Indiana Grad Students Protesting Tax Bill Get a Lesson in Democracy for the Rich

Risking arrest, activists from Campus Action for Democracy occupy the office of US Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Indiana) on December 11, 2017. The activists are graduate students at Indiana University and they staged a sit-in to pressure their representative to vote against the tax bill. (Photo: Denisa Jashari)


Welcome to Interviews for Resistance. We’re now nearly a year into the Trump administration, and activists have scored some important victories in those months. Yet there is always more to be done, and for many people, the question of where to focus and how to help remains. In this series, we talk with organizers, agitators and educators, not only about how to resist, but how to build a better world. Today’s interview is the 100th in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.

Today we bring you a conversation with Tracey Hutchings-Goetz, Edward Brudney, Justin Knight, Kathryn Lehman, Amanda Waterhouse and Liam Kingsley. They are Ph.D. candidates or graduate students at Indiana University, and all are involved in Campus Action for Democracy. They discuss their recent occupation of their congressman’s office in opposition to the tax bill and how disconnected they felt from their representative, who was unwilling to engage these constituents.

Sarah Jaffe: I am talking to all of you because you had an occupation of your congressman’s office Monday. Tell us about that action and how that went.

Edward Brudney: We went in with the plan to bring our congressman, Trey Hollingsworth, a petition with signatures from around 500 … members of the community of Indiana University in opposition to the tax bill. We went in with a specific demand of getting Trey on the phone to speak to us and to get him to change his vote to “no.” Those were the conditions by which we would agree to leave his office.

Tracey Hutchings-Goetz: We went in with seven of us willing to sustain arrest, and you are talking to six of the seven…. We went in knowing full well…

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