Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. In this series, we'll be talking with organizers, troublemakers, and thinkers who are working both to challenge the Trump administration and the circumstances that created it. It can be easy to despair, to feel like trends toward inequality are impossible to stop, to give in to fear over increased racist, sexist, and xenophobic violence. But around the country, people are doing the hard work of fighting back and coming together to plan for what comes next. This series will introduce you to some of them. There is an alternative to despair. Resistance is more than just sharing the scary news.


  • Prison strikers building a movement for justice and decarceration, with Janos Marton

    Prison strikers building a movement for justice and decarceration, with Janos Marton


    The nationwide prison strike that began August 21 is ongoing, and it comes at a moment when Americans are perhaps primed to hear demands from prisoners and consider them in a new way. Protests and uprisings in recent years have called attention to the rampant inequality perpetuated by prisons, jails, arrests, and prosecutions, and as prisoners coordinate with each other to resist their conditions on the inside, Janos Marton of the ACLU's Smart Justice program joins me to talk about what people on the outside can do to support the strike and the demands of the prisoners.  People have been asking me what they can tangibly do. The organizers made clear in the lead-up to this strike that they weren’t expecting people on the outside to be able to do a whole lot to actually support the strike as it is happening because it is something that is facility specific and driven by and organized on the inside. But they made a few exceptions. One is to the extent that there are protests being held outside of facilities, th

  • A new agenda for labor law, with Celine McNicholas

    A new agenda for labor law, with Celine McNicholas


    Labor law in the US has been broken down over the past several decades until it's nearly nonexistent. And yet a new wave of worker resistance and political interest in labor makes it a good time to push for a reimagining and rebuilding of the laws that govern the workplace. The Economic Policy Institute has just published a new agenda for doing just that--rebuilding the right to a union, giving unions real power again, and protecting workers who don't have unions for what the institute calls "First Day Fairness." Celine McNicholas, one of the authors of the report, joins me to talk about the movement that will be necessary to rewrite the rules to give workers an equal chance.   I think it is really encouraging that so many of these reforms already live in existing, already-introduced legislation in Congress. None of them get a great deal of attention, but in particular the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act which was introduced this Congress which goes to the heart of many of the reforms aimed at ensuring that

  • Continuing the teachers fight in West Virginia, with Rebecca Diamond

    Continuing the teachers' fight in West Virginia, with Rebecca Diamond


    The teachers in West Virginia kicked off a multi-state strike wave last winter when they shuttered every school in the state over their consistently low wages, lousy working conditions, and most importantly, their broken Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA), the system that insures every public employee in the state. They won a raise, but the biggest fight, says Rebecca Diamond, a West Virginia teacher and member of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, is still ongoing--the fight to fix and fully fund PEIA. I spoke with Diamond recently at Netroots Nation. They have had task force meetings and they have gone to all the communities and they have basically gathered from the communities what their main concerns are with PEIA and how it is going to affect them. These panel members are supposed to take it back to the committee and then, they are all supposed to meet and they are supposed to have a decision made before the election – Surprise! – and come up with what they feel like is going to be a

  • Contesting the Rights Designs on Public Space, with Prof. Jalane Schmidt

    Contesting the Right's Designs on Public Space, with Prof. Jalane Schmidt


    August 11 will be the first anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Heather Heyer was killed and several other people injured when white nationalists and white supremacists from around the country rallied--and brought weapons. In preparation for the anniversary, Charlottesville activists are planning vigils and teach-ins and keeping an eye on the far right's activities, from Portland, OR to Washington, D.C. Prof. Jalane Schmidt is an organizer with Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, and she joins me to discuss the recent far-right violence in Portland, the planned rally in D.C., and what Charlottesville activists are planning for the anniversary and beyond. They are trying to push decent citizens out of the public square, anyone who opposes white supremacy, out of the public square, and also, to normalize their movement. Part of what they are doing is they really like to go to places with iconic vistas; whether it is the Lee statue or to Mount Vernon, Washington’s esta

  • Building the movement for Medicare for All, with Benjamin Day

    Building the movement for Medicare for All, with Benjamin Day


    This week saw the 53rd anniversary of Medicare, created, as Benjamin Day of Healthcare-NOW! points out, in the middle of the upheaval and social movement agitation of the 1960s. Today we are in the middle of similar (and also very different) upheaval, and organizers are using it to build support for expanding Medicare to the rest of the population. I spoke with Day about the building of a Medicare for All caucus in Congress, the upcoming elections, and why street protests are still going to be important to the struggle.   I think that there is going to be a few phases of this movement. Right now, there is definitely a focus on the elections and trying to get…really pressuring all candidates to embrace Medicare for All. After this moment is over…and it looks like we will gain quite a few Medicare for All supporters in Congress just through the election process…but, after that, it is going to be sort of another social movement fight to get sitting reps to embrace it like happened last year. I think what that l

  • Pressing Amazon to stop cooperating with ICE, with Cata Santiago of Movimiento Cosecha

    Pressing Amazon to stop cooperating with ICE, with Cata Santiago of Movimiento Cosecha


    In this week’s episode we talk to Cata Santiago of Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrants rights organization that is spearheading a campaign against Amazon for its cooperation with ICE and Trump’s deportation machine. The world’s biggest retailer, with the world’s richest man at its helm, is lending technology that is mostly used to crack down on low-wage workers while exploiting its own low-wage workforce. As Amazon workers struck in Europe for better treatment, Cosecha launched actions in the US to pressure Amazon to stop cooperating with ICE. We went in New York City where we shut down Amazon, where we saw customers not be able to go in, where they locked the doors, and where the lights went off. This action was to come out and be vocal about what is happening and also have this bigger invitation to the immigrant community and to anyone who thinks about what is happening for years against families is not right. So, we have this possible action. An action is planned for July 31st where we are asking people at t

  • Keeping the pressure on Chuck Schumer and the Democrats, with Liat Olenick of Indivisible Nation BK

    Keeping the pressure on Chuck Schumer and the Democrats, with Liat Olenick of Indivisible Nation BK


    Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has been hearing from his constituents a lot lately, and they're demanding he stand up and fight. That's the message brought by Indivisible Nation BK, which has held rallies outside of Schumer's Brooklyn home, his Manhattan office, and elsewhere demanding that Schumer unify the Democrats in standing up to Trumpism and Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. I spoke to Liat Olenick of Indivisible Nation BK about the group's mission, and how it came together around the idea that someone should hold elected officials accountable. Indivisible is all about holding your own elected officials accountable. As a Brooklyn group, we meet in Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope area, we're literally in his backyard, we're right near his house. We do have members from all over Brooklyn but because we're so close to him we kind of feel a special responsibility to continue to hold him accountable and put pressure on him to be the leader that we need right now. All elected

  • Occupy and abolish ICE, with George Ciccariello-Maher

    Occupy and abolish ICE, with George Ciccariello-Maher


    Around the country, as the demand to abolish ICE spreads, occupations of its offices are springing up. In many of the cities where such occupations exist, they have heightened contradictions between the proclamations of "sanctuary" by elected officials wanting to look progressive, and those officials' actual policies of repressing protest. George Ciccariello-Maher, an activist and academic, has taken part in the Occupy ICE encampment in Philadelphia and joins me to discuss the evolution of the tactic and demand, the relationship of movements to self-proclaimed progressive mayors, and more. I think we are used to abolitionist language seeming really extreme or long-term or pie in the sky, and yet, we have seen this claim take root and spread. Partly because of the real brutality of what ICE is doing and the transparency of what is going on. I think it is also really important to remember that one of the first things I think we should do as analysts, but also as movement organizers is to historicize, to think

  • The Supreme Court and the corporate class, with Saqib Bhatti

    The Supreme Court and the corporate class, with Saqib Bhatti


    The Supreme Court last week handed down decisions in Trump's Muslim ban case, in the public sector labor union case Janus v. AFSCME, and more, decisions that will harm working people, particularly people of color. But most of the time these decisions are talked about separately from one another, and from other Trumpist attacks on immigrants and working people. Saqib Bhatti of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) joins me to talk about them all together, contextualizing the slant of the Supreme Court these days and the shape of the struggle to fight back.   Looking at these issues, what is really important to understand is the connections between “Who are the corporate actors that are actually bad across all of these issues?” One of the things that we are seeing is with a lot of these things, the thing that people love to do with the Muslim ban is really beat up on Trump or say, “This is a terrible decision by the Supreme Court,” but the reality is we can raise those concerns all we want and it doe

  • Our immigration policy has always separated families, with Jess Morales Rocketto

    Our immigration policy has always separated families, with Jess Morales Rocketto


    When it comes to family separation, no one knows better than migrant domestic workers the myriad ways that US immigration policy has always kept people away from their loved ones. Domestic workers have for decades been coming to the US to care for other people's children, often while leaving their own far away, and their leadership is key in a moment when Americans are rising up in protest at Trump's policies around immigration and the family. I spoke with Jess Morales Rocketto, political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, about the Trump administration's latest moves, the growing movement to abolish ICE, and much more.   Our immigration campaign at National Domestic Workers Alliance is called We Belong Together and it is focused on family separation because this was something that we knew was a problem in our immigration system and was something that we understood was being totally mismanaged and the consequences were happening in our members and our families. Folks who came here and were no

  • Charlottesville is a place, not an event, with Molly

    Charlottesville is a place, not an event, with Molly


    Nearly a year after the white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally drew national headlines, Charlottesville, VA activists are still dealing with the fallout. The death of Heather Heyer at the vehicle of James Alex Fields, Jr. wasn't the only incident of violence last summer, and activists are still preparing for trials of both white supremacists and local Black Lives Matter activists, struggling to institute proactive reforms, and bracing for the potential of another white supremacist rally in their town. I spoke with Molly, one of those local activists, on what's happened and why the eyes of the nation should still be on Charlottesville.  On Friday, after Corey was convicted the judge sentenced him to 360 days active confinement with 340 suspended. That is a 20 day sentence that you actually have to serve. Typically, around here, you serve half of a misdemeanor sentence. You serve 10 days. He has the option of serving it on weekends. So, he could serve five consecutive weekends. Again, the prosecutor requeste

  • A New Social Contract, with Cathy Albisa

    A New Social Contract, with Cathy Albisa


    It can be so easy to get bogged down in the unending horrors coming from the news every day. But while we get stuck watching the bad news, organizers across the country have been engaged in creating solutions that democratize the economy, broaden participation, and fundamentally change our society for the better. A new report from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative looks at these efforts and pulls them together to lay a blueprint for "A New Social Contract," and NESRI's executive director Cathy Albisa took the time to explain what the report entails and why it matters to look forward to a fundamentally different world. The first thing we wanted to do was make sure we were looking at things that were truly structural, that would address the various intersections of injustice that people were experiencing today. Structural solutions will deal with economic, racial, gender, climate justice, all at once because they are looking at the root cause and these root causes are integrated. Once we looke

  • Halting the bipartisan deregulate-a-palooza, with Alexis Goldstein

    Halting the bipartisan deregulate-a-palooza, with Alexis Goldstein


    Donald Trump ran a faux-populist campaign for office, bashing Democrats for being too close to Wall Street. But in office, it's a different story. Alongside Congressional Republicans and a handful of Democrats, he's been busy deregulating the banks, dismantling consumer protections, and otherwise handing Wall Street a bunch of gifts--to say nothing of the tax cuts. I spoke with Alexis Goldstein of Americans for Financial Reform to explain why, when we're still living in the wake of 2008, deregulate-a-palooza is bipartisan policy--and how to stop it. It is basically déjà vu all over again, is the short answer. It is like it is the 1990s and it is full speed ahead on ripping up all of the rules that we put in place after the last financial crisis. There are a few different things that are going on. One thing that is happening is in the consumer space. One of the best things that came out of the last crisis was the creation of this consumer bureau that was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, the Consumer Financi

  • Stopping family separation at the border, with Eve Stotland

    Stopping family separation at the border, with Eve Stotland


    There's been a lot of anger about the Trump administration's policies on immigration, and in particular lately, around the policy of family separation at the border. But what is actually happening, and what do families actually need? Eve Stotland of The Door is an attorney who has worked on just these issues for years, and she joins us to disentangle the questions of what the Trump administration is and is not doing to migrant children and their families, and to tell us how to challenge this policy and fight for fair treatment for migrants and for everyone. There are a few things going on and I think that some of them are getting conflated, so it is really helpful to pull them apart. One thing that is absolutely going on is that the US government, and very specifically Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – these are two agencies that are in charge of policing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws--these agencies, when they detain families, when they are arresting familie

  • Defeating the attack on food assistance--for now, with Rebecca Vallas

    Defeating the attack on food assistance--for now, with Rebecca Vallas


    A lot of things wind up embedded in the massive, regularly-renewed piece of legislation known as the "farm bill" each year, and one of the most important--at least, to the 40 million Americans who rely on it--is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, previously and still commonly known as food stamps. The program has been in the sights of Republicans, fresh off a victory on tax cuts, who want to pay for those cuts by slashing benefits to working people and the poor. Rebecca Vallas has been following the progress of these attacks and the broader push by the Right to put "Work Requirements" on everything, and she joins us once again to talk about how the farm bill was defeated and how SNAP might be saved.  A little bit of background on what the SNAP program is. It used to be called food stamps. People might be familiar with that name for the program, but today it is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It helps about 40 million Americans put food on the table in any given month

  • Making Private Equity Pay, with Debbie Beard and Carrie Gleason

    Making Private Equity Pay, with Debbie Beard and Carrie Gleason


    When Debbie Beard found out the company she'd worked at for 29 years, Toys R Us, was closing down, she was shocked--she knew the company had been having financial difficulties for a while, but didn't realize it was that bad. The more she learned, though, about the way the company had been looted by private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR, the more she determined that no one else should have to go through this. Debbie and other Toys R Us workers are organizing to demand severance pay from the company, and beyond that, organizing to stop the kind of leveraged buyouts that saddle viable companies with unsustainable debt. She joins me along with Carrie Gleason of the Fair Workweek Initiative at the Center for Popular Democracy to explain what can be done. CG: This has been going on for quite some time, and during the recession, about ten years ago now, retail companies started to turn to these private equity firms to help them with their financial struggles. Many retail companies were bought out through this p

  • Finding healing justice with Cat Brooks

    Finding healing justice with Cat Brooks


    The Justice Teams Network is a new project aimed at challenging dominant narratives of police shootings and helping communities find healing. Building on models developed by the Anti Police Terror Project and Dignity and Power Now, the network brings together activists with training in investigation, community support, and communication to deal with the aftermath of police violence, and works on policy to prevent it. I spoke with Justice Teams Network director Cat Brooks, who has also just decided to run for Mayor of Oakland, California. When the cops kill somebody, the responding organization, whether it’s APTP, or somewhere else, our Facebook pages go off, our Twitter pages go off, our personal phones go off, We then send an email out to a list of about 500 people who are trained and are active in the database, who are trauma-informed investigators. That means they have been trained on how to engage communities and people that have dealt with various traumas. They go to the scene, they talk to community me

  • May Day Without Immigrants in Wisconsin, with Gabriel Quintero

    May Day Without Immigrants in Wisconsin, with Gabriel Quintero


    As May Day comes around again, once again immigrant workers take to the streets in protest of continued criminalization. Having defeated the 287g program, which makes local law enforcement into an arm of immigration enforcement, in Milwaukee, Voces De La Frontera and other organizations have called for a "Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants" strike action to halt the program in Waukesha. Gabriel Quintero is a member of Voces and spoke to me about the day, the departure of Paul Ryan, and their organizing under the Trump administration. In the past, our Sheriff in Waukesha County, he wants to participate in the program called 287g, which would allow the sheriff’s department to act an immigration enforcement agent. This program has been known for not… What can I say? The purpose is not what the people wanted. We all hear about Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County, which is Arizona, he was using that program to intimidate and put all our community, immigrant community, and pretty much base it on your race. It was p

  • The strike wave rolls on, with Noah Karvelis of Arizona Educators United

    The strike wave rolls on, with Noah Karvelis of Arizona Educators United


    Arizona may well be the next state to see a massive teacher strike, as they voted last week for a Thursday strike deadline. Part of the wave of teacher militancy, the #RedForEd movement began through a Facebook page with support from existing unions, and has led to a point where 78 percent of the 57,000 teachers who participated in the strike vote last week voted to walk out. Noah Karvelis was one of the founders of Arizona Educators United, the Facebook page that helped spur the movement, and he explains why Arizona joined the wave.   A lot of our kids here in Arizona don’t have textbooks that they need to be successful. They stop at President George W. Bush, for example. They don’t have working desks and a lot of the classes don’t have paper towels and just the bare necessities that you need for a classroom. What is happening is we have an entire generation of Arizona citizens who haven’t been given a chance at academic success. It has been thrown away by the state, any chance that they had of academic succ

  • Repeal and replace the barriers to progress regardless of party, with Joe Dinkin

    Repeal and replace the barriers to progress regardless of party, with Joe Dinkin


    In a busy week for the Working Families Party, they announced a new director, found out that Paul Ryan was dropping out of his race against WFP member Randy Bryce in Wisconsin, faced threats of defunding, held a political education training, and voted to endorse the challengers in the New York gubernatorial race. Oh, and somewhere in there they helped pass paid sick days in New Jersey, too. I spoke with WFP's Joe Dinkin about the party's national strategy, how its challenge to Paul Ryan helped make him quit, and why they're finally breaking with Andrew Cuomo despite his threats. I think especially with Trump in the White House, with a cabinet and an administration composed of billionaires and avowed white nationalists who've been running the country, the urgency for our kind of values is felt more deeply and more broadly than ever before. People who are the opponents of that progressive agenda--whether they're Republicans or whether they're Democrats--are really feeling the heat right now. And it's emboldened