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Interviews for Resistance #4: Legba Carrefour and #DisruptJ20

In addition to the massive Women’s March on Washington planned for Saturday, January 21, organizers from around the country with leadership from D.C. residents are planning a “festival of resistance” on Inauguration Day itself. Interview #4 looks into what to expect all day in D.C., and what’s already gone down this week (think queer dance party at Mike Pence’s house).

One of the actions we are doing, the permitted one at Columbus Circle at noon on Friday, we are doing that as a festival of resistance. We have got a flatbed truck with dancers from a local gay club, a bunch of drummers, I think a student marching band or two. I think the role of celebration is really important because a lot of people after the election were very down on themselves. I think it is important to remind people that there is a lot of joy in politics, actually, when you take politics to the street.

Up at Truthout.

Up at The Baffler, with audio.

Interviews for Resistance is a syndicated series of interviews with organizers, agitators and troublemakers, available twice weekly as text and podcast. Previous interviews here.

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Interviews for Resistance #3: Erin Mahoney

The strike remains one of the most powerful weapons that ordinary people have, and one feminist organization has decided to try and build on recent women’s strikes in multiple countries to take a similar action in the U.S. I spoke with Erin Mahoney of National Women’s Liberation:

We have got nearly 5,000 signatures so far and they are coming in by the hundreds every day, of women signing up to say that they will be striking from doing emotional labor in their household. They will be striking from their paying jobs. They will be striking from fake smiles, from making things run smoothly, from laundry to childcare—a whole host of different things that they are striking from. It is really moving to see the reasons why people are striking and also the breadth of work that they are striking from.

Up at In These Times.

Interviews for Resistance is a syndicated series of interviews with organizers, agitators and troublemakers, available twice weekly as text and podcast. Previous interviews here.

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Interviews for Resistance #2: Mariame Kaba

Mariame Kaba is a longtime organizer and educator around prisons, police, and criminalization whose current project is Fight4Medicare.

We are going to have to figure out ways to create community-based free clinics, things that are going to be on the side of the defend and protect side of this equation while we are fighting on the expansion side. That is really important. That is where a lot of the most important organizing has already been taking place, and will continue to take place, on the state level. People in Washington state are pushing for a ballot initiative for single-payer. People have tried to do it in Vermont. People have tried to push a Colorado ballot initiative for single-payer, which lost huge. That gives us an opportunity to think about, “What was it in the messaging, what was it in the lack of political education, what was it in the organizing strategy that made people reject it in an 80/20 split?” Learning from those individual state ballot initiatives will help us to build a stronger set of campaigns in individual states around the country. I think that is a great opportunity for us as the federal government space is going to be foreclosed to many different kinds of demands in the moment. We are going to have to be more strategic about how we operate at the local and state levels. That connects, eventually, to talking about the carceral state and prisons. Anti-prison organizing, as well, is mostly a state issue.

Up at Truthout.

Up at In These Times.

Interviews for Resistance is a syndicated series of interviews with organizers, agitators and troublemakers, available twice weekly as text and podcast. Previous interviews here.

News

Interviews for Resistance Launch!

Since the election, I’ve been flooded with questions about what happens next. People who, before November, thought that protesting was useless are now declaring themselves part of the resistance. And yet when you peruse social media, the most pervasive vibe is fear, often coupled with despair.

Thanks to years of being a labor and social movement beat reporter, I also see lots of people who are organizing, who are fighting, planning, and raising hell. But their stories were getting lost under the persistent drumbeat of horrifying news.

With that in mind, in the continuing spirit of Necessary Trouble, I’m launching a new project. Partnering with several excellent news organizations, I’m doing a syndicated series of “interviews for resistance,” which will be available as articles and as podcasts, with organizers, agitators, troublemakers, and thinkers about what comes next. These are people who have already been doing the work that has just become more necessary than ever, around the country, and they will cover a wide range of subjects and geographical locations.

There is an alternative to despair. Resistance is more than just sharing the scary news.

My first interview is now up, with Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson and Ungovernable2017.

We need to recognize that in a number of different instances, folks who actually want to see something different constitute the majority. There were the majority of people who voted against Trump if you just look there. On a deeper level, this is something that I think we need to look at more profoundly and try to address: the 50 percent of voting-age adults in this country who typically don’t vote. I don’t think that is apathy; or not all of it. I think there is a growing dissatisfaction with the façade of democracy. People feel that “Whoever I vote for, nothing fundamentally is going to change. Their economic policy is going to be what it is. A lot of the fundamental questions around society are not on the ballot. We are restricted from being included in any serious discussion of democracy and what we can vote on, so why should I vote?” I think that is begging for some more fundamental, deeper and systemic change that I don’t think the electoral strategy and the electoral focus that we — in this case being the left — have been so oriented toward touches upon.

Up at Truthout.

Up, with audio, at The Baffler.

Thanks to my partner publications for taking a chance on this project: The Progressive, In These Times, Truthout and the Baffler. Thanks to Laura Feuillebois for her transcription skills. Thanks to the Nation Institute, for the backing that makes it possible for me to do this work. And thank you to everyone who fights.

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A Diary of Protest for the Days to Come: Review at The Indypendent

Michael Hirsch at the Indypendent had the first post-Trump-election review of Necessary Trouble and concludes that trouble is, yes, even more necessary:

Perhaps, but we knew a Clinton administration would be no springtime in paradise. Neoliberalism is an uninspiring alternative to Trumpism, and the neoliberal order is cracking up, even if it is doing so in a manner few imagined possible. A finely written book such as Jaffe’s is not just a palliative of hope: The stories she reports of people building power through struggle offer a healthy direction forward.

Read the rest at the Indypendent.