Building Political Power

We're the Ones We've Been Waiting For

Day in and day out the energy at Power Shift HQ is growing. Deadlines are coming and going faster than we can imagine and, every time we look up, another day has come to an end and we're one step closer to Power Shift 2011. Each and every one of us is reeling with excitement about what's about to happen in just 21 days as we take part in the largest environmental organizing training in history.

It's amazing to see that this energy isn't just in our offices. Power Shift attendees are finding incredibly creative ways to share their stories, take action in their communities, and… to simply get here.

At last weekend's regional training events in the Northeast and California, organizers shared their stories about how they got involved in environmental activism.

Two years ago I found myself sitting on the bank of the Westfield Creek in Western Massachusetts, staring at the orange super moon while my body shook in sobs. It was the first time I’d let myself truly feel the consequences and despair of a fracked gas pipeline being built in the region where I now live.

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Whoever we are supporting for president this year, we can all agree on one thing: our broken political system works just fine for wealthy special interests, but not for the rest of us. We all know it’s true, but we often times we feel like there’s nothing we can do about it. But if we stand together, we can build a democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people.

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Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to join people from all over the Midwest who came together in Milwaukee to protest the Alberta Clipper Pipeline before the Democratic debate. I didn’t really know what to expect, as it was the first action I had ever been to. I wasn’t disappointed by the energy everyone brought, even in spite of the cold, or by the way that people across movements came together to amplify each other’s voices.

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I can feel a change in the air when it comes to renewable energy in Kentucky, and it’s pretty damn exciting.

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Our politicians are failing us. The outcomes of the recent “historic” international climate negotiations in Paris last month do not put us on track to avoid the worst impacts of the already unfolding climate crisis, and the United States is largely responsible for the shortfall in global ambition. Meanwhile, the money of the corporate elite continues to drown out regular people’s voices in our democracy—threatening our rights, our communities, and silencing the call for a just and livable future on this planet.

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Lessons from Fox News

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December 4, 2015

I spent the last few weeks in relative hibernation, trying to look away as the right wing media warped and distorted my story and my experiences. I appeared on Fox News to discuss the Million Student March, a national day of action for free college that took place on 115 campuses nationwide. I have remained silent and silenced as the right-wing dust has settled, but in the past week I've seen the beautiful movements for justice take off in Minneapolis and Chicago. I've seen the horrors of right wing terrorism come into crisis.

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The sudden and decisive victory of a student anti-racist campaign that ousted the president and chancellor at the University of Missouri has swept the Mizzou campus into the national spotlight.

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By Kyle Butts, UC Santa Barbara

My name is Kyle Butts. I am an organizer at UC Santa Barbara, and I am a part of history. I don’t say that in a moment of hubris, but rather in recognition of the long story of activism on college campuses across the country. Being a student is my power. 

The last 50 years were filled with movements like the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-war Movement, the Women's Movement, the Environmental Movement, the Latino Movement, the Counterculture Movement, and many more. These movements gained much of their momentum from solidarity on college campuses.

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As many movement spaces often do, the day began in a circle. One hundred young people – high school students, college students, and twenty-somethings – gathered around a huge parachute laid on the floor with big green letters reading ‘Leave it in the ground! Resist!’ It was early on a Friday morning, and people had traveled from as far as North Dakota, Michigan, and Ohio.

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