Ezra Levin is the founder of Indivisible
Ezra Levin, the founder of Indivisible National, came to talk to us about his organization and how we can participate in a democracy in order to make sure our voices are heard. He stressed the point of understanding that people hold the power, and they can incite change, no matter how small of a voice they think they have. Indivisible’s main focus is getting people heard and making it easier for them to participate in the political process. One thing he said that struck me was that it’s hard to ignore people if you’re face to face with them, which I found very interesting in regards to the fact that congress can ignore their constituents when they are not being vocal about what they want. He also talked about the importance of using media to your advantage. He talked about how it is easy to ignore people, but when they have a camera behind them, it is harder to ignore them.
The vision of Indivisible is one that I am connected to very personally as well; my mother and father started the Indivisible chapter in Santa Cruz, and I have seen their passion for politics grow and both of them bloom into powerful and effective leaders in our community. I think the community that Indivisible has created is a very important one; it is giving voices to people who haven’t engaged in the political conversation before, people who didn’t think they were activists but now are rising up because they see that things they care about are being threatened. The last thing that Ezra said really struck me. He talked about how it is scary but also liberating to know we have the power. He said, “It isn’t going to be okay. It isn’t going to be okay unless we make it okay. There is no one who is going to make it okay besides us.”
Going into our interview with Ezra Levin, founder of Indivisible, I was curious about the nature of his organization. Whereas many movements are structured around a specific cause or with direct leadership from the top, Indivisible employs a bottom-up, grassroots-style of government. He stressed the importance of staying away from policy agendas and focusing on the causes that can unite people. Indivisible’s agenda is to resist the excesses of the current administration. This is so broad that it encompasses a huge range of ideologies and political beliefs, and, because of this, it has exploded.
The ideas of an individual in a state are not necessarily congruous with those of others in the Indivisible movement, but overall they can agree on a few overarching principles that allow the organization to stick together without fragmentation. To achieve this it is necessary to grant local autonomy to individual groups and leaders on the ground level. Not only does this allow for a unity of belief, it allows for diversity of strategy and principle, i.e. adaptability. The snowflake structure of Indivisible has allowed for a more efficient method of harnessing the brainpower of a large mass of people. There are of course disadvantages to this method, but aspects of this structure may be useful in other organizations or institutions to create a more efficient method of collaboration.
Today we interviewed Ezra Levin, the founder of Indivisible National, a progressive movement that began in 2016 as a reaction to Donald Trump’s election. We interviewed him in the church upstairs from where we are staying. We started asking him questions, and not only was it clear to see, but he also voiced how impressed he was with our research and thoughtful questions. With every question asked, he seemed more impressed. He answered our questions very thoroughly, and even after answering, he’d ask us if what he said was a fulfilling response.
One of my favorite things he talked about was how important it is for representatives to remember they aren’t working to represent the administration, but rather their constituents. I thought it was good that he emphasized this important note. He also, in humor, talked about how he never expected the Indivisible guidelines document to become so viral so quickly (and on that note, that if he knew, he’d fix all the typos he made). I noticed I was very comfortable asking him my question because of how friendly and approachable he was. He is young, but also very smart in how he thinks about the political world and how well he articulates his thoughts. Interviewing him was a great way to end the day and he even inspired me to learn how to personally get involved with Indivisible.