On March 15th US President Donald Trump came to Nashville to support his health and school reforms but the visit suddenly turned into something unexpected. Hundreds of protesters were already marching through town against the guest waving signs and posters. The government was astonished: no protests were supposed to happen. Moreover, Nashville learned about Trump’s visit shortly before it, there was no time left to organize any demos and to notify possible participants. The Nashville protestation, however, was planned differently. Using the People Power.

‘Tag, you’re it: You’re the leader of the resistance movement’

4 days before the Trump’s visit to Nashville the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched an ambitious plan to make ‘freedom cities’ capable of resisting President’s new immigration policies. A new website, PeoplePower.org, was created by the ACLU to ‘organize the mass resistance to President Trump’. ‘People Power is, at its core, a grassroots member-mobilization project. Through People Power, the ACLU will engage volunteers across the country to take action when Trump or his administration attempt to enact unconstitutional policies or trample on people’s constitutional rights’, is written on the website.

A wave of grassroots has rolled across the US since Trump’s inauguration. The ACLU came up with the People Power idea through people’s emails, messages, and questions. ‚After the election we saw that people were rushing to the ACLU with their financial contributions and with their e-mail address sign-ups to tell us that, you know, ‘Tag you’re it: You’re the leader of the resistance movement,’ Faiz Shakir, ACLU national political director, says. ‚The most common question I was being asked was, ‘What can I do, and how can I do it with others to help?’. In just one weekend after the ACLU’s victory in court against Trump’s executive immigration policies the organization received a spike in donations decided to use them to grow a new organizing arm. And the People Power was born.

The software will provide ways to take different action against the Trump administration’s policies, first of all ― against opposing executive order on refugees and resisting deportation raids. It could be anything from attending a local march to holding signs of support in front of a local mosque. On the website, one can either find an action or create a new one. It will also connect experts from the ACLU with people interested in getting training in protests organizing.

‘Many people have been involved in protests,’ Shakir says. ‘And they want to know how to sustain and build upon this ― and this is to help guide them as they encounter the challenges of organizing.’ The platform will stream a “resistance training” on launch day. Shakir also explained how to ‘counter-program’ the Trump’s administration: If President beats up on refugees, people should find a refugee and hold a potluck on him. If he beats up on immigrants – go to a naturalization ceremony and shake new citizens’ hands. 

How does People Power work?

According to the creators, the software should be used as a tool for every grassroots group and action that resists the Trump’s attacks on the civil liberties. On the platform, anybody can sign up to plan or volunteer for an event. Volunteers and participants also share their contact information, which permits the ACLU to send notifications about the selected events or about actions happening in the immediate area to its followers via email.

Each event will be plotted on a public map to let people join more nearby efforts, and organizers figure out what other organizers they might want to contact to join forces. Everyone who is registered can add an event. ‘If we’re just in our own communities taking Trump on one slice at a time, it’s not going to work,” Shakir says. ‘We have to be united.’ This is the exact way to organize protests like the one that happened in Nashville. At the time more than 200 thousand people are using the platform, and in just about two weeks at least 500 events were planned. 

In reality, what the ACLU has created looks more like a political social network. The platform was designed around individuals who promote their events that matter most to them. The ACLU also plans to add functions that will let event managers build and maintain their own RSVP lists. In the near future, they will be able to communicate with others directly within the app to combine their forces.

To build this platform and support its new ‘push’ into activism, the ACLU has hired, from one side, experienced digital managers who have worked at the White House and promoted the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. From another side, some leading activist groups have also helped the ACLU to launch the People Power. 50 states affiliated the program, so the ACLU is well-positioned to organize nationwide grassroots. However, won’t be pushing any actions that support specific candidates for political office.

The ACLU’s new platform is similar to Michael Moore’s Resistance Calendar. This Calendar which also allows people to post information about local protests. However, those two are not the only protest grassroots efforts to emerge since Trump’s inauguration. There’s also a NextProtest.com  platform that lists progressive rallies in New York City. If one is interested in advocating Congress, he should use the Indivisible Guide software. People can also take the Women’s March’s ‘10 actions in 100 days’ outlines actions to advocate for social justice. And, most likely, a tendency to create new platforms to fight Trump’s administration will only increase.

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