Organizing Upgrade is a Resource

New Orleans    Let’s talk about another resource and information tool today available at organizingupgrade.com. This is a theme we’ll keep coming back to in these times of trouble and turmoil.

I’m not sure if organizingupgrade.com is a new project or simply new to me. I stumbled on it recently when someone recommended I look at a summary power point they had provided as a basic overview of the Trump world as it rolled out. Organizing Upgrade is determinedly for progressives, but the PowerPoint was pretty straightforward and “just the facts, ma’am,” so a user-friendly guide to anyone who has been asleep recently and wants a good summary of what’s coming down the pike.

Looking at the editors, they slant young and activist, and that’s refreshing, too. These are perspectives that are valuable in understanding our changing times. It’s pretty bicoastal, but wildly diverse, which is always a good thing. Stephanie Luce now of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York is a labor editor, and a longtime partner of ours and advocate for living wages, and her involvement on the list gave it instant credibility for me.

Their resource guide ranges from articles in the New York Times to a collection of pieces by a variety of authors trying to get a grip on these times and what they mean.

An op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal argued that Democrats are still driving blind trying to figure out how to deal with a populist and counted Trump’s meeting with labor leaders the Monday after his inauguration as the most significant meeting he’s had to date. The argument rolled out along the lines that the traditional Democratic Party and politician playbook on Republicans was getting wrong footed by Trump’s nontraditional Republicanism. This is a point with real merit. Trump is looking to change his party, and opponents have to be able to reframe the fight as well. When the Organizers’ Forum visited Poland several years ago we heard much the same from friends in community and labor organizations there who were dealing with a rightwing, but populist, resurgence in their country. Workers and lower income families were getting some benefits even as women and others were being slammed in critical efforts to divide people.

It’s a mistake to continue to see Trump as a buffoon, no matter his foibles. There’s a method to this madness, and dividing-and-conquering is the least of it, but we need some fresh thinking on strategy and tactics. Organizingupgrade.com is probably not the answer, but its voices and opinions are worth tracking in the search for new tactics and strategies.

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