One of the hallmarks of the American Resistance is the degree to which institutional and non-institutional forms of activism and political engagement have merged. Although recent research chronicles some cases when social movements have connected with more institutional electoral politics, it is relatively uncommon. However, the merger of the tactics and targets employed by the Resistance is clearly visible in the activism against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court that is currently underway.
Yesterday, I took my social movements class on a ‘fieldtrip’ down to the US Senate to observe this activism in process. There, we observed evidence of how multiple groups are working together and separately to coordinate daily visits to Senate offices (as well as confronting Senators in public spaces), marching in the streets, direct action around the US Capitol, and candlelight vigils on the steps of the US Supreme Court. In fact, tonight’s vigil is scheduled to include musical performances by Alicia Keys and Michael Stipe.
Although it is unclear if the activists will achieve their political goals of blocking the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, it has certainly mobilized people to engage in politics in innovative ways. Moreover, I expect the legacy of this wave of activism to persist for years to come.