Building the People’s Party

100 days of Donald Trump in the White House, 100 days of Democrats in the wilderness, 100 dumbfounded days of dismay at the New York Times, 100 days for a lot of white America to see their government with a certain black American disbelief.  But it can seem that the people pretty much know what to do when the political order is coming apart: and not ‘run in circles, scream and shout,’ but meet a dazed immigrant at the airport, march for science, run for something, drop the Ivanka line from your shoe store, just declare a divided country ‘indivisible’ and go about acting as if a People’s Party might be possible, if not necessary, to speak some strong common sense about who we are and where we’re hurting.

For some trenchant liberals, the goal might just be to reform the Democratic Party and open up a bigger tent; to retain the same old message of hope, and saber rattle against the meddling Kremlin and other forms of foreign interference. But for many Americans, something more may be needed.

What if the greatest accomplishment of President Trump’s first 100 days happens to be our dawning awareness that a new kind of politics is needed — one that unites in a chorus the many voices of protest. To help us imagine just such a scenario, we’ve assembled an all-star panel of activist guests.

Marshall Ganz, a player-coach in the big leagues of organizing since he dropped out of Harvard in the 1960s offers us a primer on what it takes to mobilize effective social movements. He tells us that: “Protests are not enough. Protests need to change into power.”

Clint Smith—teacher, New Yorker contributor, and slam poetry champgives us his an angle on Black Lives Matter and the broader movements reshaping our demonstration-driven politics.

Listen to an excerpt of Smith’s poetry here:

And Lisa Randall, the most cited theoretical physicist in the wide world of science, fill us in on her view of the stakes in a changing universe. According to Randall, scientists are “by nature not marchers” but she finds public demonstrations in support of science to be essential when held in regions of our country where science is under attack.   

Guest List
Marshall Ganz
longtime organizer and senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School
Lisa Randall
theoretical physicist and professor of science at Harvard University
Clint Smith
teacher, New Yorker contributor, and author of the poetry collection, Counting Descent
Mike Connolly
is a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the Twenty-sixth Middlesex District

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