The podcast highlights stories and lessons from issue-based action campaigns.
The Craft of Campaigns podcast highlights stories and lessons from issue-based action campaigns, beyond one-off mobilizations and single election cycles. Campaigns channel grassroots energy to win concrete victories, build winning coalitions, and topple pillars of power standing in the way of justice. In each episode, we interview organizers about how a campaign unfolded, strategy decisions, and lessons for our current moment.
The podcast is by the Organizing Skills Institute at Training for Change based in the United States. You can learn more about the people and story behind the podcast. Each episode includes a transcript and writeup of key take-aways.
Campaigns are a series of collective actions, focused on winning a concrete demand, beyond one-off mobilizations or election cycles. They have villains and heroes, teams that make plans to win, and activate people on the sidelines. In each episode, we explore one campaign, through firsthand interviews, for key lessons, principles, and practices for organizers today. – Andrew Willis Garcés
Listen below or explore other listening platform options on the Craft of Campaigns website.
E0: Season One Trailer (10/27/22)
Welcome to the Craft of Campaigns, a new podcast from Training for Change. In this podcast, we go behind the headlines and hashtags, inviting movement storytellers to share lessons from social justice campaigns. In each episode, we’ll explore one campaign, through firsthand interviews, for key lessons, principles, and practices for organizers today.
E1: Neidi Dominguez on “not listening to DC” & embracing disagreement in the fight to win Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA
In this episode, we’ll hear an inside account of the campaign to win Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which today protects nearly a million people from deportation. Neidi Dominguez discusses the decision to separate the campaign from a broader legislative campaign, using “inside” and “outside” strategies to force the Obama Administration’s hand, and how leaning into disagreement ultimately helped organizers stay focused and win their campaign.
E2: Tara Raghuveer on hijacking Kansas City’s elections by being “ruthless” about basebuilding
In this episode, we’ll hear how KC Tenants went from ten people in February 2019, to an organization of 4,300 dues-paying members who have won five citywide campaigns transforming conditions for hundreds of thousands of the city’s renters. We’ll hear how they reshaped the city’s municipal election without spending a dime on partisan electoral engagement; their internal debates that led to the disruption of 911 evictions in a single month; their culture of reflection during the pandemic; and how “ruthlessness about basebuilding” has helped them succeed.
E3: Sasha Wijeyeratne on holding a ‘hard no’ & winning the narrative “on the doors” in the fight against Amazon’s “HQ2”
In this episode, we’ll hear about deciding not to negotiate, quickly mapping out their opponents and key leverage points, countering Amazon’s & Cuomo’s PR machine “on the doors” in Queens and being willing to struggle with their own members on the issue, how AOC’s recent primary victory influenced their targets “flipping” on Amazon, the influence of this fight on their current campaign against Innovation Queens and learning more deeply the resonance of Bernice Johnson Reagon’s quote, “coalition isn’t home”.
E4: Mary Hooks & Kate Shapiro on ending bail in ATL & the Black Mama’s Bail Outs
What does it mean to look at an issue like “bail” and “the criminalizaton of LGBTQ people” through the lens of a campaigner? That was the question for Southerners on New Ground in the lead-up to launching their Free From Fear campaign framework, which they used to pilot successful campaigns to end wealth-based incarceration in the City of Atlanta – which reduced the jail population by over 90% – and inspired the Black Mama’s Bail Outs tactic that has since been replicated all over the United States.
E5: Debt Collective on campaigns against an idea & creating inside leverage with outside pressure
No single executive order by President Biden may be as consequential as the one he signed in August, that may soon lead to forty million people having all of their student debt wiped away. But most of the stories chronicling the path to mainstream acceptance of student debt cancellation leave out the first five years the organizers were largely ridiculed and ignored… until they launched the nation’s first student debt strike, and ended up at a bargaining table with the Secretary of Education. In this episode, we’ll hear about the campaign’s beginning at Occupy Wall Street (16:01) and its “scouting” phases (13:20); how they used crowdfunded medical, bail and student debt cancellation as an outreach tactic ( 13:42); “dropping a bomb” in a red box on Obama Administration officials (29:00); how they kept up outside pressure even when they were at the bargaining table (32:12); how their basebuilding and casework influenced the 2019 Democratic presidential primaries (36:13); focusing on Black women borrowers (43:25) and building a broader coalition to keep the pressure on (43:37).