Michaelann Bewsee on the struggle for the rights of poor people

Longtime radical activist Michaelann Bewsee reflects on the successful resistance strategies of Massachusetts grassroots organization Arise for Social Justice.

This video, filmed and produced by the Umass-Amherst Resistance Studies Initiative in November 2018, is an interview with long-time radical activist Michaelann Bewsee. Bewsee is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is the former Executive Director, and a founding member, of Arise for Social Justice.

Founded in 1985, Arise is a grassroots poor people’s rights organization that fights oppression in its many manifestations, including homelessness, environmental injustice, racial oppression, homophobia, and police violence.

In this interview, Michaelann Bewsee reflects on the successful resistance strategies Arise activists employed; methods and challenges of organizing; the most important local campaigns that Arise initiated; as well as her own experiences that drew her to a life of radical activism and struggle for the rights of poor people.

This story was produced by Resistance Studies


Resistance Studies is a collaborative effort between academics and activists, or “professors of the street,” that promotes the analysis of and support for nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience around the world. This includes the Resistance Studies Initiative at UMass Amherst, scholars in the Resistance Studies Network and the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed Journal of Resistance Studies.

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