Our Movements Are Unstoppable: AORTA’s Winter 2017 Newsletter

We Are Ready to Build.

We made it to 2017, but the coming years promise many dire challenges to our movements for liberation and survival. Trump’s election has emboldened Klan, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates and other white supremacist/nationalist hardliners. We can expect regressive legislation and rollbacks to advances made by our movements. Right wing forces within and outside the government are escalating attacks, abuse, arrests, and detentions of members of the immigrant, queer/trans, Black, and social justice communities.

In an era that is already seeing increased crackdowns on people’s movements and on democracy itself, two of our members have already been arrested while protesting since the election—Jenna at Standing Rock and Manju (while nursing her baby) at the North Carolina Legislative building during a special session called by Republicans to strip the incoming Democratic governor of crucial powers. (Look for a coming piece of writing by Manju and Jenna about these protests and their context.)

We are also seeing widespread dissent, masses of people newly moved to action to protect our rights, our earth, and our communities. We are seeing major splits both within the Republican party and within the ruling class in general, offering openings for intervention.

We are in a period of right wing, white supremacist backlash against the undeniable power of movements, change, and progress. In the words of Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement:

“it’s never been more clear. their way of life is dying out. their values are outdated and cannot compete with modernity. i keep looking at all these old white men who harken back to the old days. they don’t realize that the old days are gone. that’s why they’re fighting so hard for it. it’s slipping from their grasp. 

and the other thing that is clear? they are afraid of us. everything that they are discussing is about “fear of political retribution.” 

we did that fam. and we can keep doing it if we stay focused, bring more people in, develop more leaders, and build our power.

mama assata had it right:
we have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Where will you be on the inauguration?

Many cities across the country will be holding actions on January 20, not just Washington D.C.! Below are a few listings; if you don’t know what’s happening in your area, check the internet and local organizers!

Washington D.C.
New Orleans
Minneapolis/St. Paul (and Women’s March on the 21st)
This interview with Kali Akuno on preparing to be ungovernable;

The guiding vision and principles of the Women’s March on Washington;

This guide to taking kids to a march.

Political Education Syllabi for Sharpening Our Analysis to Resist and Win in the Era of Trump

Following the #Ferguson Syllabus, numerous syllabi have been developed by activist intellectuals and organizers as resources for collective study and teaching about Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock. Here are a few of our favorites!

AORTA transitions

In December, the first of our new hires to complete the year-long candidacy period, Marc Mascarenhas-Swan, became a full worker-owner with AORTA! (For those unfamiliar, it is standard in worker co-ops for members to undergo a candidacy period before being voted in as an owner.) We are thrilled to welcome Marc as a co-owner of AORTA, and very grateful for what he, Autumn, and Manju have brought to AORTA in the past year.

Our beloved Esteban Kelly, one of our founding members who is also the Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops, will be taking a step back from the day-to-day work in AORTA to focus on his work with the Federation. He will remain an owner of AORTA, and intends to return to full worker-owner status in two years or less, but for now you will be seeing less of Esteban with his AORTA hat on.

Check out this article in The American Prospect for more information on what is happening in North Carolina, plus many quotes from our beloved AORTiAn Manju Rajendran:

“I hope people are talking about North Carolina all over the country. With Trump coming to power, we can expect the terrain to become much more treacherous for democracy. I’m glad to know we’re going to fight back.”

Manju is also featured in this recent profile by the Women’s March on Raleigh:

“When asked, ‘What issues are crucial to you to bring our society closer to justice and equity for all?’ Manju replied, ‘The urgent issues we’re facing now were what urged me to put my body on the line at the North Carolina legislature a couple weeks ago. Like my sisters across this state, I want the freedom to make decisions for my body, the resources to take care of my family, and the brighter future my daughter deserves.’

She continued, ‘This moment is ripe. North Carolinians are showing up with plenty of energy, eager to turn things around. I hear my neighbors feeling really passionate about winning a healthcare plan that keeps us well, reinvesting in our public schools and libraries, creating better jobs with dignity and living wages, winning campaigns for racial and gender equity.’

Manju concluded, ‘Of course, this means we’ll have to demand disinvestment from unjust policing, end privatization of our public needs, stop allowing corporations to poison our rivers, and reallocate resources that are being used to harm us, towards the greater good.'”

In struggle,