The Your Rights at Work campaign ran from 2005 to 2007 and included some of the largest mobilisations in Australian social movement history. This article draws out some of the lessons in relation to ensuring strong turn-out at rallies and other events.
Looking for articles, books, case studies, tips about social change and activism? You’ve found the right place – The Commons Social Change Library.
Anne O’Brien interviewed John Croft, developer of the Dragon Dreaming project model. John’s ‘Empowered Fundraising’ approach challenges groups to take their projects seriously and invite others to contribute funds, as a way to further their own social change values and make a difference in the world.
We’ve gathered together tips on building a donor base, running successful crowdfunding campaigns, and where to access more resources on effective fundraising for social justice causes.
Nonviolent direct action can play a powerful role in campaigns. This article summarises some of the characteristics that can make NVDA either effective or ineffective, and encourages the use of clear tactics criteria in developing campaign strategy.
Kyinzom Dhongdue from Australian Tibet Council shares the story of a campaign win and the lessons that can be taken from it. The country’s oldest university cancelled a talk by the Dalai Lama. Within a week, the University of Sydney backtracked and released a hasty statement welcoming His Holiness on campus in June. The short campaign shows the value of rapid response people power tactics.
Anne O’Brien reviews Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change by Cynthia Kaufman. Kaufman connects theory with the day to day dilemmas that activists face in the practical work of challenging injustice.
Aidan Rickett’s The Activists’ Handbook is a powerful guide to grassroots activism. Naomi Blackburn reviews the early chapters of the book which are particularly relevant to Theories of Change.
Getting clear on our theory of change can be personally empowering as well as important for alignment within organisations and campaigns. These notes are from a workshop by Naomi Blackburn, drawing on the Resource Manual for a Living Revolution and Australian Student Environment Network curriculum.
Lessons about the effective use of art in campaigns from three activist artists: Tom Civil, Arlene TextaQueen and Van Thanh Rudd. Lessons include: Build strong culture; Represent ethically; Consider your audience; Court controversy; Always remember the visuals; Value the labour of artists.
Insights about facilitation from the very challenging General Assembly process at Occupy Melbourne. This article will be of interest to facilitators and others learning about group process, as well as people keen to find out about the Occupy movement. These reflections were written two weeks after Occupy Melbourne kicked off in October 2011.
Holly Hammond explores what it takes for people to get active, what leads to people dropping out of activism, and things we should be thoughtful about when engaging new activists. This post is a follow on from the ‘Getting Started in Activism’ workshop delivered at the Commonground Festival in 2011.
“Occupy Melbourne became the largest occupation in Australia, and indeed, the southern hemisphere. Like most truly novel historical events, the Occupy movement caught most people off guard.” This short case study shares some of the lessons from Occupy Melbourne and why more effective skill-sharing would have made a difference.
Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s Moved to Action. Han tackles the question of what motivates political participation by people who face significant barriers. Han provides a toolkit for those seeking to empower and work with, or within, marginalised communities.
Joel Dignam reviews Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom’s ‘The Starfish and the Spider’. The book delves into ideas and language around decentralisation with useful examples from history, social movements and commerce. It also includes practical tips for putting decentralisation into practice.
Joel Dignam analyses two campaign moments: Stop Adani’s targeting of the ALP in the 2018 Queensland state election and the UK women’s suffrage campaign targeting of Liberals in 1905. The lesson? Target those most likely to give you what you want, and sometimes that means creating political risk for them.
The annual R U OK Day aims to prevent suicide by building connection. This articles looks at what individuals and groups engaged in social change can do to connect with and look out for others.
Setting a life up to sustain activism doesn’t always come easy. Just like in a campaign we’re much more likely to get where we want to go if we’re clear about the intended destination – and if we take effective steps in that direction. These tips are provided to help you reach your healthy goals.
To be fresh and ready for the challenges of social change we also need quality time off. Here are some tips for getting the most out of a break, whether a longer holiday, weekends or any captured moment for potential relaxation.
Experiencing defeats contributes to many people losing hope, burning out, or just dropping out of activism. If we can set up our organisations and social movements to function effectively we’re more likely to foster hope and keep engaged and emotionally strong activists.
Overwhelming events happen and depending on our degree of privilege, daily stressors can be constant. Unless we are in crisis and/or an immediate life threatening situation it’s incredibly beneficial to spend time cultivating resources which support your health, embodiment, connectedness and feelings goodness.