As a long-time organizer and activist and the former lead organizer of Los Angeles for Bernie, I have been asked by many people who have never been involved in politics or activism how to fight the Trump agenda, which seems to have mobilized the entire country. I attended the Occupy Inauguration protests in DC as well as the Women's March and made this compilation video of my livestreams.
While it is very important to oppose his Cabinet nominations and outrageous policies like the Muslim ban by calling your Senators and going to protests at the airport, understand that there is only so much we can do on the national level while he has the Presidency, the Senate, the House and probably the Supreme Court.
Fight on the Issues Locally and Statewide
I think the place where concerned citizens can have the biggest impact is at the local level. Just this past week, Porter Ranch residents and activists rallied outside a government hearing about re-opening the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. This facility leaked last October for four months sickening residents of Porter Ranch and neighboring communities. Then they took over the hearing from the regulators. Here is a rough cut of a compilation video of my livestreams from those actions. And then I covered the single payer rally at City Hall, where the Nurses Union and partner organizations unveiled their Campaign for a Healthy California.
In California, we can get a ban on fracking, single-payer health care, free public college and universities and more of Bernie's platform, if progressives heed Bernie's call to take over the Democratic party and run for office.
In California, the Republicans have no power. The Democrats have a supermajority in the legislature. We can get a ban on fracking, single-payer health care, free public college and universities and more of Bernie's platform, if progressives heed Bernie's call to take over the Democratic party and run for office either as Democrats, Greens or Independents. We need to fight corporate Democrats like Jerry Brown, who has the power to shut down Aliso Canyon and ban fracking but won't because he has taken $9.8 million from energy companies.
Also, we should fight the "education reform" movement, an Orwellian term the charter school industry and the billioniares use to describe their effort to defund public education. We have our own Betsy DeVos right here in LA, billionaire Eli Broad who has plans to make 50% of LAUSD schools charter in the next few years. There is a hearing on Thursday sponsored by the NAACP, which has proposed a moratorium on charter schools, because their proliferation has created more segregation than before Brown vs. the Board of Education. The hearing is Feb. 9 from 2-6 pm at 100 West 1st St., LA, 90012. To find out more and RSVP for the rally outside the hearing, go to this Facebook event page.
Take Over State Parties and Run for Office
Also, Berniecrats need to run for office and take over state Democrat parties. You might have read that we organized slates and won 60% of the elected delegates to the California Democratic Party a few weeks ago. This article shows how we did it.
Next, you can support Berniecrats who are running for local office. Tuesday night, I am hosting a meet and greet for Mitchell Schwartz, who was on Bernie's California Advisory Committee and who is running for mayor of Los Angeles as a progressive reformer. The evening will start at 6 pm with the airing of the CNN health care debate between Bernie and Ted Cruz. Then at 7:30, there will be an opportunity to hear from and question Mitchell Schwartz. I have been informed that the LA Times reporter covering the mayor's race will most likely be in attendance. So it is a great opportunity to show the passion that the Bernie movement has for local politics. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Here is the Facebook event page link to find out more.
Join Our Revolution
Next Saturday, we are having an organizing meeting to start a local chapter of Our Revolution, the organization Bernie started after the primary. Over 1000 people across the country have filled out forms to start chapters, and many are even organizing into state chapters. Here is a recording of the call Our Revolution had with many of these people last month. This chapter will work with the national organization to highlight issues and candidates that Our Revolution supports nationally. And we can organize our own events for local issues and candidates that they will promote to 1000 Bernie supporters in the vicinity of the event. We are looking for people who are willing to devote five to seven hours a week starting this chapter.
If you have skills in organizing, meeting facilitation, volunteer management, social media, website and newsletter design and production or if you want to work on direct actions, endorsements or issues, please come to the meeting Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10-noon at the Peace Center at 3916 Sepulveda in Culver City, 90232. To find out more and to RSVP, go to this Facebook event page.
Get Educated in Organizing
Finally, next Sunday, Feb. 12 from 2-4 pm, I am hosting a book party for Steve Early, author of "Refinery Town," a book about how the Richmond Progressive Alliance beat back the Chevron supported candidates in Richmond, California, even though they were outspent 20 to 1. 50% of the proceeds from all books sold at the event will go to Communities for a Better Environment, an organization fighting refinery expansion in Wilmington, among other things. To RSVP for this event, go to the Facebook event page.
In conclusion, it is very important that we do not give in to feelings of hopelessness and despair. As is often said, the only way to fight money power is with people power. But we need to get off social media and organize on the ground. And we need to be strategic. Prioritize fights where we can win, because the best way to mobilize support and grow the base for a campaign is with small victories.Like the California Bernie delegates were on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, let's be a model for how we can do this nationwide. #Resist.