activism, Take Action, Uncategorized

Action 6: Read the Rules

rules_for_radicals

The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means.

– Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

At the end of January 2017, the chilling term “alternative facts” entered the public lexicon. For a brief moment, reading humans around the world collectively remembered a literary dystopia that looked uncomfortably prescient. George Orwell’s 1984 rose to renewed prominence in Amazon’s bestseller list.

Now in the first weeks of March, 1984 has fallen out of the top twenty. In its place, Portraits of Courage by another clown of a president for whom, at this moment, we would trade this entire administration plus vital organs and firstborn children to have back in office. Also up on the list? The Five Love Languages. In the midst of rising fascism, romance still drives the bus.

Continue reading “Action 6: Read the Rules”

activism, Take Action, Uncategorized

The Women Have Arrived

bread-puppet-washerwomen

The women arrive carrying ceramic bowls of muffins and popcorn. They introduce themselves and shrug out of winter coats, peel the backs off name tags, jot words on green post-its and find seats around the room.

We set up the easel, the flip chart, the clipboards, the jar full of pens.

We share our names, our role models in the movement, the things that make us smile.

After skimming Parker Palmer’s Circle of Trust touchstones, we give a collective nod to a tenor of inquiry and welcome.

Then we begin.

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activism, Determination, Take Action

Action 4: RESIST

bread-puppet-resistance

Abandon plans for a democratic agenda.  Abandon hope for democracy at all.  The leadership of this country has shed any pretense of discourse about how best to govern.  Our leaders will seize, gut, silence, and reign.  They will topple any established checks on their force, and they will dispense with explaining themselves.  They will have no need to defend the twisted truths they spun as they advanced through a weakened democratic system into the control tower.  Why explain?  Why defend?  They now execute reality.

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activism, Take Action

Action 2: Pick up the Phone

vintage-phone

It’s old school.  It’s unsexy.

It takes under five minutes.

And it’s effective.

Use this call sheet as a script to make a call to your representatives on issues of concern.  Adapt it as you see fit.

Notice that the call sheet has tabs across the top.  In addition to scripts, you’ll see lists of representatives and other tips.  This sheet is merely a template created in the first week after the election.  As events unfold, the language and issues will change.

I’m embarrassed to admit that for all decades of armchair commentary — indeed, I still consider myself “radical” despite my unexceptional suburban existence — I haven’t actually picked up the phone to talk to my senators or representatives in a lifetime and a half.

Yesterday, I made the calls.   The action was straightforward and very simple.  It took no more time a walk down the hall to fill up my water bottle, and arguably went much further to quench my thirst.


 

 

 

activism, Take Action

Action 1: Who are your Representatives?

congress-photo

Find out who represents you in the US Senate and House of Representatives as well as in your state legislature.  It’s easy to look them up with the Find your Elected Officials tool created by Common Cause and the Sunlight Foundation.

Make note of who your representatives are.  Take a few moments to find out how they have voted on immigration, education, reproductive rights, environmental policy, health care, protection of marginalized groups, and other critical issues.

Most importantly, make note of their addresses and phone numbers.  Bookmark them in your browser and program them into your phone.  The only way they’ll be responsive to us is if we start putting our concerns in front of them.


 Image: Library of Congress

activism, Take Action

Act Now

vivir-sin-fronteras-colordsgfix.jpg

Here is a small selection of things that don’t work:

  • Wearing black
  • Fretting
  • Posting “Joe Biden: White House Troublemaker” memes (although a giggle is good medicine)
  • Wearing a safety pin
  • Returning to safe, familiar, more-or-less neutral patterns of work and social life
  • Conflating the expression of feelings with action
  • Rehashing outrage and fear in casual conversations with friends and family who agree with us
  • Repeatedly checking social media to watch horrors as they unfold
  • Waiting to see what else he does before doing anything ourselves

Here is what does work:

  • Asking the next question: What action will we take today — this very day — in the service of justice and our common future on this planet?

Continue reading “Act Now”