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Indivisible New Hampshire: Opposing Authoritarianism and Defending Democracy

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

by: Barbara Peterson May 26, 2019

Indivisible New Hampshire is working with people in counties across our state to oppose the Trump and right-wing agenda. They support the Resistance by working to hold all state and federal members of congress accountable to the needs and interests of the people. According to lead organizers, Linda Rhodes and Chris Raspa, their mission is to support “NH’s resistance by providing leadership, resources, tools, and training to oppose authoritarianism and defend democracy.” Founded in March 2017, they have struggled against serious and significant challenges to the rights and freedoms of our state’s residents.

The mission of the national Indivisible Movement “is to cultivate a grassroots movement of literally thousands of local Indivisible groups to elect progressive leaders, realize bold progressive policies, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda,” as stated on their website. As a chapter of the national movement, Indivisible New Hampshire shares their mission. For the past two years, one way in which they have opposed the Trump agenda is by working on voting legislation. For example, they engaged in a variety of actions to oppose the voter suppression laws, SB3 and HB1264. Through testifying and visibility hearings in Concord, rallying, phone banking, student registration efforts, and educational sessions, members of Indivisible New Hampshire have struggled against and continue to fight to protect the voting rights of everyone living in our state.

SB3 and HB1264, which both passed in 2017, are direct threats to the voting rights of New Hampshire students. The combined effect of these bills makes registering to vote more confusing and complicated, levies serious fines on people who don’t present the appropriate documents after same-day voter registration, and most egregious, HB1264 specifies that anyone who registers to vote must then get a NH driver’s license and register their car in the state. ACLU has said they consider this a post-election poll tax.

Indivisible NH has been working with the NH campaign for Voting Rights to support HB106, which repeals HB1264, and to encourage Governor Sununu to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

Voter rights are only one aspect of voting that Indivisible New Hampshire works to protect. In preparation for the 2018 election, Indivisible New Hampshire was very active in the Get Out the Vote drive and worked to flip the NH legislature blue. They helped register students to vote and they sent 5,500 postcards to support NH House candidates as well as the Chris Pappas election. In addition, they engaged in weekly canvassing, an effort that, according to the research, produces the best results in getting people out to the polls. In Rochester alone, they knocked on over 2,000 doors.

Voting is one essential aspect of ensuring that we have fair and strong representation in government. Appalled by the Trump election, the national Indivisible movement began when a group of Congressional staffers produced: Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. Their intent was to help individuals across the nation grow their political power by communicating and pressuring their elected officials to stand up against Trump’s agenda. They modeled their approach on the successful tactics used by the Tea Party movement. By turning citizens into active and vocal resisters, Indivisible helped teach people to influence legislation by making phone calls to their own political representatives, showing up at their offices, attending legislative hearings and town hall meetings, supporting progressive political candidates, and participating in protests against the conservative agenda, led most ostensibly by Trump and his cohorts.

Projects that the national Indivisible supports according to their website include: the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, the Dream and Promise Act (providing permanent relief to Dreamers), Temporary Protected Status for individuals who would be at serious risk if they returned to their homeland, defunding Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Deferred Enforcement Departure for people who have lived in the U.S. for decades, the Family Act (national paid family and medical leave), showing the full Mueller report, HR1046 (bringing down drug prices), and HR1 (For the People Act: expands voter rights by requiring each state to make it far easier to vote, makes campaign finance more transparent, and increases election security).

Indivisible New Hampshire takes on the mission and projects of the national movement by prioritizing the issues that most affect individuals in our state. According to Rhodes and Raspa, they are an action-oriented, grassroots organization working to directly influence legislation and elections with various modes of activism. They gave voice to New Hampshire outrage by protesting at Senators Shaheen’s and Hassan’s offices when the Senators supported Trump cabinet appointments, and were delighted to see the Senators come out strong against further Trump cabinet appointees, for example, Betsy Devos. They continue to protect voting rights by rallying in Concord to repeal SB3 and HB1264 and by supporting voter registration.

In addition, Indivisible New Hampshire works to make high-quality education affordable to everyone. They help to institute economic equity and justice, support measures to ensure everyone in our state has clean water and air, oppose authoritarian rule, and they promote equality to all individuals regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or age. Furthermore, according to their website, they value “inclusivity – working with organizations, coalitions, community groups, and individuals … [as] vocal allies for marginalized communities.” As a nonpartisan group, they welcome any and all groups and individuals who wish to oppose the Trump agenda. Their efforts are always peaceful, seeking to create change and effect solutions to injustice through nonviolent means.

Like the national movement, Indivisible New Hampshire promotes the progressive agenda. They continue to hold our House delegates accountable to progressive values and policies. Given the influx of presidential candidates in NH, Indivisible NH is encouraging people to show up at candidate events to highlight important issues such as climate change and voting rights, and make sure candidates know what is important to us in NH. Bird Dogging is a method used to get definitive answers and commitments from candidates about specific policies, and Indivisible was happy to host a training from Arnie Alpert (American Friends Service Committee), Isaac Grimms (Rights and Democracy) and Dan Pontoh (ACLU NH). They encourage everyone to engage with candidates to help set the tone for the nation and focus on the most important issues for this upcoming election.

By putting continuous pressure on our elected representatives, by keeping up with protests against efforts to take away health care, degrade the environment, assaults on voting rights and immigrants rights, and by educating the public in order to grow and thereby strengthen the movement, Indivisible New Hampshire played a significant role in turning the NH House and Senate from red to blue, and continues to help and encourage our state adopt more progressive policies. They have members throughout the state, and they continue to expand as they build regional hubs for those who can’t come to the meetings, usually held in Durham. Their energy has only increased since they formed nearly three years ago. As a result, Indivisible New Hampshire is a powerful force in moving our state toward realizing a more progressive vision of human rights and equality for all in a healthy and sustainable environment.

Supporting Indivisible New Hampshire

· Come to their monthly meetings (generally first Sunday of every month, except if it conflicts with the Super Bowl!)

· Send name, address, email, town and zip code, and phone # to be added to our email list, and phone tree

· Volunteer to coordinate one or more projects

· Help with fundraising

Members, Affiliations, and Contact Information

· They have a private group on Facebook, and a Twitter account: @NH_Indivisible

· No official affiliations, but close contact with other Indivisible and progressive groups in the Northeast

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