UC Berkeley students establish Resistance School on campus to teach progressive activism

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The Resistance School, an online lecture series teaching tools for progressive activism, was opened to the UC Berkeley community Thursday by students at the Goldman School of Public Policy.

The student-run organization, which broadcasts pre-recorded lectures every other Thursday starting Oct. 5, has its own curriculum, lecture notes and homework assignments. Among the scheduled lecturers are Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and a campus professor at the Goldman School, and Ian Haney López, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Kori Anderson, one of the founding members of Resistance School at Berkeley and a graduate student at the Goldman School, said she and her classmates saw a need to create a platform for progressive ideals. Anderson said the aim of this project is to use Berkeley’s “amazing” progressive resources to “equip folks who are doing progressive work.”

The overall goal of Resistance School at Berkeley is to effectively communicate progressive values, Anderson said. She added that while the course is targeted at progressive activists and organizers, anyone who appreciates progressive values will gain knowledge from the lecture topics.

The original Resistance School was founded by 11 students at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in March 2017 after President Donald Trump’s election. One benefit of having two branches of the Resistance School, Anderson said, is that each program will have multiple audiences.

Anderson added that recent events around the nation demonstrate the need to train and empower progressive organizers. She said she hopes more students at UC Berkeley get involved with the Resistance School.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, was the first speaker to record a lecture for the Resistance School. According to McCarthy, students founded the Resistance School after experiencing anger, despair and sadness at Trump’s election.

Although the project was conceived as a response to Trump, McCarthy said the lecture series has become “a movement” for progressive thought. McCarthy added that the project was the “most thrilling” thing to happen at the Kennedy School during his time there. According to McCarthy, the Resistance School in Berkeley was formed when students at UC Berkeley contacted the Harvard branch.

“I’m looking for hope in these difficult moments, and Resistance School offers me some of that hope,” McCarthy said.

One of the lecturers for Resistance School at Berkeley, Anat Shenker-Osorio, a communications expert, emphasized the importance of this project in explaining the significant amount of progressive political losses in recent elections.

“I think it’s incredibly important that we get our story straight,” Shenker-Osorio said.

The goal of spreading progressive political messages, according to Shenker-Osorio, is to engage the progressive audience. That audience, in turn, can persuade those who are politically center to embrace progressive values and help “alienate” opposition, she said.

“We can systematically come together to combat the power, and that is the goal of the Resistance School,” Shenker-Osorio said.

Contact Rishabh Nijhawan at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @realRishNij.