chelsea manning senate

Chelsea Manning Announces Senate Bid, Asks Us to Dream Bigger

Chelsea Manning is running for Senate in Maryland! And if her announcement video is any indication, her campaign will focus on the progressive causes she champions: prison abolition, trans liberation, and racial and economic justice.

Manning has long been an outspoken critic of oppression and state violence. The tone of her video makes clear that she sees her campaign as an opportunity to discuss issues often seen as too radical for our dominant political parties. Having her in office would mean that marginalized folks have an ally in politics who would take our demands seriously and fight for the most vulnerable.

Since she became famous for leaking documents that exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chelsea’s commitment to her values despite great personal cost has made her as a hero for many trans people and left organizers.  So we shouldn’t be surprised that news of her campaign has upset conservatives, who deadname and harass her as a transgender woman and a left-wing whistleblower (unlike Trump darling Julian Assange).  

But while conservative backlash is unsurprising, I’m disturbed by the prevalence of liberal commentators and media outlets who accuse her of being duped by the Russians and dismiss her as politically naive. These liberal critiques are disingenuous. Chelsea Manning has established herself as an expert on information security policy, the military and prison industrial complexestrans rights, and civil liberties. And she did all this without internet access, while being psychologically tortured in a men’s prison by the U.S. government.

While she might not have previously held public office, Manning is a political organizer through and through. When I had the opportunity to hear her speak in September, I was impressed by her thoughtfulness, clear-eyed view of injustice, and stated commitment to listening to marginalized communities with experiences different than hers. She believes ordinary people have the power to change the world.

Who better than Manning — who has “fought for freedom and sacrificed for it in ways that few others have” — to take on Washington?

Header image via Chelsea Manning for U.S. Senate.

Jess is a first-gen college graduate and LGBTQ person living in Boston, MA. At Feministing, they write about the intersection of state and interpersonal violence, LGBTQ communities and radical activism. Jess can usually be found on public transportation or hanging out with their cat, MoMo.

Jess is a first-gen college graduate and LGBTQ person living in Boston, MA. Jess can usually be found on public transportation or hanging out with their cat, MoMo.

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