In addition to attending our huuuuge FCCPR meetings, I have gone to smaller meetings of progressive activists in Orange, Montague, Leverett and Shutesbury the past few months. A few things stand out for me.
People are hungry—hungry for a new kind of activism, inspired by Bernie, in a way few of us could have predicted. They are serious—the dangers they see us facing under Trump lead them to be thoughtful and committed when some might have predicted demoralization and despair. They understand solidarity—protecting the more vulnerable among us, especially immigrants, is a priority for them. In numerous towns, they are organizing ongoing activist groups under a variety of names. They are going to marches—some for the first time.
Where does Franklin County CPR come in? What is our role in the midst of all this activity?
I offer a few thoughts, and hope others can chime in with theirs.
- We can help groups mobilize for action, and help people see the interconnections among various issues.
- We can help develop a political analysis—which of our problems are because of Trump? Which are more systemic? Why have most Democrats not been vocal advocates for our issues?
- We can help develop a political program around which progressives can unite, and against which we measure politicians and potential candidates.
As millions of people mobilize in support of progressive and inclusive values, there is not a similar surge of activism on the right. Even though Trump won a distressingly large number of votes, including a majority in one town in our county, these voters are not organized into action—oriented groups. Not yet. We have to take advantage of the space that their inactivity gives us—it may not last.
Ferd Wulkan is a long-time labor activist whose passion has been linking the labor movement with other progressive movements for social justice. He has lived in Montague for 20 years and makes sure to find time for travel, the outdoors and tiddlywinks.