November 23, 2016

Book industry plans turnout for inauguration weekend protest


Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 5.23.50 PMAs hundreds of thousands, if not millions, descend on Washington, DC, to protest at Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of the book industry will be out in full force.

Yesterday, Shelf Awareness reported that a group of booksellers and publishing industry employees has banded together to attend the Women’s March on Washington, a massive demonstration planned for the day after inauguration (January 21). Led by Laurie Gillman, owner of East City Bookshop in Washington, and Donna Paz Kaufman of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, the group will march together in solidarity with women threatened by the Trump agenda. “Everyone is invited to march with us to make a statement about the importance of the words we use, inclusivity, diversity, and human rights,” reads a statement on their Facebook page.

While large-scale demonstrations are in the works for Inauguration Day, January 20, the Women’s March at the Lincoln Memorial, which already has 115,000 confirmed participants on Facebook, will ensure that the capitol is flooded through the weekend, in what may be history-making numbers. The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos surmised that the turnout is likely to rival that of the enormous inauguration protests against Nixon in 1973 and George W. Bush in 2001 (on the latter, see our co-publisher Dennis Johnson’s The Big Chill: The Great Unreported Story of the Bush Inauguration Protest).’s executive director Anna Galland told Osnos that she expects “mass peaceful protests with hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, around the Inauguration and other moments.”

Some, like Luigi Zingales, have been ambivalent about the efficacy of protesting before Trump actually takes action on the policies he’s put forward. But others, notably the writer Masha Gessen, have been convincing on the importance of “asserting the right to protest,” especially against a figure who has threatened to ignore specific liberties outlined in the Constitution (Gessen cities this Atlantic essay by constitutional law scholar Garrett Epps). As she writes at LitHub:

Donald Trump is using the tools of democracy to destroy democracy. Over the last year and a half, he has promised, threatened, or just blabbed his intention to do a great number of things that are unconstitutional, immoral, frightening, or all of the above. It’s still two months before he can really start acting on these threats and promises. It makes all the sense in the world to use that time to show him, and us, how many people oppose his intentions. The least we can do is use the time-honored democratic tool of protest in the way in which it was intended: to assert democracy.



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.