Thursday, December 02, 2004

Update on "What do we do now?" conference planning

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a vision for a conference for liberal-minded people in NYC to gather and make some plans about how to get/stay involved in local & state politics, and how we can work to mitigate the effects of Republican environmental, reproductive rights, and other policies. At the time that I first posted about that, I had put in a burst of work and was psyched about organizing the conference and confident that I could do it.

Then, for the next couple of weeks, I experienced a form of "buyer's regret," fearing that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, wishing that I could just do my own little thing from time-to-time and be apathetic the rest of the time. I'm still feeling that way, kind of.

Tonight I attended a meeting of people who are organizing "counter-inaugural" actions and events, both here and in DC. I haven't been to an activist meeting in years, so it was an interesting experience. When I was in college, I was a member of many activist groups, although I found many kinds of action to be not really my thing. I did organize an event called Herstory during my senior year at Stanford, and I realized that I like organizing events and providing a forum for people who are doing great work to reach out to others, educate people, and take action. I also lived in a co-op house (a VEGAN co-op house, just in case you need further evidence of my hippie past) which was run by consensus. Anyway, I felt immediately comfortable at the meeting tonight, because it was run in the exact same way that meetings of activist groups in college were run: there was an agenda, two facilitators, a "stack" of people waiting to speak, wiggling of fingers to show agreement, a timekeeper, a notetaker, a vibes-watcher, etc. Everyone seemed friendly, they represented a fairly diverse range of ages but were mostly white, and there were clearly a range of left-leaning political perspectives among the people attending the meeting. As is often the case when I'm around my political activist friends, I felt like I was probably one of the more conservative people in the room. At work and in many other settings, I often feel radical in my politics and assumptions about the world. *sigh*

It took a long time to get to the part of the agenda that interested me: local actions. I went to the meeting sincerely hoping to find another group that was already planning an event similar to what I envision, so that I could just offer my ideas and support. When the floor was opened for discussion of local action, few hands went up, and I realized fairly quickly that I would just have to dive in. So, I stood and briefly described my idea and let everyone know about the organizing meeting that is taking place this Sunday (email me at nyc_resists AT for more info!). A few people seemed really interested, so perhaps some will show up. And no one jumped in to let me know that my work is redundant. So the conference seems to be my baby. Beyond that, plans for local events are few and vague at this point.

I discovered a new group that I think is awesome: Radical Reference. These librarians provide "answers for those who question authority." Awesome.

Overall, I'm really glad that I went to the meeting, and I'm looking forward to getting back into organizing of some sort....


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10:35 PM  

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