TL;DR: I’ve had personal experience with Socialist parties co-opting protests and rallies for their own gain for over a quarter century. If you’re going to organize a rally, great – don’t make it a recruitment drive. Further, requiring some kind of orthodoxy rather than finding commonalities is simply disgusting.
Also, protest votes at least cost Clinton AZ’s and FL’s electoral votes, so please don’t tell me that your third-party vote doesn’t do measurable harm.
Also, the public figure I quote below started asking me not to quote his public Facebook post. Which seems a strange thing to do when someone is making a big deal about transparency.
Wherein Our Narrator Doesn’t Make It To A Protest
I didn’t go to a protest on Sunday afternoon/evening because I’d been sick for most of the prior week. The protest was billed as “Resist Trump Rally – Dayton”, with this copy (see a screenshot at https://imgur.com/oHzDSmP):
On February 26th, we will unite at the courthouse in downtown Dayton to voice our outrage with the Trump Administration. We will march through the streets of Dayton and then meet back up on the courthouse square.
It is important that we put action behind our words. It is essential that we stand in solidarity and collectively say “No!” to a divisive and oppressive administration that does not work to serve the people.
Join the resistance!
If you would like to speak at this or event or wish to contact us, please email us at email@example.com. The starting point for the protest is 23 N Main Street Dayton, OH 45405.
Sounds good, right? Hell, sounds a lot like the mission statement of the protest against the Muslim Ban I went to (and had a prepared statement for).
If you look at the screenshot you’ll note that I did not fuzz out the name Corey Andon as one of the organizers. That’s because Corey is a public figure, and really at the center of what I want to talk about here.
At that rally I didn’t speak at, Mr. Andon did. I didn’t mention it at the time because there were a lot of other people who did speak after him, and they were all directly representing (as in lawyers, in some cases) or were immigrants, Muslims, or both. If you were at that protest, you’ll remember Mr. Andon as the guy who went on about Socialist Alternative.
Still, whatever. Props to the guy for having organized a protest in Columbus, and if he’s helping organize protests in Dayton as well, no problem. Someone’s got to, and I’ve been too sick.
Wherein Socialists Do The Thing I’m Sick Of Them Doing
Y’all realize that I’m at worst liberal, and have a lot of sympathy for a lot of socialist ideas, right? Okay. Keep that firmly in mind, because I’m about to get annoyed at a Socialist.
That annoyed me already, but then I scrolled down and I saw that one of the protests’ own speakers was booed, and Mr. Andon not only failed to apologize and build bridges, but instead doubled down. (Names of private individuals fuzzed out, screenshots also at https://imgur.com/4EnsY1m)
Not only do I get annoyed when Socialists focus on recruitment instead of fixing problems, I really can’t stand it when men double down on being assholes to women who have been working for women’s rights.
Being duplicitious about the reason for a protest, requiring orthodoxy instead of searching for commonalities, and mansplaining why a woman is wrong is doing nothing but helping Trump, Bannon, and the rest.
Additionally, complaints about that behavior not only got doubled-down
on, but repeatedly got met with nothing more than “organize your own
protest”. (Yeah, I’m thinking maybe that does need to happen.)
I wrote the following on Facebook, and only edited here for a typo or two. It’s an open letter to Mr. Andon, and any members of any political party that have “Socialist” in their name.
And Mr. Andon, maybe you should leave the mansplaining to the pussygrabber.
(See below the letter for more)
Welp, I was coming here to explicitly ask Corey Andon to clearly state if a rally was going to be about opposing Trump (which will require a COALITION, thanks), or if it was going to be an explicitly Socialist Party event/ membership drive.
While the Socialists are more than welcome to demonstrate, organize, and so on, for nearly three decades I’ve noticed a habit of Socialist Parties either organizing rallies and then pulling a bait-and-switch (as apparently happened here) or trying to take credit for rallies and protests they simply showed up at.
Having personally witnessed the latter at demonstrations against BOTH Gulf Wars, in two different states, I’ve grown somewhat distrustful of the politics of organized Socialist Parties in the US. The bait-and-switch (and taking credit for what they didn’t do) are tactics of the far right; witness how many people toed the GOP line against Obamacare, only to later realize it was the ACA?
There is framing, there is spinning, and then there is obfuscation. One would hope that with the (rightly) Sanders-inspired new blood such awful tactics would have gone by the wayside, but it appears that is not the case.
Corey Andon – and other Socialist Party leaders – I’m not asking you to vote Democrat. I’m not asking you to join the Democratic party. My stake is not about any particular party or organization, it’s about this country and the people in it.
I *am* asking you to do two things:
1. Realize that sponsoring a rally does not mean that it can (or should) become a recruitment drive.
2. Realize that coalitions on commonalities (rather than RHINO-style enforcement of orthodoxy) is absolutely required.
3. Focus on promoting ideas, frames, and concepts rather than brand loyalty. We NEED the disillusioned and duped Trump voters and GOP members; demanding a high degree of orthodoxy rather than finding commonalities is only going to give Trump and his ilk more power.
4. If you are going to have a rally/protest that is explicitly about advancing the Socialist agenda, be clear about naming it such.
And seriously, Corey Andon, decide NOW. Is this about gaining a few members for your organization, or is it about the people who live here in this country?
I’m disappointed in you.
In between the time I finished writing that post and going to bed, Mr. Andon had replied on Facebook (to his public post). I’m not going to full-out quote his reply which seemed to miss what I was saying (you can read it here), but since FB kept deleting when I tried to respond to his points, I thought I’d include what I wrote (and enough context that it doesn’t seem like I’m insane) as a bonus for y’all, and maybe him if he bothers to read it.
1. Sponsoring a rally and encouraging people to learn about and join and organization does not inherently mean that the message is lost.
When it looks like a bait-and-switch, yes it does. Be transparent about who is organizing and the WHOLE purpose of the rally/protest. (“We’re resisting Trump by being Socialist” is NOT being transparent, as an aside.”)
2. Commonalities include the fact that 99% of the population has no voice.
Yes, AND? Doubling down that you were right to mansplain to a woman’s rights activist is not finding commonalities with real people.
Remember real people? Not ideas, people.
3. The ideas, frames, and concepts are clearly outlined by Socialist Alternative.
Then it would have been nice if that had been indicated AT ALL in the official description of the event. That way people – including workers like myself – would be able to evaluate things and think about them.
4. The socialist agenda is one that is inclusive to all. It fights back against the nationalistic movement of Donald Trump and the neoliberal movement of Hillary Clinton. The “resist Trump” rallies are a chain of socialist events across the country that have been set up to fight Donald Trump.
Logical fallacy; you’re throwing several statements here and demanding that they all be evaluated as a single true/false statement. Also, this has nothing to do with my point #4.
You can be disappointed in me, but is it because of the event or because you are refusing to understand socialism?
It is because of the event and the way it was billed and handled. I already answered that. Cute that you’re trying to make me out as someone who doesn’t understand socialism. Remember, there has to be a dialectic here in order for progress and communication to happen, rather than a repetition of talking points.
I am also disappointed in how you’ve handled this since.
Socialist organizations are on the rise right now. We’re not going anywhere, and we won’t be backing down anytime soon.
And that’s good. I have no problem with socialism (lower case). Instead of alienating people – especially those who are most maligned by the corporate classes and duped by them, why don’t you try being transparent with people as a refreshing change of pace from the GOP? Probably get more people interested in socialist ideas, and I’d definitely be thrilled!
Also I would prefer that my words not be used for your blog.
This is a public post as of this writing, for a public event, and you’re arguably a public figure (an activist organizing protests is inherently pervasively involved in public affairs), so rather than invent a straw man, I am going to quote you in context. This is quite clearly to comment upon and criticize your words, thus fulfilling multiple ways in which my quoting of you is fair use. I also added in links directly to your words so people can read for themselves, as well as links to SA, so… not sure what you’re upset about here.
Again, I hope you reconsider doubling (tripling?) down.