“The ‘Women’s March’ is an extension of strategic identity politics”
Predictably, the “grassroots” and “spontaneous” women’s march wasn’t so grassroots, after all. It may have started as such, but things changed rather quickly. Ultimately, more than 50 groups, PACs, and assorted organizations backed by billionaire agitator George Soros were deeply involved in the march.
A self-declared “life-long liberal Democrat who voted for Trump” uncovered the tangled web of the money trail for the New York Times. Asra Q. Nomani explains that “the march really isn’t a ‘women’s march.’ It’s a march for women who are anti-Trump. As someone who voted for Trump, I don’t feel welcome . . . .”
Part of the problem, she contends, is that the march is neither the spontaneous grassroots rallying cry for women nor the nonpartisan love-fest it was portrayed as being. She decided to “follow the money” and discover what, if anything, that would reveal.
Following the money, I poured through documents of billionaire George Soros and his Open Society philanthropy, because I wondered: What is the link between one of Hillary Clinton’s largest donors and the “Women’s March”?
I found out: plenty.
By my draft research, which I’m opening up for crowd-sourcing on GoogleDocs, Soros has funded, or has close relationships with, at least 56 of the march’s “partners,” including “key partners” Planned Parenthood, which opposes Trump’s anti-abortion policy, and the National Resource Defense Council, which opposes Trump’s environmental policies.
The other Soros ties with “Women’s March” organizations include the partisan MoveOn.org (which was fiercely pro-Clinton), the National Action Network (which has a former executive director lauded by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as “a leader of tomorrow” as a march co-chair and another official as “the head of logistics”). Other Soros grantees who are “partners” in the march are the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. March organizers and the organizations identified here haven’t yet returned queries for comment.
On the issues I care about as a Muslim, the “Women’s March,” unfortunately, has taken a stand on the side of partisan politics that has obfuscated the issues of Islamic extremism over the eight years of the Obama administration.
“Women’s March” partners include the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has not only deflected on issues of Islamic extremism post-9/11, but opposes Muslim reforms that would allow women to be prayer leaders and pray in the front of mosques, without wearing headscarves as symbols of chastity.
Partners also include the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which wrongly designated Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer, an “anti-Muslim extremist” in a biased report released before the election. The SPLC confirmed to me that Soros funded its “anti-Muslim extremists” report targeting Nawaz. (Ironically, CAIR also opposes abortions, but its leader still has a key speaking role.)
The list is extensive and Soros ties are often a few steps removed, but Nomani persevered, discovering still more ties and hitting a nerve sufficiently hard enough to evoke a formal response from Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
Another Soros grantee and march “partner” is the Arab-American Association of New York, whose executive director, Linda Sarsour, is a march co-chair. When I co-wrote a piece, arguing that Muslim women don’t have to wear headscarves as a symbol of “modesty,” she attacked the coauthor and me as “fringe.”
Earlier, at least 33 of the 100 “women of color,” who initially protested the Trump election in street protests, worked at organizations that receive Soros funding, in part for “black-brown” activism. Of course, Soros is an “ideological philanthropist,” whose interests align with many of these groups, but he is also a significant political donor. In Davos, he told reporters that Trump is a “would-be dictator.”
Professor Jacobson posted a partial list of the women’s march “partners”:
At the bottom of Nomani’s article is an editor’s note:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Open Society Foundations.
Here is what was apparently added:
A spokeswoman for Soros’s Open Society Foundations, said in a statement, “There have been many false reports about George Soros and the Open Society Foundations funding protests in the wake of the U.S. presidential elections. There is no truth to these reports.”
She added, “We support a wide range of organizations — including those that support women and minorities who have historically been denied equal rights. Many of whom are concerned about what policy changes may lie ahead. We are proud of their work. We of course support the right of all Americans to peaceably assemble and petition their government—a vital, and constitutionally safeguarded, pillar of a functioning democracy.”
Nomani concludes with the following observation:
Much like post-election protests, which included a sign, “Kill Trump,” were not “spontaneous,” as reported by some media outlets, the “Women’s March” is an extension of strategic identity politics that has so fractured America today, from campuses to communities. On the left or the right, it’s wrong.
But, with the inauguration, we know the politics. With the march, “women” have been appropriated for a clearly anti-Trump day. When I shared my thoughts with her, my yoga studio owner said it was “sad” the march’s organizers masked their politics. “I want love for everyone,” she said.
Wanting “love for everyone” may well be a genuine desire among many Democrats. However, even the most well-meaning marches rooted in identity politics are not the path to that worthy goal.
While I understand Nomani’s frustration that her group was appropriated, complaining that a “women’s march” was hijacked by other left-wing groups and thus not a pure “women’s march” about women is a step shy of a meaningful condemnation of identity politics.
Until they realize that “love for everyone” entails breaking through the barriers imposed by identity politics, they will continue to be used, “organized,” and funded by persons and groups whose agenda is based on anything but love.DONATE
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