August 24, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska

Red State is an annual one-day conference drawing together revolutionaries from across leftist tendencies and organizations to discuss key issues facing the movement, learn organizing skills and build solidarity on the Great Plains and beyond.

Red State 2018 was a convergence of over 100 leftists from across the region—Nebraska’s largest explicitly leftist gathering in a generation.

9:00-9:30 AM — Registration & Breakfast
9:30-9:45 AM — Opening & Land Acknowledgement
9:45-11:05 AM — First Panel: Local Organizing
11:05-11:20 AM — Break
11:20 AM-12:10 PM — Workshop Breakout #1
12:10-1:25 PM — Lunch*
1:25-2:15 PM — Workshop Breakout #2
2:15-2:30 PM — Break
2:30-3:20 PM — Workshop Breakout #3
3:20-3:35 PM — Break
3:35-4:55 PM — Second Panel: National Organizing
4:55-5:00 PM — Closing Remarks

*Included in registration – Vegan and Gluten Free options available

Amanda H. is a poet, grassroots organizer, and early childhood educator in Omaha, NE. Along with her partner, she runs a visual art studio/gallery/radical library/screening room/meeting space called Media Corp., where she’s begun hosting “Residents Are Experts”, a community discussion series on development, planning, and policy from the neighborhood perspective.

Chelsea E. is a community shaper and activist. She is active in organizing efforts in Lincoln targeting housing affordability and quality, mutual aid response, and collective action.

Mark H. is a communist, editor at The Triumph magazine, Omaha Tenants United organizer, and truck driver. His current dream is to punch a landlord.

  1. Leftist Q&A: An Introduction to the Left – Jackson M. and Marcus F. – Discussion
    Are you new to the left and looking for quick, accessible information on the ideas, key words, and history of the politics represented at this conference? Bring your questions to this breakout, a space where patient, knowledgeable activists will help get you caught up, and we’ll have handy resources for you to take with you. This short Question and Answer session is meant to spark interest in leftist history, theory, and politics. We hope to inspire you to explore the movement, and hopefully get involved in your local leftist community.

    Jackson and Marcus are active members of the Black Cat House in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Black Cat House is an organization dedicated to education on any and all questions of social justice.

  2. Tools in the Toolbox: Strategy and Tactics in the Socialist Movement – Brendan – Lecture
    There are many viable methods for socialist organizing- including organizations which focus on food production and distribution, tenant organizing, labour struggles, community self-defence, and more. Each is a tool in our collective toolbox. How do we combine our tools to build an effective and healthy working class movement? How do we coordinate to make lasting social change?

    Brendan is a musician, community organizer, and such living in Omaha, Nebraska. After a few independent organizing efforts, Brendan has been involved in Nebraska Left Coalition, as well as other leftist organizations in Eastern Nebraska.

  3. Socialism and What is Trade Union Work? – Joe S. – Mini-panel
    This session will focus on the importance of seeing the openings today of talking socialism on the job and the kind of political work you can do in the unions. Sometimes you can do one and not the other and then this can change and you can do both. Looking for every opportunity to talk about trade union democracy, independent working class political action, and solidarity in labor and broader struggles. Start with learning about the lessons of class struggle experiences, the advances and the setbacks.

    Joe S. is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and a member of the Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Union-Transportation Division Alumni Association Local 1732. Joe has been a member of a union for 60 years, working on railroads, meatpacking plants, and factories.

  4. Our Words Hold Power: Practicing Conversations around Accountability – Tyler M. – Interactive (Content Warning: We will be exploring spaces that touch on the very difficult topics of sexual assault and boundary crossing and want to recognize how visceral and real people’s pain and hurt is.)
    The most difficult conversations are ones where a person has to be held accountable for their actions or take account for how others have been impacted and hurt. In this workshop we will use role-playing and participatory fishbowl techniques to find ways to have these conversations with friends and acquaintances. There will be space for observation, intervention and stepping back which will allow for people to interact with this experience in a way that feels best for them.

    Tyler is a parent, sibling and friend living on stolen land of the Umonhon people. They enjoy relating to the plants, animals and people around them and believe in ‘the beautiful idea.’

  5. Talk to Plants, Not Cops! – Alex S. – Interactive
    Herbalism is an accessible and powerful resource for navigating the systems of oppression we currently exist within. When we’re empowered to heal ourselves and each other, our communities thrive (especially when the tools we need are growing all around us.) Come join a conversation on visioning what our communities need to heal and practical uses for some of the most abundant plant medicines in our area. This workshop will immerse all the senses with opportunities to touch, taste, smell the plants we’re discussing.

    Alex is a community and clinical herbalist in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her healing practice is rooted in liberation and centers the importance of living in right relationship with Nature. She offers herbal products and services via Arise Botanicals.

  6. Answering MLK’s Call for a Radical Revolution of Values – Roberto M. – Lecture
    All of us were brought up and had our minds colonized by Corporate Capitalist values of greed, individualism, competition, etc. Even in our movements, we still unconsciously act on these values. As revolution is a process, we must begin by decolonizing our minds and choosing values like sharing, community and cooperation. Values underlie our culture, economy, organizing principles and goals. The first step in revolutionary practice is decolonizing our thinking and acquiring more just and sustainable values.

    Roberto is a long-time organizer in Latino/Native/multiracial groups including AIM, Los Siete de la Raza, Bioregionalism, Left Greens, National Org for an American Revolution, and Idle No More. He is a supporter of the Zapatista and Rojava revolutions, and is presently in Oklahoma City DSA’s Eco-Socialist Working Group.

  1. The Legacy of Standing Rock – Maria F. and Wyatt N. – Discussion
    The resistance and prayer camps that grew at Standing Rock three years ago marked a critical point in the global movement for human rights and earth defense. Since those days of media sensation and massive international support, the resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure and the revitalization of the human spirit and the native way of life have continued to blossom. Join us to remember Standing Rock, examine the many new camps, projects, and organizations that continue the struggle, and ask questions about the future.

    Maria is an entrepreneur, water protector, Umonhon tribal member, and a mother of three. Wyatt is an educator and water protector from Lincoln, Nebraska. Both participated in the camps at Standing Rock and have continued to support land defense and water protection struggles.

  2. Electing Systematic Change – Morgann F., Cassey L., and Mark V. – Mini-panel
    Elected officials shape our lives for better or worse. Even before election day, people running for office receive easier access to media and the ability to publicize a narrative about what issues are most important and what solutions to those issues are in the realm of possibility. Find out more about running for office, from the process, to difficulties candidates outside the establishment may encounter, and how to take advantage of the opportunity to shape the public conversation.

    Morgann F. is a community organizer running for Congress. As an activist mobilized by the Movement for Black Lives, she’s worked on several direct action and systemic change causes. Cassey L. is a community organizer in Lincoln with a focus on housing justice and safer streets for all. She ran for Lincoln City Council to draw attention to the lack of affordable housing for low-income people in Lincoln, and successfully led a fight in support of implementing changes to 13th St. near downtown that made the street safer for neighborhood residents. Mark V. is running to represent Midtown Omaha in the Nebraska Legislature. One goal of his campaign is to sway Progressive Democrats to openly question and criticize Capitalism.

  3. Intersectionality & Reflections of (In)Humanity toward Black and Brown Males – Lory D. – Lecture
    When there’s no reflection back and forth, we look at Black (and Brown) students and see monsters, criminals, and thugs instead of our own complex humanity reflected back. In so doing, teachers, scholars, the media, mainstream Americans, presidents and even science fiction writers are in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Lory D. is an activist and academic. She has actually been an activist since the age of 7, starting with her involvement as a member of an NAACP Youth Group. Her more recent work deals with dismantling racisms and ethnicisms affecting Black & Indigenous Americans in the U.S. and Afro-Swedes, Palestinians, & other Middle Eastern residents in Sweden.

  4. Community Caretaking: Building Alternative Systems of Care – Andrea K. – Lecture
    Time and time again, systems fail, exploit and harm our communities. How can we build strategies to care for each other and ourselves to ensure our movements don’t crumble in the trying times of late capitalism? Before we can truly organize, we need to be sure that we are caring for those in community with us. This workshop will cover general community care: supporting each other emotionally and taking care of ourselves, too. This is not a “use bath bombs” self care workshop; this will be a discussion of tangible how-tos.

    Andrea is a writer, zinester, and community organizer currently crashing in Omaha, Nebraska. They are trying to teach their cat, Scout, about mutual aid.

  5. Being Ready: Jail Support and Often Overlooked Roles in a Demonstration – W. – Discussion
    The purpose for this session is to start a very important discussion about supporting each other (and more importantly those who join us in the streets) at demonstrations. In order for us to build confidence, continue growing, and overall build trust with one-another we should be realistic about circumstances and be tactful when we talk about organizing. Bail funds and jail support roles are key for creating the proper infrastructure that allows us to win. This session will seek to provide the key details that can make this endeavor possible and more importantly accessible. Remember, stay safe together so we can be dangerous together.

    W is an anarchist, musician, student, and writer from the southeast.

  6. Theatre of the Oppressed – Lucas P-L and Doug P. – Interactive
    Forum Theater allows community-members the opportunity to view the world as it currently exists, and then experiment with different interventions to change the world for the better. Actors portray an instance of oppression, and audience members come up to try and replace the protagonist of the scene in an effort to make an alternative outcome. This exercise is designed to stimulate dialogue within a community, and remind people of the power they already possess in their daily lives.

    Lucas and Doug are Marxist community organizers and theatre-artists. Artistically, they specialize in the application of research to production, directing/actor coaching, acting, and working with non-actors in applied theatre (theatre workshops designed to solve real world problems and work through real world issues, rather than simply to be enjoyed as art in and of themselves).

  1. Social(ist) Media 101 – Haley C. – Discussion
    This will serve as an intro to and discussion about leftist media. We will start by looking at how the far right uses current media (YouTube, podcasts, etc.) to win over minds, especially of young people, and what danger lies in that. We will discuss the importance of countering this narrative and take a look at socialist media outlets like MeansTV, Talk Nation Radio, Revolutionary Left Radio, and many more. We will close by talking about what this media has to offer, how we can support such outlets, and how they will shape the revolution going forward. Whether you are totally new to leftist media or an expert with lots of suggestions for the group to check out, this laid-back, discussion-based session is for you!

    Haley is a high school English teacher, organizer, and activist originally from Boston, Massachusetts but now based on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. As a queer, gender-nonconforming womxn who has spent many years living and working in marginalized communities, they resist capitalism everyday and dream of one day living on a self-sustaining communal farm.

  2. “We Took on the Biggest Slumlord in Our City and Won–You Can Too!” – Omaha Tenants United – Mini-panel
    Over the last year, OTU organizers have learned a lot about building a base, mobilizing and organizing tenants, and taking the class war to the door of Omaha’s landed gentry. We want to share that experience in two ways — first with a brief summary and discussion of our conflict with slumlord Dave Paladino, and then with a group discussion on how to fight back against the landlord and organize for power through the tenant struggle. We’ll also have materials on our step-by-step process to individual tenant fights.

    Talia S, Simon C, and Mark H. are members of Omaha Tenants United (OTU). OTU is one of the largest radical tenants organizations in the USA. Our purpose is to organize tenants to defend their right to dignified living conditions and secure social control of housing in the city of Omaha, Nebraska.

  3. “There Are No Foreigners”: George Washington Woodbey and the Politics of Internationalism – Charles H. – Lecture
    Born enslaved in Tennessee in 1853, George Washington Woodbey lived several years in Omaha, Nebraska in the last decades of the nineteenth century. There he joined the Socialist Party of America (SP) in 1901 before moving to San Diego, California. During a debate regarding a resolution at the party’s 1908 national convention that would target Chinese immigrants, Woodbey took the floor speaking in opposition to “any sort of restriction of immigration.” As the U.S. socialist movement has rapidly grown in a period where anti-immigrant policies and racist attacks have simultaneously spiked, the question of internationalism has taken on renewed importance. In this session we will explore internationalism as both a moral principle for the left, but more importantly a necessity for any project seeking as Woodbey did to open up “the entire world” for human liberation.

    Charles lives in Austin, Texas where he is a graduate student in African and African Diaspora Studies exploring histories of socialism and the Black radical tradition. Originally from Wayne, Nebraska, before moving to Texas he lived in Lincoln where he was involved in various activist organizations. A former union organizer and active socialist who has written for several online publications on border-violence, racism, and the politics of solidarity, his current organizing is largely focused on issues of education and immigration.

  4. Community Defense and Preparedness – David A. – Discussion
    Community Defense is more than a squad of people with surplus rifles and camouflage. Protecting your community encompasses a host of skills and materials. If disaster strikes, you’ll need water, food, medicine, tools, communication, and somewhere down this list you’ll eventually need a firearm. After all, you can’t treat a fever with nor drink an AR-15.

    David is an organizer and revolutionary communist. He’s always had a place in his heart for the left and for preparedness. He grew up in conditions where food and medicine were not always guaranteed, nor was his personal safety. With climate change on the horizon, he’s been preparing and helping others prepare for about five years now.

  5. Zinesters of the World, Unite!: How Zines Can Strengthen the Movement – Nebraska Zinesters – Mini-panel
    The accessible nature of zines makes them an invaluable tool for organizers of all stripes. Join a panel of Nebraska zinesters as they explain what a zine is, break down how they made their zines, how their zines supported their organizing work, and how you can start making your own zines. Panel will be followed by a brief Q&A session with participants.

    Featuring: Amanda H. of Media Corp., Arlo F. of The Triumph, Daphne C. of Rowdy Boys Zine Collective, and William J. of No Authority Zine Co.

  6. To Get Rid of the Gun: How to Counter Bad Leaders, Take Over Meetings, and Restore Democracy Without Confrontation – Rose W. – Interactive
    This class is intended to teach participants to recognize and use certain sets of behavior that have been proven to help enhance a group; to identify and avoid those behaviors which destroy group cohesion or block progress; and to counter those negative behaviors without overt confrontation and with minimal danger.

    Rose W. is a labor and community organizer from the South who lives and organizes in the Midwest. As a Queer woman of color, she seeks to confront injustice and develop solutions for the complex and multi-faceted issues facing marginalized communities. As an organizer, Rose focuses on efforts which explicitly aim to uplift communities and institute positive systemic change for workers in the Midwest.

Diana S-O is a student organizer for Philly Socialists’ Drexel branch, where they have fought for academic democratization, sanctuary campus, and student tenants. They began organizing in high school with the former NYC ISO, where they learned a lot about Marxist struggle, in and off the streets.

Mark J is a socialist/writer/grad student/educator living in Lawrence, KS. He is a member of the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition at the University of Kansas and was a member of the International Socialist Organization for ten years.

Dara L-B is a life long socialist feminist activist. She is an Israeli citizen, and while living in Israel was active in anti-occupation protests, the movement for refugee rights, mass protests for economic justice, and Maki – the Israeli Communist Party. Since moving to Pittsburgh she has organized with Jewish Voice for Peace and the DSA.

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The Red State team is committed to making the conference as accessible as possible to our panelists, breakout volunteers and attendees.

Our costs include venue rental, food and beverages, travel for panelists and attendees who request assistance and printed programs. If you have the means to donate, we encourage you to do so and help us build the revolutionary left on the Great Plains. 

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