This weekend UMKC and All Souls UU Church will be hosting a progressive activist conference with a specific focus on two fellows who would seem to be yesterday’s enemy, the Wichita-based Koch Brothers.

The conference is titled, “Kicking the Koch Habit: And Expanding Democracy For All.” Curiously, and surely consciously, not a single one of the 20 scheduled workshops uses the word “Trump” in its title. It is as if the organizers have ignored President Trump to insult him. One does not suspect, however, that the president will lose any sleep over the affront.

This weekend the 99 percent gather for a little speed dating and wolf crying at UMKC.

Several sessions do use the word “Koch.” A fellow named Steve Lopes, for instance, leads a workshop called “Taking Down the Koch Goon Squad.” Joe Spease of the Kansas Sierra Club leads one called “The Koch Brothers Fight Against the Science of Climate Change.”

A third session, even more paranoid than the others and led by Jasmine Banks and Ralph Wilson, has the unlikely title, “UnKoch My Campus: Un-leveraging Dark Money in Your Backyard.”

In addition to subjecting participants to hours of apocalyptic wisdom–e.g., “The Climate Emergency: The Case for Immediate Action,” “Democracy in Chains, The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America”–organizers offer as respite a half-hour’s worth of “Speed Dating for Activists.” This sessions occurs at the very beginning of the two day event, which presumably gives participants a chance to find a hook-up for the weekend.

The challenge for organizers is not to offend any sensibilities in arranging a speed-dating session for Koch daters. Progressives have moved well beyond the “boys on one side, girls on the other side” stage of human evolution.

The aforementioned Jasmine Banks, for instance, self-identifies as a “Queer Black femme-inist.” In that Jasmine participates in roller derby “because she has yet to find another way to be allowed to hit people without ending up in handcuffs,” organizers should proceed with caution in arranging the pairings.

 

 

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