Twenty Years After Seattle: Dispensing with Myths

Canadian Dimension just posted this piece, my latest “writing with movements” column. I’m re-posting it here. This article is part of the Shutdown WTO Organizers’ History Project, a collection of histories and reflections from people directly involved in organizing the Seattle mass direct action in 1999.

November 30, 2019, will mark twenty years since “Seattle 1999.” This week of mass direct action, involving tens of thousands of people, successfully undermined the Seattle Ministerial of the World Trade Organization and helped to propel a critical public discussion about neoliberalism.

Over the last two decades, counterproductive myths have developed around “the battle of Seattle.” Now is a good time to dispense with them. One way to do this is to revisit the history from the perspective of those who were involved in organizing the mass direct action. I was one among them – at that time, a 22-year-old activist living in Olympia, Washington. Along with dozens of others, I helped found the Direct Action Network (DAN) and spent months organizing for the protests.

There are three myths about Seattle that are especially harmful. The first is that what we did was altogether new. In fact, our efforts were inspired by and followed in the footsteps of militant movements in the global South, which led the global revolt against neoliberalism. Building on anti-colonial legacies, this cycle of struggle started with protests against structural adjustment measures in the 1980s, especially in Africa and Latin America, and further cohered with the Zapatistas’ emergence onto the world stage in the mid-1990s.

In addition, much of our political framework in Seattle – from affinity groups to direct action – grew out of previous movement experiences. These include the labor radicalism of the Industrial Workers of the World, revolutionary pacifist efforts, grassroots direct action initiatives in the Black freedom movement, various strands of feminist organizing, the queer radicalism of ACT UP and the Lesbian Avengers, and the forest defense activism of Earth First!.

The second myth is that the Seattle actions were largely spontaneous. “This myth,” writes former DAN organizer David Solnit, “overlooks the massive amounts of grassroots organizing, mobilizing, networking, education, alliance building, media work, and the creation of a unifying strategic framework.”

The vision for mass direct action in Seattle developed through an informal West Coast activist network, primarily involving anti-war activists, anarchists, direct-action environmentalists, international solidarity groups, and anti-prison activists. We formalized as DAN in the summer of 1999. Through months of meetings, debates, and work, DAN generated an action strategy, built relationships with other organizations, and mobilized on an ambitious scale.

DAN developed and distributed more than 50,000 copies of a broadsheet with information about the WTO and detailed instructions for participating in the direct action. DAN also organized a roadshow that toured along the West Coast, offering performances and action trainings. DAN members regularly facilitated popular education workshops and spoke at events throughout the region. And just before the WTO meetings began, DAN ran a nine-day “convergence” in Seattle, where we offered orientation, trainings, meals, and space for protest preparation.

Not everyone – and probably not even a majority – of those who protested in Seattle came through DAN. But we trained thousands of people and reached tens of thousands more. Our efforts created an infrastructure for what unfolded in the streets.

The third myth is that what we did in Seattle was magical, even flawless. In reality, we made many mistakes. As former DAN organizer Stephanie Guilloud notes, “We were not building a long-term resistance movement: we were mobilizing for a protest.” As we urgently mobilized, many of us overlooked the political implications of the fact that we were predominantly white.

Privilege framed white organizers’ experiences in many ways. We mostly stayed within our limited activist networks and social scenes. Many of us didn’t think about the different meanings and risks of direct action tactics for communities that face police repression every day. And for the most part, we were only beginning to understand the interconnections among colonialism, capitalism, ableism, hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, and other systems of domination.

The people most affected by what we protested in Seattle were not majority white, and significant numbers of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color did participate in the protests. Those of us who were white should have worked more intentionally in solidarity with their efforts.

While mobilizing, we also didn’t consider how to lay the foundations for a resilient movement. As a result, we didn’t grapple with crucial questions: How should we be consciously connecting movement efforts to ongoing community-based struggles? And how should we, in Guilloud’s words, “challenge the dynamics of privilege and oppression while also building large, wide, and deep movements that are led by and rooted in the experiences of people who know injustice and exploitation – currently and historically”? These questions continue to be some of the most pressing for movements in North America.

Seattle 1999 was a tremendous victory. Let’s celebrate it and learn from what actually happened, including the mistakes.

#ShutdownWTO20 Organizers’ History Project

Organizing for the mass direct action against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 was one of the most important experiences of my life. For this reason, I have been delighted to spend the last few months working with some other co-founders of the Direct Action Network on the #ShutdownWTO20 Organizers’ History Project to commemorate and reflect on the 20th anniversary of the protests.

We compiled historical narratives from people who organized locally and regionally. We gathered articles and resources developed by people involved in the direct-action organizing. And we generated new analysis to support our collective efforts to look forward to the next 20 years. We offer this archival site as a humble contribution to remember the work of thousands and thousands of people who made it happen.

This photo is of the Direct Action Network WTO blockade map dividing downtown Seattle into 13 “pie slices” surrounding the Washington Convention & Trade Center.

Humbly Growing Older on the Left

The Summer 2019 issue of Canadian Dimension features this piece, my “writing with movements” column for the magazine. I’m reposting it here with links included.

I’ve recently returned to a something I wrote in my twenties. Back in 2005, I contributed a “Letter to older activists” to the book Letters from Young Activists. In that piece, I described a kind of “advice” that older leftists sometimes give to younger leftists that “sounds more like condescending lecturing than sincere sharing.” I elaborated:

Those of you who do this are often socially positioned in ways that lead you to feel deeply entitled to your expertise. And when you wield your age, experience, and achievements with self-righteous certainty, I find it hard to trust you. I’m thinking, for example, of some of you who are veterans of the often-mythologized “sixties.” There is certainly much we can all learn from the 1960s, as well as from many other historical moments. But the danger lies in romanticizing or demonizing the past, turning it into something that wholly trumps our new and creative ideas in changing circumstances. Young activists don’t need your status plays or your simplistic impositions of your past onto the present. Rather, we need you to recognize self-consciously how your past forms you, how it shapes your experience and understanding of the present in both limiting and illuminating ways.

From my now older vantage point, I can’t help but read this as cautionary guidance.

Many of us have been at an activist event when, during the question and answer session, an older leftist (frequently white, usually a man) steps up to the microphone and lambasts everyone present with a list of why whatever initiative at hand is insufficient or misguided.

Since turning forty, I’ve been thinking a lot about this kind of conduct. I increasingly recognize aspects of it in myself and others I know. In recent years, I’ve witnessed radicals my age and older dismissively discuss newer movement efforts, including the Movement for Black Lives, labor organizing campaigns, anti-fascist mobilizations, climate justice activism, and feminist and queer initiatives. Even if they don’t step up to a microphone, they don’t hesitate to share their criticisms in smaller discussions and online.

For sure, critical discussion can strengthen movements, and even comradely debates can sometimes be harsh. At the same time, I’m concerned with the responsibilities that older radicals have in how we deploy our knowledge and social statuses in criticizing movement activities, particularly the efforts of younger people and people newer to activism. This is something with which I struggle myself: How should I distinguish between useful and harmful criticisms? When is it appropriate to raise reservations and how? How can I avoid taking a corrosive, self-certain approach?

I’m trying to answer these questions for myself by looking to experienced radicals who have solid track records of cross-generational collaboration. One of these people is Mariame Kaba, a longtime organizer involved in struggles against the prison industrial complex and for transformative justice. In a 2017 interview, Kaba offered some advice that has stuck with me: “if you’re a veteran organizer it is your duty, I believe, to come into spaces with an open heart and an open ear and not to go in there with your arms crossed, ready to pounce, on how these young folks are doing everything wrong all the time.”

Part of what I take from Kaba is about intentionally cultivating curiosity about other people’s activities – and nourishing those dimensions that are most promising. So often in political work, clarifying questions are more useful than sharp criticisms or aphoristic wisdom.

Another person to whom I look is Silvia Federici, a veteran feminist activist and theorist. In a 2016 interview, Federici remarked, “I’ve made it a principle not to indulge in speech that is destructive.” As I understand it, this principle calls for deep thoughtfulness about the effects of our words and actions on others engaged in struggle, even – and maybe especially – when we have disagreements.

In that same interview, Federici also emphasized learning “to be more humble.” This is key, I think. Part of being humble is being courageously and compassionately self-critical. Some of the greatest gifts I have received from older radicals in my life have been frank reflections on their uncertainties, miscalculations, and mistakes. That kind of vulnerability, especially from those who are relatively privileged, is tremendously valuable. It encourages us all to examine what we take to be certain, and to admit when we’ve got something wrong.

If we show up with open hearts and ears, intentional curiosity, thoughtfulness about our words and actions, and humbleness and vulnerability, we aging activists can offer so much more than criticism to movements today.

Study for Struggle: All Our Trials

The work of INCITE! and Critical Resistance has crucially propelled the development of anti-racist feminist and prison abolitionist politics over the last two decades. But as most experienced activists know, these politics have much longer lineages, which are well worth exploring and learning from. Emily Thuma’s book All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence, just published by University of Illinois Press, is an enormous contribution to this process of exploration. Thuma introduces us to anticarceral feminist efforts of the 1970s and early 1980s, which challenged the mainstream feminist movement’s turn towards cops and courts as a way to deal with interpersonal violence. Carefully drawing on archives and interviews, she looks at participatory defense campaigns, organizations that supported incarcerated women, long-running collectively-produced women’s prison newsletters, and community-based coalitional efforts that attempted to tackle gender, racial, and economic violence. Thuma packs tremendous detail and insight into this short, well-written book. I recommend it!

Here’s one gem from Thuma’s book:

Across the United States, in and outside of prisons, grassroots women activists participated in collective actions that illuminated the interconnections between interpersonal violence against women and the racial and gender violence of policing and imprisonment. These mobilizations were spearheaded by radical women of color and antiracist white women, many of them lesbian-identified. They cultivated a distinctive left antiviolence politics that was defined by a critique of state violence; an understanding of race, gender, class, and sexuality as mutually constructed systems of power and meaning; and a practice of coalition-based organizing. […] Anticarceral feminist politics grew in the cracks of prison walls and at the interfaces between numerous social movements, including those for racial and economic justice, prisoners’ and psychiatric patients’ rights, and gender and sexual liberation. Through the process of building coalitions that transected these social justice struggles, the activists at the center of this study produced a broad and layered understanding of ‘violence against women’ that encompassed the structural violence of social inequalities, the violence of state institutions and agents, and interpersonal forms of violence, including rape, battering, and sexual coercion. This expansive analysis directly clashed with the ‘tough-on-crime’ ethos of the 1970s and the mainstream women’s movement’s increasing embrace of criminalization as a frontline solution to interpersonal violence.

Training for Movements

The Winter 2019 issue of Canadian Dimension features this piece, my “writing with movements” column for the magazine. I’m reposting it here with links included.

We can learn a lot about movements by looking at how – and how much – they train people.

Many activist spaces these days spend time developing critical analysis through events, writing, and discussion. But as much as we might wish otherwise, sharp analysis doesn’t automatically translate into the skills necessary for working in groups, making collaborative plans, and taking effective action. Successful movements create intentional mechanisms for helping people to learn such organizing skills.

There are lots of examples in recent history. The U.S. civil rights movement set up intensive civil disobedience trainings as well as freedom schools. The women’s liberation movement generated consciousness raising groups, peer-to-peer education practices, and touring workshops. The labor movement created summer schools, labor colleges, and worker education programs; although much less widespread today, some of these spaces continue to exist.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the direct action anti-nuclear movement developed a culture of training inspired by the civil rights and feminist movements. In preparation for large-scale civil disobedience actions involving hundreds of people, organizers regularly held workshops on decision-making, direct action, and campaign-building, among other topics. These trainings, some of which were day-long, combined presentations, facilitated discussions, and participatory activities, often with role-playing.

As historian and activist Andrew Cornell points out, this culture of training carried on into many subsequent movements. It was definitely influential as I came into radical politics in the 1990s. This was a period when activist skill-building workshops and open, training-oriented movement gatherings were much more common than they are today.

During this time, a network of experienced Earth First! organizers offered frequent workshops and touring “roadshows” focused on popular education around specific campaigns. Copwatch groups trained interested people in other cities about how to monitor and record local police activity. Similarly, Anti-Racist Action groups trained people across the continent in methods for countering white supremacist organizing. Many activists also routinely traveled to multi-day conferences and other gatherings that offered workshops on everything from blockades to banner-making, meeting facilitation to media outreach.

Arguably, this culture of training peaked with the so-called anti-globalization movement in the late 1990s and early 2000s. What we called “convergences” – gatherings for training and planning – preceded most of the large summit protests of that era. And during those years, it was common for groups involved in the movement to hold periodic workshops on topics such as anti-oppression, consensus decision-making, and direct action, as well as more specialized trainings for legal observers, street medics, and others.

Since then, there has been a noticeable downturn in training. Although many experienced activists have mentioned this to me, anarchist sociologist Lesley Wood is the only one I know who has looked carefully at the trend. Focusing on North American anarchist gatherings, Wood has recently documented a marked decline in skill-building workshops since the 1980s. This is consistent with my experiences at movement gatherings and left spaces more generally over the last two decades: there seem to be fewer skill-based workshops and training-oriented gatherings, and the activist trainings that do happen tend to be less frequent and shorter.

What accounts for this decline? As with most everything, I’m sure there are many contributing factors. But I suspect that it has a lot to do with prevailing life circumstances amidst 21st-century neoliberalism. The material realities of most people’s lives right now involve lots of precarious low-paid work, much harm and trauma, tremendous debt, and pressing responsibilities to care for children and older family members. So many of us feel exhausted, scattered, anxious, and sped-up. In these circumstances, creating space for training is understandably challenging and all the more crucial.

I find hope in training initiatives that are persevering – and growing – in these difficult circumstances. This is particularly the case in the U.S., where there are both longstanding organizations, such as Project South and Training for Change, and newer efforts, such as the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking and The Wildfire Project. In the Canadian context, most university-based Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) host workshops and, more ambitiously, Tools for Change organizes an annual series of trainings in Toronto. As well, some labor unions continue to hold trainings and experiment with online educational spaces for rank-and-file members. At the time of this writing, I’m also excited about the upcoming PowerShift: Young and Rising conference in Ottawa, which promises a weekend full of workshops for climate justice activists and organizers.

What can we learn about current movements based on how they’re training people? Activists are struggling mightily, but our collective capacity is lower than in some previous periods. To build the large-scale, sustained, combative movements we need, we will have to generate new and relevant mechanisms for spreading skills.

Organizing Against the Canadian Petro-State

I was so honored to make another appearance on Against the Grain, one of my top favorite shows! AtG host Sasha Lilley invited me on to offer a basic introduction for U.S.-based listeners to the groundswell of struggle in the Canadian context against resource extraction and for climate justice. Anyone already familiar with that terrain of struggle won’t hear me say anything that many smarter and more experienced people haven’t already said. But if you are less familiar with that context, you may find this episode illuminating! I doubt it will surprise anyone to hear me emphasize that fighting for climate justice requires fighting against colonialism.

For a Grieving Optimism

The Fall 2018 issue of Canadian Dimension features this piece, my “writing with movements” column for the magazine. This one is co-written with Alexis Shotwell. I’m reposting it here with links included.

Climate change is hitting hard. The heat waves and fires of this past summer – and this fall’s storms and tornados – are just the most recent manifestations.

We are living in a future many people worked to prevent, which is also a future some actively accept even though it produces ecological destruction in service to profit. The science fiction writer William Gibson is often quoted as saying, “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.” Usually we think of this in terms of the distributions of good things. However, as anti-poverty activist and scholar Virginia Eubanks notes, Gibson’s quote can also help us see the uneven distribution of suffering. And, indeed, the people most directly experiencing the pain and death of climate change are not the people responsible for causing it.

But global transformation is coming even for those who have been most protected so far. Increasingly, we see reporting of the possibility that it is too late to stop the effects of global warming or that we are simply doomed.

Common responses to this unfolding transformation include denial (“we’re just having a hot summer”), despair (“there’s nothing we can do, might as well take long plane trips while we can”), and an approach we could call dystopian (“there’s nothing we can do, but we should actively know about how truly terrible things are”). This last approach calls for more attention to the catastrophe humanity faces. In this vein, the Marxist writer Richard Seymour contends that the apocalyptic tone about climate change needs to go further: “If you think something can be done, you will be serious and urgent rather than facetious. The catastrophists are the optimists here.”

While Seymour elaborates many of the ways that things are catastrophically bad, he doesn’t offer a picture of what kind of optimist it’s possible for catastrophists to be. And just focusing on scaring people has limited effects; at least in encouraging people to shift their behaviors around health, we know that fear sometimes works for one-time changes, but not for ongoing, systematic change efforts. As radical writer and broadcaster Sasha Lilley points out, we should thus be wary of catastrophism on the left: “An awareness of the scale or severity of catastrophe does not ineluctably steer one down a path of radical politics.” It’s not necessarily the case that things have to feel much worse before we work on making them much better.

Here, we think of Tank Girl, a comic book character living in a devastated world. In one frame, she pulls on her boots for the day, cigarette dangling from her mouth and a coffee cup beside her. She thinks, “I can’t let things be this way. We can be wonderful. We can be magnificent. We can turn this shit around.” What can we learn from Tank Girl?

Perhaps we can be grieving optimists. We can have what Italian communist Antonio Gramsci popularized as “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Pessimism of the intellect means refusing to shy away from how bad things are; instead, it is to examine the world realistically and seriously consider worst-case scenarios. It also means understanding that destroying places and people for profit is not human nature; it is capitalism. And in this moment, mourning comes along with understanding: the human and non-human beings, ecosystems, ways of life, and ordinary happinesses that we have lost and will lose deserve our grief.

We can also organize. Optimism of the will means that, although we perceive how bad things are, we act anyhow. Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate scholar Kim TallBear observes that Indigenous people have been living in a post-apocalyptic world for centuries. Those of us who are settlers could learn something about carrying on after devastation; there is grief, but there is also persistence and resurgence.

Optimism of the will isn’t about individual heroism. It’s about acting with other people to create conditions so that what currently seems impossible becomes possible. We’ve witnessed this most recently in fights against resource extraction and transport projects. The victory represented by the August Federal Court of Appeal ruling on the Trans Mountain Pipeline is one clear example. That ruling was propelled by Indigenous-led struggles that, through fierce collective action across the Canadian context, shifted the project from a done deal to an open question.

Organizing out of our grief for this planet and all of us on it rests on the certain knowledge that, for the vast majority of us who are not rich, most of the problems facing us now are at a scale beyond our individual capacity to solve. The way to be a grieving optimist is to band together with others who care about this world, and to struggle.

We can be wonderful. We can be magnificent. We can turn this shit around.

Study for Struggle: Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh (Raised somewhere else)

Thanks to determined grassroots Indigenous efforts, there is a growing public discussion in the Canadian context about what is known as the “60s scoop.” This was the period, starting in the late 1950s, when over 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families, lands, and cultures and trafficked across provinces, borders, and overseas to be raised in non-Indigenous households. Colleen Cardinal, a survivor of the 60s scoop and a fierce activist, has made a major contribution to this discussion with her book Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh (Raised somewhere else): A 60s Scoop Adoptee’s Story of Coming Home, published last year by Fernwood Publishing. Cardinal generously – and unflinchingly – shares her life with us, illuminating the everyday violence of Canadian colonialism and tracing her own journey of healing and resistance. I recommend this book!

Here’s one gem from Cardinal’s book:

In recent years, I have been able to change my perspective of myself as a victim by examining my experiences over the decades and tracing the colonial violence in my family right back to the making of Canada. I was never meant to find out what happened to my family, let alone find my parents, endure the violence, heal from the trauma and put the pieces together about how the state intended to assimilate me into the mindless tax-paying Canadian citizenry. The state has never been invested in making sure I retained my culture, land base or knowledge, nor was it concerned that my health and well-being as a First Nations ward of the Crown was protected. This would lead me to believe that everything I had learned up to this point about the state in its dealings with First Nations people was deliberate in its intent to erase us from the history of this country.

Study for Struggle: Feminisms in Motion

As a faithful subscriber to make/shift magazine for its decade-long run, I was really sad when it ended in 2017. The magazine was a crucial, if underappreciated, anti-racist feminist space for discussion and experimentation. That’s why I’m so grateful to the former editors, Jessica Hoffman and Darla Yudacufski, and to AK Press for putting out Feminisms in Motion, a wonderful collection of some of the many outstanding interviews and articles that the magazine published over the years. Check it out!

Here’s one gem from Hoffman and Yudacufski’s Introduction:

Intersectional feminism didn’t appear a few years ago. It has roots that go back forever, and it has been voiced and otherwise nurtured by women of color for generations. It is like a river moving through time, communities, and other contexts, full of differences and always changing. We have always envisioned make/shift as dipping into, reflecting on, and contributing to this river, putting into print a few of its moments and voices from a particular time. From 2007 to 2017, we published work by about 350 people who have added to the burbling of that river. It started flowing way before us and will continue long after us, and it is always bigger and more full of possibility than any one of us. It is multifaceted, simultaneous, and constantly shifting, a space where past, present, and future voices and actions flow together, overlap, diverge, and keep moving to make a world where everyone can be free.

Learning from the Past, Fighting in the Present

The Summer 2018 issue of Canadian Dimension features this piece, my inaugural “writing with movements” column for the magazine. I’m reposting it here with links included.

“How do you avoid the feeling that you should be working ALL THE TIME given the urgency of the state of the world?” My friend Heather Hax, an experienced activist, recently posted that question on Facebook. This sense of urgency is completely justified, and many of us are feeling it. We live in a profoundly frightening and unpredictable period, faced with the challenges of colonialism and climate catastrophe, economic austerity and state violence, and emboldened white supremacy and xenophobia.

The election of a Conservative government in Ontario is just the latest dispiriting episode in an international resurgence of reactionary politics. And although Doug Ford is not Donald Trump, I’m witnessing similar feelings of grief and panic among activists in Ontario as I saw while traveling around the U.S. last year. It’s terrifying to watch the far right exercising power, both in government and in the streets.

In these circumstances, I’ve been heartened to see activists and organizers turning toward social movement history for lessons and grounding. In Ontario, for instance, there has been renewed interest in learning from the Days of Action and other movement efforts during the Harris years. While I suspect there is still some serious reckoning we have to do with that period, this is definitely a promising approach.

Facing an urgent present, why dig into history? The short answer is that it’s invaluable for helping us to struggle more effectively. In the pace of movements and mobilizations, years can sometimes feel like decades and, with frequent activist turnover, we all too easily end up repeating similar mistakes and debates over and over again. Coming to know movement history can help us to learn from our missteps, build on our strengths, and have new discussions that propel us forward.

Let me offer some examples. Looking over recent histories of struggle, here are three lessons relevant to our current circumstances:

First, movements generally grow when they connect individual hardships to systemic realities. Organizing is about helping people to understand the difficulties in their lives as not just bad things happening to them individually, but rather as the result of social relations that benefit some people and hurt others. This is part of what consciousness-raising groups, at their best, achieved in the women’s liberation movement: spaces for women to understand their individual hardships as linked to shared experiences of oppression. In fostering such spaces, it’s worth remembering that people tend to respond better to questions about their lives than lectures about them.

Second, movements can generate power when they defend the most vulnerable and build bottom-up solidarity. Although the current arrangement of power harms most people in this society, we are not all affected in the same ways. As anti-racist feminists have illuminated, race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and ability operate with and through one another in shaping the forms and intensities of hardships that we face. If we want to challenge the system that benefits from our hardships, we have to acknowledge where we’re starting from and enact solidarity practically as we struggle. The experiences of direct action AIDS activists in Ontario during the early 1990s are instructive here. While fighting to establish public funding for drug access, they refused a government-proposed plan that would have only covered people living with HIV or AIDS; instead, they insisted that it cover all people with catastrophic illnesses and, through persistent and confrontational organizing, they ultimately won.

Third, movements tend to have more far-reaching effects when they are creative and bold. Circumstances are constantly changing and, if we want to intervene in them effectively, we shouldn’t be afraid to renovate old political approaches and try new ones. And sometimes audacity, grounded in solid organizing, can take us a surprisingly long way. I’m thinking here about the efforts of No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories in 2007 to support Laibar Singh, a paralyzed refugee from India. That campaign culminated in a stunning action in which some 2000 people, largely South Asian, blockaded the Vancouver International Airport to stop Singh’s impending deportation. In that action, migrant justice organizers took a bold tactic from European activists and creatively shaped it for their own situation.

There are many more histories to learn from and many more lessons we can draw. Returning to Heather Hax’s question, perhaps one of the most profound lessons to take is this: other people, in other times, faced urgent crises in overwhelming circumstances, lived full lives, fought hard, and won victories. We can too.