Posted on The Week.com, Written by Jesse Singal
**It should be noted that although the Women’s March on Washington is a rally and march, not a protest, this is a great read for anyone attending the January 21, 2017 event.**
As soon as the shock over Donald Trump’s election had worn off, liberals and leftists took to the streets. They took to the streets in New York, marching from Union Square to Trump Tower. They took to the streets in Chicago, surrounding a Trump building there as well. They took to the streets in L.A., in Houston, in Philadelphia, In Miami, protesters blocked highways. In Portland, things descended into a riot.
Reaction to the protest broke down along predictable party lines. To many liberals, they were a sign that the majority of voters, who didn’t vote for Trump, were not going to take his potentially dangerous and irresponsible presidency lying down. To many conservatives, they were a sign of “coddled” or “whiny” liberals, particularly young ones, who just needed to suck it up and move on. On the gonzo right-wing internet, viral rumors took hold that a significant chunk of the protesters were paid agitators (paid by George Soros, of course).
This is just the beginning. At the moment, at least one major protest is planned for the inauguration. With two months to go before the event, more than 100,000 Facebook users have said they will be attending a planned Women’s March on Washington on January 21. So it appears that the election of Trump, however much damage it might do to liberal values, has also mobilized a sense of shared anger and purpose that, if tapped effectively, could turn into a lasting movement capable of fighting back.
Which raises some obvious questions: What is the best, most efficient way to channel this energy? What makes protests work, and what makes them backfire and solidify opinion against the protesters? The answers to these questions, drawn from the research of scholars who have dedicated their careers to in-depth interviews with activists, protesters, and organizers, can both offer guidance to those spearheading the movement against Trump, and offer some interesting glimpses into the surprising political psychology of resistance.