Next Four Years – Workshops


The following workshops will be held at The Next Four Years: Building our Movements in Dangerous Times conference, Saturday, December 3, 2016, at Simmons College, Boston

Workshop Session #1  (12:00 noon to 1:15 pm)

Healthy Planet/Climate Justice – Room C101

Sue Donaldson, M.D., 350 Massachusetts volunteer

Economic Justice: Jobs, Education, Housing – Room C311

Elena Letona, Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor

Social Justice: Racial, Criminal Justice – Room C103

Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, Union Baptist Church, Cambridge

No to War – Working for Peace with Justice in the Dangerous Age of Trump – Room E305

Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee, Peace & Planet Network, No to NATO Network, Asia-Pacific Working Group); Paul Shannon (American Friends Service Committee, People’s Budget Campaign, United for Justice and Peace); Jewish Voice for Peace – Speaker TBA

The range of issues confronting the peace movement is enormous: the urgent need to act in solidarity with besieged immigrants, Muslims and people of color; U.S. military spending equal to that of the next eight biggest spenders combined, Trump and company’s commitment to escalate the war against ISIS, planning military spending increases of $55 – $80 billion; intensifying military tensions between the great powers (U.S./NATO, Russia and China;) wars across the greater Middle East and against ISIS; the new nuclear arms race with the U.S. planning to spend $1 trillion for a new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems; Palestinian rights; more than 1,000 U.S. military bases and installations girdling the planet; AFRICOM’s wars across Africa, and more.

This workshop will highlight the need for those working on other important issues to join in with anti-war initiatives if they are to succeed. It will highlight People’s Budget and Global Day of Action on Military Spending campaigning to transform U.S. national budget priorities; halting spending for the $1 trillion nuclear weapons upgrade, divestment from nuclear weapons producers, and reducing the world’s nuclear arsenals; building movement capacity to prevent great power conflict; working for diplomatic and political, not military, resolution of the Middle East and ISIS wars, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigning for Palestinian rights. Participant discussion will focus on how to make common cause with those who are most vulnerable to Trump Administration policies and related attacks and the counter-climate change movement, as well as ways to build the highlighted campaigns.

Strengthening our Democracy, including electoral movement building – Room E209

Mike Connolly, State Representative-Elect, Cambridge; Lee Ketelson, We the People Massachusetts

Can we actually solve the major crises of our time without having a democracy that is responsive to “We the People/”? Lee Ketelsen will discuss the corporate take-over of our democracy of the past few decades and why a crucial step forward is to win a US Constitutional Amendment. 

Freedom Circles – Room W203

Presenter: Julius Jones, Love Warrior, Black Lives Matter Worcester.   Hosts: John MacDougall, Massachusetts Peace Action and 350 Massachusetts, morning; Su Turner, Challenging Our White Supremacy, afternoon.

Freedom Circles is a unique process by which social justice communities can lay the groundwork for building deep political solidarity.  We will use the advanced modality Systemic Family Constellations to map a path forward.  Getting free materially, emotionally and spiritually is our shared aim, and Freedom Circles offers a process for how to do that.

Inside/Outside: Connecting Electoral and Base Building Strategies – Room E207

Bob Wing

Impacting the 115th Congress – Room C302

Raed Jarrar, American Friends Service Committee; Carol Coakley, Massachusetts Peace Action; Alli McCracken, CodePink

Join us to discuss how to work with and impact the upcoming Congress. This workshop will discuss the best practices in requesting, preparing for, conducting and following up on Congressional meetings. It will also examine escalation tactics, civil disobedience and direct action as other options to engage and impact Congress. 

NonViolent Direct Action – When and Why – W205

Cathy Hoffman

This workshop will be a participatory circle to explore some of  the contributions and questions around non-violent direct action. From looking at principles of nonviolence to the times and reasons for choosing direct action (and civil disobedience), we will share from our own movement experiences.

Including reflections from Central America solidarity, Resisting the West Roxbury Pipeline and Standing Rock, we will bring the pieces of race, class and gender identity into the conversation.

At this time we are living in, we will pause to reflect, celebrate and build community as we move forward. In these trying times, we will find ways to keep trying.

Fair Trade not Free Trade – Room W201

Presenters: Paul Garver, Democratic Socialists of America; Barbara Clancy, No TPP Boston; Liz King, No TPP Boston.  Facilitator: Rand Wilson, Communications & Policy Director, SEIU 888

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead for now, thanks to a sustained popular movement in every TPP country where protest was possible. But its supporters– including big business and industry organizations, and congressional “free traders” in both parties–still hold enough power to push another incarnation of it. In the US, the TPP made trade deals into a campaign issue, but larger issues surrounding job loss and the unequal distribution of economic benefits of globalization still must be addressed.

This workshop will explore how labor, environmental and community groups can work together to build a strong coalition to fight for “Fair Trade, Not Free Trade.” What is going on at the state and national level? How can we push for trade agreements that protect worker rights, jobs and the environment, and bring labor, community groups, and environmental organizations together? Jumping off points  include cross-border union organizing,  eliminating Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in NAFTA and other existing trade agreements, improving international opportunities for small business, etc.

Organizing 101 – Room C106

Mike Prokosch, Dorchester People for Peace, veteran popular educator

Primarily for high school and college activists, this workshop will explore effective ways to retain new members, build a stronger organization, and broaden your support on campus. We’ll look at different uses of direct action; review handouts on creative direct actions and narrative framing; and peek at the stages that social movements often follow.

Mike Prokosch’s first arrest was for occupying a university administration building, precipitating a student strike that shut down the campus for two weeks. He spent 12 years building an international solidarity network throughout New England during the US war in El Salvador. After the Wall Street crash of 2008, he cofounded the New Priorities Network, a national effort to move Pentagon funding to our communities. He’s led popular economics workshops for unions and community groups across the country. He’s now focusing on climate change.

Workshop Session #2  (3:15 to 4:30 pm)

Bringing Our Movements Together in Dangerous Times – Room C103

Sue Donaldson, 350 Massachusetts; Rev. Paul Ford, Union Baptist Church; Elena Letona, Neighbor to Neighbor; Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee; Mike Connolly, State Representative-Elect.   Facilitator: Paul Shannon, American Friends Service Committee

Today our various movements for economic justice, criminal justice reform, climate justice, peace, democracy, and social and racial justice organize separately from each other. But over recent years there is a growing sense of the need for greater collaboration which has led to growing mutual support. But there is no strategic collaboration between these different efforts. The question is whether the present level of convergence will be sufficient to support the kind of mobilization that will be required of us under a Trump presidency.

This workshop will bring together leaders of our various movements who spoke in the morning plenary panel to investigate ideas for deeper and more effective collaboration between our efforts including developing a Massachusetts movement infrastructure that allows us to act together strategically, creating a bold common agenda that promises work, hope, dignity and real security for all of us, etc.

Moral Revival – Room W205

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, pastor, Bethel A.M.E. Church; coordinator, Massachusetts Moral Revival

Vision for Black Lives – Room C311

DiDi Delgado, Black Lives Matter Cambridge and Movement for Black Lives; Sonia Kikeri, Black Lives Matter Cambridge

Our Revolution – C101

Jared Hicks, Our Revolution Massachusetts (Organization Pending); J. Michael Gilbreath, Our Revolution Massachusetts and Progressive Democrats of America

The Bernie Sanders campaign energized thousands in Massachusetts, many who had never engaged in electoral politics, many who had given up on it, and many veterans of multiple campaigns. How do we sustain this broad coalition? How do we support the creation of a “web” of mutual support to enhance the effectiveness of “single-issue” organizing? Are there opportunities to organize within the Democratic party and upend the neo-liberal consensus that its leadership embraces?

This workshop will discuss the issues and organizing possibilities going forward for Our Revolution here in Massachusetts. Many Sanders delegates and supporters in Massachusetts have been exploring how best to continue and develop the momentum of the Presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. In doing so, we hope to provide a common space and meeting ground for collaboration with groups, organizations and individuals seeking to address the critical issues raised in the Sanders campaign, doing so both in the electoral arena and in vital issue campaigns. Key to success will be respecting and supporting the work of other state and local progressive organizations and coalitions. Through collaboration and mutual support, we can create a “multiplier” effect, expanding the impact of all of us.

ORMA also envisions a concerted effort to work with candidates and organizations on electoral efforts at the state and local level. We anticipate an organized effort to expand the representation of those who supported Sen. Sanders, in Democratic ward, town, and city committees and at the state committee level.   

Jared Hicks and Michael Gilbreath were elected Sanders delegates and are among the organizers working to establish a statewide organization tentatively called Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA).

Student Organizers’ Dialogue – Room C302

Jenny Horsburgh, Newton North High School Peace Action; Micaela Fraccalosi, Emmanuel College Peace Action; Masha Vernik, 350MA divestment organizer, Boston University

The workshop will bring student/youth organizers together from a variety of activist movements. They will share experiences about their work and discuss the challenges that youth organizers face, especially given Trump’s election. What dangers can we anticipate? What potential do we see for our future work as we grapple with the ways the system is failing? How can we combat hate and bridge divides among our causes? What works for our organizing and how can we learn from and collaborate with each other as we move forward?

Immigrants Under the Trump Regime – Room E305

Gabe Camacho, American Friends Service Committee, and Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative

What will be the immediate and longterm affects for the immigrant community in a Trump administration? The workshop will examine Trump’s ten-point immigration plan and its implementation. How will it affect “Dreamers”,  refugees, detainees, Temporary Protected Status, “Guest Workers”, and other current immigrant programs and policies? The responses and voices of the immigrant communities will be highlighted, as well as how workshop participants and allies can get involved in the struggle against discrimination and deportation, and support immigrants’ struggle for dignity and justice.

Countering Islamophobia: Organizing as a Unified Force – Room E207

Hayat Imam, Dorchester People for Peace and Kanwal Haq, Jetpac Inc.

The appalling surge of hate crimes since the Trump win requires that we give a strong, coordinated response. We must commit to “power up” in whatever field we find ourselves, so we can become a collective force to reckon with. Our goal is that this workshop will be a crucible for forging ideas and creative actions against all forms of violence and racism, including Islamophobia. We have found that changing attitudes is not always enough, we need to think of ways to make institutional changes. We’ll focus on two approaches for impacting fundamental institutions in our society: increasing civic engagement, and educating ourselves to take power in local government; and building a solid network of advocates and allies to tackle racism, wars that create refugees and suffering, and the rights of vulnerable communities, using settings such as Schools and City Councils.

We’ll encourage participatory dialogue and an interactive process. Those of us most affected can lead the way, but those of us who are allies are crucial for support and help with organizing. We win if we all win!

Countering Trumpism’s Right-Wing Backlash – Room E209

Chip Berlet, Political Research Associates (retired), co-author of  Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (2000), and forthcoming from Routledge: Trumping Democracy; and Pam Chamberlain (Political Research Associates, retired), LGBTQ educator with 30+ years studying the Right. 

The Trump campaign used right-wing populist rhetoric to mobilize White Nationalist resentment of “Others;” normalize misogyny and heteropatriarchy; and warn of fake threats from Muslims and Mexicans. Trump’s coded language attracted antisemites, neofascists, neonazis and enflame conspiratorialist fears of liberal/left subversion and treason. Significant Trump voting blocs were A: blue collar wage earners, precariously employed hourly workers, farmers, ranchers, and small-town business-owners who had been pushed down the economic ladder by Republican and Democratic Party pro-1% neoliberal economic policies; and B: white collar, salaried, college graduates who feared they would be next. We must counter this toxic coalition to build political power.

US Role in the Middle East – Room C106

Raed Jarrar, American Friends Service Committee; Rashin Khosravibavandpouri, Massachusetts Peace Action; Alli McCracken, CodePink

Join us to examine the past, present and future of US foreign policy in the Middle East. This workshop will discuss the US role in Iraq and Syria, where the US has be involved in direct and indirect military interventions for decades. We will also touch on the US-Iranian relationship and prospects for new US policies under the Trump adminstration. 

Facing our Pain, Supporting Each Other – Room W201

John MacDougall, Massachusetts Peace Action and 350 Massachusetts; Rosalie Anders, Massachusetts Peace Action and 350 Massachusetts

In the current situation, do you feel fear, anger, grief, hopelessness or some other difficult emotion?  In this experiential workshop, we offer tools and perspectives to help us face these emotions in an open but also constructive way.  We will also share activities and ideas than can support, nurture and encourage us, both as individuals and in the groups we are involved in.  These groups include not only movement organizations, but also our families, workplaces, faith communities, neighborhoods etc.