The face of the new resistance
Two marches on Tuesday in Philadelphia have spoken to the concept of what it means to really have a force of resistance against a political system.
A group numbering close to the hundreds, a large collection of Comcast employees in Philadelphia walked out of the Comcast Center midday on Thursday to protest President Trump's recent executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
The crowd at the Comcast walk-out neared 600 people according to police estimates cited by the Inquirer. The protest was apparently nationwide with two smaller protests being held on Thursday in Washington and Sunnyvale, Calif., according to reports from the company and Twitter.
Under police escort at 2 p.m., Comcast employees walked south on 17th Street toward Market to reach Dilworth Plaza. The police closed off Market Street for the orderly procession. Comcast employees carried signs saying "Immigration Innovation" and "Tech Has No Borders."
The protest lasted all of 30 minutes and brought into question Comcast own ties with the Trump administration.
On Monday, Google employees staged a protest over Trump's executive order restricting Muslim immigrants.
According to a source from the Inquirer, Hai Thai, the protest developed over a couple days and was planned via slack with the hashtags #techhasnowalls and #include.
The protest was led by Hai Thai, 38, an immigrant from Vietnam, and Aaron Martin-Colby, 35, a self-described “very white guy.”
"This is absolutely employee-organized and initiated," Martin-Colby said.
From Trump’s close ties with Comcast with the CEO Brian Roberts stating that the company looked forward to working with the Trump administration and Comcast spokesmen stating that employees would get paid for the protest time, as would Trump supporters.
A high-ranking executive showing his support for the event was Sree Kotay, the chief technology officer in the cable division. He did not speak to the crowd.
From a walkout from Comcast employees to a demonstration outside of Fox News, the resistance for Trump in Philadelphia has continued well after the inauguration and even the election. The city has continued to voice its dissent of the current demonstration from Mayor Kenney doubling down on Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policies and dedication to removing the immigration ban to the increase in local participation in groups such as Philly for Change.
Largely organized online and producing attendance in record numbers, the protests throughout Philadelphia present a particular climate in the city that is unlike major cities across the country.
With low arrest rates and a large amount of police compliance, the protests in Philadelphia are the way people find themselves mobilizing in ways that many people find themselves having difficulty participating in. Though there is low voter turnout, the protests are ways that people find themselves in the political process. The March Against Discrimination Facebook event describes the protest as a way to get involved in politics, “We are taking to the streets to march in opposition to Trump dark and twisted view of America exemplified by his the latest series of discriminatory policies and statements coming from his administration.”
And despite the pushback that the protests get from politicians who ask for votes and not action, the protest leaders see this as a way to “call on all federal, state, and local elected officials and government agencies to stand up for human rights,” the March for Discrimination organizers stated.
James Rucker, Co-Founder, ColorOfChange.org and Citizen Engagement Lab said in a report The Digital Culture Shift: From Scale to Power, “But these arenas of change-making — one for the right and power to communicate, the other for the right and power to live — are not separate or distinct,“ Rucker said. “The voices we’re now hearing, reading, and seeing are all enabled by an open Internet that has largely avoided a corporate or government filter. And they are shifting public dialogue, impacting culture, and building momentum to change policy.”