New York Times Opinion

David Brooks’s critique of the Women’s March generated a lot of discussion among Times readers. In today’s newspaper, Zeynep Tufekci, who attended the march, offers her own critique
It’s an important one. In the pre-internet past, Tufekci explains, a protest march was the culmination of the months of phone calls, letters and meetings needed to plan the event. The planning for March on Washington in August 1963, for example, started in 1962.
Today, digital communication has made the planning of marches far easier. It can start with a single Facebook post and culminate in a march weeks later. Just look at the rapid planning and enormous turnout for the Women’s March.
As a result, Tufekci argues, a protest is not necessarily a sign of an actual movement; that’s why some large protests in recent years, like those opposing the war in Iraq or the Occupy rallies, have had relatively muted real-world impact.
“This doesn’t mean that protests no longer matter — they do,” Tufekci writes. “Nowadays, however, protests should be seen not as the culmination of an organizing effort, but as a first, potential step. A large protest today is less like the March on Washington in 1963 and more like Rosa Parks’s refusal to move to the back of the bus. What used to be an endpoint is now an initial spark.”
All of which, once again, points to the Tea Party as a tactical model. Protests were only a very small part of what the Tea Party did. If progressives want to have an effect — if they want to defend civil rights, protect the environment and keep millions of people from losing health insurance, among other things — the hard work hasn’t even begun.
Barack Obama, in his last interview as president, made the same point when asked what individual citizens could do to help protect the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of health insurance.
“The work is local as opposed to federal,” Obama told the hosts of Pod Save America. “I would pay a lot of attention to what the Tea Party did fighting the Affordable Care Act. You may disagree with the Tea Party, but they were effective in making sure that their views were heard and amplified.”
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including George Estreich on the threat to the education of disabled children; Dale Ho on the strategy behind the voter-fraud lies; Steven Rattner on Trump’s choice for budget director; and Anna Clark on Mary Tyler Moore.
I also recommend Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post, on how Mary Tyler Moore inspired real-life female journalists.
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist
President Trump outside the White House on Thursday.
The Politics of Cowardice
The party of Trump is a far cry from the party of Reagan.
An anti-Trump protester in New York in 2015 wearing a button that reads, “Keep our Muslim neighbors SAFE” and holding a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution.
The Closing of Trump’s America
A rough translation of “America First” is Muslims last.
Ambridge, Pa., a former steel town west of Pittsburgh, was once a Democratic stronghold but supported Donald Trump in November.
Making the Rust Belt Rustier
Manufacturing will decline faster under President Trump.
Park Rangers to the Rescue
Does a pathological liar really want to pick a fight with the caretakers of America’s Best Idea?
Donald Trump’s Mexico Tantrum
Sure, the latest terrible idea to come out of the Trump White House would hurt Mexico. But there would be plenty of collateral damage for Americans.
Women in Rabai, Kenya, getting information about family planning and reproductive health services.
Mr. Trump’s ‘Gag Rule’ Will Harm Global Health
The president has greatly expanded a policy restricting federal aid to health organizations abroad that talk to women about abortion.
People in South Dakota protested the Republican Legislature’s effort to repeal an ethics reform referendum.
South Dakota Lawmakers Snuffing Out Ethics Reform Referendum
Legislation to repeal a series of voter-approved measures is advancing in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Does a Protest’s Size Matter?
In the digital age, it’s no longer a reliable indicator of a movement’s strength.
Mick Mulvaney at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
An Extremist Holding the Purse Strings
Representative Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s choice to be his top budget adviser, holds uncompromising views that will hurt the economy.
From left, the ousted United States attorneys Carol Lam, David Iglesias, John McKay and H.E. Cummins in 2007 at a hearing of Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. McKay was dismissed after refusing to pursue voter fraud allegations he found baseless.
Voting Fraud Inquiry? The Investigators Got Burned Last Time
When the Bush administration forced prosecutors to pursue this myth, the result was the worst Justice Department scandal since Watergate.
People in North Carolina waiting in line to vote in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump’s Lies Pave the Way for an Assault on Voting Rights
The president’s hunt for nonexistent fraud is a facade for a longer-term effort to impose unnecessary restrictions on voting.
Thanks to Trump, the Doomsday Clock Advances Toward Midnight
The world failed to come to grips with nuclear weapons and climate change, and it appears President Trump will only make matters worse.
Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Mary Tyler Moore’s Guide to Leaning In
Young women can view 40-year-old episodes of her program as how-to manuals for navigating life and work.
Why Succeeding Against the Odds Can Make You Sick
For African-American strivers, hypertension and other health problems may be linked to racism, not race.
I Don’t Speak for Laura
The law that ensures education for children with disabilities has given her words of her own. It is now at risk.
The church at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland last year.
Remove the Catholic Church From Auschwitz
This pope has been a force for interfaith understanding. That’s needed now, to move a convent still operating where a million Jews were killed.
Nikita Mikhalkov at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in December. His image of Russia is that of a besieged fortress under constant threat of attack.
The Exorcist of Russia
A nationalist friend of Vladimir Putin promotes a version of history with an enormous chip on its shoulder.
Welcome to the New World
The true story of a Syrian family’s journey to America.
Egypt’s Rickety Dictatorship
Six years after the start of the Egyptian revolution, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime could still fall apart at any time.
From left: Trump supporters at a campaign event in November; Protestors during the Women’s March in New York on Jan. 21; President Trump on Wednesday after signing an executive order for the construction of a border wall with Mexico.
Good, Bad and Mad: Andrew Rosenthal on the News
The opinion columnist Andrew Rosenthal on Donald J. Trump’s first days as president, and other news.
Was BuzzFeed Right to Publish the Russia File on Trump?
One reader applauds BuzzFeed’s decision, while two others criticize it. Fact-checking is not the reader’s job, one says.