Isaac Lev Szmonko
Isaac Lev Szmonko is a loving and rigorous organizer and political educator dedicated to building power in left movements to end racial capitalism. He organized with Critical Resistance to abolish prisons, police and other forms of criminalization. At Resource Generation he worked to increase taxes on the rich and increase the flow of resources into movements. At Catalyst Project, Isaac Lev worked to strengthen racial justice politics and practice with white organizers and majority-white organizations, training hundreds of grassroots organizers across the US and beyond through the Anne Braden Program. At Jewish Voice for Peace, he was a board member, coach, and strategic planner. Most recently, Isaac moved $100 million into grassroots liberatory movements as a donor advisor. Isaac lives with his queer fam and his shorty pitbull in Oakland, CA (Huichin/Ohlone land). His passions include cooking, hiking, rambunctious laughter, leadership development, queer and trans community, and figuring out how to make revolutionary politics popular.
What Liberation Means to Isaac
Tell us why you do what you do.
I believe the people who are making the most important contributions to the world that I long for deserve to be well-resourced beyond their wildest imaginations. And I believe that the people who offer those resources — from $5 to $5 billion — are an important part of movements who should get the privilege and pleasure of being organized in transformative ways, and learning to organize others, to make their most powerful contributions toward building that world.
What’s most important to you about being part of Solidaire?
Solidaire is many things — it’s a political home, it’s an invitation into new ways of being, it’s a set of experiments in wealth redistribution and organizing. It’s all important, but I think what matters most to me is how earnestly and strategically we are all trying to radically change the world.
What does liberation mean to you?
There’s this magical experience of being with other people and feeling joy, belonging, love, dignity, creativity, and the kind of abandon that is just fully being yourself without fear. And for me a part of liberation is — everyone gets the belonging, love, and dignity all of the time, and the joy, abandon, and creativity a lot of the time. That everyone lives with both the feeling and the real experience of agency and power and also gets to be a life-long learner and be held through grief, hardship, mistakes and the rest.