When social change campaigns experience setbacks it’s understandable this can lead to difficulties in activist groups. Here are some tips and further resources for holding groups together in hard times.
US activist and educator Daniel Hunter shares important tips for sustaining ourselves and our movements in the face of challenging times. He outlines seven behaviors that we could incorporate into our groups so we can keep taking powerful and strategic actions.
These videos introduce skills to work through common challenges around self-care: limited time; feeling guilty; and not actually working to nourish or support ourselves.
Group morale is a key contributor to the success of a group, increasing cohesion, reducing burnout and preventing activist turnover. Build team relationships; resolve conflicts and improve communication; and celebrate success.
The goal of this book is to help become more aware of your own relationship with power. Despite the many negative associations and memories we have about power (mostly it’s misuse), power isn’t good or bad, and it is necessary.
We need to talk about how we both prepare ourselves for, and support each other through our responses to stress and trauma, whether it be from police brutality, another institutional force, or from conflict within our own communities.
What causes burnout? There are two characteristics needed, and they apply across all levels of scale, from individual through group, to planetary burnout or health. The first requirement is a culture where a naturally self balancing system is heading out of balance. The second requirement is that signals of distress or deterioration are ignored.
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 group’s culture can have a big impact on the likelihood of stress and burnout for members and staff. It’s possible to create a group culture that supports self-care, balance and sustainable work loads and patterns.
High stress levels and burnout are very common among grassroots activists and community workers. Stress management and physical, emotional and spiritual renewal is crucial to looking after ourselves for the long haul.
Consciousness raising was a key element of the second wave women’s movement enabling women to recognise that the personal is political. This article gives an overview of group consciousness raising processes relevant for any group based on a shared identity or experience of oppression.
Rebecca Solnit first wrote Hope in the Dark in 2004. Here Matt Ross reviews the American author’s arguments for keeping the faith in times of despair. Sitting in a hipster yoga retreat in Bali, sweating and occasionally scratching the red mosquito bites clustering on my ankles, I met Nick Davis. Nick was a shirtless and […]
Holly Hammond reviews The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins – with emphasis on its insights around the emotional and psychological impact of climate change and peak oil. What would working to change the world be like if it made more room for the ‘heart’? How do we communicate challenging information to people in ways that […]
This article explores some of the ‘cognitive errors’ or ‘traps’ that contribute to activist burnout. Read through this list and see if you might need to adjust your perspective, in the interests of your health, wellbeing and effectiveness. Here are some ‘traps’ I’ve noticed activists can fall into – many of which I’m familiar with […]
In the second part of this article Mark and Paul Engler further explore Bill Moyer’s Movement Action Plan and its implications for social movements. The perception of failure For those encountering the MAP model for the first time, the biggest “Aha” usually comes with Moyer’s stage five. The previous stage — stage four — is […]
We tend to talk about activist burnout as an individualised experience – but Bill Moyer saw patterns in widespread discouragement in social movements. His model for understanding social change, the Movement Action Plan, factored in perception of failure, providing insights and hope for navigating the downs in movement life. Mark and Paul Engler explain. Those who […]
In Hungary, digital campaigning organisation aHang has been winning big and building people power in a difficult political environment. Their homecare campaign was a huge win for Hungarian carers, and people power everywhere.
Activists are often so focused on problems – it’s important to take in wins, whether big or small, to sustain us through the struggle. This article includes reminders of what we can celebrate, how, and why it is so important.