Activism and movements

I love how when you sit in a classroom, someone often tries to teach you how to do practical things in the world. The class I took a few years ago on community organizing is just making me laugh out loud now; I just don’t think there is any classroom experience that could really prepare you for what it actually looks like and feels like to try to connect with people to move change forward.

In Oregon, House Bill 3059 would mandate that all entertainment clubs display posters that spell out what rights independent contractor entertainers (strippers, DJs, comedians) have, as well as maintain an anonymous hotline entertainers can call to report violations or seek clarification.

I think it’s a stupid bill, if at least a tiny step forward in spreading accurate information to strippers in Oregon on what their status actually is and how they are actually treated.

I think I have effectively alienated myself from a few people who are staunch supporters of the bill. And more closely aligned myself with other workers who think empowerment and respectability politics is pretty bullshit (as do I). But it’s kind of killing me that there are such divides within the community. That is exactly what dominant culture encourages people of oppressed communities to behave: divide and conquer. Fuckers!

You can’t organize a community that doesn’t want to be. You can’t effectively talk to a community and get a solid read on what it needs or wants if the community isn’t organized.

It honestly feels like a shit show. All of the interpersonal politics and drama and history that shapes and influences the real way policy (organizationally, institutionally, legally, culturally) is created. Some of it is petty and some if it isn’t. Some of it comes down to fundamental differences of opinion that can’t be bridged or glossed over; these differences really matter in building a movement, and yet it is still tough to know- is this the right way to go about pushing for change? Alienation never feels right to me, but maybe it should? How do we “call in” as opposed to “call out” possible supporters and opponents? How do you stay diplomatic while still remaining true to your message?

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