100 ORGANIZATIONS UNIFY-- The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, a network of more than 100 organizations, held one of the nation's largest May 1 marches in resistance, unity, and defiance of efforts by the current administration to curtail, weaken, or take away basic rights and freedoms for most Americans, with the exception of the one percent at the top. 

RESISTANCE WATCH--I gotta admit, I’ve never been a big Michael Moore fan. Until very recently. I caught a particularly pertinent part of his interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC one day this week: 'I want the 6-year old off the highway': The first 100 days of Trump is not the story, he said. The story is the First 100 Days of the Resistance. Attempts to kill the ACA are dead because the members of Congress can read the tea leaves well enough to know that if they trash the American people and throw them all off healthcare, they will pay the price for it next year. 

“Everybody has to remember that this 100 days is about the citizens of this county -- that came out in mass. Within 24 hours of his inauguration, the largest demonstrations in the history of this country took place in D.C. and across the country and the world.

“It was an amazing thing.

“Ask anybody of my age or older…this goes way beyond anything we saw in the ‘60’s…I stood on that stage. Have you ever seen what one million people look like?

“For me, it was cathartic. We are not alone. A majority did not vote for him and people have been so active on so many levels…every day the switchboard lines for Congress are lit up … that number again is 202-225-3121…”

He went on about the Resistance being like a swarm of bees, coming from every direction. He’s been right about a lot – listen to the whole interview if you get a chance. Multi-pronged is how I’ve always viewed successful organizing campaigns – the strategic use of multiple grassroots tactics, an authentic coalition, the truth, the correct voice, and relentless work.

Clearly it works and is working. Marches for Science and Climate Change these past two Saturdays have surpassed expectations and for the first time in my memory, Los Angeles will see one unified mass May Day march. In June, local and nationwide LGBT pride parades are organizing as marches instead: Los Angeles Pride trades parade for a ‘resist’ march this year 

In the meantime I’ve found a list of organizing, action, research, support, and activism that I sent it to myself as the “Holy shit!” list. I share it in two parts; spend some time with both. Share ‘em as well, please and thank you! – and keep ‘em coming!

Action Hub 

How to get involved  – the holy shit list

Similarly, every day folks are creating and sharing tools and technology like this collection of Online organizing tools

(Julie Butcher writes for CityWatch and is a retired union leader now enjoying her new La Crescenta home and her first grandchild. She can be reached at juliejbutcher@gmail.com or on her new blog ‘The Butcher Shop - No Bones about It.’)

-cw

100 DAYS OF RESISTANCE--It only took a day for the people to speak.

On the morning after Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 500,000 people crowded into the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington. The “counter-inauguration,” co-sponsored by the ACLU and many other groups, was likely the single largest protest in American history as sister marches sprung up in cities across America. All told, an estimated 3 to 5 million people took to the streets in defense of our most fundamental values and in opposition to the newly inaugurated president, who threatened so many of them.

The Women’s March, however, was just the beginning. As Trump’s 100th day in office approaches, the mobilization of people in defense of liberty and equality has been broad and deep. It’s also intersectional, establishing relationships across class, gender, racial, and even political and party lines, as some conservatives break ranks out of concern about Trump.

The Resistance, in other words, is everywhere.

Read: Day-By-Day Digest Of President Trump’s 100 Days of FailureIt was at our airports nationwide as Trump rolled out his Muslim ban. It was in town halls across the country as people held Republican members of Congress to account for their promises to repeal Obamacare. It was in front of the White House when Trump revoked an Obama-era guidance that protected transgender students’ right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their authentic selves. And it was in congressional confirmation hearings, most notably Jeff Sessions’, as activists let committee members know that many of Trump’s cabinet picks had terrible records on civil rights and civil liberties.

Civil society’s response to the Trump administration combined with the administration’s own record of legislative, legal, and political failure has clearly affected the White House. Trump came into office with historically low approval ratings, and they basically haven’t budged since. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center report found that going as far back as Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump has the highest disapproval rating of any president during his first 100 days — by far.

The man sitting in the Oval Office now understands intimately that there is a large revolt against his dangerous and often unconstitutional policies in the streets, in the courts, and in legislatures across this great country of ours. Over Donald Trump’s first 100 days, the fight to defend core civil liberties and civil rights has occurred in three primary areas: immigration, healthcare, and transgender rights. As in all struggles, there have been successes and failures, advances and setbacks, but one thing is clear: The Resistance isn’t going anywhere if President Trump continues to violate the Constitution and attack vulnerable communities.

Read the full ACLU report, 100 Days of Resistance, here

(Anthony D. Romero is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's premier defender of liberty and individual freedom.)

OTHER WORDS--It’s that time of year again. Flowers are flowering, spring is springing, and across the country college graduates are graduating with their newly awarded degrees held high.

Also high is the mountain of student debt most of these recent graduates are taking on. All told, 44 million Americans now owe student debt — including 7 in 10 graduating seniors last year, who owe an average of $37,000.

If you’re not one of those tens of millions of people, you might’ve missed how out of control student debt has become. Total student debt is approaching $1.4 trillion, surpassing auto loans and credit card debt.

Between job searches and apartment hunting, post-graduate life is already stressful — and student debt makes it worse. The average monthly payment for borrowers in their 20s is $351.

If you’re making minimum wage, that’s 48 hours of work for your loans alone — never mind shelter and food. No wonder more than 4 in 10 have either stopped making payments or fallen behind.

There is nothing positive about student debt.

Many indebted graduates begin their work lives with damaged credit histories and greater economic vulnerability. They’re less able to start a business or work in public service. And they delay starting families and buying houses, which makes them less wealthy in the long run.

The only winners are the predatory loan servicing agencies.

One reason for the explosion of student debt is that states and the federal government have drastically cut education spending, forcing students and parents to pick up the costs. Public college spending is still $10 billion below pre-recession levels.

To make things worse, Trump’s secretary of education, billionaire Betsy DeVos, is reversing protections put in place by the Obama administration to protect student loan borrowers by regulating loan servicing companies and capping interest rates at 16 percent (at a time when bank loan rates are below 6 percent).

It shouldn’t be this way. And it doesn’t have to be.

Ask the millions of people who attended college between 1945 and 1975 and graduated with little or no debt. Millions of baby boomers paid tuition at the great flagship universities of this land just by working summer jobs. That wasn’t on a different planet — it was mere decades ago.

Some places are experimenting with new models. At the city level, San Francisco has taken the lead by creating a free tuition program for anyone who’s lived in the city for at least a year, regardless of income. It’s funded by a voter-approved tax on properties worth over $5 million.

At the national level, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal recently introduced the College for All Act, a plan Sanders got into the Democratic platform last summer. It would eliminate tuition and fees at public universities for those with incomes under $125,000 — all paid for by a small sales tax on Wall Street trades.

These ideas could mean a brighter future for students to come. But what about for those already crushed by debt?

For them, there’s a silver lining. When you owe $50,000, the bank owns you. But when the bank’s trying to bleed you for $1.4 trillion, you own the bank.

It’s time for the 44 million student debt households to flex our muscles and demand change.

(Chuck Collins writes for Other Words … where this piece was first posted.)

-cw

SPECIAL--The May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, a network of more than 100 organizations, holds one of the nation's largest May 1 marches in resistance, unity, and defiance of efforts by the current Administration to curtail, weaken, or take away basic rights and freedoms for most Americans, with the exception of the 1% at the top. 

The May 1 march begins at 11 am at MacArthur Park located in the Pico/Union-Westlake district just west of Downtown Los Angeles. A rally kicks things off before marching begins at 12 noon, moving east on Wilshire Blvd. towards downtown Los Angeles. The march concludes with a massive rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Grand Park. 

To access Media-Designated Areas at MacArthur Park and Grand Park, members of the press will be required to wear OFFICIAL PRESS BADGES. No exceptions. 

Media Truck suggested parking--

At MacArthur Park: S. Park View St. between 6th and 7th St.

At Grand park: W. Temple St, between N. Hill and N. Main St. 

WHAT: "Resist Los Angeles" march and rally on May 1, 2017, International Workers Day. Largest concentration of marchers to date downtown Los Angeles expected.

WHEN: Today, May 1, 2017, starting at 11 a.m. through 3 p.m.

WHERE: Locations vary.

Start location: 11 a.m., MacArthur Park, Wilshire Blvd. and S. Alvarado St.

Rally: 11 a.m. - 12 noon, MacArthur Park

Marching begins: 12 noon, East on Wilshire to S. Grand Ave., then 6th street to Hill St. heading north all the way to Grand Park/City Hall. 

Merge march/stop at Pershing Square with Women's March LA: 1 p.m.

End location: 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., LA City Hall west, front of Grand Park

See entire route here: http://weresist.la/ 

WHO: Scheduled speakers include (partial list): Kelly Calabrellos, Tongva Tribe Elder; Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director; David Huerta, President SEIU-USWW; Alex Caputo Pearl, UTLA President; Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE; Alexandra Suh, KIWA executive director; Rusty Hicks, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; Laphonza Butler, SEIU 2015; Claudia Estrada, Planned Parenthood; Rev. Meschellia Johnson, California NOW; Tom Steyer, NextGen; Hector Villagra, ACLU SoCal; Kevin De Leon, Senate Pro Tem; LA County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl; LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti; Pastor Lewis Logan, Rev. Walter Contreras, Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Bamby Salcedo, transgender rights advocate; and performances by Jornaleros Del Norte, Very Be Careful, and Inner City Dwellers.

Members of the May Day Coalition of Los Angeles, include:  9to5 Los Angeles, ACLU of Southern CA, ACT-LA, AF3IRM, AFSCME District Council 36, AFT 1521, African Coalition, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), All Saints Church - Pasadena, American Federation of Musicians Local 47, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), ANGELENOS FOR TOMORROW, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Black and Brown Clergy Community Coalition, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, C.I.C.L.E., CA Nurses Association, California Dream Network, California Faculty Association, California Immigrant Policy Center, California NOW, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Community Change, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Church Without Walls, Clinica Mrs. Oscar A. Romero, Coalition for Economic Survival, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Church Without Walls, CLEAN Carwash Campaign, CLUE-LA, COFECA, Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, Comite Fuerza y Unidad Morena  Los Angeles, Communist Party USA, Community Coalition, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA), Creating Justice LA, CWA LOCAL 9588, Democratic Socialists of America - Los Angeles, East LA Community Corporation, Equality California, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Fight For 15 LA, Food & Water Watch, Fundación Ilobasco, Global Women's Strike/Los Angeles, Hip-Hop Congress, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles, IATSE Union, IBEW Local 45, Inquilinos Unidos (United Tenants), Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA), International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles, JUUstice LA, KIWA, Korean Resource Center, LA Forward, Labor 411, La Voice, LA-Más, LAANE, Lambda Legal, Latino Equality Alliance, LIUNA Laborers Local 300, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles Worker Center Network, March and Rally Los Angeles, Mesa Comunitaria Guatemalteca, Miguel Contreras Foundation, Monkey Wrench Brigade, Morena Los Angeles Fuerza y Unidad, Multicultural Communities for Mobility, NALC 24, NextGen Climate, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, Promesa Boyle Heights, Red Migrante Guatemalteca, Refuse Fascism LA, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, Roofers Local 36, SAJE, Salvadoran American National Association (SANA), Strategic Concepts in Organizing Policy Education (SCOPE), SEIU 121 RN Nurses Alliance, SEIU 2015, SEIU Local 721, SEIU Local 99, SEIU USWW, Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), St John's Well Child & Family Center, Stonewall Democratic Club, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, Teamsters 630, Teamsters JC42, Teamsters Local 2010, Teamsters Local 396, Teamsters Local 399, Teamsters Local 630, Teamsters Local 896, Thai Community Development Center, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, UAW 2865, UCLA Labor Center, UFCW Local 770, UFW Foundation, UNITE HERE Local 11, United Farm Workers, United Teachers Los Angeles, UPLIFT, USW Local 675, Venice Family Clinic, Warehouse Worker Resource Center, Women in Media, Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike, Women's March LA., Writer's  Guild of America, West.

-CW

 

RESISTANCE WATCH--As President Donald Trump is set to mark his first 100 days in office on Saturday, the resistance movement that sprang up alongside his rise to power is also celebrating its accomplishments and taking stock of where it stands—and where it is going. (Photo above: Women’s March 2017, Los Angeles.)

Much has been said about the failure of Trump to live up to the promises of his campaign, which Democratic lawmakers are highlighting this week. 

But, as many have noted, the swell of popular opposition has not only stymied the administration's plans to ban Muslim visitors or dismantle healthcare for 30 million Americans. It has also prompted a reckoning within the Democratic Party, forcing establishment leaders to move left and bringing popular progressive ideas such as a single payer healthcare system into mainstream conversation.

Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, said Sunday that despite the many "low points" over the past few months, she is "hopeful."

"The disorganization of our political landscape offers abundant opportunities for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for one another," Garza wrote at the Guardian. "We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be."

Tallying up some of the greatest successes and moments of the anti-Trump resistance, The Nation's John Nichols wrote Monday:

The epic Women's March on Washington restored the faith that many of us had lost on Election Day. Trump's Muslim ban was thwarted not just by judges, but by immediate and massive opposition across the country. His attempt to overturn the [Affordable Care Act] was tripped up, at least in part, by overwhelming opposition from an "Indivisible" movement that packed town halls with Americans who proudly declared that they wanted not just Obamacare, but health care as a right. Trump's initial pick for labor secretary, Andy Puzder, withdrew because, as Puzder admitted, "the left and the Democrats really didn't want [me]."

To that list, one could add the #GrabYourWallet boycott campaign, which has driven major retailers to drop Trump family products, and other massive mobilizations including Saturday's global March for Science and last week's Tax March, as well as the upcoming Peoples Climate March.

Trump's presidency has clearly fueled a new wave of political engagement, particularly among women. Notably, more than 12,000 women have contacted Emily's List seeking information and assistance in running for political office, which the organization notes is a 1000 times more than last year.

Going forward, Nichols said that to continue to derail the Trump train, "Americans must stay in the streets."

"Democrats," he continued, "must answer the call of their base and run hard in red states like Kansas, Georgia, Nebraska, and Montana—putting in place a full-scale 50-state strategy for the 2018 midterms."

Similarly, George Goehl, co-executive director of People's Action, declared Sunday evening that "now, more than ever, we need strategy."

Speaking at the start of the People's Action founding convention in Washington, D.C., Goehl outlined the steps to transform a resistance movement into lasting political power. 

"First, we have to build a resistance that turns Defense into Offense. That means being exactly where they don't want us to be, exactly when they don't want us to be there," he said. "We have done it on healthcare, and we can do it on immigration, we can do it on policing, we can do it on the budget, and more." 

"Number two, Being the resistance is not enough. We need a visionary resistance," he continued. "Let me ask you this: Is now the time to retreat on our big ideas? Is it time to soften our demands?  No. Now is a moment that calls for a radical imagination of what's possible. Every time we protest their agenda, we must demand and articulate and push for our agenda."

"Finally," Goehl added, "let's turn protest power into political power."

To that end, Our Revolution, the organization that sprang from Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, hosted a livestream Sunday evening to assess the "State of the Revolution" and kick off the next phase of its national organizing plan, which aims to build change by winning local elections.

"It's not just about fighting Trump," said the organization's chair, Larry Cohen. "It's also about fighting for what we want." The progressive platform laid out by the speakers included a $15 minimum wage, policing reform, immigrant rights, and Medicare-for-All, among other issues.

"From the school house to the White House," added former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, "local elections matter." 

Looking to the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, Nichols added, "Now is the time to turn resistance into something more: a coherent opposition that is capable of saying 'no' to Trump and holding him to account while at the same time organizing, marching, campaigning, and voting for a whole new politics that will consign crony capitalism, militarism, fear mongering, and the cruel chimera of the 'CEO president' to the dustbin of history."

(Lauren McCauley writes for Common Dreams … where this perspective was first posted.)

-cw

RESISTANCE WATCH--In high school, I had a girlfriend who was involved in student government and all sorts of good works. While she paid attention to all that was happening in those years of the early '60s, she essentially was a moderate — certainly not some movement rebel. Or so we thought ... until one lazy, Sunday afternoon. As we aimlessly "cruised the drag" of our small town in a '54 Chevy, we were paused at a red light across from a root beer stand where some teens were hanging out. Suddenly, my "moderate" girlfriend lunged halfway out of the backseat window and shouted "Wake up and piss, kids, the world's on fire!"

I stared at her wide-eyed and whopperjawed, wondering where that came from.

I've thought of that moment recently as I've seen instance after instance of the innate rebelliousness of the American people erupting across the country in surprising ways, unexpected numbers, and with astonishing intensity. No need to wonder where this comes from, however. The outbursts are a spontaneous, rapidly expanding mass rejection of Trumpism.

Our Twitter-president plays to his most frenzied partisans with his daily rata-tat-tat of executive orders and public fulminations — firing at refugees, federal judges, Chuck Schumer, the media, Nordstrom, the EPA, Mexico's president, Elizabeth Warren, laws that protect consumers from Wall Street greed, Sweden, Arnold Schwarzenegger and ... no telling who's next.

But while some delightedly squeal at his wild moves, many more see Trump as not merely unpresidential, but bull goose bonkers! And dangerous — recklessly using the enormous power of the presidency as a personal cudgel to attack, stigmatize and seriously harm individuals, entire religions and races, the Bill of Rights and our nation's basic values of tolerance, fairness and opportunity for all. In a twist of ironic justice, The Donald's deep darkness has sparked a prairie fire of mass opposition, raging political activism and movement organizing for the long haul.

Many of us are activists already, ranging from occasional campaigners to us warped gluttons for full-time, full-tilt punishment. No matter your past involvement, with our ship of state entering dire straits, each of us must do a bit extra. And we can help focus the anger roiling the countryside by sharing some how-to-make-a-difference tips to friends, co-workers, et al. "Traump-atized" by Washington's new extremist kakistocracy (government by the worst).

After all, millions of our neighbors have long been disengaged, viewing the political scrum as somewhere between irrelevant and repugnant. But, suddenly they're back — alert not only to Trump, but to their congress critters and to that menagerie of freaky, rightwing corporate mutants that Trump-Pence has put in charge of our government. In January, one red-district Texan told a reporter: "I think of politics the way I think of my car. I just want it to run [without my spending] a lot of time." Only a few weeks into the Trump-Does-Washington spectacle, he learned a fundamental lesson: "You get the politics you work for."

 So, it's time to get to work. This is not just a one-time, resist-and-dump Trump campaign we're undertaking, but the mobilization of a long-term grassroots movement to reject the systemic corporate takeover of our elections and government at every level, from our local school boards to our White House. 

Simply ousting Trump won't do that. The job, then, is as simple as it is difficult: To have a People's government, we must build it. 

Democracy requires us common folk to join together, with each of us doing as much as we can, as strategically as we can, for as long as we can. IndivisibleGuide.comOurRevolution.com, and MovementVote.org are just a few organizations you can check out to help you get active and start building a more democratic way of governing.

 

(Jim Hightower is a columnist for OtherWords as well as a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board.)

 

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