Allies work is key to building strong and diverse groups and social movements. An ally is someone outside an oppressed group or identity, who commits to standing alongside those people.
Decolonizing Solidarity is a book by Clare Land which offers directions (and knotty dilemmas) to people seeking to support Indigenous Struggles. This article includes suggested guidelines for book clubs discussing Decolonizing Solidarity which are also beneficial for other groups doing anti-oppression and ally work.
Amanda Tattersall cautions campaigners, organisers and activists to not take Bond & Exley’s rules” as gospel. While the book puts forward valuable insights into the Bernie Sanders campaign the focus is tactics and mobilisation rather than deep organising.
This article explores the ‘moving the rock’ concept put forward by Daniel Hunter in his book Strategy and Soul. The concept has been valuable for campaigners and organisations reassessing their theory of change and particularly how they engage politicians and supporters.
Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every organisation or movement should be the question ‘Why do we exist’? A number of tips for focusing an organisation on vision and purpose. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning, based on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.
Rick Warren focuses on five ‘circles of commitment’ – community, crowd, congregation, committed and core, and argue that it’s important to recognise where your supporters fall in these categories, and develop processes to move them from the outside in. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning.
Learn about Daniel Hunter’s metaphor of moving the rock to bring about social change through activating people’s social values.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joel Dignam reviews Paul and Mark Engler’s 2016 book This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century. TIAU is an analysis of social change, how it has occurred, and how contemporary campaigners may make it occur again.
Joel Dignam reviews Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. Joel distills the key lessons that are relevant to social change organisations.
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 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.
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.
Book review of Amanda Tattersall’s Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change
Denisse Sandoval shares insights from Amanda Tattersall’s book Power in Coalition: Strategies for Strong Unions and Social Change. We may have seen token coalitions with simple community support in the form of logos on letter heads, but how do we build real power to live out the values of the organisations involved in alliances?
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.