The DC chapter met today via Zoom, and we agreed that during this crisis we will meet on a weekly basis every Sunay. The participants raised important issues:
Cheryl Binkley made the observation that everything is inverted now: things that previously could not be done must be done, and things that previously had to be done are not happening. This crisis moment offers a point of entry for redesigning our society. Now that everything is being wiped out, how do we redesign a just society.
Ann Hoffman raised two points: one is that DC has been reclassified as a “territory” in the stimulus bill in order to deprive it of funding. Also, we need to inform free lancers that the new law provides many of them with the opportunity to receive unemployment benefits.
Tim Ryan, who works primarily in Asia, pointed out that on a global level this type of disruption can spark a move forward on a social justice agenda. A question is how to we mobilize public opinion at this time?
Bill Fletcher suggested that we need to organize echo chambers around the country in the same way that the right has done with memes such as “the cure is worse than the disease” and the implied social Darwinism. We need to create a counter-narrative that includes the notion that the economy was in trouble before covid-19. The virus was a spark in a gas-filled room. The government can never again claim there is not enough money to do something important. Bill volunteered to draft some ideas for this echo chamber. Bill also emphasized that we need to make sure that we keep morale up among the many people who are isolated and may fall into despair. Also, the union should promote Tim Sheard’s talk show.
Cindy Connors and Greg Guthrie described the atmosphere in rural red state areas. Colin Flanigan discussed attitudes among high school students and suggested ways to message the need for health care for all and other issues.
Finally, we talked about how we can grow our ranks during this period through outreach to writers and bloggers.