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An ongoing crisis summary to keep you informed, active, and sane. Written from a center-left perspective, focused on removing the threat of Trumpian autocracy. By Francis Hwang.

Day 416.

In West Virginia, public school teachers break the rules and win

West Virginia teachers are declaring victory after a two-week strike that ended when lawmakers granted them a five-percent salary increase. The win may have ripple effects across the nation, as teachers in other states study West Virginia's example.

Public sector strikes are won or lost in the court of public opinion, and West Virginia teachers worked to underscore their commitment to their students and families. They prepared for the strike by packing meals for students, and volunteered at community centers that provided day care for children not in school.

Technically, West Virginia public employees have no right to strike, but strikers decided that the fight would be worth breaking the law. This resolve was fueled by the union's rank-and-file, which organized through a large Facebook group and ultimately proved to be more willing to fight than its own leadership. When the union leaders called on the rank-and-file to end the strike quickly, teachers ignored their leaders and stayed on the picket lines.

This success has emboldened teachers in other states. Teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky, who have endured years of deep cuts in wages and healthcare benefits, are now considering labor actions.

This victory is a reminder that sometimes, the right political argument trumps the guidance of established leaders or even established law. West Virginia teachers made a bet that the public would support picketing teachers over tax-cutting legislators, and they won. In the months ahead, we should expect to see teachers elsewhere take those odds.


Italian's national election handed a majority of votes to far-right and populist forces. The far-right League party won 18 percent of votes cast. Although a ruling coalition has yet to be finalized, the country's next government is certain to take a much harder line against refugees and the European Union.

The House intelligence committee continues to act in a shamelessly partisan manner: This time committee testimony about the Steele dossier was somehow leaked to Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.

Donald Trump is likely to receive the military parade he requested. The Veteran's Day parade is expected to cost between $10 million and $30 million.


Less than a day after Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, officials in the White House and State Department walked back his announcement, either describing new preconditions for a meeting or downplaying the seriousness of the meeting if it were to happen.

Florida passed a law that gun control advocates consider a modest step forward: It raises the age to buy firearms to 21 and imposes a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases, but also allows trained school workers to carry handguns. The NRA immediately filed a lawsuit against the state in response.

Meanwhile, federal gun control legislation in Congress appears to be dead. If this issue is a priority for you, the March For Our Lives is on Saturday, March 24: You can find a local march here.