Cooper River Indivisibile: Grassroots Activism a Year Later

It’s been more than a year since the Trump election electrified progressives across the country, and nine months since the Cooper River Indivisible launched at the Collingswood Library to a crowd so large that many of us were forced to have an “overflow” meeting in the parking lot. Last night, I attended the Cooper River Indivisible monthly meeting — and caught up with the progress they’ve made, the challenges they’re facing, and the way they’re dealing with the question on the minds of so many progressives: how to pursue progressive ideals when already in a Blue District?

While this was my first time back since the original meeting, the group seems to have settled into both a routine, and familiar strategies. There were about 30 individuals in attendance, almost all seemed to know each other, and while the frantic energy of that first meeting was gone, a steady resolve remained. Much of the discussion focused on action items, and the common theme between them was how to best make impact as a progressive in a Blue District. Here are a few of the proposed strategies:

  1. Calling your representative, and letting your fellow callers now. There was a new initiative launched this night to allow members to share that they had called their representatives. The challenge here is that calling reps is a solitary act, and people were getting discouraged (especially when it feels pointless to call a Democrat already voting your way). The thought was that it would be encouraging to realize you’re part of a team calling.
  2. Calling progressives in red or swing districts. Indivisible has created a tool that allows progressives in blue districts to call progressives in other districts to encourage them to call their representatives. The logic here is simple: politicians don’t typically listen to constituents outside their communities, and representatives in blue areas are already likely voting the right way. Encouraging progressives in red or purple districts to call in allows folks in blue districts to still have impact.
  3. Participating in Action Together NJ’s “Adopt a District” program, in which you can volunteer for a campaign outside of your home district.
  4. Getting Involved in Primaries. There was a lot of talk about how and when to get involved in primary races — particularly Tanzie Youngblood’s race (she spoke at the meeting). Like many groups, Indivisible is trying to figure out how to address challenges in the Democratic Party while continuing to resist the Trump administration.

This is one group, at one time, trying to deal with the wider issues of having its voice heard. It’s an example of the small strategy adjustments, decisions, and strategies that happen on a grassroots level. I think it’s important to share, consider (and critique!) these types of ideas. So let me know your thoughts!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *