60% of the U.S. budget is military spending, and those in favor of this budget are often opposed to plans like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. We’re taking a closer look at L3Harris, a weapon contractor in Northampton on track to become one of the top ten weapon contractors in the world. L3Harris is a living example of the culture of militarism that exists right under our noses. We’re creating a force for change that urges L3Harris and those invested in the company to re-evaluate their priorities and invest in community needs.
Facial surveillance is a form of systemic violence, attacking democracy and personal privacy in public spaces. Research shows that this surveillance is dangerously inaccurate and bias, often misidentifying people of color, trans people, women, and children. That’s why we’re working with community partners and elected officials to pass a moratorium on face surveillance in towns and cities across Western Massachusetts.
We have been working on policies to protect immigrants since a decade ago, including helping to pass what are now deemed “sanctuary” policies. We have worked independently and in coalition with other organizations to preserve the civil rights of everyone in our community, from the #BlackLivesMatter movement to racial profiling to the increased surveillance and data collection by our state and federal government.
As one of the few remaining organizations that addresses the military recruitment of young people, we regularly issue Military Recruitment In Western Massachusetts Public High Schools, a report which details the presence and influence of military recruiters and the culture of militarism in the 53 public high schools in the region.
We believe in the obligation to provide resources, support, and training to the next generation of activists, which is why youthwork is such a big part of our work. That’s why one of the most intensive and long-standing pieces of our work is our Youth Internship Program, which recruits youth from local colleges and community organizations. Interns are paid or given academic credit to learn and accomplish programmatic (not just clerical) work. Interns learn not only how to organize and do research, but reflecting on a curriculum of social justice history is part of their paid time in the office.
When my peers were washing dishes to be able to afford college, I was able to learn activism skills … I was taught to do these things, and I was treated as a potential future source of energy and power and importance, and it was an incredibly affirming thing. I don’t see anyone else in the local community doing what The Resistance Center does with young people to create a system where they can be supported, and be paid, to be an activist.
Former Smith College Intern
For decades, we have been training thousands of folks in the practice of nonviolent direct action training, including the 6 principles of Kingian nonviolence. We continue to offer trainings, from eviction blockade trainings, to environmental direct action, and more.