Other Group

Fight Back Table

Type:

Left-of-center activist group coordination effort

Leader:

Deirdre Schifeling (left in February 2021)

Formation:

2016

Fight Back Table is a left-of-center coalition organization that was founded by a variety of left-wing groups. While originally formed to coordinate “resistance” against the Trump administration, the coalition become known for preparing and training to facilitate mass public unrest out of fear of a contested presidential election in 2020. The coalition is not public facing and there is not a public list of coalition members. [1]

Founding and History

Fight Back Table was founded after the 2016 election of Donald Trump as a way for left-of-center groups to coordinate their responses to the Trump administration. It was formed by several different left-of-center groups: Move On, a left-of-center fundraising and funding group that often supports candidates in the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren vein of the Democratic Party; the left-of-center activist organization Color of Change, founded by former Obama administration official Van Jones; the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which is a left-of-center labor activist organization; the left-of-center activist group National People’s Action; and Demos, another left-of-center activist organization. [2]

After formation, the group characterized itself as being part of “The Resistance” of left-of-center groups against the Trump administration.

By the 2020 election, the initiative reportedly included 50 left-of-center organizations and began to concentrate on the possibility that the election’s results would not be immediately clear and as a result there would be a need for left-of-center activists to flood the streets in protests, demonstrations, and other forms of activism. The coalition began to identify itself as the “Democracy Defense Nerve Center.” The Daily Beast reported at the time that they began preparing a multi-state communication arm”, civil disobedience training, and to organize “mass public unrest” if the outcome of the election was contested. [3]

Fight Back Table was apparently divided on how open to be about the post-election preparations they were undertaking, with some in favor of telling the public about their activities in order to create a sense of alarm and preparedness. [4] Even months after the election outcome was decided and President Joe Biden took office, there is very little publicly available information about the group, such as a list of membership organizations and personnel affiliated with it.

The coalition was heavily influenced by the “war-game” scenario publicized by the Transition Integrity Project that stirred up fear and controversy by predicting numerous scenarios where unrest and even full-on violence erupted as a result of a contested 2020 election. Scenarios the war-gaming produced included the deployment of troops and the confiscation of mail-in ballots and other such draconian and disruptive measures that the Fight Back Table believed would necessitate “mass public unrest” to be defeated. [5]

On election day 2020, Fight Back Table organized rallies and demonstrations around the country including in Pittsburgh in hotly contested Pennsylvania. These demonstrations were part of the 520 events scheduled nationwide by left-of-center groups on election day 2020. [6]

Leadership

Deirdre Schifeling

Deirdre Schifeling, a veteran of left-of-center organizations, including as the executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and vice president of organizing, engagement, and campaigns for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was named as the nominal leader of Fight Back Table’s election efforts in September 2019. [7] According to her LinkedIn profile, she served as Fight Back Table’s campaign director from 2019 through February 2021. At the same time, she worked as the founder and campaign director of the left-of-center coalition group Democracy for All 2021. [8] Since March 2021, she has worked as Advocacy Director for the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach within the White House. [9]

Nicole Carty

Nicole Carty, a veteran of left-of-center activism, worked as “Our Story Coordinator” for Fight Back Table from 2018 to January 2020. Fight Back Table’s “Our Story” is a left-of-center shared narrative educational presentation for use by coalition members to present a shared persuasive left-of-center vision. [10] According to her LinkedIn profile, since January 2020 she has been the founder and coordinator for Project Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations. “Nicole Carty.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-carty-75b26b14[/note]

Aria Florent

Aria Florent was reported as the Fight Back Table’s training director. [11] She is a left-of-center activist who formerly worked at McKinsey and was the co-founder of Liberation Ventures, a non-profit that advocates for federally funded racial reparations. [12]

References

  1. Lord, Rich. “Making it count: The Fight Back Table mobilizes to ensure that all Pennsylvania votes are tallied.” PublicSource, November 4, 2020. https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-grassroots-vote-count-election-2020-trump-biden/ ^
  2. Carty, Nicole. “Our Story: A Populist Meta-Narrative for This Moment.” Demos, July 2019. https://www.demos.org/our-story-populist-meta-narrative-moment. ^
  3. Stein, Sam. “The Left Secretly Preps for MAGA Violence After Election Day.” The Daily Beast, September 8, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-left-secretly-preps-for-violence-after-election-day. ^
  4. Stein, Sam. “The Left Secretly Preps for MAGA Violence After Election Day.” The Daily Beast, September 8, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-left-secretly-preps-for-violence-after-election-day. ^
  5. Stein, Sam. “The Left Secretly Preps for MAGA Violence After Election Day.” The Daily Beast, September 8, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-left-secretly-preps-for-violence-after-election-day. ^
  6. Lord, Rich. “The Fight Back Table Mobilizes to ‘Count Every Vote’ in Pennsylvania.” PublicSource.org, November 4, 2020. https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-grassroots-vote-count-election-2020-trump-biden/. ^
  7. Stein, Sam. “The Left Secretly Preps for MAGA Violence After Election Day.” The Daily Beast, September 8, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-left-secretly-preps-for-violence-after-election-day. ^
  8. “Deirdre Schifeling | LinkedIn.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deirdre-schifeling-3003b418a/. ^
  9. “Deirdre Schifeling | LinkedIn.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/deirdre-schifeling-3003b418a/. ^
  10. Carty, Nicole. “Our Story: A Populist Meta-Narrative for This Moment.” Demos, July 2019. https://www.demos.org/our-story-populist-meta-narrative-moment. ^
  11. Lord, Rich. “The Fight Back Table Mobilizes to ‘Count Every Vote’ in Pennsylvania.” PublicSource.org, November 4, 2020. https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-grassroots-vote-count-election-2020-trump-biden/. ^
  12. “Aria Florant | LinkedIn.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ariaflorant/. ^
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