The Tactic Star is a tool for planning and evaluating tactics developed by Beyond the Choir.
You can download a handout of the Tactic Star from the box at the bottom of the page, as well as an alternative version of the tool from Beautiful Trouble called the Action Star.
Choosing or inventing a successful tactic often involves some intuition and guesswork – and always risk. But the more we study our contexts, the better we become at judging when to pull which punches. Projecting and measuring success is complex, but we should not let the murkiness of these waters deter us from diving into them. Patterns do emerge. We can learn a great deal from our experiences when we critically analyze them.
This tactic star names some key factors that change agents should consider when determining their tactics. The same tool can be used to evaluate actions after they have been carried out.
Here are the points of the star. You can download a printer friendly PDF handout from the box at the bottom of the page.
- How will the tactic move us toward achieving our goal?
- What will the tactic communicate?
- What will it mean to others?
- How will it carry a persuasive story?
- Will the action be solemn, jubilant, angry or calm?
- Will the energy attract or repel the people we want to engage?
- Can we leverage unfolding events and new developments as opportunities?
- Does the political moment hold potential for us, or vulnerability for our opponents?
- Who do we want to reach with our tactic?
- What response do we want our action to inspire in them?
- How will the tactic affect our allies or potential allies?
- How will they receive it?
- Will it strengthen the relationship or jeopardize it?
- Is the action worth our limited time, energy and money?
- Can we get more out of it than we put in?
- Do we have the capacity to pull it off effectively?
- What message will the tactic send to the people who have the power to meet our demands?
- Will it pressure them to capitulate, or enable them to dismiss us or retaliate?
The Action Star
Jonathan Matthew Smucker updated the Tactic Star, bringing in other strategy tools including the Spectrum of Allies, Battle of the Story and Points of Intervention.
Download printer friendly PDFs of both handouts from the box at the bottom of the page.
Creative Action Design
Holly Hammond from the Commons Social Change Library talks through the Tactic Star, Action Star, and these other resources for creative activism:
- 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action – Gene Sharp
- Tactics in a time of physical distancing: Examples from around the world
- Arts & Creativity Topic on the Commons Library
This video is included in the ChangeMakers Organising School session on Creative Action Planning, Session 4 of Season 3. The session includes examples of creative actions from the people who planned and implemented them.