I was upbraided by a “Facebook friend” for not being present at one of the women’s marches against President Trump and his administration last Saturday. Well, there was no such march in my area, and anyway, I’m still not quite fit enough to join a street march after a Christmastime fall (stone cold sober too!)
But there were so many different causes embraced by the international Women’s Marches against Trump that I’m not entirely sure what was the exact focus.
Some participants were objecting to Mr Trump’s “abusive” – and certainly verbally offensive – attitudes to women. Others were marching for peace, equality, Black Lives Matter, environmentalism, migrants, Muslims, Mexicans and abortion rights.
In America, the powerful abortion provider Planned Parenthood was one of the major sponsors and pro-life women were disallowed from joining the mainstream marches – formally taken off the register by the sponsors (the billionaire pro-abortion George Soros was associated with many of the sponsors for the march). However, some individual pro-life women joined in with the Washington marchers and the pro-life movement is having its own demonstration this Friday.
I have always liked the advice put forward by Alcoholics Anonymous about any disparate group that gets together: “Identify with the similarities, not the differences.” There are surely some causes among those upheld on these marches with which any of us might identify. Peace and equality, respect for migrants and stewardship of the environment are all perfectly worthy ideals.
But can you build a movement by targeting all of them together? There’s the problem. If you want to build a political movement, it is best to have a specific, even narrow, focus on objectives. When the Suffragettes went into action, they had one cry: “Votes for Women!” Despite some regrettable activities – arsonism was among their tactics – the clearly defined goal was unmistakeable.
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