Harvard students start 'Dumbledore's army' for resistance training
Remember when Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and some friends formed a secret group to learn defensive magic?
Well, Harvard University is now the home of something similar in the real world — except for the secretive part. It’s called Resistance School, and organizers hope it will “help people build the skills they need to work together on local, state or national issues that matter to them.”
The program creators are comparing themselves to “Dumbledore’s Army”, that group of students in the Harry Potter series that banded together to learn to fight against Voldemort and dark magic, according to the Boston Globe.
But the creators say it doesn’t matter what you call them because the work they do isn’t about them, “it’s about the more than 7,000 groups across the country that have signed up for Resistance School,” Resistance School co-founder Shanoor Seervai told USA TODAY College.
The four-week training course focuses on tactics in progressive activism created by graduate students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The program’s website lists session titles like “How to Communicate our Values in Political Advocacy,” “How to Structure and Build Capacity for Action” and “How to Sustain the Resistance Long-Term.”
“On November 8, we lost more than just the presidency. We lost yet more ground in the decades-long campaign against progressive values,” the Resistance School’s Facebook page reads. “We believe that both long-time activists and new additions to the movement need to forge effective offensive strategies to secure progressive victories. Throughout April, we invite you to join with neighbors, friends, or classmates and participate in livestreamed interactive workshops with renowned political campaigners, communicators, and organizers.”
Resistance School began, much like Dumbledore’s Army, as informal meetings with a group of friends who were “concerned about the outcome of the election.” From their meetings they began devising a plan to stay active in their communities to fight for the progressive values they believed in.
“Many of us had been politically active before the election, and what we’re doing here is trying to help communities across the country strengthen their skills so they can take political action that has sustained momentum over the long term,” Seervai said.
From those informal meetings launched a website with an extensive reading list and training sessions planned with speakers including professors, progressive strategists and the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Organizers say the response from the public has been “incredible.” The program has encouraged people to gather in groups to live-stream future lessons in watch parties. “We had people from every walk of life, from all 50 states and from 6 continents, sign up to join us,” Joseph Breen, a Resistance School co-founder, told USA TODAY College. “We had small groups organize potlucks, and large organizing chapters of a few hundred tune in together.”
And they don’t even need a Room of Requirement to join.