Each month magnifies the challenges and opportunities that opened for our movements in 2020. Many groups, with hardly a breath after defending the presidential election, shifted to a “block and build” stance, organizing to stop the spread of racist extremism and to build the power to make transformative change. Organizing Upgrade exists to support these efforts, and we’re stepping up to meet this moment.
For 13 years, we’ve published lessons and reflections, strategy and history, working with an all-volunteer crew. Now we’re excited to announce that Alex Han has joined us as our first executive editor.
Based in Chicago, which he calls “a city at the heart of the neoliberal experiment,” Alex brings two decades of organizing experience and a strategic perspective honed at the intersection of labor, community, and left politics.
As a vice president of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, he helped tens of thousands of home-based healthcare and childcare workers unionize. He helped found United Working Families, an independent political organization that has elected movement leaders to city, county, and state offices. In 2020 he served on the national political team for the Bernie Sanders campaign. He has also worked with the Bargaining for the Common Good network, which brings unions’ bargaining power to bear in broader campaigns to better the lives of workers as well as their communities.
Positive though all this is, “None of it is enough,” Alex said. “The challenges we face aren’t primarily about ‘scaling up’ our existing organizing—though that is still a necessary endeavor. We need to defeat the immediate dangers in front of us while protecting and expanding our collective ability to hope, imagine, and dream a different future.
“Whether we call it authoritarianism, a new feudalism, white nationalism—or all of those and more —I see Organizing Upgrade and many of the political and organizing forces that OrgUp represents as a critical place to help our movements chart a path forward,” he said.
In the next year, OrgUp plans to ramp up our work, as we continue to bring Left and progressive forces together to share best practices, exchange assessments, debate knotty theoretical questions, and deepen our understanding of strategy. We are thrilled to have Alex helping to guide this effort.
You’ll have the chance to get to know Alex in conversations with movement leaders over the next few weeks, which we’ll be posting and sharing. Watch for one on Friday, Dec. 10, when Alex will be in dialogue with Maurice Mitchell, Executive Director of the Working Families Party. And if you’d like to send a donation to welcome Alex aboard, that would be much appreciated!