Since election night 2016, the streets of the US have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this ongoing “Interviews for Resistance” series, experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers share their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same. Today’s interview is the fifteenth in the series. Click here for the most recent interview before this one.
Today we bring you a conversation with Michael Kink, the executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, a labor community coalition based in New York working on economic justice, income inequality and racial justice issues. Kink has worked in many arenas, serving as a legal aid lawyer, working for AIDS activists and LGBT civil rights groups, and briefly working in government. Throughout his career he has worked on direct action and civil disobedience, as well as on law and policy.
Sarah Jaffe: What was your reaction to the election?
Michael Kink: The day after the election I, like many people, wrote a couple of dozen groups and individuals that I would want to see connected. By that afternoon, I was on a 168-person email chain that included a lot of my friends and colleagues from back in [my] AIDS activism, health care activism, gay rights days. There was an instantaneous mobilization. I was scheduled to give a talk in the city that night and got off a train and walked into thousands of people flooding the streets against Trump. There are new people, young people, veterans, activists, folks that have fought for the last several decades, fought against Bill Clinton doing bad stuff and Reagan and George W. Bush and his dad doing bad stuff.
There are some…