Connect! Unite! Act! Building your local resistance

Connect! Unite! Act! Building your local resistance

Welcome back to Connect! Unite! Act! With the conclusion of Obi Wan this last week, there are a lot of us looking back over the various Star Wars series and what made them work. I look back at the films and I think about which ones I enjoy most and which I had the hardest time with. Honestly, it is easy for me to say that seeing The Phantom Menace in a movie theater after a long, long break between the last film was an experience unlike anything else. I and numerous others packed theaters, almost all of them open at midnight. There were pre-shows, marathons in advance, and food and drink to go with it. People waved lightsabers and screamed as the titles ran.

When the film ended, most of us filed out of the theater thinking: “What the hell did we just witness?” I’ve had time to go back and watch the films again, and admittedly the terrible bad taste of Phantom Menace stuck with me enough to probably taint Attack of the Clones, which after much time I appreciate more than I did at the time. After thinking back through all of the films and revisiting here and there, I have to say Rogue One has emerged as the one Star Wars film that really hit a home run for me. Not just because it is an excellent mix of CGI and real effects, but because there are elements of the film that provide us actual insight into what we should be doing organizing our own resistance.

The sacrifice play

One of the elements that made the original Star Wars so effective is that all of them on one level or another used the sacrifice play. In the original movie, many knew that they would sacrifice their own lives to save others as they raced into the Death Star. In Empire Strikes Back, many stayed behind to the death on Hoth to provide others an exit. In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader sacrificed himself for the life of his son. The sacrifice play is a classic move within film. One problem with the further series is that in some cases there was no true sacrifice. The Phantom Menace had no memorable moment of anything like a direct, established, intentional sacrifice. 

What makes Rogue One, at least to me, the best of the Star Wars films is that it is a film that captures two problems so well: that the rebellion is outnumbered, and that they will have real problems. Knowing they would die for their cause, at the end of the movie all of them died to save others. This moment is one of the most powerful in all of Star Wars because it establishes the moments that lead up to A New Hope, but it also made it really clear that the willingness to do things that are difficult and seemingly impossible knowing that what is happening is important.

Is there a comparison to political organizing?

There is no level of political organizing that requires the kind of sacrifice in bloody war films. However, the impact of strong political organizing can have an incredibly profound impact on the lives of those around us, which is something we’ve seen this week through Supreme Court rulings, state legislature movements, committee hearings, and more.

Organizing at the local level makes an incredible amount of difference. Rulings by the Supreme Court are designed to make your state house the most powerful, a turn back toward a near confederacy of laws with patchwork rights. Many take federal elections as the end all and be all of elections. With changes made by the Supreme Court, we have a future where things like guns, abortion, and client rights are all up for debate by your state representatives and governor.

The comparison here with Rogue One is that when faced with a series of small events that needed to be addressed, teams of people committed to a cause were able to focus on immediate goals. By staying focused on immediate needs and the importance of their goals, people with various backgrounds came together and worked to help provide the resistance as a whole with a chance to succeed.

How do you build that local resistance?

Building local resistance is about doing the work. There isn’t an easy way to do it. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy trick. Building a local effort is about educating voters, knocking on doors, raising money, making friends, and performing outreach. 

In 2017, we participated in a program to help activists all over the country and put pressure back on statehouses. In 2016, here in the red state of Kansas while the rest of the country turned to Trump, Democrats made headway by picking up seats. 

Winning in the fall isn’t just about holding the House and Senate. As you build the resistance together, think about the different groups you can gather and how they can network into the right communities. Could a local culture of thinking liberally help integrate and find workers in a younger audience? Have you looked into outreach with churches and civic organizations? 

Building up your local resistance is about understanding the strengths of everyone around you and building the support system that wins. Some advocates are going to care about specific issues. Those issues can be guns, abortion rights, guns, civil justice, education, or fairness to communities. 

Be open and understanding, show commitment, don’t fake it. You don’t need to be a part of every single group and every single action and cause. Commit to the items that you believe strongly in and be an ally to those who share common goals. 

I love Rogue One. It reflects sacrifice and shared vision. It shows commitment and desire for change. And yes, the effects are fantastic and the acting is among the best in all of the films. What is most important about Rogue One is that the key characters are not Jedi or Sith. They aren’t beings with superpowers capable of manipulating the force. They are regular people. 

The movement is not made of people with superpowers. It is a movement of regular people doing super things together.

EVENTS COMING THIS WEEK:

Norfolk, VIRGINIA
Sunday, June 26 at 11:00 AMEvent by REPRO Rising Virginia and Hampton Roads Reproductive Justice League
Lafayette Park, 3500 Granby Street, Norfolk
RSVP/Tickets:  bit.ly/VREASpeakOutRally

Volunteer opportunities and tabling info: https://bit.ly/VREAVolunteer_SpeakOut

@#@#@#@#@MICHIGAN PETITION SIGNING EVENTS THIS WEEKEND: Huntington Woods, Lansing, and Sault Ste. Marie Reproductive Freedom for All is proposing to amend the Michigan Constitution to guarantee the fundamental right to make and carry out reproductive health decisions without political interference in all matters relating to pregnancy, birth control, abortion, infertility, miscarriage care, prenatal care, and childbirth.  To qualify for the November 2022 ballot, RFFA must collect 425,059 signatures from registered Michigan voters.SATURDAY, June 25, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM EDT

Petition signing at Huntington Woods Park & Rec, 26325 Scotia Rd, Huntington Woods 48070 SUNDAY, June 26, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM EDT

Petition signing at LANSING PRIDE, Michigan State Capitol, 100 N Capitol Avenue, Lansing 48933 MONDAY, June 27 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT

Petition signing at Eagles Nest/Market Corner221 Ashmun St, Sault Ste. Marie, 49783

@#@#@#@#@Texarkana, TEXAS
SUNDAY June 26, at 9:00 AM

BANS OFF OUR BODIES Post-Decision Action in Texarkana: We Won’t Go Back
Stateline Courthouse/Post Office, 501 N State Line Avenue, Texarkana 71854
RSVP info here@#@#@#@#

WE WONT GO BACK is compiling information HERE about post-Roe demonstrations, mobilizations and other events all over the country.  Enter your location and available dates to see a list of what is happening near you, or to let others know that you are hosting an event!

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