A group of Washington insiders with unknown funding sources is instructing protesters on how to organize and cause commotion at town halls in a lengthy online guide which outlines how to “lay low” and look inconspicuous so congressmen don’t suspect they might be protesting the Trump agenda.
A blow-by-blow of the Indivisible Team’s sleek, 26-page guide covers everything from bringing signs, to where activists should sit and how protesters should look to increase the chances of getting called on by congressmen at town halls.
As of last week, the guide had been downloaded over 1.7 million times.
Members are cautioned not to sit in large groups together and to spread out to make it look like the room is full of activists.
“Head into the venue a bit early to grab seats at the front half of the room, but do not all sit together,” reads the IT guide. “Sit by yourself or in groups of two, and spread out throughout the room. This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.”
The guide goes on.
“Look friendly or neutral so that staffers will call on you,” the group says. “If they aren’t giving you real answers, then call them out for it. Other group members around the room should amplify by either booing the [member of Congress] or applauding you.”
All the tactics, IT says, are part of a larger scheme to rattle and “keep the pressure” on members of Congress working in Washington to enforce President Donald Trump’s agenda, which IT sees as “racist, authoritarian, and corrupt.”
IT has caused waves in recent weeks as GOP congressmen ran into heated town hall meetings of protesters shouting, chanting and waving signs opposing a plethora of issues.
IT says it’s following the same grassroots path as the Tea Party, which conservatives formed organically after the 2008 election.
The group wasted no time, however, in trying to set itself apart while trashing the Tea Party over what they saw as a severely misguided message.
“We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress,” the group wrote. “We saw them organize locally and convince their own [congressmen] to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism— and they won.”
Two months ago, a group of four former congressional staffers teamed up to create the nonprofit organization, which is largely aimed at dismantling Trump’s policies and taking out congressmen who follow his lead.
Since then, IT has grown by leaps and bounds. The nonprofit currently has over 7,000 affiliated groups in all 50 states and in nearly every congressional district.
The group’s founder, Ezrah Levin, became IT’s first paid staffer two weeks ago, but it is unclear exactly how he is being paid for his work.
The group's vice president Leah Greenberg previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute. IT’s secretary, Angel Padilla, works for the National Immigration Law Center, which Soros funds via his Open Society Foundations.
Because the organization is applying to become a nonprofit, however, details of its backers currently remain unknown. The group said it plans to hire eight more staffers “in the near future,” though it’s uncertain who will pay them.
The group denies any Soros involvement, citing other donations from the general public as its main source of funding.
“We have received donations from more than 4,000 people since putting a donate button on our site two weeks ago,” Indivisible Guide board members told the Daily Signal, adding that Republicans were simply trying to “dismiss” widespread popular approval. “We think George Soros funds many worthy programs, but he has not funded us.”
The group made headlines in Florida after Marco Rubio failed to show up at an Indivisible-organized town hall in Miami last week. Rubio skipped out on the town hall since he didn’t organize it and told press he felt it would not be productive.
“They are designed to basically heckle and scream at me in front of cameras so that Channel 4 and other networks and other stations at night will report,” Rubio told CBS-4 Miami’s Jim DeFede this weekend.
With or without Rubio’s participation, the Indivisibles said they wouldn’t be going anywhere. If anything, their resolve has only gotten stronger.
“This is the first of MANY events we will host,” Indivisible Miami wrote. “The longer you hold out in not showing, the louder you make our voice.”