Resister’s Digest: Getting Radical in the Heartland

Upcoming conferences and actions aim to tap the power of progressives.

Theo Anderson May 15, 2017

Indivisible has created a toolkit for responding to the constitutional crisis created by Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Resister’s Digest is a week­ly roundup that spot­lights ways read­ers can con­nect with and learn about cam­paigns to oppose Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s agen­da, pro­tect human rights and pro­mote equal­i­ty. Have ques­tions or tips? Con­tact writer Theo Ander­son at theo@​inthesetimes.​com.

'McDonald’s low wages cost taxpayers more than $1 billion a year, because more than half of us are forced to rely on public assistance to support our families.'

Over the next two months, Chica­go will host sev­er­al actions, events and con­fer­ences that build the capac­i­ty and deploy the resources of the pro­gres­sive move­ment. They include:

  • May 17: Sol­i­dar­i­ty Econ­o­my Orga­niz­ing in a Moment of Resis­tance. Spon­sored by the New Econ­o­my Coali­tion and In These Times, the event will fea­ture pan­elists shar­ing their sto­ries of orga­niz­ing to build pow­er­ful bot­tom-up solu­tions that mod­el eco­nom­ic democ­ra­cy, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and social jus­tice as cor­ner­stones of a new world in waiting.”
  • May 20: Mon­ey Talks Too Much. The event will fea­ture a dis­cus­sion on get­ting big mon­ey out of pol­i­tics and return­ing democ­ra­cy to the peo­ple.” Par­tic­i­pants include State Sen. Daniel Biss, Cook Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Jesus Chuy” Gar­cia and Lar­ry Cohen of Our Revolution.
  • May 23: March on McDonald’s. A coali­tion of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Indi­vis­i­ble Chica­go and Fight for $15, will lead this march the day before the company’s annu­al share­hold­ers’ meet­ing. Accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers, McDonald’s low wages cost tax­pay­ers more than $1 bil­lion a year, because more than half of us are forced to rely on pub­lic assis­tance to sup­port our families.”
  • May 24: Real Safe­ty, Real Sol­i­dar­i­ty: Con­ver­sa­tions on Move­ment Build­ing. Orga­nized by the Pil­lars Fund, which seeks to ele­vate and ampli­fy the lead­er­ship and tal­ents of Amer­i­can Mus­lims in civ­il soci­ety,” the con­fer­ence will fea­ture lead­ers from diverse back­grounds dis­cussing how to build long-term pow­er and solidarity.
  • June 3: #March for Truth. The Chica­go march is one of more than 70 ral­lies nation­wide to demand more account­abil­i­ty and trans­paren­cy” from all lev­els of gov­ern­ment. Search for a local march here. A coali­tion of orga­ni­za­tions is spon­sor­ing the march­es, which will focus on the inves­ti­ga­tion into Don­ald Trump’s ties to Rus­sia and his tax returns.
  • June 9 – 11: The People’s Sum­mit. This mul­ti-day event will fea­ture ses­sions devot­ed to a high­er min­i­mum wage, crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, vot­ing rights, cli­mate jus­tice, a sin­gle-pay­er health­care sys­tem, free high­er edu­ca­tion and more. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be the keynote speak­er. Spon­sor­ing orga­ni­za­tions include the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Social­ists of Amer­i­ca, Our Rev­o­lu­tion and People’s Action.
  • July 6 – 9: Social­ism 2017. More than 1,500 activists are expect­ed at the con­fer­ence, where par­tic­i­pants will dis­cuss cur­rent strug­gles, explore Marx­ist and social­ist ideas, and debate cur­rent issues on the left.” Speak­ers include Democ­ra­cy Now! host Amy Good­man, author Sharon Smith and actor John Cusack.
Ral­ly­ing for pub­lic education

On Sat­ur­day, May 20, sup­port­ers of pub­lic edu­ca­tion will ral­ly on the Boston Com­mon against the forces of pri­va­ti­za­tion and demand the pub­lic schools and col­leges our com­mu­ni­ties deserve.” Their demands include debt-free pub­lic high­er edu­ca­tion and less test­ing, more learn­ing.” In St. Paul, Min­neso­ta on the same day, a coali­tion of unions and edu­ca­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions will lead a march to the state Capi­tol to tell leg­is­la­tors face-to-face to stop play­ing risky games with our children’s futures.”

Net neu­tral­i­ty

On Thurs­day, May 18, the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (FCC) holds its next open meet­ing, and sev­er­al orga­ni­za­tions are col­lab­o­rat­ing to col­lect sig­na­tures on a peti­tion and to over­whelm the FCC with com­ments. Details here. Ajit Pai, the new­ly appoint­ed FCC chair, has been hos­tile to net neu­tral­i­ty,” which is the pub­lic-inter­est safe­guard that pre­vents Inter­net ser­vice providers from dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices like block­ing or slow­ing down online con­tent or coerc­ing fees from con­tent providers to cre­ate pay-for-play fast lanes,” as The Nation notes. What’s at stake is noth­ing less than the Internet’s demo­c­ra­t­ic poten­tial. Los­ing this poten­tial will dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly hurt com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, activist groups, and small publishers.”

Trump and Russia

Indi­vis­i­ble has cre­at­ed a toolk­it for respond­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis cre­at­ed by Trump’s fir­ing of FBI Direc­tor James Comey. It includes a primer on every aspect of the fir­ing along with an action plan. The Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union has also been heav­i­ly involved in this issue and is ral­ly­ing sup­port for an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion of Trump’s ties to Russia.

Learn­ing to resist

Resis­tance School is a free, online pro­gram designed to keep the embers of resis­tance alive through con­crete learn­ing, com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment, and for­ward-look­ing action.” There are ses­sions focused on com­mu­ni­cat­ing val­ues, mobi­liz­ing and orga­niz­ing com­mu­ni­ties, struc­tur­ing and build­ing capac­i­ty for action and sus­tain­ing the resis­tance over the long haul. Find it here. A sec­ond semes­ter” of Resis­tance School is now in the plan­ning stages. More than 175,000 peo­ple took part in the first semester’s ses­sions, which end­ed in late April. (All mate­ri­als are still avail­able on the website.)

The fed­er­al bud­get, reimagined

Dozens of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions are sup­port­ing The People’s Bud­get: A Roadmap for the Resis­tance, recent­ly released by the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus. It pro­vides a prac­ti­cal, pro­gres­sive vision for our coun­try by invest­ing in 21st cen­tu­ry infra­struc­ture and jobs, tack­ling inequal­i­ty, mak­ing cor­po­ra­tions pay their fair share, and strength­en­ing essen­tial pub­lic pro­grams.” Find an analy­sis here. Become a cit­i­zen cospon­sor” of the bud­get here.

Theo Ander­son is an In These Times con­tribut­ing writer. He has a Ph.D. in mod­ern U.S. his­to­ry from Yale and writes on the intel­lec­tu­al and reli­gious his­to­ry of con­ser­vatism and pro­gres­sivism in the Unit­ed States. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Theoanderson7.
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