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Large crowd gathered in front of the library. In the foreground someone holds up a placard reading 'Let Them Stay'.

Can we do politics better than this?

When we leave politics to the politicians, we get The Canberra Show. But when people organised in their communities, acting on their deep concerns, have the skills and knowledge to act powerfully a new political life might finally be possible.

Photo of the cast of Brooklyn 99.

What ChangeMakers can learn from Brooklyn Nine Nine

Who knew that TV could teach you how to change the world! Embedded in Brooklyn Nine Nine’s approach to sitcom writing are a few lessons about how we can successfully communicate important, difficult issues to a wider audience.

A large pile of books has a circular space cleared with a floating open book in the middle.

The Role of Stories in Organising

Joel Dignam reviews Marshall Ganz’ approach to story as fundamental to organising. Through story we understand happenings, communicate our values, and make sense of our choices.

Cover of the book Ground Wars.

Ground Wars Electoral field campaigning

Joel Dignam reviews Ground Wars, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen’s hands-on ethnographic study of two competitive congressional campaigns in the 2008 US election. The book is a richly-detailed portrait of contemporary field campaigning.

A view of from a vantage point in Mount Buffalo, with rolling forested hills framing a valley, in which there is a small clearing.

Work less: You’ll get more done

Overwork has heavy costs. Working longer hours is dangerous and ineffective. But poor management, the subconscious, workplace culture, and work volume, can each be a barrier to better workplace practices. Thankfully though, these barriers can be overcome.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Joel Dignam reviews Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” which explores some of the key structural problems facing groups. Recognising that power dynamics are present in all groups Freeman proposes formal structures, transparency and accountability.

Photograph of two people standing on pavement, taken from above. Written on the ground is 'Passion Led Us Here'.

Retain volunteers with intrinsically motivating work

Civic associations depend upon volunteers to get their work done. Joel Dignam distils insights from Ruth Wageman and Richard Hackman’s “Designing work for individuals and for groups” from Perspectives on Behavior in Organizations.

A diagram with three organisers at the centre. From each organiser arrows go to a Leader, from the Leader there are arrows to 5 team members.

How to Structure Teams for Organising

Joel Dignam reviews Marshall Ganz’ treatment of structure as a craft of organising. As Ganz notes “Developing leadership requires structuring the work of the organization so it affords as many people as possible the opportunity to learn to lead.”

Aerial photograph of huge crowd filling Federation Square and surrounding streets.

Hahrie Han on How Relationships Improve Mobilisation

Insights from The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a Relational Context. In her paper, Han demonstrates that a relational context affects civic engagement, arguing that decisions like voting or other forms of activism aren’t based upon a simple cost-benefit analysis.

Two transmasculine people sitting together and having a serious conversation

Relationships are the Glue of Organising

This post reviews Marshall Ganz’ approach to craft of relationships in organising. Relationships foster the commitment that is needed for success and allow us to understand the interests, values and motivations of others.

A group of people gather under a tree with clipboards.

Is personalised political communication manipulative?

“Personalized political communication” refers to when the medium for a message is a person, not media such as television, pamphlets, or billboards. The electoral arms race is seeing a renaissance of PPC and greater engagement of voters in campaigns and the political process.

Cover of the book 'How Organizations Develop Activists'.

How Organizations Develop Activists: A book review

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s How Organizations Develop Activists. A key finding of Han’s research is that high-engagement chapters practise both organizing and mobilizing. The Voice for Indi campaign is considered as an Australian example of combining these two approaches.

A number of African American students sit along a lunch counter.

Lessons from the Greensboro Student Sit-ins

The Greensboro student sit-ins had nonviolence at their heart and succeeded, not only in their immediate goal, but also in building a lasting organisation in the SNCC. It stands now as yet another example of the successful use of nonviolence to stand against oppression.

Cover of 'In the Tigers Mouth'.

Book Review of In the Tiger’s Mouth Empowerment Guide

A review of Katrina Shield’s ‘In The Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action’. What most distinguishes this books is its emphasis on three elements not often considered in other campaigning texts: self-awareness, collaboration, and self-care.

A large crowd marches behind a banner reading 'Peoples Climate March'. The march is led by First Nations people. Marchers hold colourful placards depicting sunflowers. A large banner is held high reading 'Frontlines of Impact, Forefront of Change'.

Networked Change Campaign Grid

The Networked Change Campaign Grid provides a clear path for integrating top-performing approaches into your strategic planning and design process. This worksheet helps you apply the principles of the directed-network campaigning.

Protestors walk across the street with Stop Adani banners and placards.

Six building blocks of distributed organizing campaigns

To support organizations rolling out distributed organizing efforts, NetChange have put together a new campaign design framework drawn from best practices of the dozens of successful networks they have advised or studied closely.

Photograph of a group of people having a meeting.

On Conflict and Consensus

Making collective decisions and navigating conflict and are core activist skills. Conflict is usually viewed as an impediment to reaching agreements and disruptive to peaceful relationships. However, it is the underlying thesis of Consensus that nonviolent conflict is necessary and desirable.

Photograph of multiple coloured plastic balls.

The Pt’chang Games List

Games are great for energising a group, lightening the mood, promoting playfulness, and building morale. This list is an excerpt from the Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Trainers’ Manual which is also available for download on the Commons.

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