The 2022 Labor Notes Conference, a gathering of “troublemakers” and labor activists from across the United States and beyond, took place in Chicago during a mild mid-June weekend. Attendance was a jam-packed whirlwind of panels, workshops, training sessions, and socials. Over 4,000 organizers and activists commingled – including educators, baristas, newsroom workers, Amazon warehouse organizers, and Teamsters.
Labor Notes marked an unforgettable four days of learning, connecting, and building solidarity between wildly diverse groups, and the lessons I learned from comrades across the country will stick with me for years to come.
I remember my first days as a politically-conscious young person. In 2015, I was a high school student, tinkering around with Minecraft utopias and science fiction; at the same time, Bernie Sanders was ramping up his first run at the US Presidency. I recall key parts of the platform he spoke on that year, ranging from free public higher education, Medicare for All, and a comprehensive plan to address climate change in favor of working people. That last point in particular opened my mind to the possibilities of politics, as I realized the answer to Jim Inhofe’s infamous snowball-in-Congress denialism was not better science communication, but political power. Now, 6 years later, the most recent in a long history of American socialist upsurges is still fighting to save our planet and our people from our government and our ruling class.