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Looking for articles, books, case studies, tips about social change and activism? You’ve found the right place – The Commons Social Change Library.

Picture of an orange manual.

The Community Organising Guide

The Community Organising Guide is 296 pages of training resources to deepen our understanding of core organising skills: relational meetings and self-interest, the power of story in organising, building alliances, coalitions and networks, holding decision-makers accountable, leadership development, recruitment, doorknocking and phonebanking.

Picture of a red manual.

The People Power Manual: Campaign Strategy Guide

Social movements become more powerful as more people are equipped to analyse their political context, consider paths to change and mindfully plan tactics. This Campaign Strategy Guide equips activist educators to facilitate a range of participatory exercises with activists, organisers and citizens. It can also be used as a do-it-yourself guide for campaigners.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Campaigning to Solve Our Issues

This is an introduction to campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Campaigning involves activating, mobilising, and organising people to make change and influence others to make change. This is an excerpt from Building Power: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Who Want to Change the World.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Making a Positive Change: Training guide

This is a training process guide to identify local stories, people, experiences, values, skills and knowledge that have made a contribution to positive change in the local community. It is an excerpt from Building Power: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Who Want to Change the World.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Naming the issues: A training guide

This is a training process guide to provide people with space to start focussing in on one of the issues that may be among many they are dealing with in their community or context. This process is also about starting to think about problems and solutions. It is an excerpt from Building Power: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Who Want to Change the World.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

What makes a good leader for social change?

A training process guide to provide a space for people to think about the role and qualities of leaders in social change. Leaders for social change model the way; inspire a shared vision; challenge the process; enable others to act; and encourage the heart.

Group of men stand and sit in front of a sign reading 'Gurindji Mining Lease and Cattle Station'

Gurindji Land Rights Struggle: Case study & training guide

In August 1966, Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off the job on the vast Vesteys cattle station at Wave Hill in the Northern Territory, sparking the Aboriginal land rights movement. A summary of the campaign case study is included along with a process for use in training workshops.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Community Resistance Timeline: A training guide

This is a training process guide to introduce participants to each other, connect their own history to a larger history of social change, identify local tactics, and to rethink what success looks like. It is an excerpt from Building Power: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Who Want to Change the World.

Cover slide of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Timeline of Resistance

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Timeline of Resistance

The Timeline of Resistance was produced by Original Power as a training aid for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities as well as allies aiming to work in solidarity. The timeline summarises a history of campaigning and organising since invasion.

Cartoon penguin with a picture of a rocket approaching Pluto. Text reads: 'Brenda vs Facebook, The Truth About Cambridge Analytica

7 tips for Facebook Risk Management

Facebook is a vital organising and networking tool but presents risks for activists. Digital security can seem overwhelming but we can all get better at it. There are organisations who have done a great job of breaking the information down and giving you support to improve your practices. Start with these 7 tips.

Cartoon of two eggplants in suits and sunglasses. Text reads 'Eggplants are a key component of the surveillance state. They are always listening. Most vegetables are.'

Tools for More Secure Activism

CounterAct encourages the progressive and radical movements on the Australian continent to get better at digital privacy and security. Security culture is simply a set of practices that limits the ability for government or opponents to find out more information about you and interfere with or monitor your group. We’ve given you some tools to minimise this.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Checklist for Non-violent Direct Action Trainings

A checklist of some of the basic principles, and pieces of information, to include in NVDA training. When facilitation is shared among a number of people at large convergences it can be easy to miss things! This has been crowd-sourced from NVDA trainers and CounterAct training.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Preparing for a Community Blockade

Here are some practical things you may like to consider in logistical preparations for a community blockade: helpful skills, action roles, and logistical preparation.

A jubilant group of people pose behind a large banner reading 'We won'. They are at the beach with sky and ocean in the background.

James Price Point/Walmadan: A Huge Win

In 2013 the people of Broome stopped the development of a gas plant and port at iconic James Price Point (Walmadan). They had substantial political and corporate interests arrayed against them but prevailed with a strong sense of community and creative strategic campaigning. This short case study shares some of the keys to success and strengths of the campaign.

A group of people stand behind a Lock the Gate banner and hold yellow triangles in the air.

Coal Seam Gas: The Ongoing Battle

The struggle between the developers of unconventional gas (coal seam, shale and tight gas), farmers and communities has struck a chord with people all over the country and has rightly been referred to by Lock the Gate as ‘the fastest growing social movement in the country’. This short case study shares some of the keys to success of the LTG approach.

Over a dozen hands reach into the middle of a circle, making the 'all in' symbol

Consensus Decision Making

Consensus is a nonviolent decision-making process that aims to create the best possible decision for the group. The input and ideas of all participants are gathered and synthesized to arrive at a final decision that is acceptable to all. Through consensus, we are not only working to achieve better solutions, but also to promote the growth of trust and respect within the group.

Coffee is poured from a metal jug into a large and unstable stack of coffee cups sitting on a wooden table.

Balance or Burnout?

A useful model for understanding activist burnout and how to avoid it from the Transitions Towns movement. Includes a downloadable worksheet with prompts for reflection.

A group of people stand with their fists in the air. Children sit at the front of the gathering.

Reclaiming a segregated city in Cape Town, South Africa

Reclaim the City are desegregating the inner city suburbs of Cape Town by fighting for housing for the poor. They do this by occupying sites to create emergency accommodation while also campaigning for the building of affordable housing.

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