Sunday, July 14, 2024

An Activist Afternoons held in 2018 in Central Square. (Photo: Activist Afternoons via Facebook)

Protests disrupting City Council meetings. Physical clashes with police. The furious signing of petitions and letters and equally furious reactions to them. If a comeback for progressive activism is underway, here are two more items for the argument: The Workers’ Party of Massachusetts is discussing opening a local chapter in Cambridge, and Activist Afternoons is putting on a launch party to celebrate a new year of community service.

The Workers’ Party of Massachusetts is a socialist political organization, one of several independent parties that has fielded candidates in recent statewide elections. The party provides an alternative space for activists to organize around electoral politics, and a possible Cambridge chapter would carry on a Massachusetts tradition of political engagement beyond the two-party system. This organizing meeting takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Democracy Center, 45 Mount Auburn St., Harvard Square, Cambridge.

Activist Afternoons is where people can make phone calls, write postcards and other activities “focused on promoting civic engagement and social justice across the country,” said a representative, Michal Regunberg. Volunteers can work with organizations such as Swing Blue Alliance, Progressive Mass and 350 Mass using provided materials to engage with voters on a variety of topics, encouraging election turnout and strengthening democratic institutions. The events are planned for 4 to 6 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of every month at St. James’s Episcopal Church, 1991 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, restarting Jan. 21 after a Covid pandemic lull.

The work began informally early in 2017 and introduced formal events that October. Elected officials including state Reps. Mike Connolly and Jay Livingstone and city officials such as Cambridge”s  Quinton Zondervan and Somerville’s Will Mbah began stopping by in September 2018, according to materials provided by the organizers, That year, 916 people participated for a total 3,374 volunteer hours.

“These actions make a difference, as we have seen in elections from Florida to Kansas, North Carolina and Georgia,” said Lili Allen, lead organizer of Activist Afternoons. “The stakes could not be higher and people here want to get involved.”