Revisiting “What is the Resistance?”

This month, the New York Times has run two separate Op-Eds about the Resistance:  one anonymously claiming that people working within the Trump Administration are the Resistance and another questioning the utility of calling the movement against the Trump Agenda the Resistance.  In response, I feel compelled to expand my previous post about what is the Resistance (as well as to revise that specific part of Chapter 1).

American Resistance (rɪˈzɪstəns) : People working individually and through organizations to challenge the Trump Administration and its policies (therefore NOT people in the Administration who are challenging the President as a person if they support his broader agenda).  The Resistance includes people working as individual citizens, through their professions as lawyers, scientists, artists, or professional athletes.  It also includes organizations that run the gamut in terms of their levels of professionalization–the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Greenpeace, professional associations like the American Sociological Association, Indivisible, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance–are all playing parts in the Resistance. The oft-discussed violent fringe that stirred in response to White supremacist activities around the US—the Antifa—is also part of the Resistance to the degree that it is focusing specifically on targeting the Trump agenda.

In many ways, the Resistance is a countermovement to the Trump regime (like the Tea Party was a countermovement to the Obama Adminisration and its policies).  The fact that it is a countermovement makes it possible to bring diverse streams of progressive activism together to form the raging river of resistance that we see today.  In other words, the Resistance represents a merging of movements—including Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the Women’s, Anti-Gun Violence, and Climate Movements.  Because it is unified against a common enemy driven by moral outrage, the Resistance has united movements that have historically competed for resources, energy and attention.  At the same time, however, the bonds among these movements and the organizations that coordinate them are fragile and create a challenge for the strength and persistence of the Resistance.



2 responses to “Revisiting “What is the Resistance?””

  1. […] Over the past four years, I’ve posted Resistance Timelines a few times to this site (and a truncated one is included in the book).  If you’re interested in how I define Resistance, see this post. […]


  2. […] Even though the COVID-19 pandemic originally motivated many groups to shift their activism online, the killing  of unarmed George Floyd by police in May motivated extensive and sustained protest across the US.   As these protests grew and the Trump Administration deployed forces in many cities, it become increasingly clear to me that this wave of confrontational protest is part the story of resistance to the Trump Administration and its policies (see here is a for a full definition of what is the Resistance). […]