In our continual work to build a national network of grassroots organizations rooted in working-class Asian communities, GAR hosted a peer exchange of over 40 participants, staff, and members, from 15 of our member organizations. Building a Working Class Base gave space for folks to share tactics that worked in bringing in working-class members and strategize over struggles that we all faced. This organizing work is crucial as the working class must be the center of our movement work.
Adhikaar shared how providing direct services for immediate needs to members with Temporary Protected Status opened up avenues for long-term engagement. Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) stressed the necessity of meeting working-class members where they are—literally—whether that’s at schools, community gatherings, festivals, train stations, or wherever else. SEAC Village highlighted the importance of building mutual aid amongst multiracial working class bases, especially in the US South. All organizations also shared struggles of building bases, especially with how the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected working-class communities, pushing organizers to become creative with keeping members engaged. The event marked the beginning of much longer conversations about how to navigate providing spaces for working class people to organize while grappling with the labor it takes on both members’ and organizers’ parts.
As we’re deep into the third year of the pandemic, we know that working-class Asian communities are at the center of many contradictions: economic and labor hardships, escalating U.S. imperialism, the rising tide for police accountability, increasing White Supremacist violence, and so much more. As a network committed to improve the quality of life, dignity, and sense of security among working-class pan-Asian communities, we know that building bases in our organizations is crucial. GAR takes base building to a national level as we connect translocal work towards a national strategy. This will shift power towards the leadership of our working-class communities. We create and unite a shared vision and strategy for material changes alongside other directly impacted communities.