The Wars of the Tribes

The third annual Women’s March was held last weekend, and you may be forgiven if you didn’t notice. The event that emerged after the 2016 election as a central focus for the left’s “Resistance” against President Trump is collapsing.

Estimates for this year’s crowd size vary but look to be 10% to 20% of the 2017 turnout, and reports on the event tended to focus on the agonizing of the march’s rank-and-file supporters over whether to attend. Some of this was quite poignant: “The experience I had two years ago was indescribable. I wanted to feel that way again.” There’s a lesson there, of course, about the perils of engaging in political activism based on how it makes you feel.

What happened? Some part of this is the natural life cycle of a movement that began at peak intensity in the trauma of an unexpected election loss, but which fades as those emotions fade. Yet there is no doubt that the collapse of the Women’s March is driven primarily by the controversy surrounding the march’s leadership and the way it has alienated much of the movement’s rank-and-file. This is a phenomenon that is broader than the anti-Semitism of a few of the march’s co-chairs, and it carries a lesson about the politics of group identity.

Read the rest at The Bulwark.

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