Feminists, abortion advocates, and supporters of other left wing causes who are disappointed over Hillary Clinton’s Election Day loss plan to march in Washington, D.C. the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated president.
“We’re doing it his very first day in office because we are making a statement,” one of the organizers, Breanne Butler, tells the New York Times. “The marginalized groups you attacked during your campaign? We are here and we are watching. And, like, ‘Welcome to the White House.’”
Radical feminist Gloria Steinem and abortion business Planned Parenthood have partnered for the event, dubbed the Women’s March on Washington, on January 21. According to the Washington Post, more than 100,000 activists associated with progressive causes are registered for the event.
Buzzfeed reports that musician Harry Belafonte will also join the march.
Planned Parenthood is reportedly promoting the event and supplying volunteers and staff, including security expertise.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) December 28, 2016
The group’s president, Cecile Richards, said in a statement about the event:
We will send a strong message to the incoming administration that millions of people across this country are prepared to fight attacks on reproductive health care, abortion services, and access to Planned Parenthood, as they intersect with the rights of young people, people of color, immigrants, and people of all faiths, backgrounds, and incomes.
Slate reports that Steinem said in a statement, “I am proud to be one of thousands who will come to Washington to make clear that we will keep working for a democracy in which we are linked as human beings, not ranked by race or gender or class or any other label.”
On her website, Steinem says to her fans:
We have all the powers we had [before Trump was elected] of lobbying and pressuring and making clear that the political consequences are great. We may look up and feel powerless and think there’s nothing we can do, but it’s not true. There are things we can do at each level. And there’s always civil disobedience. Trump is not my president.
Steinem also recently said she would refuse to pay the full amount of her federal income tax if Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funds were eliminated.
According to the march’s website, its mission is to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”
The website continues:
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
However, while Vox claims the march may be “the biggest mobilization yet in response to a presidential inauguration,” the Times has noted that trying to get all the factions of the political left to stand behind a “women’s rights” march has not been easy.
According to the Times report:
On the march group’s Facebook page, it is easy to see how complicated the idea of the “women’s vote,” an already mythological concept, has become, and how difficult it might be for organizers to fulfill their aim of gathering women who remain fiercely divided on reproductive rights, gun control, same-sex marriage and immigration, among other issues.
Not everyone on the page believes, for instance, that Hillary Clinton would have made a good president, or that Stephen K. Bannon, a chief strategist under Mr. Trump, holds divisive views about minorities. Debates over both have sprung up in recent days. Bob Bland, one of the march organizers, said in an email that organizers in Maryland had to change a Facebook page from public to private to protect the safety of women who want to attend.
The Week’s Shikha Dalmia – herself an abortion rights supporter – asserts that the demonstration “has already failed.”
“Demonstrations serve a useful function in a democracy — but only when they have clarity of purpose,” she writes, adding that the march is “shaping up to be a feel-good exercise in search of a cause.”
Dalmia continues that while the event’s planners finally appear more organized in terms of logistics and promotion, “everything else about the Women’s March, however, is reaching a level of absurdity worthy of the man they are protesting.”
The “absurdity,” she says stems from “the fact that they are billing this event as the voice of women when 42 percent of women (and 62 percent of non-college educated white women) actually voted for Trump.”
Next, Dalmia observes “the almost-comical progressive hysteria over the event’s name.” The initial plan by the “three white women” organizers, she says, was to call the event the “Million Women March,” but the women were criticized for “cultural appropriation” for “allegedly poaching the heritage of the 1997 Million Woman March for black women.”
Other partners of the event include: 1199 SEIU, Arab American Association of New York, Amnesty International USA, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, the Center for Reproductive Rights, CODEPINK, Gender Action, the Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn.org, Muslim Women’s Alliance, NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network for Arab American Communities, the National Organization for Women, and OXFAM.
Dalmia continues that activists of every stripe are actually posting criticism of the event on its Facebook page over whether a demonstration organized by white women can truly represent the diverse factions of the left.
“Feminists are confusing the issue by making Trump’s threat about themselves,” Dalmia concludes. “If they really wanted to help, they would have kept their powder dry for now, rather than embark on this confused and pointless march.”