated between Buttercup and Lil' Bear Car Wash), unfortunately. Smoke is really bad right now, the light is orange and there's grey haze everywhere. AFAIK the protest is still on.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:11 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Heading to the DC protest after work (around 5:30) - fuck ALL of this.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:20 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Someone here has a sign that says "If you try to nullify the institution by fiat, you're a dictator." So don't give up on your wordy signs
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:26 PM on November 8 [11 favorites]


Checking in from Duluth MN, where apparently the rally is scheduled for Nov 22nd. So I looked like a pretty big goof walking around looking for it before I thought to check the site. I'm extremely frustrated; I've been talking this up to my friends, and then... Guess I'll just leave a voicemail for my rep instead.
posted by dbx at 3:59 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


For slogans I like: "Democracy NOT Dictatorship", but if a verb makes it stronger, try "Save Democracy" or "Stand Up for Democracy".
posted by puddledork at 4:06 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


> I looked like a pretty big goof walking around looking for it

On Monday I drove past a woman standing by herself on a not-busy corner, holding a sign about a local initiative. She didn't look like a goof; she looked dedicated.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:14 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I'll be at the San Francisco rally. I've got about 15 mins to make a sign before I leave work.
posted by sunset in snow country at 4:29 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


drlith and I fulfilled our civic duty (pictorial proof provided).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:38 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Done! I attended a peaceful rally and met some folks from Indivisible and am going to stay involved. Our local news was there. It went well and I hope you are all safe!
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 4:49 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


250 person turnout for my 10,000 person town! We just got started and we're running out of sidewalk.
posted by loquacious at 5:29 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Tom Steyer is bringing down the house with “not my king” chants here in SF.
posted by zachlipton at 5:30 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Checking in after the rally on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis, MD. Someone said they counted about 150 attendees. Eve Hurwitz organized it, representing Move On, and started us off with some thoughtful words and a few rounds of "Hold On (Keep Your Eyes On The Prize)" before she let crowd members share the mic and their thoughts, suggestions, calls to action. We heard from a handful of people aged 20-80 then marched around the Government House, our governor's mansion, chanting.

Annapolis isn't the county I live in, but it's where I happened to be today and I am so glad I went. I haven't marched in awhile and have been feeling raw and itchy and angry. Being with likeminded people in person was helpful and galvanizing. I hope I can do more to contribute to change.

Know the first thing we did right
Was the day we started to fight
Keep your eye on the prize
Hold on, hold on

posted by juliplease at 5:34 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I have just returned from the NYC rally, which was BIG, y'all. The crowd route was to march from Times Square, down Broadway to Union Square; that's 30 city blocks. I was towards the front, and we were somewhere around 27th street (3/4 of the way) when someone told us to slow down because there were people still stuck in Times Square that were trying to get in line.

Early on I found myself in the crowd next to the best group to walk next to; a choir of people who regularly show up at protests with a list of show tunes with the lyrics rewritten to be protest songs ("Maralago" instead of "Oklahoma", "These are a few of my favorite rights" instead of "these are a few of my favorite things", stuff like that). they hand out lyric sheets (or give people the web site where they're posted) and lead singalongs while they march; I just walked beside them and tried to sing along as best I could. My two favorites were their take on "Another Brick In The Wall" ("All in all you're just another prick with no wall!") and "I Will Survive", which came complete with a kazoo-and-tambourine led dance break in the middle. Only two or three hecklers on the way, but most marchers just rolled their eyes as we went past them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 PM on November 8 [20 favorites]


At 6PM today I was walking past 5th ave and 34th street, bewildered by the massive procession of protesters in Manhattan. This was my first time witnessing any real-life situation directly related to the Trump mess, and I struck by how surreal my experience was. I am a man without a college degree pushing 30 and I've been unemployed for four years, leeching off relatives. Realistically, depression and unemployment have made such a mess of me that I have no business watching the news, let alone having read Metalfilter since the Bush administration, let alone following all the Trump threads on Metafilter. AND YET.

I just want to able to say that in 2018 there were people like me, who knew EXACTLY how messed up the past two years have been, who knew how bad things could get later on, yet could do nothing but stare helplessly(and vote, I did vote on Tuesday). Watching the protesters, I was struck imagining how insecure yet determined so many of them must have felt(feeling?). I support them in spirit, though it was all I do to focus on getting to the train. I also definitely noticed some white dudes in hoodies yelling "COMMIE!". Besides voting, there's nothing people like me can do.

It's all I can do to fill out online job applications at the library and go to interviews, and if wasn't for grey-market modafinil my actual prescribed meds would not even get me out of bed to shower. I don't even know why I'm writing this. Maybe someone reading this could buy some ice cream and eat it? Hug their kids? Kiss their spouse? I'm in no danger of self-harm, but I'm in a really dark place and would it please to me know I got someone to enjoy their own lives a little more.
posted by IShouldBeStudyingRightNow at 5:38 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


greermahoney: I didn’t see a MeFi sign, but I’ll come say hi if there’s broadly some way to find you.
posted by zachlipton at 5:41 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Went to a rally in my city (Nashua, NH) tonight. Lots more people showed up than I expected! Alas, one of those people was a clearly disturbed young man who kept screaming 9/11 conspiracy theories and some absolutely vile Islamophobic stuff in peoples' faces. I don't think anyone really knew what to do about it.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:42 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Here's a bit of the protest group leading one last song at the Union Square end of the rally (video doesn't show them, it just shows the crowd, but you can hear them)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Zachlipton, I’m kind of center center behind the tall red protect the investigation sign, if that helps.
posted by greermahoney at 5:52 PM on November 8


I went to the protest in downtown Nashville. It was smaller than I had hoped, we are one of the blue spots in Tennessee, but still, it is Tennessee. I am glad I went and be counted among the about 300 people who came out tonight.

I chatted with a bunch of people, was ridiculously encouraged by people honking and chanting back at us from cars, and received lots of support from partner and kids, who had other places to be, and sent me with love and encouragement.

I will protest again, this might not have been the easy bright line we were thinking of with Mueller, so as important as tonight was, it is far from the end.
posted by dawg-proud at 6:08 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


made it to the DC protest at lafayette park, late enough that it was winding down. the guy on stage said there were thousands of us. i'm no enumerator, but felt that estimate was generous (also no showman, but acknowledge one might bend the truth a bit to flatter one's audience). it felt like hundreds to me. i understand my congressional representative was there, toward the beginning, & my senator tweeted in support. after the event stage closed down protesters either dispersed or moved into the somewhat more longstanding clump of people right outside the white house fence, some portion of whom, i am given to understand, have been there steadily since summer or longer.

two firsts for me though: never before have i deliberately encountered IRL a person whom i met on the internet or transmitted my own photo so as to facilitate meeting up in a crowd. thanks, mefi's own Space Kitty!
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:09 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


About 80 people in Alameda, CA.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:14 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I've seen both 3,000 and 5,000 for Chicago. It looked like a good turnout. We had our Senior Senator and one of our local Indivisible Attorney Pundits to speak. Marched up to the cretin's self-named tower. Weather was clear and crisp.

We had the inflatable baby Turmp and someone in the crowd had this great sign. There were many American flags, which I'm always happy to see. We're the patriotic ones; those of us who believe in a just, ethical, kind nation.

I'm proud that so many people made it out on short notice. It matters that you show up.
posted by crush at 6:47 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


I went to the local 4 corners protest rather than schlep to the big one in San Jose. Some people were estimating 400-600 people, lots of friendly honks, a few hecklers. It was good positive energy.
posted by muddgirl at 7:13 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


About 100-150 in little Ventura, CA.
posted by contraption at 7:28 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Maybe someone reading this could buy some ice cream and eat it?

I did this!! And it made me super happy! I got a soft serve chocolate and vanilla twist in what I refer to as a styrofoam cone. Which is my childhood fav. So thank you SO MUCH for suggesting it. I was reading your message just when I was walking past the only decent soft-serve I know of. Perfect!

Also, I, too should be studying. And have depression. Hugs. I’m glad you’re here.
posted by greermahoney at 7:33 PM on November 8 [12 favorites]


Made it to the St. Louis protest a little late, around 5:40, with my LAWS NOT MEN sign. Had a good time holding signs by the road and got lots of thumbs up and honks. I'd estimate there were around 50 or so by the time we arrived, but there had clearly been more before that.
posted by jedicus at 7:33 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


So this isn't going to be an all weekend thing then?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:40 PM on November 8


So I've often heard that X or Y protest couldn't be scheduled at such-and-such a time or location because you have to get permits, etc, and that's in part why we couldn't have more Women's March-scale events. But what today shows is that there's no major barrier to last-minute, semi-unpermitted national marches, many of them in exactly the same locations as the more official, long-planned and permitted events.

So what's to stop us from doing this every month, or even more often? The colored revolutions and the like were notable not for single events, but for rolling protests often mere days apart, lasting for months or years. If we want these things to have serious national effects, it seems like there's little stopping us from significantly ramping things up, permits or no.
posted by chortly at 7:50 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


There was a very energetic lady who said in an apologetic manner that she'd left social media long ago, and was so out of touch, and everyone practically shouted, “But you came to the protest! Lots of people are on Facebook but don't come to protests.” Which seemed to make her feel better, but even before that she was our star sign-waver and gesticulator.

Later on as things were wrapping up she climbed a tree to prop up her sign out of reach in its upper branches and fortunately did not kill herself in the process.

Then after I got home I was regaling everyone with my adventures and my roommate's girlfriend asked to come along to the next protest! And I think he wants to come too! We're a rocket taking off people
posted by XMLicious at 8:00 PM on November 8 [10 favorites]


Went to the smaller El Cerrito protest over the bigger Berkeley event, since I had two hungry tired whiny kids in tow. Attendance seemed ok, considering the horrible air quality today (wildfires), and the fact that there were events in SF, Berkeley AND Oakland at the same time. I just couldn’t sit at home today.
posted by The Toad at 9:07 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Kinda cross-posting:
The Seattle rally was not small.
I haven't seen an official estimate. It had to be several thousand people. I say that based on being with whole high schools who have evacuated out onto the field. Considering what a couple thousand teenagers on a field looks like, this was bigger than that. Also, speakers included Governor Inslee, the county executive, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal. That was bookended by the mayor after the march, though I confess I had to bail before she got there.
For a cold Thursday at 5pm on very short notice, I feel like Seattle did pretty good.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:12 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


IShouldBeStudyingRightNow, I finished the ice cream yesterday but I had an extra cookie at your urging. And kissed the missus. Hang in there. Enjoy a sandwich.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:17 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing 200-300 people at Westfield, NJ.

On the way over, Google Maps warned me about "heavy traffic", and showed me a bunch of red lines centered around the protest. Exactly as it should be. It made me smile. Scheduling the event at 5 pm is inconvenient but it's also the best time for visibility.

But what today shows is that there's no major barrier to last-minute, semi-unpermitted national marches, many of them in exactly the same locations as the more official, long-planned and permitted events. So what's to stop us from doing this every month, or even more often?

I don't know what went into it behind the scenes. My event had at least some coordination with local police. There were some temporary barriers and a police vehicle. Notwithstanding, this feels like a good proof of concept.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:50 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


But what today shows is that there's no major barrier to last-minute, semi-unpermitted national marches

True for some events, but not for others. The Seattle march has been months in the planning, with people working out logistics amongst several local Indivisible and activist groups just for such an emergency mobilization call.

On the other hand, I went to the rally in Bellevue, WA today which was closer to my work and was being hosted by someone who hadn't wanted to drive to Seattle, but didn't anticipate the surge in interest once the call went out. I left my house this morning signed up to go just as an attendee, and after a couple of messages to the organizer over a flurry of several hours, found myself on a FB channel with a half dozen others helping to hammer down plans -- getting permits, contacting police and media, trying and failing to get a PA/bullhorn/karaoke machine. I ended up speaking at the rally as an Indivisible organizer, and we got a couple of former city council members and staff from Rep Adam Smith's office to speak.

It worked out pretty well in the end for our last minute rally, but we had 450 people and Seattle had thousands, which needed prior planning.
posted by orbit-3 at 11:04 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


Maybe someone reading this could buy some ice cream and eat it?

I so got you, fam. I had a huge tofu Banh Mi for lunch today, and set up a little camp stove at the protest and dispensed a some cups of hot cocoa and tea.

I ended the evening at my friend's place in town where we had a huge pot of veggie Shepard's pie. As it was cooking we smoked a bunch of heavy indica and piled into blankets to watch the director's cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and stuffed our faces with Sherpard's pie and got totally stuperous and couch locked, well, floor locked. I think each of us individually slept through at least half the movie because every so often someone would stir and murmer "woah" or "what the fuck!?"

I also just took the first real shower I've had in, errr, a month and a half? The hot water heater at my new place in the country has been out this whole time so I have to boil water and bathe like some kind of water-phobic Wild West Victorian. That shower? So, so good. Yaaas scald all of the everythings, all the bits. OTOH my hair looks fucking amazing because I haven't actually washed it in ages.

Tomorrow? On the way home I think I'll do my special affrogato. I get a scoop of good french vanilla at a proper ice cream parlor then I walk it down the road to the best espresso in town and then leisurely combine the two, usually sitting on the beach, usually with my espresso in a good ceramic cup. It's odd and decadent enough that people.usually kinda of atopy and stare and mutter things like "that's... Just genius."

And I'm about to eat a nectarine so big some guy wrote a weird kid's book about it, but he got the name of the fruit wrong.
posted by loquacious at 11:44 PM on November 8 [12 favorites]


In the "maybe a good idea for keeping good will during a protest" file -

As we marched in NYC, we passed by clusters of cops at various streets lined up to keep car traffic clear of us. When I saw them, I made a point of thanking them as we walked past. "Ooh, good idea," other marchers always said if they heard me, and joined in.

I know the police are not perfect right now, but those cops in that moment were doing good and I wanted to acknowledge that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:01 AM on November 9 [9 favorites]


I was at the rally in Syracuse NY last night. It seemed like pretty good sized crowd, but I was near the front and not in a good position to estimate numbers. Joe Driscoll, one of our city council members, and Dana Balter, Democratic candidate for NY-24, both made appearances. It was not how I originally planned to celebrate my birthday but you do what you have to do.
posted by maurice at 3:59 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The Austin one was not huge. It was at the heart of downtown and getting there in downtown traffic can take an hour for some people. And the whole thing lasted less than an hour!!!! Several people showed up as the crowd was dispersing. It was my friend's first rally and he drove 45 minutes and paid downtown parking prices for nothing.

So what do we learn from this? There's more to a rally than showing up. Organizers were put on the spot to provide content, which is hard. We had some good speakers but we could have done chants, etc.

Downtown at 5 o'clock is not accessible. If we had even done it at the Capitol a few blocks north, my friend and others who missed could have made it. Because the last mile of traffic is the worst.

People will show up anyway!! There's a large contingent of people like me who work or live near enough that we can bring a crowd no matter the conditions.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:58 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos - I heard that a lot at the NYC rally. Maybe I was walking near you!

At Union Square, the woman that climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4th spoke as did my US Rep, Carolyn Maloney. Glad to see the less vocal House reps are speaking out too!
posted by jilloftrades at 6:02 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


You know, after consideration, I think this should be counted as a win. Given the ambiguity about whether this was a triggering event, and the really poor start time selected in some selections, and the delay in communications as the organizers had to meet to resolve the ambiguity - we still got a sizable national showing.It happened and it was visible.

Instead of considering this a "success" or a "failure," let's consider it a very encouraging DRILL. The system pretty much worked, people heard, and they showed up. We may have wished it was bigger - But what it proved is: mobilizing a last-minute protest in response to a major news event is a thing that we can do.

I think I'll write to MoveOn with these thoughts. There are tweaks that could improve the system: 1) a national signal to trigger the protest unambiguously, not leaving it to local organizers; 2) more consideration of start times, PLEASE. I had to make the choice between staying in NYC after work, which would mean a really late night getting home on a work night, or heading back to my NJ suburb and hoping to catch the end of a protest, which I couldn't because it was set for 5 PM. Seriously, in a commuter suburb, the protest was set for 5 PM. Who does that? Who is that a good time for? People who stay at home all day, basically; and 3) more promotion of the SMS system and blanketing of social media. There were way too many people who hadn't heard of it.

But let's be encouraged. This was a demonstration of what will be possible if and when we need it, when there's another, maybe clearer event and clear confirmed notice. This is as close as you get to modern-day Minute Men, and not all their early actions were the big and famous ones, either.
posted by Miko at 6:17 AM on November 9 [12 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos - I heard that a lot at the NYC rally. Maybe I was walking near you!

If you were also near the show tunes choir in pink sashes and saw someone in a beige hoodie jacket walking next to them holding that poster of Trump blowing Putin that a guy was handing out, then maybe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


And that is one of the best sentences I've written in weeks. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Belated report from DC:

I got there around 6:15. There were maybe 500 people at Lafayette Park. There was a small stage, with various speakers (who sometimes seemed a bit unprepared – which is understandable, given the circumstances). Signs, chants, etc. Minimal police presence.

By 6:45, the speakers vacated the stage and turned off the sound system. A lot of people left immediately. The remainder gathered at the fence by the White House, to shout and chant and wave signs. I met ropeladder briefly (hi! sorry if I was distracted!).

I didn't stick around too much longer – I can march all day, but I'm not much for chanting. Respect to everyone who came out, but it was a bit of a letdown – I was hoping for thousands. Granted, it was a Thursday night, on short notice, without much media coverage.

It seems to me that protest is only effective if it's widespread and sustained. I really think that something like South Korea's 17-week Candlelight Revolution could work in the US. At least, I'd like to think so. Isolated expressions of anger every few months aren't going to change anything, I'm afraid.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:26 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


The Austin one was not huge. It was at the heart of downtown and getting there in downtown traffic can take an hour for some people. And the whole thing lasted less than an hour!!!! Several people showed up as the crowd was dispersing. It was my friend's first rally and he drove 45 minutes and paid downtown parking prices for nothing.

So what do we learn from this? There's more to a rally than showing up. Organizers were put on the spot to provide content, which is hard. We had some good speakers but we could have done chants, etc.

Downtown at 5 o'clock is not accessible. If we had even done it at the Capitol a few blocks north, my friend and others who missed could have made it. Because the last mile of traffic is the worst.

People will show up anyway!! There's a large contingent of people like me who work or live near enough that we can bring a crowd no matter the conditions.


Oh, absolutely--we also ran into a couple of folks who got caught up in traffic and couldn't get down in time as we were leaving. (I don't think it took only an hour, though--I recall us leaving about 7p, and they started around the time my partner and I scrambled up the steps next to a friend at about 5:15p.) Speakers were good, but man, they could have spun that rally out a lot longer. You already got the crowd singing the national anthem and chanting three times; why not pull in more crowd participation moments so you're not trying to generate content too long? Think of things for folks to do. Even setting them loose to talk to one another is useful, if you give them a little direction instead of telling them to leave. That's how networking happens.

Rumors I heard is that they couldn't get permits put together in time, so they needed to do a "sidewalk" protest on concrete only, which is also why the rumored march through Capitol Square didn't happen. Shame, but direct us through downtown then--give us a chance to pick up folks who didn't hear who are already nearby.

Rumor I also heard is that these were all MoveOn, not Indivisible (which promised to help and then... didn't, probably because it was last minute), and MoveOn skews much older than Indivisible and doesn't have nearly as much experience amping up rally crowds or planning rallies and protests. This is from someone I don't generally know, but I'm not involved with either org so I don't have any problem believing it.
posted by sciatrix at 7:39 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Isolated expressions of anger every few months aren't going to change anything, I'm afraid.

Exactly. At the SF one, it was mentioned that the Marriot strike has been going on for a month straight, 24/7. People are there continuously. We need to do the same. We need to make schedules and have people protesting key places 24/7. I can’t do every day, but I can take shifts. Show them this isn’t going away, like every other news cycle now, in 4 hours.
posted by greermahoney at 7:59 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Update: Total attendance was about 350 which is huge for this town on short notice, on a work night and on a very cold night.

Yeah, our protest was strangely short as well and the main MoveOn host/organizer just kind of called it with a "thank you for coming!" barely 30-45 minutes after 5, and most of us just kind of stood there like "Uh, what? What are you doing? Why are you in charge of this?"

But then basically everyone boomer aged and up pretty much immediately dispersed and almost everyone gen x age or younger that was there (the minority, demo-wise) didn't and a just a few folks held signs on the corner for a bit longer.

I stayed up late sorting camping gear for this and spent a lot of energy to be ready to support it OWS style. I had a tarp and lines to make shelter. I had a damn water filter. I had a sleeping bag and pad, and a first aid kit, and a notebook and was ready to hunker down and help people stay warm and hydrated for 6-12 hours. I was ready to use my bike to run errands to carry actual water and food and run errands. I was going to instigate stone soup protocols and feed people.

So, yeah, I'm feeling ineffective and it was really kind of ineffective and anticlimactic for me.

OTOH it was a good practice run for less that 24 hours response time for me, and I'm having a fine time in the city and using the time to catch up on some errands and visiting with friends.
posted by loquacious at 9:52 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised by how many reports there are of smaller protests that broke up and drifted away after an hour. I was in Irvine, CA, and I swung by an event whose location was only given as an intersection. I wasn't sure what to expect or where to look for people, but they were hard to miss. People were gathered on 2 corners of the intersection, cheering and waving signs, and exchanging small talk. I didn't get a good look at everyone together at the peak of the gathering, but there may have been 200 people. There was someone waving a big American flag, there was someone with a bullhorn who periodically started chants, there was someone in a sumo suit with a Trump mask. Periodically a detachment would march across the intersection (legally, in the crosswalk, with the light).

It didn't seem very tightly organized, but it did seem to sustain itself for a while. I was there from about 6:30 to 6:50 with my 4 year old son. We didn't have signs, but someone had spares. There didn't seem to be speakers or organized time-fillers by the time I was there—just people standing on the corner, cheering, sign-waving. People drew a lot of energy from cars honking as they drove by. Honking was like oxygen for that crowd. By the time I left, there was still plenty of energy, but I'm not sure how late they lasted.

Makes me think that gathering on the sidewalk in a highly-visible place is much more sustainable and interesting than gathering in a park and having a rally with a podium and a schedule of events. The point is to be seen, right? I imagine a march would be even more uplifting in a similar way.

I don't have much experience with protests, rallies and marches. This is the first one I've been to since a California Prop 8 protest rally in 2008.

We had just had dinner out and I suggested to my son only that we go for a walk to explore the area; when we made it to the crowd he was happy to hold a sign and had some fun grappling it against the strong wind that had come up. He thought the signs and honking were fun.

I had a speech semi-prepared about how we love America and want to show that we're not happy about how some elected people are running the country, but he didn't ask many questions about what exactly this crowd was doing. I pointed out the person waving the flag, and he gave me the only educational opening of the night:

"Oh, maybe that guy is the King of America."

"No, buddy. America doesn't have a king."
posted by lostburner at 10:24 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I absolutely hate standing and listening to speakers; I don’t find most of it that edifying, it’s not the best venue for great oratory, and often you’re cold (or hot) or thirsty and you get really dulled our standing around and people drift away. Many speakers go too long and say not much. I totally ageee that doing a “visibility” (standing in a prominent location with signs and smiling faces) or a march is much better for everyone’s emotional energy as well as for impact.
posted by Miko at 11:39 AM on November 9 [7 favorites]


Makes me think that gathering on the sidewalk in a highly-visible place is much more sustainable and interesting than gathering in a park and having a rally with a podium and a schedule of events. The point is to be seen, right?

Exactly. Ours was held along a major east-west commuter road* and stretched a good hundred yards along it. A guy sent pics to someone he knew at Maddow's show, and I hear she mentioned us at the top. Does anyone have a clip?


*It's in front of the building where Comstock (R–Shitcanned) has her office, and Indivisible has been holding regular demonstrations there.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:23 PM on November 9


Westfield, NJ reports 500 people. News story here: https://www.njtvonline.org/news/video/firing-of-jeff-sessions-triggers-rapid-response-protests-nationwide

They also report an extremely White People kind of incident: someone threw a water bottle from a car; a cop pulled them over and wrote a citation.

There were speakers, but I couldn't hear them, and nobody seemed to care what they were saying. If anything, people seemed to want to express themselves, not listen, but it mostly just felt like a social event. That's fine. That's good. The point (as far as I'm concerned) was to show numbers, and having it be overall a positive cheerful experience is good.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:26 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The organizers for our event said that it was intended to be a one hour demonstration at rush hour (which is not how this organization typically runs events), but that people were welcome to come early or stay late. It doesn't seem like that intention got communicated everywhere.
posted by muddgirl at 7:09 PM on November 9


It seems to me that protest is only effective if it's widespread and sustained.

Occupy was widespread and sustained. And it turns out that the courts will recognize the people's right to protest - for about two months, after which, they are considered a nuisance and an eyesore, and a threat to the economic success of the nearby businesses.

A set of ongoing, rolling-participation protests would be terrific, but whoever kicks it off is going to need to figure out what it should do that Occupy didn't.

I loved the Occupy movement, and I believe it did a lot of good - it pushed income disparity into political discussions, and it taught Activism 101 to swarms of people, and it fostered a lot of micro-communities. But it didn't accomplish what it set out to do.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:41 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Before setting out on Thursday night, I mentioned to both of my co-workers that I was heading to Times Square for the rally; there was some good-natured teasing and "be careful you don't get arrested" kind of jokes exchanged. (I paused in the lobby long enough to download "Do You Hear The People Sing" and listen to it on repeat as I walked the 3 blocks towards Times Square.)

And today at about mid-day, one of those same co-workers suddenly looked up from the middle of her work and blurted out, with awe - "Oh, EC! I meant to tell you - I saw that protest on the news last night! It looks like you got a lot of people!" And she went on to ask - the news also said that it was a national thing, who organized it? And how long? Really, it only got itself together in 24 hours? On a national level?...Wow!

....Even the small rallies got seen by someone. It's not the panacea, but it's also not futile either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 PM on November 9 [11 favorites]


Probably a bunch of you have gotten this too, but in case not, I thought I would share the response - clearly a form one - I got from the note I sent MoveOn. I am sure thousands of people sent similar ones. Anyway, they say:

...There were some bumps in launching this network that we’ve learned from. We’re going to improve our systems and communication so we’re even better prepared for the next big moment and the ongoing work ahead.

Donald Trump floated a trial balloon for authoritarianism, and we just popped it. Our actions are playing a critical role in shaping the response to this power grab.

We will continue to alert everyone when opportunities for action come up. You can text join to 668366 to receive our text alerts. And keep an eye on your email for the latest updates on our actions and campaigns.

We are working to immediately pass bipartisan legislation to protect Robert Mueller and the investigation. Legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and the House, but no votes are planned to actually pass it. We cannot wait. We are driving calls to Congress, promoting petitions, and planning events to demand a vote immediately. Some Republicans are even saying they’ll join Democrats in demanding action on this legislation before the end of the year, and we need to build off of that momentum.

Please call your members of Congress and let them know you want the legislation passed to protect Mueller...

posted by Miko at 8:00 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


"Ongoing and sustained" doesn't have to mean tents and 24-hour presence. It can also mean "every Thursday". The anti-corruption protests in South Korea were a weekly thing that ramped up over time. Strikes, including sit down strikes, are a daily occupying presence, but people still go home, they rotate out and come back the next day. I'm pretty sure the East Berlin protests were like that too (but maybe that was in a movie idk)
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:12 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


An update on the eating proverbial ice cream on behalf of others side of things:

So, I didn't do my special two-store affrogato because it was too damn cold and rainy, but I still had a really good day.

Started the day bright and early and actually well rested at my friend's place, mostly due to their cat wanting to be fed and precisely shoving glass things off a table. Namely, my friends glass pipe and weed jars. I'll give it to the cat, that got my friend right out of bed.

Breakfast was leftover veggies from the shepard's pie made into breakfast burritoes with salsa and an avocado I had been carrying just for something like this. It was really good.

We parted ways to run errands, and I biked a short distance over to the state park where I used to work to grab coffee from the cafe. My ex-coworkers were happy to see me and say hello. Things seem much nicer and mellower after a certain boss got shit canned specifically for not keeping things nice and mellow.

I visited for a bit, then grabbed the bus across town. I caught up on some medical related errands I've needed to run for weeks now, then biked back into town to my friend's bookstore/cafe to rejoin them.

At the cafe I caught up on internet stuff I needed to do, made a batch of fliers for my next gig, emailed the poster-fliers to the venue owner, and networked a bit about music projects.

I then had a creative meeting with a friend because I'm doing work trade to help them with some design and website work for their massage practice. It was a really nice creative meeting and I will enjoy working on this project very much because we have similar aesthetics and tastes. If every design job was like this it'd be great, but that's just not how the world works.

This is a pretty good day so far, but we're still getting to the proverbial ice cream.

I was planning to bus and bike home at about this point, but ran into another friend who lives out near me. We managed to pack my bike and luggage into his car and we went home via having a nice dinner salad at his place with his partner and kidlet, then we went to a sober family friendly dance party thing in an actual operating local grange (one of many around here) and it was just amazing and lots of fun,

They had a no shoes policy at the door, and so I danced my fool face off for a good thirty minutes in my socks on a lovely polished wood dance floor. My friend had never actually seen me dance before because we're often DJing if we're at the same club/dance night, and later he was like "Holy shit what?" because I can go from looking like some doughy, sedentary weirdo to dancing like a Michael Jackson backup dancer in a fraction of a second if I'm feeling the music. We're talking like "large people aren't supposed to be able to move like that without breaking the laws of physics" house/trance dancing, and, well, I'm pretty comfortable breaking the laws of physics.

Dear readers? I can move and push it real good. I've had life-long househead friends come up to me and just be like "WHAT THE FUCK HOW OK OK" when the finally catch me dancing the first time.

Definitely not a bad day and wander through town.
posted by loquacious at 10:56 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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