• Natasha Adams

Organising for Change

I want to tell you about a new training collective I’m part of, and our pilot training course Organising for change.

Obviously everyone in the UK is still reeling a little from the snap election announcement. But it’s important to remember that democratic processes are not only exercised at the ballot box. Whatever happens on the 8th of June, we will need to work hard to build power and transform our culture to create the society we want.

There is a lot of discussion within activist and campaigning circles about the differences between mobilising and organising strategies – I’ve written a lot about this here, especially in my post about Dr Hahrie Han’s research. It’s very exciting that now many groups and organisations are trying to move towards organising as a way to build power for our campaigns and escalate our movements, to complement the mobilising that is already happening. But understanding of organising approaches, and how they translate into NGOs and grassroots activism, is still at an early stage. We have a lot to learn.

Organising is a skilled discipline

To build power through grassroots leadership requires commitment, skill, strategy and buy in from your group or organisation. This two day course we have developed will give the practical tools needed to make that transition, and for it to be sustainable. We will be looking at three important aspects;

Setting up a culture that strengthens transformative movements – how you work with others and embed the values and relationships you want to see in the wider world in your organising.Learning the organising tools to grow our bases – developing leadership, conducting one to ones, all the basic tools you’ll need.Managing the transition to an organising approach – practical ideas for how this can be introduced in your group or organisation.

Traditional campaign ‘best practice’ isn’t working

These tumultuous political times provide the perfect opportunity for organisations and grassroots groups to re-think their strategy and try a fresh approach. It’s time to build alternative sources of power to win the world we want, rather than just targeting existing power structures with the same tired tactics. An organising approach is needed more now than ever before – to build power, sustain momentum, shift public opinion and seed a new culture.

Why is culture so important?

Co-founder of the tech coop Loomio puts it very well in this blog:

An increasing mass of people agree that long term human survival depends on us replacing the status quo with a fundamentally different set of behaviours and structures. I believe the root of that challenge is essentially cultural, and the best place to grow culture is in small groups. And until we’ve got a critical mass of activists that are embedded in a new way of thinking, relating and communicating, any mass movement is going to replicate the errors of the past.

We’re motivated by the desire to help UK campaigning get more effective and build transformative movements that can win, from the bottom up. This is needed more than ever right now! We think there’s a need and a demand for campaigners to attend this.

Who is it for?

We’ve designed the training with two groups in mind – NGO campaigners at any level inside your organisation, and activists from grassroots groups, who think your work could be more effective if organising approaches were integrated into your approach.

Photo Credit: Many thanks to Rich Hawkins for use of his picture above

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