Economic Justice is Climate Justice

10671423_10152699672523704_4524976519551915064_nEconomic justice is climate justice. These are some reflections as I read Naomi Klein’s newest book “This Changes Everything” about extreme capitalism and the climate crisis.

If we meet RG’s mission of redistribution of land, wealth and power, we will also necessarily have contributed to stopping the climate crisis.

If we stop the climate crisis, really and truly, we will also necessarily have to meet RG’s mission. If land is distributed equitably and cared for by those inhabiting it, if power is held by those who are directly impacted by the decisions made about the resources in their area, if everyone has enough wealth to survive and thrive in dignity…the climate crisis will have been stopped, a new paradigm will have taken shape.

A new dominant economic paradigm* is our only option besides, well, literally ending life as we know it.  An economy that actually centers all life (people and planet) instead of just profits. Here’s why.

The planet is in crisis because of the global systems of trade, development, and resource-accumulation in the hands of a few individuals, corporations, and countries.

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Mike and Isaac’s Job Transitions

Hey RG,

I’m writing to let you know I’ll be transitioning off staff in mid-July of this year, to pursue work with the Catalyst Project, an organization that has played a deep role in my own transformation, politicization, and growth as an organizer.  I’ve loved getting to work with RG members and staff, to experience and help grow the passion, creativity, dynamism, strategy and commitment of this incredibly important organization. I will be moving on from my job at RG, but I hope to remain close to the work and will be keeping my eyes out for opportunities for collaboration as we all continue to work toward an equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. We’ll be posting for my job soon, so keep your eyes out for good candidates!

Isaac Lev Szmonko
Campaign and Chapter Organizer

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Dear RG Community, Friends and Colleagues,

After almost 6 years working at Resource Generation, I have decided to transition off staff August 31st of this year.

Helping grow and lead this community as an RG staff person has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. (more…)

The Insider: Author Nicole Lewis Examines the Intersection of Race and Class Privilege

Note: Nicole is former staff, current member leader and author of our recent book, Between the Silver Spoon and the Struggle: Reflections on the Intersection of Racism and Class Privilege. This interview is reposted from BlackGivesBack.com.

Between a Silver Spoon and The Struggle: Reflections on the Intersection of Racism and Class Privilege is the newly released book by Nicole Lewis and Resource Generation.  A central question of the book: Can rich kids really be down?

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But how do I choose?!? Some thoughts on year-end giving

This article is reposted from Jessie’s personal blog from 12/24/2013

Its that time of year when there is an all-time high of people in my community asking my opinion about giving and charity. I’m writing this for my personal blog, but in such a way that I hope it is shareable with all of our broader networks. It is by no means comprehensive, but its a start. When you, dear reader, are asked by your cousin or co-worker or housemate about giving, I hope this is something you will find useful to share!

Some of the questions I’ve gotten this week include: how do you know that the money is actually going to “the cause”? If an organization sends glossy fancy mailings multiple times year does that mean they’re spending too much on overhead? Should I give to causes in the global South where things seem much more dire, or give domestically?

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Work?! Mike’s thoughts on young people with inherited wealth and earning a living

Note: These thoughts are mine and not RG’s as a whole, RG policy or anything of the sort. Important questions that complicate my argument are at the bottom.

I wanna start a conversation. It touches on one of the issues I have struggled with1 and continue to grapple with as a young(ish) adult, and what I see as one of the biggest struggles and questions many of our RG members with inherited wealth face as we graduate college and enter the job market. I don’t think there are easy answers, I think we are faced with a set of tough choices. I am excited to put out my thinking as cleanly and clearly as I can and am hoping this starts lots of interesting discussion that makes us all smarter. (more…)


  1. In my twenties I worked a low-paying job with Americorp, part-time jobs as an after-school teacher and other work that barely covered my bills. I was able to do this because I could use or borrow a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there from my trust fund or family to cover my expenses. Questions like, how much should I be working? and how much money do I need to make? were constantly on my mind. 

A Long History of Protecting our Castles: Why the Zimmerman Verdict Should Matter to Young People With Wealth Committed to Building a Better World

 

This post was written by Ashley Horan, James Schaffer, Sarah Abbott, and Isaac Lev Szmonko

“Justice was always going to elude Trayvon Martin, not because the system failed, but because it worked. Martin died and Zimmerman walked because our entire political and legal foundations were built on an ideology of settler colonialism — an ideology in which the protection of white property rights was always sacrosanct; predators and threats to those privileges were almost always black, brown, and red; and where the very purpose of police power was to discipline, monitor, and contain populations rendered a threat to white property and privilege.”   –Robin D.G. Kelley  

When the Zimmerman verdict came down on the evening of July 13, member leaders and allies of the Resource Generation community were gathered together in a multi-generational, multi-class group for the first-ever RG Transformative Leadership Institute in Northfield, MN.  In those first few hours after Zimmerman was acquitted, we experienced a wide range of emotions: grief, rage, pain, disillusionment, frustration, numbness.  We processed our reactions together, held each other, and sang and wept and held Trayvon Martin, his family, and all the people far and near who are so hurt–and so directly implicated–by this verdict in our hearts.

But the following day, our initial shock and anger gave way to something else.  A large group of us convened, and talked about what this verdict means, what to do going forward, and why people like us, many of whom have most benefited from capitalism and racism, need to care about justice for Trayvon Martin and all the young Black and Brown men he has come to symbolize.  This blog post represents the reactions and thinking of a small group of us in the wake of those conversations.

Because of our privilege–which, for many of us, includes white skin privilege as well as wealth and social capital–we are not often the victims of systemic oppression and structural violence.  But that makes it all the more important to allow ourselves to feel all the emotions that have come up in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death.  And it’s important to acknowledge those feelings because the largely white, wealthy communities many of us come from can so easily lean towards analytical and “objective” reaction, meaning that we bypass the real human suffering and lived experiences of the people most intimately impacted by violence and oppression.  By parsing the laws, by solely responding through intellectualizing what’s happened, we distance ourselves from empathy.  As people who’ve been taught not to notice or express our feelings, we know that part of our own path of liberation is to pause and take the time to feel. And so, first and foremost, we state that we, as young people with wealth, are grieving this verdict along with many, many others around the country.  We are hurt; we are angry; we are deeply, deeply sad. (more…)

Reflection on the Trayvon moment: No More Days In Court

Re-posted from Facebook: A response from Nicole Lewis, former RG staff member and co-author of the forthcoming book “Between a Silver Spoon and the Struggle: Reflections on the Intersection of Racism and Class Privilege.”

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Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, is as important as the killing of White mothers’ sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.

– Ella Baker, Leading Mentor of Black Youth, including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960’s  (1964)

By the time George Zimmerman saw the inside of a Florida courtroom it was already too late. A teenager was dead, and grief had made its home in the hearts of the Martin family and in the hearts of the compassionate masses. To be sure, it is a familiar grief. A grief laced with sorrow and outrage. A grief rife with fear, and the understanding that Trayvon was not the first to die. And he probably won’t be the last.

In the days following Zimmerman’s acquittal, I have grappled with my seeming lack of feelings. I wondered why I could not connect to the outrage sweeping my community. Why I could not join them in protest. Why my eyes remained dry as a I imagined the heartbreak and helplessness the Martin family must have felt in knowing their son’s killer walks the streets a free man. Why had I abstained for so long from comment? (more…)

Reflection on the Trayvon moment: Because I Do Not Want To Be Silent

Over the coming days and weeks we will be posting reflections on the Trayvon Martin murder, Zimmerman acquittal, and all that it is opening up. They are from members, staff, former staff, RG advocates and allies…a series of posts as they arise; not all representing a sole vision or perspective but many processes that are part of our whole. All the posts will begin with the title “Reflection on the Trayvon moment:…” Be in touch with mike@resourcegeneration.org if  you’d like to contribute.

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Below is a piece of writing I did on Monday night, waiting to board a plane home from RG’s Transformative Leadership Institute. I intentionally did minimal revisions, and wrote with a commitment to focus on my feelings. This is what poured out. ~ Jessie

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I am full of hope and love and rage and despair.

I write from the airport, exhausted and awe-inspired after 5 incredible days of meeting with 30 member leaders of Resource Generation. I write because in this very moment I don’t know what else to do and I’m worried I’ll stop processing I’ll stop feeling.

I’m committed to not stop feeling.

I keep looking at my arm. My white arm. My white woman’s arm. My rich white woman’s arm. An arm that has never held a child I considered as my own. This arm, connected to this body, that has no idea what it feels like to have been Trayvon, or his mother, or his sibling. Or even honestly in many ways, his friend. An arm that has been kept world’s away from his, by racism and classism and capitalism and UGH I continue to rage and despair and reach for love and hope. (more…)

Choices: a poem about disability and wealth

dis/ability

ability

able

i am able to do something
i am not able to do something

class privilege is an ability

able-bodied
body is able to do something

body is not able to do something

if i am able to … Continue reading »

“Coming Out” as Rich Kids: Elspeth Gilmore

Re-blogged, due to our partnership with Bolder Giving:

Elspeth Gilmore, current executive director of RG, writes in Bolder Giving about coming to terms with class privilege and inheritance.

At age 33, I’m at last coming into my own about … Continue reading »