This audio installment of Organizing Upgrade features organizers Mohammed Abdohalli and Gopal Dayaneni, two of my favorite organizers who have spearheaded compelling and brilliant civil disobedience and direct actions. Mo is a member of DreamActivist and has helped develop actions you may have heard of, first taking arrest in a sit-in in Arizona Senator John McCain’s office to helping organize most recently an action in Alabama post HB56. Gopal’s experience has spanned across sectors and continents, active in the global justice and climate justice movement, and he is one of the most gifted strategists I’ve had the privilege of working with.
In this interview, we cover the basic and fundamentals of direct action and understand more deeply about the way that civil disobedience has taken shape within the cause of migrant youth for equality and justice. We also talk shop on Occupy and what’s next for the 99%.
Here’s a few teasers to give you a sense of why you need to listen to this interview!
“There’s structural failures in the system. You’ve gotta break the rules, because the rules serve the rulers. We’re never gonna win if we’re not willing to break some rules.” – Gopal Dayaneni
“For us civil disobedience has become a two part thing, to being able to show other undocumented youth how we can challenge the system and if you challenge the system the system falls apart…if you’re actually more out there, more public you’re safer.” – Mo
“Like many other social movements around the world, at the heart of its power is the direct action component. That’s one of the things that has liberated people’s revolutionary imagination. We’re not gonna lobby ourselves out of the situation. We don’t have the money we don’t have access to these people at the federal level to get what we want. But this notion of uprising that’s happening all over the world and bringing it home..I think its very very powerful and important.” – Gopal
“We need to not allow it to get turned into being just about the camps. Everybody is part of this popular movement at this moment who sees the need for fundamental changes in our society, from law enforcement to immigration enforcement and criminalization all the way through to economic injustice and climate change. Everybody is a part of that movement, and the question is how do we capture all that together in a way that’s coherent and smart.” – Gopal
“For us we were forced into doing civil disobedience as a way of giving undocumented youth a voice, giving ourselves agency and the space we deserve…We learned the power of direct action and the power of putting undocumented folks directly on the frontlines and how safe we really are if we do that. We kinda fell into it by accident, but now its become a powerful tool and tactic.” – Mo