Jesse Baer

Your friendly neighborhood Writing Lab lead.

Cambridge, MA 24 posts

Don't mourn. Organize! (and go to events!)

On Friday, Senate Republicans managed to sweep aside their lingering disagreements and the screaming wraiths of their excised consciences, to pass a bill grotesque in its naked cruelty and greed. As of this writing, it is not clear whether the House GOP will pass the bill as-is, or send it to conference. If they do the latter, there is still a chance to defeat this.

But here's the thing: regardless of how this turns out, we know that they will keep coming back with horrible legislation. Inevitably, we will lose some of these battles. The Republicans control the entire federal government, after all. Moreover, they are backed by a phalanx of patrons who reward them richly for their service.

In progressive circles, one often hears the phrase "when we fight, we win." Of course, nobody can win every fight, and that's not what this expression promises. It simply means that as long as we keep fighting, we will keep winning. Just as we did in 2017, so we will do again in 2018, and again and again, year in and year out, until we finally wrest control of government back from this morally bankrupt cadre of reactionary clowns.

And even then our fight won't be over! But it will change. Because we will finally be back on the offense, fighting for a better society, not simply to mitigate the damage to the one we have. And that's a fight worth fighting for.

Last week

On Tuesday we hosted gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie at Canopy City. Here's a rundown from IS Leads Coordinator Ashley Tartarilla:

In the latest installment of our ongoing Somerville Speaks series, we were joined by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie. He discussed his potential run against incumbent Charlie Baker in 2018, as well as his more immediate run in the primaries against Jay Gonzalez and Setti Warren. The talk was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. We are excited to have now hosted all three Democratic candidates for governor at our speaker series, and look forward to hearing more from each of them as we look towards the primaries.

Other highlights of last week included Community Hours at Outreach co-lead Sharon Locavore's apartment…
and an Outreach Lab Workshop aimed at strengthening the connection between their efforts and those of other labs.

(By the way, for more photos from our events, check out our Instagram account.)

This week

Tonight (12/4) at 6pm, come to the Blue Shirt Cafe in Davis Square for the return of our Energy & Environment Lab, which has been on hiatus for a little while. They'll be charting forward their path for 2018, and with the environment in ever more dire peril, now is as good a time as ever to hop aboard the (undoubtedly biofueled) #EE train.

On Thursday 12/7, we are cosponsoring a protest to Defend Net Neutrality, in conjunction with our friends at Fight For the Future, Demand Progress, and the ACLU of Massachusetts. It begins at 5 pm at the Verizon Store at 745 Boylston St in Boston. You know what I said up there about fighting? This one is important.

On Friday, 12/8, Action Lab has its regular meeting at the Somerville Public Library at 10 am.

On Saturday, 12/9, Family Lab co-lead Lily Linke will be hosting Community Hours. Hang out with other ISers, chat about politics and other stuff, have some snacks, and maybe get some work done! That's from 11 am to 1 pm at 127 Walnut St #2 in Somerville.

Finally, later that same afternoon, Creative is hosting a website redesign planning session, from 3 to 5 pm at Canopy City.

Give

If you like the work we do, please consider setting up a small recurring donation to IS. Sustaining donations are what keep us afloat and able to pay for meeting space, web hosting, coffee, poster supplies, etc. You can set one up in less than 2 minutes on our donation page.

If there's something you think we should know, drop us a line via the anonymous feedback form. We read each and every response.

Welcome to the working week 🔥👨🏽‍💼🔥

Hey IScateers! We hope you had a restful and restorative Thanksgiving break, full of food, family, friends, fun, festivity, fellowship, and other felicitous factors. Sadly, it's Monday, and capitalism is back with the subtlety of an air raid siren: from whatever you do to pay the bills, to the bombardment of your inbox with Cyber Monday spam, to the reassembled GOP caucus, ever fervent to burn down the welfare state in tribute to their plutocratic gods. That doesn't leave much time for going to events, let alone reading about them… so let's get right to it.

Monday 11/27

At 6PM, we hope you can join us at Somerville City Hall for an important hearing on linkage fees - money paid by real estate developers to support affordable housing and job training. The Aldermen will be considering two proposals — one put forth by Mayor Curtatone, and another, "the People's Proposal", being promoted by the Affordable Housing Organizing Committee and Jobs for Somerville. Compared to the Mayor's proposal, the People's Proposal provides funding for an additional eight affordable housing units, and job training for 200 additional people over the next 10 years. It's very important that as many people as possible come to show that this more generous proposal truly has popular support.

Tuesday 11/28

Join us as we host Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie at Canopy City at 7pm, as part of our #SomervilleSpeaks Series. This is a great opportunity to hear his pitch and ask him questions in a small setting. Afterwards, we'll be headed a few doors down to Aeronaut Brewery, for some casual chill time. We'd love to see you there too!

Wednesday 11/29

Maybe you fancy yourself a creative type. Or maybe you're creative, without being all fancy about it. Either way, you definitely belong at the Creative Coworking Hours, which start at 7pm in Canopy City (14 Tyler St, 3rd floor). Work side by side with other cool creative people, as you create beautiful things in an atmosphere of camaraderie! Also, snacks.

Friday 12/1

Celebrate the beginning of the end of 2017 at the Somerville Public Library at 10 am, with your friends in Action Lab.

Saturday 12/2

Community Hours are back! This time they will be at the groovy pad of our brand new Outreach co-lead, Sha Locantore (31 Dimick St #2 in Somerville) from 10:30 to noon. It's basically like Creative Hours, but not limited to creative stuff, and also on the weekend and in a person's house. It's really great and you should definitely go.

Give

If you like the work we do, please consider setting up a small recurring donation to IS. Sustaining donations are what keep us afloat and able to pay for meeting space, web hosting, coffee, poster supplies, etc. You can set one up in less than 2 minutes on our donation page.

If there's something you think we should know, drop us a line via the anonymous feedback form. We read each and every response.

A cornucopia of events! 🦃

Happy Thanksgiving… week! Get ready to gobble down another heaping helping of IS events.

Leftovers

Saturday took the cake (pie?) as our biggest day last week. It began with the Fight Supremacy 2.0 counter-rally. There weren't 40,000 of us this time, and yet we still easily dwarfed the same sad sack alt-right crew that had been last seen just a few months prior, shouting the same nonsense, from the same little gazebo to which they now returned.

Despite their constant caterwauling complaints of being silenced, the whole event was a shining example of the marketplace of ideas gone right: living proof that the alt-right's reactionary world view, even couched in a disingenuous appeal to small-l liberalism, simply has far less appeal than our progressive values of inclusiveness and solidarity. They vowed to come back again, but rest assured that when they do, we'll be there. We are many and they are few.

As such, it should be no surprise that our New Member Orientation, held later in the afternoon, was packed with people new to our organization and ready and eager to join the fight. We kept having to bring in more chairs, to the point that it could have raised some eyebrows at the Somerville Fire Department. 👀 It seems fair to say that we will probably need a bigger venue for the next New Member Orientation (which will actually be in two months, not one — we're skipping December). But that is the kind of problem that we think is great to have.

What's cookin'

As mentioned earlier in the Action roundup, we're mostly taking this week off. All except for our literally unstoppable Fund Lab, which is keeping its normal meeting schedule — 6:30 on Tuesday the 21st. (But note the new location: 136 Morrison Ave in Somerville.)

Other than that, we all wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings. Unless a bitter political debate breaks out, in which case… just try to stay safe!!

There are a couple other things coming up next week — specifically next Tuesday, 11/28 — to which we'd like to draw your attention. We'll be hosting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie at Canopy City at 7pm, as part of our #SomervilleSpeaks Series. This is a great opportunity to hear his pitch and ask him questions in a small setting. Afterwards, we'll be headed a few doors down to Aeronaut Brewery, for some casual chill time. We'd love to see you there too!

What are you thankful for? (or not?)

If you haven't filled out our member survey yet, you really should! We want to know what's working for you in this organization, and what you'd like to see, as we approach our second year. The survey just takes about 3 minutes to fill out, and everyone who fills it out is automatically entered to win a dinner for two at the fancy, classy, and fabulously scrumptious True Bistro in Teele Square. Take it now!

Pass the bread

At this time of year, our minds turn to charity and helping the less fortunate. We know that you have a lot of places to give, but we hope you'll keep Indivisible Somerville in mind as you choose where to donate.

We operate on a shoestring, and none of us earns a salary for this work. We have a lot of big plans for our second year, but our ability to execute them, and frankly to exist at all, is entirely dependent on the donations we receive.

By setting up a small recurring donation to IS, you can keep us afloat and able to pay for meeting space, web hosting, coffee, poster supplies, etc. You can set one up in less than 2 minutes on our donation page.

As always, if there's something you think we should know, drop us a line via the anonymous feedback form. We read each and every response.

Fight Supremacy 2.0

About three months ago, a group of "alt right" white supremacists took over the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, as a show of their "strength" — carrying tiki torches, chanting "Jews will not replace us" and "white lives matter", and whipping themselves up into a wild frenzy. It all culminated in the murder of Heather Heyer, a young activist who was there to counter their hate.

The following weekend, a similar group with similar aims descended on Boston. But Boston was ready, and over 40,000 people rose up in response. Finding themselves vastly outnumbered and surrounded on all sides, the reactionaries retreated.

However, they did not surrender. Tomorrow, they plan to come back. And therefore, so do we.

There won't be a march this time, but there will be a rally on Boston Common, dubbed Fight Supremacy 2.0. As was the original Fight Supremacy march and rally, tomorrow's event is being spearheaded by the Boston and Cambridge chapters of Black Lives Matter. Indivisible Somerville and Indivisible Mystic Valley have not been involved in organizing this event, but we stand in full solidarity, and plan to join in. To join us, come to the carousel next to the Boston Common Frog Pond at 11:30, and look for someone holding an Indivisible Somerville sign.

Because Charlottesville is more distant in people's memories this time, we want to make sure that everyone who can come, does come tomorrow. It is absolutely critical to demonstrate that our resolve remains as firm as ever. We may not outnumber them 40,000 to 100 this time, but we must outnumber them. Your presence tomorrow is crucial. Commit to going now, at Indivisible or Facebook. See you there!

The first events post of the next election cycle of your life

Last week

So, Election Day happened. And as we all know now, it was a huge victory across the country for progressive candidates and causes. What we're doing is working. The challenge before us is daunting, but we are rising every day to meet it. Keep it up.

To name one example of what we're up against: there's a well funded ballot initiative being put forth for next year, which would repeal anti-discrimination protections for trans people. On Friday, the Action Lab was visited by David Topping of Freedom For All MA, who described his organization's efforts to defeat this initiative. He was a great guest, engaging and knowledgable, and we all look forward to fighting at his side in the year ahead. Keep watching this space for more info on how you can get involved.

As we fight that good fight, we'll have one weapon that's new to our arsenal, but which was deployed against Democrats in 2016, to devastating effect: Twitter bots. Indivisible Somerville hosted its first (but definitely not last) Twitter Bot Hackathon on Sunday, focused on building Twitter bots to fight on behalf of truth and justice. The day generated some fabulous, creative projects, and we're just getting started.

Last but not least, we're happy to report that Massachusetts's second-ever statewide Indivisible Conference was amazing. Since the first iteration of the conference (just this past spring!) Sunday's gathering was leagues better by every measure, from attendance (about 600 activists, from every part of the Commonwealth), to the breadth and depth of workshop offerings, to an ineffable feeling of energy and momentum that suffused the whole event.

Regarding that last thing: certainly, some of the vibe was a residual high from those election results of the Tuesday before. But it didn't hurt one bit to have the conference bookended by electrifying speakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who revved up the crowd like nobody's business, and our own Zayda Ortiz, whose emotional closing remarks powerfully drove home the importance of our continuing efforts.

And speaking of continuing efforts — without further ado, here's what's on tap for the week ahead.

This week

Tonight, Wednesday 11/15, Creative is having its second installment of creative working hours. The fun and games and disciplined productivity go from 7 to 9, at the Canopy City conference room (14 Tyler St, 3rd floor).

On Thursday, 11/16, the Evening Action Lab will be meeting once again at 7, but in a new location: Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. Same great Intelligentsia coffee as Bloc Cafe, but with a key advantage of being open past 7 pm. This will be this lab's first meeting since the election, so there will be much to celebrate and talk about — you should definitely come!

On Friday, 11/17, the classic morning version of Action Lab meets at the Somerville Library at 10 am.

Finally, here's the big event we want to push for this week. Remember a few months back, when the weekend after Charlottesville, those same white supremacists tried to take their hateful road show, under the guise of "free speech", to Boston Common? Remember how Boston responded by rising up, 40,000 strong, making a peaceful but forceful statement that Nazis and their cronies have no place in our city? Well, those same reactionary bozos are coming back to town on Saturday. So we're coming back too. Welcome to Fight Supremacy 2.0.

Unfortunately, this time their event, because it's not in the immediate wake of Charlottesville, has received much less advance publicity. So it is absolutely crucial that everyone who can, does go to Boston Common to counter protest. We need to show once again, beyond a doubt, that we are still many, and they are still few. Indivisible Somerville will gather at noon at the carousel by Frog Pond. Join us.

Oh, and though I did use the word "finally", there is one more thing. Our next monthly New Member Orientation is happening from 2:30 to 4 pm at the Somerville Public Library. This is exactly what it sounds like: a place for anyone new to our organization to learn the ropes and find out how to get involved. If you want to go to the rally but also want to go to the orientation, we're happy to offer you a ride: contact us at outreach@indivisiblesomerville.org, and we'll work things out.

Give

If you like the work we do, please consider setting up a small recurring donation to IS. Sustaining donations are what keep us afloat and able to pay for meeting space, web hosting, coffee, poster supplies, etc. You can set one up in less than 2 minutes on our donation page.

If there's something you think we should know, drop us a line via the anonymous feedback form. We read each and every response.