Post-midterm convening: Countervailing Oligarchic Powers

A few days after the midterms, close to 50 organizers, policy advocates, lawyers, journalists, scholars and funders joined us at The Action Lab to discuss and debate ways to use policy & rules changes to build mass-membership organizations that are able to prevail against growing oligarchic power in the US.

What’s a simple way to understand “oligarchy”? On the first day of the convening, Cornell University Professor Jamila Michener shared this easy way to understand oligarchy: “When a ruling class rules because they’ve amassed wealth and they shape political institutions to maintain their wealth and power at the expense of everyone else.”

The current moment requires imaginative ways not only to curtail threats posed by growing right-wing oligarchic power but also to concretely build towards a liberatory future with mass-based working-class power. We explored conditions and opportunities that would facilitate organizing to defeat oligarchic power in three main areas: building mass-based tenant unions, confronting monopoly power and democratizing electoral structures.

The Action Lab organized this convening with Working Families, Social and Economic Justice Leaders, the NYU Initiative for Community Power and the 22nd Century Initiative, in collaboration with The Forge and The American Prospect.

Look out for post-convening articles that will be published by The Forge and The American Prospect.