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: Getting Radical in the Heartland

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

BY Theo Anderson

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'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.'

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.

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, an In These Times writing fellow, has contributed to the magazine since 2010. 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 and contact him at theo@inthesetimes.com.

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