Long haul resistance September 11, 2017 11:10 AM   Subscribe

After the election we had a few posts to talk about how we are fighting back and organizing and trying to keep the world together. Now that we're half a year in, I'm sure folks have settled down to some sustainable activities to resist and or at least care for their neighbors in this new world order. I'm probably not the only one who could use some bolstering from hearing what other people are doing now that this is a long-haul struggle. So, are you still calling your congressperson? Have you been attending demonstrations? Did you join an organizing group or donate to a nonprofit? Are you getting ready to run for office or have you started an underground cell? Let's share to keep ourselves motivated and inspired.
posted by latkes to MetaFilter-Related at 11:10 AM (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

I've been writing Postcards to Voters - sending handwritten GOTV mail to support Democrats in races across the country. There's a textbot that assigns addresses, so it's easy to grab 5 addresses any time I have a few minutes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:46 AM on September 11, 2017 [12 favorites]

I'm sure folks have settled down to some sustainable activities to resist and or at least care for their neighbors in this new world order.

posted by eamondaly at 12:45 PM on September 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I guess that's true ):
posted by latkes at 12:54 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't like going to protests. Huge crowds of people in the same place, chanting and stuff. Not... good with that.

I tried attending a couple Tech Solidarity Meetups here in NYC. I helped CAIR with some IT stuff, but I haven't done much with Tech Solidarity since as I'm not actually a tech person, and don't have the money to help them do their fundraising support for various local nonprofits.

I've called my rep and my Senators, when something is urgent---but generally my Rep is solid (Grace Meng), and my Senators are Gillibrand and Schumer, the former I like, and the latter I grudgingly tolerate. (He keeps misplacing his spine.)

All the worst stuff tends to executive actions and the dismantling of regulations by agencies that I feel completely powerless to do anything about. The legislative agenda has fallen apart, thankfully.

I might step stuff up once we get a picture of the 2018 elections, but right now I just feel like there isn't much I can do.
posted by SansPoint at 1:35 PM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Last week, I got a brand new letter from Pat Toomey, probably because I walked down to his office, looked a conscienceless monster of a junior staffer who didn't even blink while I told him about being pregnant while my husband had cancer, and asked for the Senator to oppose repeal of ACA because no parent should worry about money while wondering if their kid will be able to grow up with his dad.

I mean, I didn't expect to change any minds, but even looking at the envelope makes me FURIOUS. I actually haven't read it because it will make me FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURIOUS, since it is guaranteed to be just like the ones I got back from yelling at Toomey about immigration, about refugees, etc. etc.

I need to start calling again. And when work calms down, I should go back to the Tuesdays with Toomey protests. Thanks for posting this MetaTalk.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:36 PM on September 11, 2017 [13 favorites]

I have been so fucking pissed since the election; I cannot recall ever having been so angry in all my life. I hate that nasty Cheeto currently inhabiting the White House so much that I was finally driven to do something I have long talked about doing, but had never gotten around to. Days after that Stain was elected, I signed up to for training to become a Guardian ad Litem in my state. I was trained at the beginning of the year and I am deep into my first case. It's hard work, and it is not pleasant, but to me it has felt like the very best resistance to the type of America that wretched Fuckwad depicted and represents. Yes, I became a GAL out of spite.

I also started volunteering for a local organization that helps connect migrant farm workers to much-needed services because fuck my state legislators, too. Fuck all of the fuckers. God, I have so much hate in my heart. I had no choice but to use that powerful hate to help people that are already once-fucked over in this country.

I am a woman. I am an immigrant. I am an American. I don't march, and I am not strong enough to punch fucking Nazis, but I have a soft kind voice and all sorts of white lady priv and I am starting to be more constructive about putting it to good use.

I get tired, but I am NOT GIVING UP.
posted by msali at 1:48 PM on September 11, 2017 [39 favorites]

I've been making recurring monthly donations with a focus on local orgs--my local abortion fund, an organization working to end homelessness in my city, etc. One of the big mental shifts that happened for me between the initial gut punch of despair in November and the day-to-day of now was realizing how much privilege I had to have to say that I was content and hopeful under an Obama presidency. For many marginalized people, that fear and despair has been constant regardless of who's in the White House. And yet they've kept fighting and resisting -- that gives me hope. I want to continue supporting them and bolstering their work, even in better political times.
posted by capricorn at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I am very interested in following this discussion.

I set up recurring donations and donate to every candidate that Flippable tells me to.

I still make phone calls and write letters to my reps, but less frequently.

One statistic I heard recently (don't know the source) was that 85% of the post-election phone calls are from women. If you are not a woman and haven't joined the calling campaigns, why not? I'm curious.

The biggest change I've made consistently is that I've been more vocal against white supremacy with my white peers and online. The largest lasting effect that I think I've had has been getting various friends to sign up for things like Shaun King's mailing list or following black activists on Twitter. They are more informed than they were a year ago.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:42 PM on September 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I joined my local Democratic committee and volunteered at the polls for a special school board election (despite the GOP creating shenanigans to schedule the election in August, turnout was pretty good and the Dem candidate took the seat back 2-1!). I donate to Planned Parenthood and ACLU on a monthly basis.
posted by saturngirl at 2:57 PM on September 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

After the election, one of my friends created a "good media consumer" challenge for Habitica that I particpated in.

These are the habits that stuck with me:
* Don't share articles without reading them
* Don't share unsourced articles
* Thank a journalist!
* Subscribe to good journalism (and not stuff like NYT that publishes Trump apologetics)
* Read one longform item a day
* After reading something, spend a few minutes reflecting on it in writing, thought, or conversation
posted by tofu_crouton at 3:01 PM on September 11, 2017 [15 favorites]

I restarted my blood donation, and will hopefully go to the local center every 8 weeks for the next year. The hurricanes spurred it, but hopefully it will be something that I can just do to help.

Also, not gonna lie, last week I signed the contract for a roof solar array that should offset 96-100% of our annual energy use because I am so pissed about 45, Rick "promote more coal" Perry and Scott "we do not speak of cc" Pruitt. It made financial sense, but the HATE is what made me make the calls.

I'm also waffling between "can this be situational depression if it goes on for 11 months?" My moods are typically on an even keel, but I've been periodically ticking off the "could you be depressed?" checklist, and ruminating over my lack of energy, no desire to clean, finding less joy in some activities, etc etc. A checkup is scheduled for Oct.

I'm just really tired. :/
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 3:02 PM on September 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

I got appointed to my local public library board as a way to ease into local politics. I'm looking into running for a state position or county commissioner. In the meantime, I am staying as informed as I can, trying not to let the waves of anger overwhelm me, and being quite a bit franker when misinformation is presented in my earshot. I don't let stuff slide like I used to.
posted by ikahime at 3:10 PM on September 11, 2017 [8 favorites]

I'm still volunteering with the International Institute. I answer their fax machine and thus help immigrants and non-English speakers get interpreters for their medical and school appointments. During the academic year I can usually only do 2 hours a week, but this Thursday I'm going to be in the office by myself all afternoon! Exciting!
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

I was extremely--frenetically--involved with organizing work through a local (county-level) civil rights organization for several months, and we had some good wins, particularly in helping pass a local ordinance prohibiting police cooperation with ICE. Then at a certain point the ass-end of my (nearly-certain but still not officially diagnosed) bipolar II kicked in and I pretty much withdrew from everything.

But I brought some friends in to run a bystander intervention training at my church yesterday (basically "practice how to be a person if you witness someone being harassed or threatened" with de-escalation techniques) and it was a good thing.
posted by duffell at 5:21 PM on September 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

Doc I worked on just won a couple of Emmy's, so I guess I'll just keep doing what I do.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:22 PM on September 11, 2017 [16 favorites]

I'm focusing on the local. I spend a few hours each weekly at the offices of ACLU Maine and our state LGBTQ rights organization, doing whatever. Mostly data entry and some research for reports. I'm working on a city council person's campaign. I still call my senators now and then, but it's down to mostly Susan Collins. I am smiling at people on the street, especially if they look sad or downtrodden or like someone who is frequently targeted by jerks. And I'm gardening and learning how to preserve food, in case things truly go to hell.
posted by donnagirl at 5:37 PM on September 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

After November we finally managed to commit to joining a UU church as a family. Having a positive and thoughtful community we can escape to once a week is really nice. We've mainly been volunteering with helping the church set up their programs, since it's something we can do while we're at church anyhow, but it is nice at least to help the people who are helping others. And we did a bunch of laundry for Greater Portland Family Promise. Mrs. Selfnoise is doing the training tomorrow so she can volunteer directly with the families.

We have two jobs and two insane young kids so there are definitely days that we don't have energy even for ourselves. But it feels good to know we're doing what we can.
posted by selfnoise at 6:05 PM on September 11, 2017 [9 favorites]

I've been using the Amplify app to make daily/weekly phone calls. I've been using it, Indivisible mailing lists, and Facebook to keep myself coordinated going to protests.

I've been volunteering with Lawyers for Good Government on voting rights/access projects and now DACA projects and with a local legal aid agency to do guardianship planning for families at risk of deportations. I've been volunteering with a state gubernatorial race, donating to Run for Something and to Swing Left. I'm doing voter registration training next week.

My self-care has primarily been drinking which is not the healthiest coping mechanism. But I've also been going to things like Alphawood Gallery Evening with George Takei, reading the Revolution Has Come, watching documenatries (Pruitt-Igoe Myth, I am Not Your Negro) and puttering in my sewing room.

I've failed to keep my diary. I've not been good about trying to push back about things like older relatives dismissing important things as"politically correct' or calling transgender people "not supported by science" or bullshit racism I run across.
posted by crush at 6:21 PM on September 11, 2017 [9 favorites]

I've been to a few protests - not so easy to manage with little kids in tow or dependent on childcare. I'm also in contact with local activists via facebook, which has been heartening.

On a more personal note, we're pushing on getting our US citizenship as soon as possible so we can vote. And also, honestly, because I feel like I can't express myself fully in the public space as a non-citizen. Like, I'm worried if I advocate for Black Lives Matter very publicly, or associate with Antifa, I would risk being detained or deported, or my citizenship application might be denied. 'Free speech', my ass.

I've been looking for a religious-ish congregation to join in Berkeley that supports activism and offers more community. I'm a lapsed catholic but have felt a connection to quakers for some reason. Or Unitarian Universalists? I'm paralyzed by choice ;-) If you have any personal suggestions/recommendations, please let me know!
posted by The Toad at 7:24 PM on September 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm still making some phone calls, though I've moved from PA to OR and no longer have to deal with the slime that is Pat Toomey. In a way it's nice to usually be calling just to voice support of something that my now-reps were in favor of anyway, and in a way that feels a little pointless. Still, Toomey never paid attention so I suppose at least this way is more pleasant.

I still occasionally ask my mother and sister to also call their reps, when it's an issue I think they'd be willing to take action on. It's frustrating to feel like both dislike Trump, but neither will take actual action without my prodding, and I can probably only prod so many times before that becomes ineffectual so I have to pick and choose very carefully.

I do still go to rallies when I can, most recently last week in protest of the DACA dismantling.

Since moving out to OR, my wife and I have started volunteering for an organization that provides free veterinary care to pets of homeless people. Not directly related to any resistance, I suppose, but I've found it profoundly helpful on a personal level to interact with people I otherwise probably wouldn't. It makes me feel much more connected to humanity to see firsthand that so many of us love our pets in the same ways, regardless of other circumstances. Plus, doing anything to put a little good out in the world feels like an act of resistance right now.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:54 PM on September 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

I dialed way back on my activism because it became bad for mental health, due in some part to several anti-Semitic instances (from the activists, not counting the bomb threat our JCC received). On the plus side of that, while attending to my mental health, I realized my wine consumption had crossed into relaxing to coping mechanism to alcoholism (which happened a ways back, the realization was recent) and now I'm six weeks sober. I've since contacted the chair of the town Democratic Committee about joining. I doubt I'll make it to this month's meeting because it's held at an event space with a bar and I'm not ready for that environment yet, but maybe next month. It was, until recently, held at the library.
posted by Ruki at 8:48 PM on September 11, 2017 [12 favorites]

As the loony far leftist I will say:

in this tweet thread I gave all my endorsements for the NYC Primary votes and we should all do that and let's all do that

and, as we say on the twitters #trysocialism
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

The relative dearth of comments here vs. the initial spate of hundreds on earlier "getting involved" threads speaks volumes.
posted by Miko at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Now that I have a slightly more grownup job, I am directing more money to places I think are important - locally, nationally, internationally. Right now, this includes Women Have Options (a fund assisting women in Ohio with access to contraception and abortion), Medecins Sans Frontiers, The Safety Pin Box, and some friends in Cote d'Ivoire. I'm still looking for a good Boston-area place to support.

I am no longer represented by terrible people in Congress, so calling my congresspeople doesn't feel like a productive use of my time and energy. However, once election time roles around, I'm planning to phonebank.

I have gone to a few protests.

I am thinking about joining a synagogue.

I am keeping on.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:19 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I decided to stop hollering at people via social media and started doing actual things. I went to the Women's March in January - the first protest I had ever been to. I started donating to the ACLU & Planned Parenthood, but stopped sending money to trying to flip other peoples' districts. I don't see it as a good use of my money - I'd rather mitigate damage.

I'm using ResistBot for faxes. I'm in NJ, so my Senators (only one of whom is on trial for federal corruption at the moment) and Representative are always very vocally on-board. Last month I started calling them as well. Two weeks ago I put a "Hate has no home here" sign outside of my house, which seems easy, but this is the first time ever I've put up a political sign. I'm taking lots of small steps, rather than flinging myself into this and burning out within a month.
posted by kimberussell at 7:25 AM on September 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I keep showing up for my local Democratic club, and went door-knocking to get petition signatures to get my local city councilmember onto the primary ballot. I call my representative and senators occasionally.

I came across an opportunity to share my software engineering knowledge with New York legislators several months ago and testified in front of a joint Assembly committee. Now I'm on the weekly "new hearings coming up" mailing list and keep my eye out for more opportunities to speak up in favor of, e.g., the algorithmic transparency bill, Int 1696-2017, in the New York City Council.

I keep LeechBlock on so I don't spend too much time on Twitter or MetaFilter, because after a certain point for me it becomes unuseful for function or pleasure.

The other day I met someone who works for the Public Advocate's office and she remembered me from a November meeting -- I am the reason she installed Signal on her phone.

Just after the election I asked myself how I could be a better neighbor, and one way was that I ought to learn CPR. So I took a CPR/first aid class, and learned how awesome automated external defibrillators are. I made an FPP about them and about public access defibrillation programs, and talked with my councilmember about how New Yorkers need better access to PAD data to find out where their nearest AEDs are. A few weeks ago, based on that conversation, he introduced a bill:
This bill require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create an online tool that provides users with the locations of the three closest automated external defibrillators in a public place.
I'm realizing that I need to reduce my online volunteering in order to do more in my community. So I'm slowly unsubscribing from stuff and reducing my commitment to various projects I used to do, even stuff I have really cared about. That is really hard.
posted by brainwane at 7:40 AM on September 12, 2017 [10 favorites]

I am running for my local Borough Assembly.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:59 AM on September 12, 2017 [11 favorites]

I am no longer represented by terrible people in Congress, so calling my congresspeople doesn't feel like a productive use of my time and energy.\

According to the indivisible guide writers, this totally isn't true! Good decisions need calls (or resistbot faxes, whatever you can do) to reward 'em and keep 'em voting on your side too! If nothing else, do it for those of us who aren't represented by anyone in Congress.
posted by mosst at 8:01 AM on September 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

in this tweet thread I gave all my endorsements for the NYC Primary votes and we should all do that and let's all do that

I honest to god cannot understand how the fuck Hiram Monserrate managed to get on the ballot. It's an embarrassment.
posted by holborne at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2017

(I did local election canvassing yesterday! In person! It was exhausting but rewarding!)
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on September 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

If nothing else, do it for those of us who aren't represented by anyone in Congress.

Yes! While you're working with various groups and parties out there, please consider asking them to add support for DC voting rights to their platforms/goals/whathaveyous.

Meanwhile, we will continue to be a loud, visible protest presence!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:46 AM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Got it!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:53 AM on September 12, 2017

My reps are great, and I still call them at least once a week. (Yes, I am an almost-middle-aged lady, doing my emotional labor!)
We donate monthly to PP and ACLU, and on a less-regular basis to other national and local orgs.
I've been to a few protests, but don't feel like that's the best way to spend my time/effort. So I joined a local climate change group and attend biweekly meetings and do some stuff through that.
I've made some attempt to increase community among people I know, although we've been doing less well at that lately, however 've been better at following local politics and understanding/knowing what's going on here, in my town.
I've dialed back my political posting on FB because I never feel like I have anything to particularly add to the situation, but I do follow a number of people so I can be more educated. We have Black Lives Matter and Welcome Neighbors signs in our yard and that's the first time I've ever had political signs in my yard.
My spouse and I are discussing how we can talk to our white kid about racism & related issues, which honestly, previously I don't think I would have started doing till she was much older, and I make a big effort to ensure the books we read her are diverse. I also joined a social justice parenting group with some folks we know.
I feel like I'm not doing enough, with the limited time I have, but writing it out reminds me that I'm doing something pretty much every week, at least.
posted by john_snow at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am struggling with how to engage.

I go to a lot of protests because that's easy and familiar to me. I don't mind, and I think they have some impact, often just in helping us as a community stay engaged.*

I very occasionally call a rep or make a comment on a government public comment forum.

I was working on Single Payer but it's slowed down for California's legislative season. I anticipate getting back to calling, canvasing, and educating about that next year. (Although we can still call our state reps to show we want them to prioritize this.)

I do other stuff like writing to various media outlets to give feedback, or donating to local radio and Pro Publica. My wife and I still haven't chosen local orgs to give ongoing donations to so I tend to give one offs to grassroots POC led organizations when I'm het up about something: I need to put the recurring donation thing back on the to-do list.

But the thing that's really grinding me down is it feels like what we really need is a massive-level system change. I don't know how to be part of that. I really appreciate the scale and scope of what DSA is doing right now. Also lots of really great organizing in immigrant communities at the moment around legal support, protesting, advocacy etc. This is the kind of flavor of what I'd like to commit to in terms of scale and broad agenda - but there's no equivalent to this in a totally deconstruct what we have and rebuild a just world type movement. Without that, I feel pretty grim and hopeless. Just stepping outside and seeing the weather gives me a feeling of dread (we had thunder storms in the Bay Area yesterday, something that literally never happens in the summer in this region. Climate change is engulfing us. I wake up worrying about agricultural production.)

I posted this hoping to get an injection of hope. The work you all are doing does give me some of that, but we need so much for our society and our planet. I appreciate that several folks brought up mental health in this thread - like many mine is suffering. My daughter who is 15 came to us this weekend and in the context of the hurricanes, she shared how afraid she is about irreversible climate damage. It was hard to come back to her with optimism. We got a dog: walking him in the hills a few days a week helps, as does giggling at his goofy puppy antics. I need to find more positive, and also to do more deeper work to address our crises.

*If you're in the SF Bay Area, may I recommend a really low-key/low-stress protest: Let Our People Go hosts a monthly vigil at the Richmond Detention Center: our local ICE immigration detention facility/Contra Costa County Jail. It's nice and easy because it's short (only one hour!), it's friendly (kids, clergy and old people), and it is a visible form of solidarity: When we yell the detainees inside can actually hear us, and we give cookies and flowers and things to family members going to visit their loved ones inside.
posted by latkes at 10:30 AM on September 12, 2017 [12 favorites]

I got actively involved with my work's diversity and inclusion initiative, and I'm now a dues-paying, meeting-attending member of my local chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. My partner and I were talking about purchasing some CDs, so we did that with a black owned bank, and I am now in the process of transferring other accounts, too. I attend the local bi-weekly marches and vigils every other month or so, and particularly in the case of the Boston counterprotest I not only went but played the role of caretaker for our little group, coming out with snacks and sunscreen and posters (and a thankfully unneeded first aid kit) for everyone. I still call my Congresspersons occasionally - have done so today, as it happens - though they are all pretty great already, so it's as much to give them the message to keep on keepin' on as it is to let them know what particular issue is on my mind. I've also disengaged from my FB/Twitter quite a bit to move more of my energy to local efforts, though it's honestly a little difficult of a line to walk, because it would be most comfortable to disengage ENTIRELY. But that would be too much avoidance and would be letting myself off the hook from having sometimes uncomfortable conversations.
posted by solotoro at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh, I really like that black owned bank idea. I hesitate to put much emphasis on personal economic choices: we need institutional and structural change. But it is an easy thing to do and I hadn't thought of seeking out a black owned bank. When we were buying a house a couple years ago we looked at all the Yelp 5 star reviews and chose a black realtor and black mortgage broker from among that list. I don't say this to brag or something (eyeroll) just to share an idea of a practical way to inject funds back into to the community. I want to keep seeking out POC, WOC, and QPOC contractors/businesses when I'm spending money.
posted by latkes at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the Richmont detention center vigil idea, latkes. My family will try to make it one of these weekends. Can be combined with a Point Pinole hike/beach visit/picnic, which helps a lot for those dragging along unwilling/cranky minors.
posted by The Toad at 12:14 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I will be following this discussion, too.

I guess that one thing I’ve done is join Metafilter, as following the politics threads and the some of the frequently linked sources has become my primary way of processing what's happening for more than a year now. I subscribed to WaPo and started donating monthly to Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center in the fall. Thanks to ChuraChura’s comment above, I’m going to start donating to Women Have Options, too.*

My husband and I started volunteering at weekend N-400 workshops at our local IRC office, but we haven’t received any information about them since May, even after writing to the coordinator a couple of times. Maybe they’ve paused? I volunteered with a different IRC office in college when my schedule allowed me to help out on weekdays and would still like to be involved with them, but if any MeFites know of other organizations in the East Valley/Verdugos/Downtown that do similar work, we would be happy to be able to help there, too.

I’ve been trying to get more involved in state and local government. I became an official member of my neighborhood Democratic club last winter, so I got to vote on their endorsements for a few races and phone banked for a couple of campaigns after learning of them there, but I’ve since moved and ended up in a completely different congressional district. The overlap among state-level, county-level, and local committees, clubs, and caucuses has made it challenging to figure out where I have standing to be a consistent visible, vocal presence, since some of the organizations and campaigns I’d most like to work with have turned out to be based in, like, Culver City or meet when I’m working. I would really love to do more locally but I still feel like I don’t have a good sense of where my neighborhood even fits in the broader picture of the California or LA County Democratic Party’s activities. (Typing that feels embarrassing; I absolutely welcome any and all kicks in the pants and links to relevant resources.) I do call my senators and representatives regularly, which is not something I did before January.

Writing this out, I guess I am still figuring out where and how to fight back. I’ve worked and volunteered in the nonprofit world for more than a decade, and I understand that the communicating with volunteers, facilitating meetings, and structuring activities for volunteers takes labor and resources that might be better channeled into something else. Volunteer time – mostly nights and weekends – and a willingness to do whatever I can is pretty much what I have to offer right now, though, and it doesn’t seem to be what the organizations that I know about need. I don’t have IT or financial or legal or other kinds of expertise that are more immediately useful.

*I grew up in Ohio and one of the things that gives me the most pause about ever moving back is the erosion of reproductive rights that has happened since I left. I’m so happy to have learned about this organization.
posted by Anita Bath at 2:21 PM on September 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

My day job involves a fair amount of work opposing the Trump agenda, but it's not frontline work per se (more in the realm of communications/policy advocacy). I go to marches, write my reps, and donate where possible, especially to smaller/grassroots organizations led by people from communities most at risk, and I'm thinking about joining DSA.

But the thing that feels most meaningful for me right now is that I started volunteering again with a collective that sends books to people in prison (Books Through Bars, since I'm in NYC at the moment, but I used to do this with Books to Prisoners in Seattle years ago). In the face of general powerlessness & despair about the state of things being fucked up and bullshit, it really helps to be doing something immediate and tangible: we open letters from people asking for books, and we send them some books, for free. It's the sort of practical politics of care that I realized was missing from a lot of the other ways I engage as an activist. In case anyone else is interested in similar work, here's a list of books to prison projects around the country.
posted by karayel at 3:25 PM on September 12, 2017 [13 favorites]

I've been keeping up the phone calls - I'm in California, so my three reps (Pelosi, Feinstein, and Harris) are all pretty reliable (although Feinstein can use some prodding sometimes), but I make a point of calling anyway - especially when the first appointee confirmations were getting Yes votes and I was like "um EXCUSE ME? NO" and I was pleased to see that they stopped rubber-stamping all the nominees.

I also sometimes call other reps over big issues, especially if they're on a relevant committee - in that case, they represent me, too, and I want them to know what I think. (Besides, occasionally they don't ask for my zip code, in which case, let 'em think I'm a constituent.)

I'm also idly working on a website to let people track their calls to their MoCs. I don't know if I'll ever get it close to working, but if so, I'll post it to Projects.

Thanks for posting this, latkes - I can use all the solidarity and inspiration and ideas I can get.
posted by kristi at 3:48 PM on September 12, 2017 [6 favorites]

I have found that actually enjoy canvassing, having done it this year for the first time in about a decade, and my goal is to knock 1000 doors by this year's general election. I'm about a quarter of the way there. I'm a democratic party PCO, trying to push the local district party to the left and I've knocked some in my precinct and lots in the hugely important Washington state legislative special election race in Washington's 45th district special election.

I'll be heading to the 45th on Saturday at 1pm, it's Kirkland/Woodinville/Duvall/Sammamish, if any Seattle-area MeFites would like to join me.
posted by Kwine at 4:30 PM on September 12, 2017 [8 favorites]

I set up some recurring donations to PP and ACLU.
I went to my local Women's March, except that I had a bad sinus infection and didn't feel well enough to go until about 2 hours before it was over.
I wrote an earnest and well-informed email to my Republican senator about preserving Medicaid and got a response I can best describe as "mealy-mouthed".
I went with a group of other women to meet with said senator's staff at his HQ to try to convey that gutting Medicaid would be, in a word, bad for people. I'm pretty sure it was a waste of time except in the sense that when they were listening to us, they weren't doing anything else.
I tried to go to the Washington March for Science but the security lines were too long so I went to the Museum of Natural History instead.
I made a couple of other donations.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 10:31 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh hey Books Through Bars! I helped in a drive for art instruction books for them a few weeks ago! Its hard cause you can't include any nudity! BTB is great.
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

The relative dearth of comments here vs. the initial spate of hundreds on earlier "getting involved" threads speaks volumes.

I like to think that people finally got off the internet Two Minute Hate Machine and decided to go into their communities and get things done. I know my community isn't a good yardstick for this, but I've seen that change in a lot of my contemporaries. More doing and less talking-about-doing. Would be interested to see if that holds up.

I've been doing a bit more narrowband things in the past few months.

- Staying active in the FB group about Libraries in Crisis and working to connect libraries with organizers and tools to help them do their thing. This can be because of Hurricanes, DACA, Nazis, whatever. There have been some good conversations about the limits of free speech in the age of Nazis and the library's role in that.
- Working to talk to people about privacy and the library's role in that. I've gone on the road with a very low cost talk I give about these topics especially as people may want to protect themselves from the government as well as businesses and other people.
- Donations to a lot of direct action groups in my community as well as SPLC
- Talking about why social justice is a library issue. Continuing to work for change in the digital divide landscape and moving the Overton Window on a lot of these topics

And I still email my reps, but less frequently now because they've been mostly voting the way I'd prefer and supporting the right things.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:10 AM on September 13, 2017 [15 favorites]

I, um....am doing intel work for anti-Nazi anarchists.

This is not what I thought I would be doing with my life right now, so I can only imagine what I'll be doing in a year.
posted by corb at 10:19 AM on September 13, 2017 [20 favorites]

I don't want to doxx myself overly much so I'm afraid I have to be a bit coy, but in roughly chronological order I've—
  • Joined, lead, and quit an Indivisible group
  • Joined and gotten heavily involved in my local Young Democrats club, and I expect to join the board at the end of this month
  • Hosted an ACLU People Power launch event and gotten involved in local law enforcement issues through that
  • Co-hosted a resistance town hall with my congressperson
  • Attended my state's Democratic Party convention (because I was there for the Young Dems convention) and got elected to a Young Dems caucus board position
  • Co-founded a group to find a candidate to run against our only elected Republican in the county, we're building a coalition and we've found an AMAZING candidate and I think we have better than even odds of winning
  • Gotten tangentially involved in my county Democratic Central Committee, though this is picking up speed
  • Attended the Young Democrats of America convention (which was kind of a shitshow)
  • Became a campaign Fellow for my congressperson
  • Started work on a software platform to make political clubs more accessible to the public/non-insiders and make running the club itself easier for officers (I'm pretty excited about this and I'm trying to figure out if I'm comfortable sharing it on Projects...)
In between all those is all sorts of protest and voter registration and organizing and plotting to run slates in the next officer election and stuff.

Also god damn but the Democrats just won't let a black woman win a party officer election. WTF.
posted by books for weapons at 10:25 AM on September 13, 2017 [12 favorites]

I doubled my antidepressant dose back in December. I set up recurring monthly donations to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the local food bank in January. I also subscribed to our statewide lefty magazine, and I send some cash to the NAACP and the local Humane Society when I have some extra.

I use Resistbot to send faxes pretty much every week, and I call when I am feeling really upset or passionate about an issue; I encourage my friends and family to do so too. My senators and U.S. rep are all Republicans and I doubt they care what I have to say, but I hope if enough people like me make rumblings it'll move the needle a bit.

I signed up for Meals on Wheels, and I strive to make my own corner of the world seem like it's worth fighting for by planting trees and making art. I check in with friends who need extra support and try my best to be kind.

None of this is enough, but it's what I can do.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 12:33 PM on September 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

I like to think that people finally got off the internet Two Minute Hate Machine and decided to go into their communities and get things done.

That's optomistic of you. What I'm seeing in most local/community organizations is the novelty wearing-off/fatigue point setting in, and a lot of friction over who gets to set agenda. Professional organizations seem to be doing somewhat better - less exploding in all directions and more productive action.
posted by Miko at 1:36 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I live in a blue city in a blue state (Seattle, WA), so I'm not super animated by calling my federal representatives who I largely trust to vote the way I want them to. I am trying to keep my eye closely on health care repeal attempts and am connected to a few groups in other states where there representatives and senators who need to be pressured and making calls to voters there.

But mostly I've gotten even more engaged in local issues, particularly housing affordability. I go to city council hearings, community forums, and more to make sure my voice is heard around building more housing and more affordable housing in my city. And since I was able to get my city council to actually adopt an amendment that I specifically requested (incentives to build more 2 & 3 bedroom apartments) I feel like I'm actually making some small difference.

I am also saving my powder for 2018 when I will be doing everything I can to get a Democrat elected to WA-8 (the seat that Dave Reichert is retiring from and a district that Hillary won in 2016) and hopefully ousting Senator Dean Heller from NV.
posted by brookeb at 2:40 PM on September 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

The mention of Battleground Texas reminds me that I should mention Spread the Vote, an organization that works on getting people registered to vote in states where it's difficult. They started as a response to the Nov 8 election, so by the time they were up and running, threads like our previous "what to do" were already well past. They have digital volunteer opportunities, and physical opportunities in Georgia, Virginia, and Tenneesse. In cases like Texas where other orgs like Battleground Texas exist, they provide assistance to those orgs instead of replicating them.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:27 PM on September 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

I set up recurring donations to the ACLU, TransLifeline, the National Network of Abortion Funds, a few others.

I joined a local resistance group started by a concerned mother. It's small, and the people seem to be largely not all that connected or aware of established groups, but they're good people who are interested in paying attention locally as well as supporting each other re federal shenanigans. I've connected them with a City Council member I know, who is going to show them how to read between the lines of a City Council agenda, so they can be more effective advocates for the local environment, and mental health care, and any other issues that motivate them.

I've joined a group that aims to lead protest songs at demonstrations, and/or teach people how to lead those songs themselves, ("leading" involving encouraging people to sing generally, or specifically, to shout out one significant word/phrase eg "Ain't gonna let no hatred / racism / jailhouse / bullies / etc turn me around" that the group then incorporates into the next verse). Eg, We Shall Overcome, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, We Shall Not Be Moved, Want My Freedom Now , and others, with updated lyrics where it's called for.

This introvert has been meeting a lot of great people because of getting out and taking action. I know other introverts are getting out there too, because we keep meeting each other at these events. I suggest actions to them that I've picked up from Mefites, like "If you're at the gym or doctor's office and the tv is on FOX, it's worth asking them to change the channel, because FOX is one of their propaganda arms. So is the National Enquirer, and I have friends who, y'know, standing in the checkout line, browsing the magazines, absentmindedly put back the Enquirer the wrong way, or accidentally cover it up with whatever magazine they've been flipping through." They love it.

Also I've been telling people, "Do you pay attention to local elections? Cuz I've learned that the way the opposition succeeded was by running candidates for everything from local dogcatcher on up, starting decades ago, then with that experience they ran for bigger and bigger positions. So it's really really important for us to pay attention to local elections, school board, all that. Democrats are notorious for only turning out for Presidential elections. If we care, we can't keep doing that. If you don't have time to pay attention, I'll give you a condensed version."

Also, via Sleeping Giants, Stop Funding Hate, and Grab Your Wallet, I occasionally email or tweet at companies to thank them for standing up for decent behavior, or let them know their ads are supporting hate sites like Breitbart, or to tell them off (Amazon) for continuing to funnel ad dollars to Breitbart etc. Yes, Breitbart will still always be funded by a billionaire, but whether or not other companies' money goes to it is crucial for whether decent, pre-Trump social norms survive. This one is easy, and ideal for introverts -- you don't have to go face to face with anyone, you can use a fake name twitter account or throwaway email address, and if negativity is bad for your mental health, you can strictly send happy "Thank you!" messages.

And I'm having a lot of public conversations with like-minded people that I strike up conversations with at the farmer's market or church or whatever, and announcing loudly, "I used to wonder how people could let the Nazis take power. Now I'm watching it happen, people standing by or complaining and not DOING anything." Dunno if that makes a difference to people who hear me, but I'm hoping it plants a seed.

Oh and I have sheet music for a duet version of We Shall Overcome that I'm working on with my spouse. It's not difficult. I'm happy to share it. Singing it with another person / other people is seriously morale-boosting.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:18 AM on September 14, 2017 [11 favorites]

I'm still working on the tool for activists that I described here. It's a site that aggregates legislators' stances on key bills coming up for votes. It prioritizes bills that could still go either way. If you have a legislator among the uncommitted, it encourages you to call. If your legislators have already committed, it supports sharing with your friends in the uncommitted ones' districts or states -- we hope activating some passive allies.

I founded a subgroup within Indivisible Somerville to make the tool, and it has an awesome co-lead/designer and some other great collaborators. It's super slow-going, though, and that's in large part my fault. With my day job and my attachment to downtime, it just doesn't get the hours and hours it takes to envision, test and iterate, spec, and develop a new site. We're still working on it regularly, but at a very low burn rate. We're looking for partners --
we'd be happy to have an existing site or app incorporate our features -- and in parallel, pursuing building it ourselves. Folks who want to help are still very welcome to get in touch!
posted by daisyace at 5:32 AM on September 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

I've called my house rep and my congresswoman. Asked that they oppose HR 620 and support DACA .
posted by ChuraChura at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

I convinced several people to vote in my city's recent Democratic primary, and advised them on candidates.
posted by ferret branca at 8:52 AM on September 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I am doing my best to call my senators and representatives more often, using 5calls for scripts. It's no longer quite so anxiety inducing, but still hard. I called yesterday to ask that my house rep oppose HR 620 without a script, because i couldn't get 5calls to work correctly for me (my zip code is in several districts).

I'm committed to voting in every election I am allowed to - some of the local elections I skipped before.

And I just signed up for Postcards to Voters!
posted by needlegrrl at 1:42 PM on September 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Not being American my contribution is a bit more limited, but my donations to ACLU and Planned Parenthood are still going through. Likewise subscribing to the Guardian to fund some imperfect but not bad journalism.

Also working for the Green Party here ahead of next week's election. We would expect to be in parliament, although support has fallen off in recent weeks and it might be touch and go. I'll be out doorknocking tomorrow which I hate but apparently it does some good, and scrutineering at a voting booth on election day (it will no doubt be incredibly civilized and legitimate, but apparently many people are still making up their mind as they go in to vote, and having party reps there can sway them. So I might help pickup a few votes, who knows. [All on the easiest difficultly level as I live in a pleasant and centre/left-leaning area; I'm not putting my neck on the line doing this].
posted by Pink Frost at 1:45 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

After circling around them warily on the internets for some months, I've joined the DSA. I really like my local chapter so far. We're doing brake lights next month, I went to a post-Charlottesville feelings/action meeting, the vibe is pretty good. Would recommend if you're anything like me: shifting steadily leftward and wanting to get off the internet sometimes.
posted by clavicle at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 2:24 PM on September 15, 2017

I've ended up as chair of my UU church's Social Justice team, so I'm trying to get some comfortable white moderates to do more (I'm drafting an AskMe about this because I need help). I resistbot and send postcards to my MOCs because try as I might I cannot bring myself to call them. I show up to rallies and protests because I live in El Paso county, which is still deepest red though CO is trending more purple/blue all the time, because I think that actual people showing up for a thing makes a difference. I've got recurring donations to SURJ and the Black Youth Project set up. I get an enormous kick out of using language during the group fitness classes that I teach that would not be out of place on a resistance poster or protest sign. I've canvassed for the mill levy override in our school district and will be doing more of that prior to the election in Nov. Today is a pretty good day, I taught a class, worked a little on a house project, made bread. Some days are terrible. I try to keep it in mind that even with the infuriating background radiation of this administration, there are good days.
posted by danielleh at 3:34 PM on September 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm trying to get some comfortable white moderates to do more (I'm drafting an AskMe about this because I need help)

Oh, I'm really looking forward to that Ask because I need it too. I recently moved and landed in a very white, affluent suburb and joined a liberal organizing group, but I'm finding there's a pretty big gap between my politics and theirs. They've got a general sense that they're "on the side of right" but a lot of blindness as to behaviors and ideas and practices they have that are quite alienating generationally, racially, ethnically, and economically. I am honestly getting pretty stuck as to how to organize them around newer ideas without them saying "oh, you" and reverting to "we need to set that stuff aside right now and just focus on elections!" Which I totally get- I'm all about turning over Congress in '18 - but not at the expense of other issues, instead along with them.
posted by Miko at 7:51 PM on September 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm on a campaign to flip my state House of Delegates district blue, doing both opposition research and running social media. I have enjoyed it not just because I feel like I am actively working toward making a difference, but because working on local politics gets my mind off of national politics for a while, oddly.
posted by nightrecordings at 1:48 PM on September 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I continue to volunteer with a charity that provides goods for children who need them and while it's not fighting back, it is helping some of those most hurt.

I recently volunteered with De-Escalate Washington, who are trying to get an initiative about police violence on the ballot in Washington State. I'm trying to figure out how I can be more involved, since this feels most like something I believe in that could effect real change. (And if you're in Washington and haven't had a chance to sign it yet, you can request a petition and they'll mail you one. It's worth it, if just for one signature.)

I also went to a community strategy session that Gender Justice League was having. It was neat, but it didn't feel like a ton happened, so still trying to figure out if there's a way to volunteer or enact some change.

While I have sent some postcards, for the most part I've drawn back from following the news -- it was making me unhappy and I rarely did anything helpful in response to it. I do still get emails from a number of activist organizations and I find that's more helpful, because then there are things I can choose to do.

I still haven't found a group to join, like they suggested after the Women's March.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:35 PM on September 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I, um....am doing intel work for anti-Nazi anarchists.
This is not what I thought I would be doing with my life right now, so I can only imagine what I'll be doing in a year.

LMAO that's what I'm doing too corb. And I never thought I'd be doing it alongside you. Thanks comrade!
posted by stagewhisper at 9:30 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just came back from a NYC DSA Queer Caucus Mixer and it was overwhelmingly people curious about Democratic Socialism and the organization in general and I was in my MOST kind and missionary mode and it got to bursting capacity for the little bookshop we were in still more people came.

I ran out of things to hand out.
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 PM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd heard about Postcards to Voters a few months ago and meant to check it out--thanks to this thread, I finally did so, and I have sent out 55 postcards to date! About half of those went toward a city council race in red suburban Georgia, and half for a Raleigh city council candidate.

This is probably an ideal task for someone who's introverted and/or hates the phone. That's not me at-frickin-all, but I do love writing postcards, and I find it a WONDERFUL calming technique if the news is freaking me out. Instead of disappearing down a social media despair-hole, I take 10 minutes to write a couple of postcards to get out the vote for Democrats in tough local races.
posted by duffell at 6:35 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

And for what it's worth, tofu_crouton, that phenomenon of women taking on the bulk of the MoC-outreach work? It seems, anecdotally, to be true of postcard-writing efforts too, at least in this particular group. It's super lopsided.
posted by duffell at 6:56 AM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hey, so I saw this thread when it went up and bookmarked it to look at when I had the emotional bandwidth, and now that I have I want to say thanks to ThePinkSuperhero for sharing Postcards to Voters. I burnt out super hard on activism after doing quite a bit at the beginning of the year, and also started a new job two months ago and have kinda been struggling along in life generally, but I knew the moment would come when I'd be ready to start acting again and I think Postcards to Voters is just the thing to do it (not least because one of the last things I did in my activist frenzy was buy 100 postcards and 100 postcard stamps that have been sitting around the house for months). I also plan to start doing the wall-of-us/re:act/Indivisible weekly actions again and to phonebank when I can.

I realized yesterday that the thing bringing me down the most is the anger - anger on social media, anger in our culture, white man anger, anger among different shades of leftists, my own anger. And my preferred activism methods are unemotional foot soldier stuff - postcards, phonebanking - that aren't going to help with that. Which is by design, I guess, because I think politics and individual campaigns are fixable and I put my energy there, but all the anger? I don't know. Realizing it feels helpful, at least. (And I feel a lot less angry after writing a postcard <3)
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:06 AM on October 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

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