In the final days of 2023, we’re looking back at our offerings for the year. They reflect months of movement groups assessing, convening, strategizing and planning. We take account of the looming MAGA threat, but see signs of hope all over. Voters pushed back the radical right. Determined organizing that brought progressives into elected office yielded real gains. Workers seized the power they wield by striking, and made common cause with communities. Even in the devastation of the war on Gaza, we can take heart from the broad and unrelenting resistance. To meet the challenges of 2024, we will need all the lessons, hope and solidarity we can draw on. At Convergence, we will do our best to bring it.
Greatest hits: the year’s five most-read stories
- Laid-off Sierra Club Staffers: ‘We Can’t Give Up on United Fronts.’ Movement photographer and journalist Brooke Anderson interviews former Sierra Club staffers Hop Hopkins and Michelle Mascarenhas about shakeups at the organization and what they portend for our movements.
- A Sacred Trust: Being a Paid Staff Person of a Base Organization. In his contribution to the Building Resilient Organizations series, Deepak Pateria brings “a sharp and narrow focus on … how we can do the mission-critical work of building resilient and powerful base organizations while creating sustainable practices and work culture for staff.” Also in Spanish! Una Confianza Sagrada: Ser Miembro de Personal Pagado de una Organización de Base
- Palestine Solidarity and the Fight Against MAGA. Convergence Editorial Board Chair Max Elbaum argues for making the critical link between US policy on Palestine and the urgent need to resist authoritarianism
- The MAGA Threat Is Greater Today Than in 2020. Early in 2023, Max Elbaum looked back at the midterms and ahead to the stakes in the 2024 election.
- Toward a People-Powered Democracy. In our Organizing Against Autocracy series, James Mumm and Scott Nakagawa offered an analysis of the state of authoritarian movements in the US and elsewhere, and an urgent call for building the united front to defeat them.
Editors’ picks: some gems you might have missed
- Building the Front, Strengthening Our Movements (video). In thislive panel discussion, Maurice Mitchell (Working Families Party),Alexa Horwart (Faith In MN), Sendolo Diaminah (Carolina Federation) and Brendan Walsh Worker Power AZ) brought their thinking and real-world experience to bear on many of the key strategic questions we need to answer. The article What Does It Look Like When We Build Our Power and Fight the Right, by Sandra Hinson, synthesizes the discussion.
- Independent Political Organizations: A Strategy in the Making takes a close look at the historical roots and current expressions of this form that author Puya Gerami calls “the potential vehicle to build a diverse working-class majority powerful enough to win and wield governance in cities and states across America.”
- ‘We Build Democracy Through Grassroots Organizing.’ Ohio Organizing Collaborative Co-Executive Director Molly Shack talks with Convergence’s Stephanie Luce about fighting authoritarianism in a state where an anti-democratic minority has seized many of the levers of power. This interview is part of the Organizing Against Autocracy series.
- UTLA/Reclaim Strike Showed What Labor + Community Can Do. United Teachers Los Angeles leader Alex Caputo-Pearl reflects on the labor and community organizing that built the winning 2019 strike—and the ways strikes build power for the long fight for racial and economic justice.
- People-Side Economics: Who’s Afraid of the Federal Reserve? “One of the greatest tricks central bankers–and the ruling-class interests that they serve–ever pulled was creating the impression that monetary policy is just a technical thing,” economist Samir Sonti tells Convergence’s Stephanie Luce. The interview was part of our People-Side Economics series.
Podcast standouts: picks from our three 2023 shows
- From Indebted, Prison is a Debt Trap: Dr. Richelle Brooks on Carceral Debt. A bad interaction with police on someone’s worst day can spiral into years of debt. Dr. Brooks, a carceral debt organizer with Debt Collective, joins host Maurice BP-Weeks to talk about how that happens—and the particular ways it affects the lives of Black people and other people of color.
- From Hegemonicon, Momentum in the Labor Movement, with Alex Han. In this episode, host William Lawrence begins to look at what the Left is building to contest—and replace—the vision offered by the MAGA Right. He sits down with longtime labor organizer Alex Han (now executive director of In These Times) to assess the resurgence of labor, and the difficulties of building an intersectional and internationalist labor movement.
- From Black Work Talk, Season 3, Where the Writers Guild of America Goes Next to Support Marginalized Workers, with Angela Harvey and Tawal Panyacosit Jr. Black Work Talk returns for Season 3 with new co-hosts, Jamala Rogers and Bianca Cunningham. In this episode, Bianca talks with the WGA activists about what the union won from the second-longest strike in Hollywood history, and how the unions can continue to press for greater diversity in the industry.