Whether we are engaging in acts of resistance or creating new, alternative institutions, we need to create sustainable, democratic organizations that empower its members while also protecting against disruption. This section provides information and tools for effective organizing, creating democratic decision-making structures, building coalitions with other groups, and more.
Featured Video: The video to the right is the trailer for the new documentary, Beyond Elections. From Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements across the hemisphere, it takes us on a journey across the Americas to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy?
Recent Articles in Organize!
By James E. Rabbitt, III. This May Day (Monday, May 1, 2017), workers worldwide are invited to participate in an unprecedented call for global unity demanding that all full-time workers are paid a living wage by means of a May Day General Strike, which transcends borders and all other divides among fellow workers. The success of this event is dependent upon word of mouth and social media to invite others who will collectively stand together in solidarity to end the unjustifiable inhumane suffering and exploitation of underpaid workers everywhere. This act of global unity to improve the quality of life for millions, possibly even billions, of people can be held at every place of employment, with workers determining which type of strike is best suited for their unique workplace (i.e. sick-ins, picketing, good work strikes, etc.).
By Les Leopold for AlterNet – Most politicians and pundits throw their hands up in despair. They argue there is really nothing we can do about rising inequality because of the powerful impacts of global competition and automation. Those who are falling behind just don’t have the skills needed to prosper in the modern world. Life is unfair. Get used to it. But, these fatalists are dead wrong. There is ample evidence to show that many other nations have far less inequality but are also using the most advanced technologies, and are more open to foreign competition. Furthermore, the mainstream Democrats have convinced themselves, that despite the Sanders surge, most Americans do not support bold policies to reverse runaway inequality. These officials believe that most Americans reject “socialistic” programs. Does a social democratic program appeal to most Americans? We decided to test the mainstream Democratic Party phobias by asking 200 randomly selected 18 to 40 year-olds to evaluate a strong platform aimed at reversing runaway inequality.
By Beverly Bell for Other Worlds. Two Honduran cultural workers, feminists, and close friends of Berta Cáceres will tour 20 US cities between April 20 and May 23, 2017 to “sow the seeds of Berta.” Singer-songwriter Karla Lara and writer Melissa Cardoza will use music, writing, story, and discussion to grow the international movement for justice and grassroots feminism. Their tour’s goal is not to impart answers, but to spark collective ideas and engagement through creativity and dialogue. ¡Berta Vive! Series-logoThe tour will also promote Cardoza’s book, 13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance, recently published in English with translation by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle. Black Lives Matter Network co-creator Alicia Garza says the book “is rooted in a love of freedom that will grip your heart. Cardoza… ensures that, in memory of our sister Berta Cáceres, feminisms are three-dimensional and span multiple experiences.”
By Staff of Let Our Indigenous Voices Be Heard – As original peoples, we have long memories, centuries old wisdom and deep knowledge of this land and the importance of empirical, scientific inquiry as fundamental to the well-being of people and planet. Let us remember that long before Western science came to these shores, there were Indigenous scientists here. Native astronomers, agronomists, geneticists, ecologists, engineers, botanists, zoologists, watershed hydrologists, pharmacologists, physicians and more—all engaged in the creation and application of knowledge which promoted the flourishing of both human societies and the beings with whom we share the planet. We give gratitude for all their contributions to knowledge. Native science supported indigenous culture, governance and decision making for a sustainable future –the same needs which bring us together today. As we endorse and support the March for Science, let us acknowledge that there are multiple ways of knowing that play an essential role in advancing knowledge for the health of all life. Science, as concept and process, is translatable into over 500 different Indigenous languages in the U.S. and thousands world-wide.
By Micah Uetright for In These Times – It’s a delicious irony for teachers unions that Rauner College Prep—a Chicago charter school named after Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ virulently anti-union governor—may soon have a union. On March 3, the Chicago Association of Charter Teachers and Staff (ACTS) announced an organizing drive at the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which has 18 campuses across Chicago, including Rauner College Prep. If the campaign is successful, Noble will become the nation’s largest unionized charter network. The addition of Noble’s 800 teachers and staff to its ranks would also give ACTS, a local of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an impressive density in Chicago’s charter market—the union says it would represent as many as 40 percent of charter teachers in Chicago. About 10 percent of charter teachers nationwide are unionized, according to the pro-charter Center for Education Reform. The Chicago Teachers Union, a sister local to ACTS, has been a bright spot in a bleak labor landscape. But traditional public school educators aren’t the only ones on the move.
By Health Over Profit for Everyone. This is an exciting time because support for HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” is growing. Five new co-sponsors signed on last week. And, thanks to pressure from grassroots activists, Senator Sanders announced that he will introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. We expect it in mid-May. From April 3 to 7, actions such as teach-ins, marches and speak outs are taking place across the country. Friday, April 7, is the international day of action against the privatization of health: “Our Health is NOT for Sale!”.
By John Eklund for Portside – There’s no question that social and digital media are transforming the way movements are built and organized. But technology by itself has never overthrown a tyrant nor seized state power. Self-expression is a potent thing, but as a plan of action it’s just a start. Progress demands that the contemporary social media-based resistance overcome its fear and loathing of leadership, organization and ideology. Recently a contemporary member of the new resistance asked me- a veteran of the 1960s resistance- how we managed to organize a movement without social media. How indeed? I came of political age in the late 1960s, when my Milwaukee high school was consumed by movements for change…
By Joseph Gerson for Global Campaign On Military Spending – Trump and Congressional Republicans are preparing to eliminate any restraints in the Pentagon’s budget, while also reducing spending for essential social services, from housing and medical care to environmental protection to education. Projected cuts in social services could be as hight as $10.5 trillion over the coming decade. Even without the proposed increases in military spending, the Pentagon’s budget equals the combined total of the world’s next eight largest military spenders. Add to this the “Overseas Contingency Operation” funding for the military interventions from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, Department of Energy spending for nuclear weapons, and the black budget for “intelligence”
By Black Agenda Report. The Democrats seem to have an objective interest in having us focus on Donald Trump, the person, as opposed to this system, itself,” said Ajamu Baraka, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. In this environment, anti-war views are regarded as suspect. “I’m involved in building a Black Alliance for Peace, to try to revive the Black anti-war movement — the Black anti-war consciousness,” he said. “We think we have a perfect opportunity, now that people are waking up out of this eight-year stupor, to bring the Black community back to where we used to be, as the most consistent anti-war population in this country. But, it’s difficult to do this when our people are getting caught up in this anti-Russian hysteria, too,” said Baraka.
By Marla Kilfoyle and Melissa Tomlinson in partnership with Read the Dirt for Popular Resistance. Chris Christie once told a Badass Teacher that he was “sick”of people like her. It was his response to the question posed by her sign: Schools in NJ are among the top 3 in the country. Why does Governor Christie portray our schools as failure factories?“You know what,”he said, “I’m tired of this. I’m so sick of you people. What do you want?”He pointed his finger in her face, “just go do your job.” It was 2014, seven years into Melissa Tomlinson’s career as a public middle school special education teacher in Buena, NJ—and six months after the founding of the Badass Teachers Association (BATs) network. Some might know BATs for their online activism and role in the campaign against Betsy DeVos. Organized horizontally through committees, we have chapters in every state, but all are autonomous to account for unique obstacles and local culture.
By Michelle Chen for Truthout – Donna Smith has braved cancer, battled predatory insurance companies and fought relentlessly for health care reform for more than a decade. But she’s not sure she’ll survive the aftermath of Election Day. “Every single morning since November 8, I sit and wonder if this will be the day that I have enough guts finally to end my life,” she says. Smith, a 62-year-old cancer survivor and campaigner for universal health care, is one of millions stuck between the death throes of the Obama administration’s half-baked health care reform plan and the Trump regime’s agenda of ending health insurance for millions. But beyond fighting political havoc in the Republican-led Congress, Smith is mostly racing against time now: If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, as Trump and the Republican Congress have promised — possibly in the next few weeks — Smith will be forced to lean on her extended family’s savings to pay for her care.
By Steven Singer in Gadfly On The Wall. Unions are facing hard times. We are under attack by the new fascist wing of the Republican party. So-called “right to work” laws are being drafted at the national level to strip us of our rights and transform us into the factory slaves of The Gilded Age. New court challenges at the state and federal level could make it next to impossible to collect dues without allowing countless free riders. And in the mass media criticism of teacher tenure is mounting despite widespread ignorance of what it even means. More than ever we need to be united in our efforts to fight the forces of regression and tyranny. We need each other to protect our public schools and our students from those who would do them harm. But the biggest obstacle to doing that isn’t Donald Trump. Nor is it Mike Pence, Steve Bannon or even Betsy DeVos. It is you. Both of you.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Few people outside of single payer activist circles are aware that Senator Sanders introduced an amendment on the Senate floor in December 2009 that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a single payer health system. It was the first time in the history of the United States that single payer legislation was brought to the floor for a vote. Sadly, it was a Republican doctor who killed the amendment. This happened during the height of the health reform process in the Senate; the House had already passed its version of the legislation. It was the result of a year of pressure to include a single payer health system, National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA), in the health reform debate, grassroots pressure that included nonviolent direct action.
By Susan J. Douglas for In These Times – Donald Trump, at age 70, will be the oldest person to assume the presidency. He is part of a major demographic revolution—the aging of the baby boom—which received minimal attention during the campaign. But now Trump seems poised to declare war on his own generation, or at least the portion that doesn’t live in gilt towers in Manhattan. And judging from the comments section on the AARP website, his cohort is more than ready to fight back. In typical Trump fashion, the candidate who promised not to cut Medicare or Social Security now has a new pledge: to “modernize” Medicare, which in Trump-speak may mean “annihilate.”
By Sally Adee for New Scientist. WELCOME to the new normal. Even before Donald Trump was elected, the US was already in a “golden age of surveillance“. As Edward Snowden revealed in 2013, the US government’s surveillance powers had expanded dramatically under the Obama administration. Trump has repeatedly signalled that he intends to make much greater use of these capabilities – perhaps inspired by British legislation that has given the UK government unprecedented power to snoop on its citizens. In both cases, such powers were ostensibly introduced to combat terrorism. But there’s very little evidence that greater spying powers actually catch terrorists, many of whom already know how to evade spooks. On the other hand, there is mounting concern among privacy advocates and human rights campaigners that such powers will stifle domestic dissent and enable political witch-hunts.