Resources for Online Organizing

From the latest Indivisible Austin newsletter, some resources for digital activism in the time of Coronavirus:

Brittany Packnett Cunningham: Keep Pushing

The following is a copy of the excellent thoughts that Brittany Packnett Cunningham posted on Twitter on March 10, the evening of the Tuesday after Super Tuesday, when Joe Biden had another big night over Bernie Sanders. Regardless of which nominee you back in this one race, these are tough but wise words.

I fear that the popularization of protest has folks confused about it.

Disciplined direct action has a target, strategy, and demands.

When you don’t get what you want, you keep pushing.

If you don’t get the nominee you want, you push the one you get to progressive policies.

The idea that you just quit when you don’t get the first win is not only selfish, it is, to be clear, an affront to the discipline of organizing, protest and direct action.

Your heroes *did not* throw up their hands when they didn’t get what they want. Literally none of them.

Activism and organizing are hard, taxing, long term, personal, relational, intense pursuits that require study, discipline, and COMMITMENT.

It is not episodic. It is not one and done. It is committed to the vision more than the visionary.

Your guy doesn’t clench the nomination? Well, we STILL need clean air, clean water, economic revolution, peace, justice and jobs.

You giving up on all that because your guy doesn’t win means you give up on yourself & the rest of us.

Stay committed. Push the winner. Get it done.

LBJ was a whole racist.

Like, n*ggER, hard -ER racist.

What if MLK has just thrown up his hands like KENNEDY OR NOBODY after the assassination?

He pushed LBJ. We got two Civil Rights Acts and a Voting Rights Act our of it. [link]

Stop tying your power and your freedom up in a single leader.

That is and never will be the pathway to liberation.

I’d rather have someone we can push than Orange Glo, just like I’d rather have had Hillary than this. [link]

Reduce the harm, get to the best possible outcome, then fight like hell to get what you need done.

With discipline, strategy, and clarity.

Public polling for Medicare for all, Free college and the wealth tax are strong.

Obama was a moderate and he, like many other politicians, changed their opinion and support of marriage equality as public polling changed and disciplined public pressure mounted.

If you give up fighting for your principles when the going gets tough, how committed were you to begin with?

Our elders have been fighting whether or not they had a friend in the White House-and they rarely did.

Let’s get over ourselves and get to work.

Typos all up and thru this thing but yall get it, I hope.

Goodnight. The work resumes in the morning. 🙏🏾

Love y’all. All of you.

New Service: Free Email Forwarding

I happened to stumble recently on ForwardEmail.net, a slick, free service that allows you to have email addresses for your domain, but without having to pay for or manage full email service. Instead, messages are simply forwarded to whatever existing email address you already have (GMail, Hotmail, Fastmail (save 10% with that affiliate link, btw), whatever).

Suppose, for example, you run the site IndivisibleMaralago.com. With this service you could have a working email address like info@indivisiblemaralago.com forwarded to an existing email like trumpisbad12345@gmail.com. You can have as many of these aliases as you want, for free.

Why not get real email service for your group? You can sure do that, and it might make sense. But I’ve been involved with managing email for nonprofits in the past, and it can be a real pain in the butt, with little real advantage. There’s a good bit of administration and frequent troubleshooting, all so that the already-busy leaders of your group can juggle yet another email account.

If the main thing you want is the legitimacy of email addresses with your domain name so that people can send you messages, this ForwardEmail.net solution is easy and free. If you decide to upgrade to a full email service provider later, this is easy to turn off and won’t hinder that process a bit.

To be clear, you don’t need me or a site on Indivisible.blue to use this. You can go to ForwardEmail.net and do it yourself, no problem. But if your site is hosted here, then we probably manage your DNS already, and that’s where the configuration for this service happens. Also, I’m here as always to help you set up and manage it! Just tell me what email address you want, and where it should go, and I’ll take care of all the technical details.

If you’re interested, just get in touch via this form (or via this new forwarded address I just set up: hello@indivisible.blue!).

Who is Chip Roy?

Many of the sites we host here on Indivisible.blue are full, primary group sites. They serve Indivisible groups in a city, district, or even state. But because we have the ability to create a new site quickly and easily (and for free, not counting domain registration), there have also been a few special-purpose sites set up. The most recent of these is a great example: WhoIsChipRoy.com.

The activists behind this site have already been getting the word out about it this primary season, from yard signs (below) to promoting it a candidate forum attended by the Democrats hoping to take on Mr. Roy in TX21 in November. That event’s coverage in Austin’s alt-weekly, the Chronicle (“Dem Candidates Wendy Davis & Jennie Lou Leeder Take the Stage”) even included a mention and link to the WhoIsChipRoy.com website.

Interested in an issue- or candidate-specific site? Get in touch!

Who is Chip Roy? yardsign

Enjoy Your Holidays

I appreciated this advice and pep-talk from Jon Lovett of the Lovett or Leave It podcast (you can listen to the clip transcribed below here):

The time for complaining is over, it’s here, 2020 is upon us.

And I just want everybody who can to take a break this holiday. Turn off your phone if you can, tune out as much as possible, sleep late, download a meditation app, sign up for the subscription then never use it again. Do some yoga, ’cause when we wake up on January 2nd, we need to look at that calendar and find a weekend, two weekends, ten weekends, plan a trip to the closest swing state near you.

Tweeting is no longer enough. Protesting is no longer enough. Calling your Congressperson is no longer enough. It’s time to knock on some doors. It’s time to talk to every voter in every swing state you possibly can. If it’s Warren, you’re going to stop worrying about electability, you’re gonna put your boots on the ground. If it’s Biden, you’re going to stop thinking about Corn Pop and his bloody eye and you’re going to put boots on the ground. If it’s Bernie, you’re going to stop complaining about Bernie Bros online, and you’re going to become a Bernie Bro. And if it’s Buttiegieg, you’re going to learn that fucking dance and you’re going to like it!

Enjoy your Christmas. Enjoy your Hanukkah. Enjoy your New Year’s, because 2020 is going to be a long year and the closer we get to the election the more the stakes will weigh on all of us, and I just want us to keep in mind, all the twists and turns, all the emotional highs and lows, all of it will fade when we see the results. And when we’re watching those results, we won’t be in control of what happens, but we want everyone listening to this, eleven months from now, to watch those returns knowing they did all they could to get the results that we wanted.

So, eat up this holiday break, have a great time, because 2020 is the year America hits its goal weight!

I plan to follow this advice, and hope you will, too. Happy holidays, and here’s to 2020!

Impeachable? YES, DUH

It boggles this WordPress network operator’s mind that people can be presented with a fraction of the evidence and testimony that’s come out so far and somehow claim that Trump’s actions are not impeachable offenses.

Let your members of Congress know – and have your fellow Indivisible groups let their members of Congress know – every one of them should be on the record in support of an impeachment inquiry and a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate.

Jen Sorensen nails it:

We Are Indivisible

Rolling Stone has an excerpt from Leah & Ezra’s book We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump, including a mention of some of us in Texas:

The fight to save the Affordable Care Act was about more than resisting Trump; it was intensely personal. Trish Florence of Indivisible SATX was fighting for Medicaid for her family. Lisa Dullum with Greater Lafayette Indivisible was a breast cancer survivor and depended on the Affordable Care Act for her own care. Rosemary Dixon with Prescott Indivisible credited the Affordable Care Act for saving her life when she needed a kidney transplant. Kim Benyr of Ozark Indivisible was fighting for the Affordable Care Act while her young daughter, Maddy, was facing terminal cancer. In between events pressuring Tom Cotton, Ozark Indivisible put together a binder full of stories and pictures for their senators and representatives on how the Affordable Care Act had saved their lives and the lives of their children, family, and friends. They delivered the binders in person to bewildered congressional staffers in northwest Arkansas. Across the country, groups like Indivisible Kansas City, Indivisible Lovettsville, and Indivisible Austin compiled stories from people whose lives or financial stability had been saved by the ACA and shared them virtually and in person.

Order your copy today (proceeds go to Indivisible’s Save Democracy Fund), and keep up the fight!

Join the Digital Climate Strike

We're ready for the global #climatestrikeVia the resistance developers at Ragtag, I learned that Fight for the Future is helping provide tools to let you digitally join the climate strike. On their site you’ll find social media resources, banner ads, and lists of other participants.

The WordPress plugin listed there is installed and ready to use for all sites on the Indivisible.blue network. Just activate it on the plugins page, and enable the footer and full-page widget settings as you like. Contact me by form or email if you have any questions or run into any problems.

In Case You Missed It

A handful of assorted links to share:

  • Indivisible on The Nation magazine coverIndivisible was the cover story in The Nation last week
  • The Indivisible.blue network remains up-to-date, with the recent WordPress 5.2.3 (it “addressed some security issues and fixed 29 bugs”), as well as all plugins and themes updated.
  • Crooked Media’s Vote Save America and Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight 2020 are teaming up to kick-start her organization’s important voter protection work. Learn more and pitch in at votesaveamerica.com/fairfight2020

We spend a lot of time focused on which Democratic candidate to nominate, but none of this will matter if we don’t focus a hell of a lot more on what may be the greatest vulnerability that Democrats face in 2020: the Republican War on Voting.

Here’s the good news: Stacey Abrams is on the case, and she’s got a plan. Because of course she does!

It’s called Fair Fight 2020, and it’s an unprecedented effort to hire voter protection teams in 20 battleground states who can ensure that every voter is registered, can access their ballot, and has their ballot fairly counted.

But she needs our help.

Donate and spread the word: votesaveamerica.com/fairfight2020

POSSE: Put Social Media Where it Belongs (Second)

There are plenty of problems and things to worry about with Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites you may use. Data privacy, addictive behaviors, concentration of power, the list goes on and on.

On the other hand, it’s hard to resist the popular sites where all the users are. For organizers and activists like us in the Indivisible movement, it’s even more important to be where all the users are. But accepting the necessity of posting to social media doesn’t mean you have to depend completely on those services.

One approach, which has been around for years but is still relevant today, is called “POSSE”, defined by its proponents like this:

POSSE is an abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere, a content publishing model that starts with posting content on your own domain first, then syndicating out copies to 3rd party services with links back to the original on your site.

The idea is simply that you should have your own independent web site (hosted here on Indivisible.blue, for example), and it’s the primary source. It’s fully under your control in terms of ownership and content, and it’s on the “open web”, that doesn’t require anyone to have a login to anything. Links to items on your site – events, news, calls to action, the Trump Outrage Du Jour, kitten pictures, whatever – can then be shared on whatever Facebook page, Twitter feed, or Medium thing you want.

This cross-posting can be accomplished in a number of ways. WordPress and Jetpack provide connection to the primary sites, and the indie-web network Micro.blog also provides syndication (as well as simple, inexpensive hosting).

Own and control your content, even if you still feed it to the social media beasts. If you have questions or suggestions on this, don’t hesitate to let me know.