Resistance Guide: A Gift and a Struggle
Last year, during my senior year of college at Occidental, I was tasked with writing a senior thesis— a capstone research project that served as a graduation requirement for the Urban and Environment Policy program. I wanted this project to not just be for the sake of graduating only to be read by my professors and maybe another fellow student, but to actually be useful and advance the goals of a movement. The topic I had already picked was about electoral politics and progressive political parties, but right as we were about to buckle down to begin working on them, the election happened, and I changed my project slightly to basically looking at how the Left could learn from the Tea Party movement. Even though I had found a way to channel the urgency of the election into my senior thesis, I was still constantly frustrated by the thought of it being read by just a couple of people only to collect dust in the department’s office.
In the end, I think my hunch was right. But that’s ok! Because since June I have been a Fellow here at the Center, where I’ve primarily working on the Resistance Guide which is the actualization of what I hoped my senior thesis would be. It’s a book written for the thousands of newly activated and agitated people who are getting involved in social movements for the first time in their lives since the Trump election, using the strategies of the Tea Party as a model. It’s like a shorter, lighter version of This is an Uprising, tailored to the current political moment. It’s for my mom, it’s for your mom, and all the people who are angry about Trump but don’t know what to do about it. I couldn’t ask for a better project to work on right after graduating.
I started working during the last few stages of the writing process. Because of the urgency we felt around getting the Guide out as quickly as possible, we decided to forgo a publisher and self-publish. This was great in many ways. So much control! Setting our own deadlines! Picking exactly who’s input and collaboration we wanted! But it also brought many challenges. All of the things that a publisher would normally take care of fell on us— things like design, printing, and distribution. It felt like every week there was a new set of obstacles. But the end product, which is available for free as a PDF at guidingtheresistance.org and as a hardcopy on Amazon, is really beautiful, and I’m so proud of it. We learned so much by doing this process on our own from start to finish, and I hope that the hundreds (or thousands) of people who read the Resistance Guide learn a lot too. If only I could get my mom to be one of them!
December 24th, 2018
As many of you know, I am a social justice geek. I compulsively read and think about social movements, and have been doing this for a long time, and am now considered a specialist in the field commonly referred to … Continue reading
January 22nd, 2018
It is amazing that the Trump election and inauguration was over a year ago. The Center for the Working poor (aka the Center), has been dramatically affected by these cycles of Trump and the protest movement. In the weeks after … Continue reading
January 9th, 2017
Many have asked how I am feeling after Trump was elected to President of the US. The largest natural disaster in my lifetime just hit my community. It reminds me of both the day after my father died in my … Continue reading
August 5th, 2013
You may find the original article in Yes! Magazine or read the full text below. It was also published on Truthout.org. Click Here to Kick Glenn Beck Off the Air: Web Activism’s Big Wins—and What to Do Next Monday, 24 … Continue reading
August 5th, 2013
I wrote this article with my brother Mark Engler about strategy in the movement to combat climate change. It was published in Dissent magazine and Truthout.org. You can read the complete article below or read it on Truthout.org: Climate of … Continue reading
December 18th, 2012
Dear Friends, In our journey to build a more just, a more democratic, and a more sustainable world, there are many challenges: cynicism, fear, despairs. But this holiday season, we are lifted up by the words Dr. Martin Luther King … Continue reading
December 17th, 2012
The Center for the Working Poor, (aka the Burning Bush Community), continues to share in the wonderful mix of serving the poor, communal living, prayer and meditation, and nonviolent movement organizing that distinguishes our beautiful home. In addition to delivering … Continue reading
November 5th, 2012
By Isabelle Nastasia The impact of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission allowing unlimited and anonymous campaign spending has been profound and could yet be decisive in this election. With an estimated $9.8 billion … Continue reading