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Organizing for Power

The content of this website is based on the notes I use for training and split into “building blocks for change,” each with analysis, tools, and resources to help you apply these concepts to your organizing work. They reflect lessons from over 30 years of organizing with the student, environmental, labor, immigrant, anti-war and global justice grassroots...

Organizing for Power
posted on: Dec 2, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

Power

What is Power? How does it work? Power is the ability to act. Power is not good or bad. It is how you use it and toward what end. Power unchecked or unaccountable can corrupt – it can also reveal… Power is not a zero sum game – there is not a limited amount. Power is not set, it is relational. People power has the ability to alter the relationship. Exercising our power consciously can manifest the outcomes we desire. There are different kinds of power: Power Over – that’s what the boss or state use Power With – horizontal organizing, that what we need to model and build Power Within – every single one of us has...

Power
posted on: Nov 29, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

Liberation

“I have come to see that violence against other living things is oppression, just as I have come to see that oppression is violence”. Oppression Oppression is when anyone regardless of their race, gender, class, age etc imposes their will against another through acts that are harmful–physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. This also plays out at a societal level where institutions use their power to exploit, deceive, enslave or imprison. To me all of these are an abuse of power. Recognizing our own oppressive behaviors and the oppressive behaviors in our community institutions is an important first step in developing into healthy, freer individuals and communities. Developing practices that liberate can build strong and powerful communities. Working toward the...

Liberation
posted on: Nov 28, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

Interest

Interest is something that benefits a person or group or institution or community. Self-interest is a way to cross boundaries. Not everyone has the same interests and our interests change over time We need to identify our interests and our opponent’s interests. Our problems are usually a result of our opponents’, interests. The process of achieving a solution to our problems is by making our problems their problems, or said another way, making our interests their interests. To do this we need to build an organization that has the power to act. In the workplace or community we have a problem that is not being addressed… Problem Solution They don’tknow about our problems Inform Them Bad/IncompetentManagers/Leaders Change managers/trainthem...

Interest
posted on: Nov 27, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

Strategy & Campaigns

Strategy is your plan to win. Strategy is choosing the ground on which to engage the enemy Strategy means: Looking at the big picture Knowing who has the power to make the decision. Concentrating the right resources in the right place(s) at the right time(s) In Ancient Greece… Strategos = General Tacticas = Foot Soldiers Strategic campaigns are an important part of building a movement. They focus our energy on the forces that need to be changed, and can often result in some victory (big or small) or mitigation of damage. These efforts require participation and creativity. As we build power through campaigns, we model what can happen when we work together inspiring others and igniting imaginations that...

Strategy & Campaigns
posted on: Nov 26, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

Organizing

The process of change has two fundamental strategies. One is dismantling structures of oppression while the second is creating structures of liberation. If we don’t have something to replace what we take down, we will lose the confidence of those we are trying to wake up. This process of waking up and engaging in consciously liberating action is when we feel most alive and inspired and connected. Whatever issue is a person’s point of entry, anyone who takes on a struggle and organizes goes through a transformative process in which the world is never the same again. It is the experience of accessing one’s own power and the power of our collective actions. It is the understanding and...

Organizing
posted on: Nov 25, 2012 | author: organizingforpower

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