To answer this, I reached out to Vanessa Wruble, the Head of Strategic Operations for the Women’s March on Washington and the Executive Director of March On, a group which keeps organizers of the “sister” Women’s Marches around the country connected. After I told Wrublethat people tied to the Russian government most likely created the “Not My President” Facebook event, she said that this news shouldn’t discredit protesters’ experiences.“Protests that were sparked by Russian agents may still be valid in the sense that if Americans show up, their voices are heard,” she told me over email. “Now, is it wrong? Yes. Were Americans manipulated? Yes. Were divisions stoked? Yes. But anytime Americans exercise their right of free assembly, that indicates a strong democracy—even though, in this case, it also shows that democracy is under attack.”
“People are far more worried about killer cops, deportations, and Trump’s white supremacist agenda than they are about the Russian government.”
Organizers aiming to lead “grassroots” movements, however, aren’t necessarily thinking about being visible and accountable as organizers.I spoke on the phone with Melissa Irwin, an organizer from Indivisible Brooklyn Do or Die and Pussy Power NYC who helped organize a recent protest at Trump Tower marking the one-year anniversary of the election. She said that the organizers of the anniversary event opted to not have speakers, which would be a direct way of connecting attendees with organizers, because they would’ve had to apply for a Sound Device Permit through the city in order to use a noise amplifier. But more importantly, it would’ve contradicted their goal of being a “grassroots” event.