It’s going to be #OurALA

I was really loud and angry about initial indications from the American Library Association that the organization would be collaborating with the Trump administration. Like, really really mad. I am equally glad to see the organization signaling shock and dismay at early administration policies aimed at dismantling the state. This is the ALA I want to work in and for, and which represents the things that I care about.

It also has me thinking about the absolute importance of sites for organizing and resistance, sites that the Trump administration is producing for us hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. It’s hard to do anything around shared sentiment and affect unless you have something to do. I am still befuddled by ALA’s initial statement of collaboration, but I’m heartened by this latest. We’ll have institutional support in whatever fights we undertake. I think and hope and will put my efforts toward that end.

And I have been so moved by the mass outpouring of resistance that I see in my social media feeds, on the news, in the papers. The huge numbers that turned out to the airports last week, including hundreds at my hometown airport in Boise, they do my heart good in these challenging times.

Most moving to me? The one-hour work stoppage called and pulled off by the fierce New York Taxi Workers Union. Twenty years of organizing built the capacity to call for a unified action, everybody together, resisting en masse, an issue that wasn’t about wages or working conditions, but was about the kind of world taxi drivers want to live in. For me, that’s the power of organizing in the workplace. Once built locally, that power can be deployed in all kinds of ways, to all kinds of other ends. Once I’ve gotten a bullhorn permit for a lockout picket, I have built that skill for good. Need a bullhorn permit for an action in NYC? I’m your person. And union organizing means I am always building my network of other people who have those skills, have built them through use, people who know what it means to show up and why it matters. We get better and braver with practice. We are all about to get a lot of it.

 

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