Western MA Protect the Results Actions

By Larry Pareles


The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Citizens in Western Massachusetts have been very concerned about preserving the integrity of the national elections, and Indivisible Northampton helped organize a local coalition in support of the national Protect the Results campaign. Our coalition made plans to mobilize if necessary. Thankfully, it was not necessary to fully mobilize when it became clear that Biden had won the Presidency, and that Trump could not undermine the elections, despite his attempts to do so.

In the weeks before the election, many of us became seriously concerned that Trump would try to steal the election.  In the weeks before the elections, we quickly assembled a group of progressive leaders from about 15 large groups across the 4 counties of Western MA, and built a coalition almost overnight.  This coalition started as a temporary team to protect the elections, but since the group has been working so effectively together, we unanimously decided that this progressive coalition in western MA will continue to work to support actions into the future.  We hope this is the beginning of a large coalition here in the progressive wild west of western Massachusetts, and that we will have an impactful group going forward together.    

Subgroups in each of the 4 counties planned multiple rallies and actions across the western part of the Commonwealth, but only held some of them when Trump’s efforts to undermine the elections failed.  

On Wednesday, Nov 4th we held an evening rally in Northampton, with about 200 people, that went well.  It was peaceful and affirming.  We were hopeful, excited, concerned, uncertain, relieved, and still vigilant.  There were some very powerful and uplifting speeches by high school students, community group representatives, and three of our very fine progressive women state legislators.  

The next day, on Nov 5 there was a small rally of about 200 in the nearby town of Amherst, that went well, with hopeful and happy people parading around the town green, and making lots of cheerful noise, still carrying our messages to “Protect the results” and “Count every vote.”

On Saturday, Nov 7, we had an interesting experience in Northampton.  We planned a march from a nearby park to downtown, and started marching with 100 people with the very serious intention to continue our messaging about the importance of counting every vote.  As we walked down Main Street, more people joined the march and a band played patriotic songs along the route.  However, about that time on that fateful Saturday afternoon, Joe Biden was declared the official winner by the Associated Press.  So when we arrived in the center of Northampton, people were celebrating, and were literally dancing along the streets.  Car traffic was stopped, horns were honking, and people were cheering with joy.  Our seriously-intentioned marchers melted into the celebrating crowds lining the streets, and it was  great.  It felt like a great weight of worry and concern was being lifted off the shoulders of the crowd, and the relief and happiness was palpable.  

When the national PTR Coalition did not decide to give the activation signal, most other rallies were cancelled or postponed, although the intrepid group in far west Pittsfield also held a noon rally which was a success.  

The Western MA PTR Coalition will continue our vigilance and readiness to take action to protect the democratic transfer of power. Once Biden and Harris are sworn in, we will transition our work from protecting the integrity of this specific election, to protecting and expanding all our democratic institutions. Stay tuned.



The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

By Seth Wilpan

It’s difficult to construct a narrative in which good prevails. It seems to require a long time scale, time enough for things to fall apart and for a new order to arise from the chaos. What if instead, like restoring a home, we could skillfully dismantle the rotted pillars of our civilization and build a new one in place, without the whole thing collapsing?

The Green New Deal is potentially the most powerful vehicle of transformation that we have. It can explode the current monetary system that’s based on dominance and enslavement. The system of money is currently organized in such a way that banks are in control. This system is not the result of any natural law, despite the edifice of words that has been built to convince us of that. Money can be generated and used as a means of facilitating cooperation, sharing and the common good. Trillions of dollars will have to be created to support a Green New Deal, and the banks will fight tooth and nail to insert themselves into that process. They will insist that we have to borrow the money from them and they will point to various laws and institutions that they themselves established to support that claim. We’ll need to supply enough pressure for a new administration and a new Congress to have the courage to ride roughshod over those claims.

Cutting the bankers out of their role in creating money will further weaken the already tottering petro-dollar’s position as the world currency. The GND’s massive investments in infrastructure will weaken the economic leverage of weapons manufacturers.  This will expose the role of the military in propping up both the dollar and the weapons industry, making it easier to dispose of both.

We can’t allow the GND to be bent to the purpose of refueling the industrial capitalist state. It must be engaged in establishing a new relationship between humanity and the rest of creation. It must immediately engage in the restoration and rehabilitation of the land and water. Part of that process is the reintegration of people with the natural world, which entails returning land from Big Ag to farmers. It means re-organizing the topology of the built environment to accommodate living more lightly on the land.

These are just a few of the most obvious transformations that can be accomplished under the aegis of a GND. The ripple effects are uncountable, though we can delight in imagining them. We may actually come to live life with less stuff and more art.

What about the 40% of the country who are white supremacists? They have been taught to be that way to serve the purposes of their masters. That learned hatred can quickly be dissolved in the flow of prosperity As Lao Tzu said:

It is better not to make merit a matter of reward
Lest people conspire and contend,
Not to pile up rich belongings
Lest they rob,
Not to excite by display
Lest they covet.
A sound leader’s aim
Is to open people’s hearts,
Fill their stomachs,
Calm their wills,
Brace their bones
And so to clarify their thoughts and cleanse their needs
That no cunning meddler could touch them:
Without being forced, without strain or constraint,
Good government comes of itself.

– Tao Te Ching translated by Witter Bynner

And as Wendell Berry concludes his poem “A Vision”:

The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.


What’s an activist to do?

By Marta Lev

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Every day there is some image that sums up the extent of the malice and, okay, evil of the times in which we find ourselves. For me, today’s image was of a pick up truck filled with US Postal boxes, and a worker unbolting another box from the ground, to be carried off. This is the latest gambit to manipulate an election’s outcome by limiting US citizens’ access to voting; especially infuriating to those of us working hard, and successfully, to expand voter participation in vote by mail.

What’s a concerned citizen to do? Abandon vote-by-mail organizing? Double down on it? I’m going with the latter, specifically facilitating Florida voters to get vote by mail (VBM) ballots. When the concern about sabotage of this effort was raised, Richard Segan and Peter Grey of Swing Left Greater Boston had this response:

“There are no guarantees in this election and there are all sorts of scenarios that would have seemed bizarre only a few years ago that may play out. What if Trump refuses to leave the WH, what if the Electoral College is not allowed to convene, what if there is overwhelming evidence of Russian hacking of the voter count, what if he tries to postpone the election in light of a surge in COVID-19?

…The DNC has a team working on many of these scenarios and more. There is a huge voter protection plan underway to try to counter issues like delays or heightened challenges, but it could be a very difficult election. Personally, I still think VBM is a good strategy. In FL, they will be able to track which voters have opted to VBM and whether or not they’ve mailed in their ballot. This will allow for follow-up in the weeks and days before the election. If polling stations are closed because of a planned strategy to suppress the vote or because local officials cannot staff polling locations, many voters will not vote if they don’t have VBM.

I would encourage people not to be daunted by the many uncertainties we face. In particular, I urge people to focus on whatever stimulates them the most at any given time.

I like to fantasize about a few lower-ranked military personnel saying ‘Now just come along with us, sir.’”



By Seth Wilpan

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Most of the pundits and politicians I hear from are flabbergasted by the actions of the Trump administration.

How could they be so incompetent in dealing with the pandemic and stand behind policies that are unpopular with their own constituencies? Trump doesn’t want to admit he’s wrong they say. Trump is using his federal enforcement henchman, they say, to stage confrontations that make him look tough, which will appeal to his supporters.  As for the Post Office, to their credit, no one any longer acknowledges the fig leaf of conservative principle to explain its dismantling.

It’s time to apply Occam’s razor and acknowledge the simpler explanation of how the pieces fit together. Trump and his cronies are planning to take over the country in November. The government’s inaction on the pandemic is tantamount to genocide, serving to kill off a good portion of Trump’s natural opposition keep the survivors too fearful to risk voting in person. (Oh, you think that’s a bridge too far, that the U.S. government is incapable of genocide?)

The Post Office will have been sufficiently crippled that vote-by-mail will be disrupted, providing a basis for claiming that the election results are illegitimate. Rampant economic privation and homelessness will create unrest which will simultaneously be stirred up and quelled by Trumps private brown-shirted polizei. That will provide the cover to declare a national emergency.  Barr will cook up some kind of document to legitimize the putsch, and the Supreme Court will do what it has been hired to do.

While not everyone acknowledges the depth of the plot, everyone knows there’s a good possibility that Trump will not willingly transfer power to a new administration. Some democratic members of Congress have raised an alarm, but in reality there’s nothing they can do to stop it. They can’t pass any laws through the Republican senate, and even if they could, who would enforce them? The people may rise up, but our leader’s private militia will already be in place to gun them down. The only way out I can see is if the military steps in to enforce the transfer of power. I’m not holding my breath.

This November’s vote may be our last to preserve what vestiges of democracy remain in this republic. Massive voter turnout is important not just for the sake of a decisive result. It’s important that plenty of people have a stake in their vote being counted and would be upset if their vote is ignored.

Otherwise, we’d better start preparing for a new order in America. An America in which the depredations of the powerful against the weak are even more extreme, in which writing such as this will guarantee a prison term. Think East Germany.