By Aaron Kreider
I generally became radicalized as a teenager listening to Vancouver Co-op Radio, shortwave radio, and growing up under the very unpopular Mulroney Conservative Canadian government (and similarly unpopular, conservative and scandal ridden BC Social Credit government).
-1994-1997 – founded, hosted, and then co-hosted a weekly 1.5 to 2 hour Radical Radio on WGCS, 91.1 FM, Goshen College, Indiana, 5000 watts. We read Zapatista communiques, hosted Mumia commentaries, radical news from the internet (including anarchist, maoist, workers of the world party, league of revolutionaries, and more), played radical speeches (from Alternative Radio – like Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Angela Davis, Cornel West, etc), music, and more.
-1995 summer – member of the Vancouver Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. We shutdown intersections with flaming torches (and generally organized/protested) as Mumia came within a week of being executed. The coalition was hosted by the community college Third World Alliance that included Communists, International Socialists, and others. This was my first experience with sectarianism as the Spartacists were very disruptive and eventually kicked out.
-1995-1997 – primary organizer for the Goshen College Pax (peace) organization. We did educational work, and didn’t run campaigns (this was in the early ages of the internet, and we were in rural Indiana – so nobody told me about how to run a campaign or why campaigns are critical).
-1996-1997 – organized with Goshen College Advocates (lgb-straight alliance) which two years later won the first recognition of a LBGT student group of any Mennonite school in North America
-1996-1997 – co-published two small runs of a radical newsletter for Goshen College.
-1997 spring – organized and co-facilitated a one-credit student-run course on Radicalism at Goshen College.
-1997 – 2005 worked with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, a radical student environment, environmental justice, and social justice organization with a national network. I worked on the website, database, national office computers (and printers and network), budget, and did a massive revision to the 100 page SEAC Organizing Guide (2000+ copies printed)
-1998-2001 – founded the Notre Dame Progressive Student Alliance. Our biggest win was our anti-sweatshop campaign, where as a member group of United Students Against Sweatshops, we got $30,000/year to the Workers Rights Consortium (founded by anti-sweathop activists). Our second biggest campaign was to include sexual orientation in our non-discrimination clause and get the LGBT student group recognized. For that, we mobilized widespread campus support and got national (NYT, Pacifica, National Catholic Reporter) and international (UK Observer) press. 15 years later, after repeated campaigns, the Progressive Student Alliance won the recognition of a LGBT student group.
I helped develop several leaders from liberalism into socialism/anarchism. I also wrote 20+ newspaper columns and letters. I wrote and researched the 20 page pamphlet “Notre Dame Disorientation Guide” that we distributed to first-years. I wrote a history of student activism at Notre Dame from 1960 to present. I helped organized several teach-ins (Clinton’s bombing of Iraq, gay rights, sweatshops). We also organized an anti-Bush commencement speaker protest, defended the student Women’s Resource Center (from rightwing attacks that tried to close the center for having a Planned Parenthood pamphlet), advocated for student rights/campus democracy (got a major bill through Student Senate but it got buried/ignored after I graduated), got put on organizational probation (for putting up posters in the same place that other groups did without getting in trouble), stopped Taco Bell from coming to our campus (on behalf of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Taco Bell campaign), etc. We were a bit edgy. It took the university 6 months to recognize the organization, and we didn’t think it was going to happen.
-1998 to 2001 – member of Notre Dame Pax Christi (Catholic Peace group) that worked to oppose ROTC on campus, the School of Americas, the death penalty (protesting at the Indiana State Prison), etc.
-Fall 2001. I co-founded Notre Dame Peace Coalition after September 11, and urged the coalition to opposed 1) ROTC (300+ students enrolled in it), 2) CIA recruitment (Notre Dame is popular with the CIA), and 3) military research. But the coalition was fairly moderate and I graduated.
-2002 – Left Notre Dame to found CampusActivism.org – a website network for student activists (we launched before Friendster was out of beta). Spent most of the next six years working on this.
-1999-2003 – wrote my master’s thesis on participation in a wave of sit-ins in the student anti-sweatshop movement.
-2008 (to present) – launched Energy Justice Map – to facilitate energy justice / community activists opposing dirty power plants (energyjustice.net/map)
-2011 – involved in Occupy Philly with the Education and Training working committee, and helped launch the Occupy Philly calendar
-Fall 2013 – joined Philly Socialists
-2013-2014 created JusticeMap.org – a map of race and income for the US (and tools to demonstrate environmental racism/injustice and segregation)
-Spring 2014 – helped found the West Philly branch
-Summer and Fall 2014 – served on West Philly branch organizing committee – helping to organize the branch, recruitment (Dollar Strolls), two BBQs, while also serving as branch treasurer.
-Fall 2014 – organized the Wealth Redistribution project and two canvasses in Kingsessing neighborhood where we signed up several (3-10 or possibly more) low-income households to reduce their property tax by $300-$400/year (in perpetuity)
-2014-2015 – second most active organizer in the Solidarity Network for our fight against the absentee NYC landlord and the Winchester Campaign (David was the lead organizer).
-2015 – created RedPhilly.org with info on how to research landlords, Philly Socialists, and a 30 page data analysis and maps of the 2015 Philly election results.
-late 2015 – retired from active involvement in the Philly Socialists due to disagreements over the organization becoming increasingly centralized and unsustainable (still a member)
-late 2016 – joined Reclaim Philadelphia
-2018: joined Philly Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and LILAC
-2018-2020: did an exploratory project to start low income socialist housing co-ops
-2020-2021: served on the Marxist Center Organizing Committee helping edit and write several organizing resources
-on-going – active in Rise Up lefty folk sing-a-long group based in west philly.