Let The Resistance Begin
Don’t Panic. So November 8th happened. That sucked. Then January 20th happened, and it also sucked. Now we are all here watching the world beginning to burn down all around us. Unless you are a Batman villain, its time to start fighting back. It’s now time to join the resistance, it’s time to fight back, it’s to become Luke Skywalker! Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch…
“Come on. Why don’t you take a look around. You know what’s about to happen, what they’re up against.” – Some guy from a sandy planet
Below I have collected a list of resources that you can use to fight back, and join the resistance. These have come from various places around the internet. Some of them I am more familiar with than others and I can speak to their legitimacy, others not so much. I have tried to make note of these. Regardless, please vet any resources you use from here (i.e. make sure that they are not a shill, a front for bad actors, GOP, etc…). You are not helping the resistance if you are playing into the hands of the administration.
If you find that a link is broken, an organization is not what they appear, or you have other resources that you think should be on this list, please let me know in the comments section below or in the contact me page of this site.
VOTE VOTE VOTE! I cannot stress this enough. Repeat after me, “My vote matters. It does not matter that it is only one vote, my vote matters!” Voting is step one in the resistance movement. Voting, even in elections that your candidate is likely to lose, still matters. It is a political barometer that lets political parties and donors know where to invest their money. If enough people start showing up and voting, they may start to invest more and thus increase the odds for your candidate (or a similar one) winning next time. One of the GOP’s most powerful tools is to convince people that their votes don’t matter, you take that power away from them by voting. The resistance needs you to vote, period!
Are you registered? Yes? Great. Are you SURE that you are registered? Go check your voter registration card. Don’t know where it is? Click on the link and make sure that you are registered. Just do it now. Congratulations, you have officially joined the resistance.
You’re registered, great, but now you need to know, you know, who your politicians actually are. Not like who they are as people, but actually which people represent you in the government. Common Cause has got you covered. Just plug in your address and poof, a list of your federal elected officials appears before your eyes. Click on their profile to get some no frills info on them (e.g. name, website, contact, etc…). This is a great tool for someone new to the game of politics. In order to be apart of the resistance, you need to know who you are resisting.
Now that you are registered and you know who your current politicians are, how do you find out info about who to vote for next time? Right here in fact. Ballotpedia is a great way of researching the politicians coming up in the next election. You plug-in your address and it shows you exactly who is going to be on the ballot in your area. You can then save a PDF or print a copy of your ideal ballot to cast. There is always an incredible amount of things to vote on in any given election, and this is a great tool to keep it all straight.
Project Vote Smart is a great tool to digging more in-depth into specific politicians. You simply plug-in their name and BAM, loads of info. I especially like the “Ratings” tab where you can see how their voting record stands up against various policy issues. If you are wondering about how well your current elected official is doing, right here. If during the next election you are having trouble picking, this is your go to resource.
Progressive Organizations/News Letters to Join
Knowledge is power. No seriously, I don’t mean it is a silly platitude. The more you know, the more you are able to participate in the resistance. The first step is reading/watching the news. There is so much value in just being informed. Once you know what is going on, then you can fight back, engage in meaningful conversations, and organize your community.
This site is exactly what you think it is. It is a daily newsletter that tells you what the fuck just happened that day. It combs through news stories and aggregates them together into one relatively short newsletter at the end of each day. It is a very useful way to absorb lots in news media very quickly. Not to mention that the name perfectly captures the experience of turning on the news lately.
Do you want to get big money out of politics? The entire platform that Wolf-PAC puts forward is to get big money out of politics, period. They hope to accomplish this task by getting an amendment added to the constitution to outlaw the influence of big money in politics. As we saw with the Bernie Sanders campaign, you can run a successful campaign by only collecting small donations from voters. Wolf-PAC was started by The Young Turks (TYT) who started as a YouTube news channel, which I recommend watching.
The Wellstone Group is a progressively oriented super-pac designed to help fund progressive candidates. If you are super jazzed about campaign finances or are interested in running for office yourself, this would be a good starting point. If you meet their criteria for being a progressive, then they may fund your campaign! That’s pretty cool. (This organization I know little about, use caution.)
You may not know what Reddit is, or you may even think that it is a place full of internet trolls. While it does have its fair share of trolls lurking around, there is a lot of really great stuff on there as well. Basically Reddit works like this. It is a social media platform where anyone can create a subreddit, which is basically a forum for posting info, like a message board. These subreddits form into small communities of people coming together based on a shared interest. The subreddit r/esist is a great a great example of this. Here they have many resources (many of which found their way into this list) and the members post relevant articles on the regular. There are many other subreddits with similar resistance based themes as well.
I know, I know. I’m not a big fan of the democratic party right now either (I’m still feeling a bit Burned…) but they tend to be very quick to update people onto the goings on of DC. The news letter they send is a valuable resource to know what is happening and what the Dem.s are doing about it. That is also not to mention that, most federal progressive politicians are members of the Democratic party, so you help support them too. We [read: progressives] are not going to be able to reform the Democratic party if we don’t know what is going on inside of it.
Remember how I just said that there are progressives in the Democratic Party? Here they are. The Justice Democrats is a very new organization that is hoping to take over the Democratic party with progressive values. Think of it like the Tea Party, but not started by the Koch Brothers as a fake political movement. The Justice Democrats put out a lot of emails with calls to action and news, so it’s a good email list to be on for progressives.
So now that you have registered to vote and signed up to get inundated with emails, it is time to take some direct actions! These range from starting a petition, to contacting your politicians, to town hall meeting schedules.
“Call your politicians” is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in the last few months. But how do you do that exactly? 5 Calls makes that as simple as possible. You simply select some issues that are important to you, and it will provide you the contact info for the people you should call to make your voice heard. The two major disadvantages of the site are that you need provide your location (privacy buffs will not be pleased), and most people hate talking on the phone.
[Link not broken, look in upper left corner and select “Upcoming Events” tab]
Do you like spread sheets? Because I like spreadsheets and that’s what you get with this one. This google doc tells you where EVERY upcoming town hall in America will be happening. Town hall meeting are a great way to get your voice heard and to generally resist the functions of governments [as proven by the effective derailment of town hall meeting by the Tea Party]. This list was put together by the Town Hall Project, an organization I know nothing about, so use with caution.
The Federal Register is a little known government resource that is actually pretty important. Every bill in congress and most policy changes in the executive branch (i.e. departmental policy), must go through a period of public comment. During this time, anyone from the public may read a bill or policy and offer their opinion about it, and some real human MUST go through and read said comment. This may sound mundane and ineffectual, but it’s not. This is a vital governmental function. If enough people or organizations comment in opposition to a bill/policy, changes are likely to be made. While this practice does not have direct influence, like voting does, it is quite literally how your voice is heard in a democracy.
Each state also have their own version of the federal register, and since I live in Illinois, I am listing the one for there. If you have info on your own state’s register please let me know and I will add it.
Start a Change.org Petition
Change.org is a petition website that has done a lot of pretty wide stuff in the last few years. It is a powerful tool to affect change in any community. For a petition to do really well though, some advanced knowledge of social media promotion may be required. But not every petition needs to be a big, world-changing petition. Are your kids in school? Imagine if you got a few hundred signatures on a petition demanding the PTA to release a statement of solidarity with refugees. Or if you started a petition at your workplace to demand that they embrace progressive workers rights policies. Are you in school? The options are endless and the outcome can be as grandiose or focused as you want.
Check out the White House Archive
So each presidential administration since Bill Clinton have uploaded their own material to the official white house website. You can go and review this information at the link above. Why might you do this though? The official white house website is basically a set of historical documents that you can use to compare how things have changed, and how political positions have evolved over the years (hint: they have gotten more conservative and right-wing).
Do you have the problem of always finding out about cool protests and other resistance meetings only AFTER they have happened? Well then this is the site/news letter for you! The resistance calendar was started by Micheal Moore (yeah the movie guy), who is not exactly the biggest Trump fan, which should not really be all that surprising. So check out this site, pug in your location (via zip code) and get out there and protest!
Reoccurring, monthly donations are one of the most effective ways to help fund an organization. While a single time donation still helps, having the reliable revenue stream that monthly donations provides allows for better budgeting and planning. In short, they can do more with money that they know is coming rather than money that comes from nowhere. Resistance needs money, if you got some, consider contributing. When in doubt, throw money at a problem.
Do you think that everyone should have access to legal representation? Then consider donating to the ACLU. They have already been very active in fighting the Trump administration. Do know though, that the ACLU believes that EVERYONE should have legal representation. That means that at times, your money may be put to use defending rather controversial causes or individuals. Are you more concerned with issue of social justice and fighting hate groups? Then the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are an excellent legal organisation that tracks and fights back against hate.
Health care is under assault by the GOP. Planned Parenthood is one of the last, widely available health care clinics that exists across the nation. Because they focus on providing healthcare to women (e.g. contraceptives, STD screening, and a limited amount of abortions) they have been under constant threat of being defunded. Why? Because a lot of people think that sex is bad, and that you should be punished if you have it. Therefore, an organization that helps people with sexual health concerns must be stopped, according to those people. All of that aside, Planned Parenthood is a valuable public service that provides many health care benefits to the communities they serve, and they are not only for women. I myself have gone to them when I have been in need. If you can only donate to one organization, please let it be this one. [Full disclosure, I am a card-carrying member]
If I need to explain to you who the BLM movement is, then you have been living under a seriously big rock. Like a SERIOUSLY big rock. For those of you who do not need to hit wikipedia to crawl out from under a rock, you know who BLM is and the solidly progressive/resistance oriented agenda they are pushing. The only issue is that protesting takes money. Hit that DONATE button, and make sure they can keep doing what they do.
Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fun (NoDAPL)
Do you support big-oil coming in and putting pipelines where ever they want? Neither do I. That’s why you should support the water protectors that are out there fighting the good fight against the Dakota Access (oil) Pipeline. You may have heard of the NoDAPL movement, maybe not (if not click the link and educate yo-self!). Regardless, the Sacred Stone Defense Fund (which was the name of their encampment) is in desperate need of all the support that they can get, and I highly recommend that you donate to these freedom fighters.
Who doesn’t love animals, I mean seriously? Mercy for Animals is an animal rights group that is like PETA, but not, you know, insane. In addition to doing a lot of invaluable undercover work in factory farms, they provide a lot of great tools to help people live cruelty free life style. You may be wondering why I included them in this resource guide. Under the current administration, their heavily pro-business ideology is likely to make animal rights take a back seat… like a very far back seat. Organizations like Mercy For Animals will need more help now than ever to resist business interests superseding animal rights. [Full disclosure, I am a card-carrying member]
Reality is under assault in the age of alternative facts. The best way to defend from said assault is to support those whose job it is to uncover truth in the world. In recent years, newspapers have been slipping from prominence in the American landscape, but they do some of the best investigative journalism around. We need to support that now more than ever. Consider getting a newspaper subscription to support them. You also get the added bonus of getting news delivered to your door, which makes you smarter and more capable member of the resistance. Additionally, newspaper subscriptions are pretty dam cheap now. I get the Chicago Tribune Sunday edition for about $3 a week, which is like nothing. Newspapers not your thing? That’s OK, there are still other options. NPR and PBS are also great sources of investigative journalism and are always under threat of getting defunded as well.
Additional Tool Kits
Others have put together similar resource lists that I highly recommend that you checkout as well. There is some cross over between what is here and what is on these other tool kits, but not too much.
If you click on only one link in this entire post, click on this one. It is exactly what it says that it is, and, in essence, has the same general intention of this post… but their site looks way cooler. It has an easy to use interface that breaks down into a lot of different categories of action to take. It doesn’t offer much direction on where to start though, and could be a tad overwhelming for a novice to social resistance.
Librarians. Who doesn’t love librarians? This site is a bare bones, curated list of EVERYTHING that you could possibly want as far as information is concerned. Do you want to know how to fact check fake news? They got it (they have 22 resources for that actually). Do you want to know what civil rights organizations exist out there? It’s all located in one huge section for you. Just click on it and scroll around to familiarize yourself with what is there. The one drawback is that the site is TOO minimalist, to the point if being very overwhelming.
If you are really getting into this whole resistance thing, then Indivisible is the resource guide that you want. In their site they have a complete guide (available for down load as a PDF in both English AND Spanish!) to starting and running a grassroots movement. This guide goes point by point from starting with nothing, to turning your cause into a social movement. Quite literally a guide to starting a resistance.
Complacency is the primary tool of authoritarians. Are you just completely lost in this world now? That’s OK. When Trump is out there making the world into crazy town, he wants you to sit back and do nothing, he wants you to feel powerless. That is what makes him feel powerful. Every act of resistance, large or small, takes that away from him, it weakens him and his supporters. In short, doing anything, no matter how small, is helpful.
Do not lose hope.
There are a lot of people on the side of resistance, and when we all come together we can resist. It is not your responsibility to fix the entire thing either. Find a small piece of it that you feel passionately about, and work on that. These small actions combined are what become social movements. Be apart of that movement and help fight the fascists in what ever small way that you can.
P.S. For inspiration…