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strategy-iconThe section provides articles on strategy to assist you in making your campaigns more effective. They include case studies of social movements and information about the current resistance environment. Visit the Resources Page for links to organizations that provide both online and in-person training on strategy and tools for designing and evaluating your campaigns and actions.

Why Movements Need To Start Singing Again

Social movements are stronger when they sing. That’s a lesson that has been amply demonstrated throughout history, and it’s one that I have learned personally in working to develop trainings for activists over the past decade and a half. In Momentum, a training program that I co-founded and that many other trainers and organizers have built over the last seven years, song culture is not something we included at the start. And yet, it has since become so indispensable that the trainers I know would never imagine doing without it again. The person who taught me the most as I came to appreciate the impact that song can have on movement culture is Stephen Brackett, an activist and hip-hop MC known on stage as Brer Rabbit.

Behind The Decline Of The US Left

The left has not become marginalized because of exhaustion or infighting. Its decline was caused by the US government’s more than century long police state operations, purging the left from its historic home in the working class movement, so that it now has only tenuous connection with the organized working class. The national security state – the actual US government – has constantly worked to neutralize anti-imperialist and class conscious working class voices, and instead promoted a “compatible left” in their long-term strategy to divide and control the left. The working class, particularly the sector in industrial production, had significance for the left not because workers are progressive in their thinking, but because they possess the power no other social forces have: they can vanquish the rule of capital by halting production, shutting off the capitalists’ ability to generate surplus value, life blood of their system.

Rebellion Against The Legalized Robbery

The following commentary was written by Marxist economist, politician and former Finance Minister of Greece Yanis Varoufakis. He follows the first part of the debate “Ecological Catastrophe, Collapse, Democracy and Socialism” between the renowned American intellectual Noam Chomsky, the Chilean exponent of the new ideology of Collapsist Marxism Miguel Fuentes and climate scientist Guy McPherson. One of the main characteristics of Varoufakis’ comment (who describes himself as a “Libertarian Marxist”) is offering a balanced review of some of the main ideas expressed earlier in this debate. The latter from the perspective of the implications of current geopolitical events such as the Russo-Ukrainian war and what Vafourakis has defined as the beginning of a new Cold War. Varoufakis’ commentary thus constitutes both a necessary update and an informed closure of the first part of this ongoing discussion.

Jerusalem’s Last Decade Of Revolt

Palestinians have led many uprisings in the history of the Zionist colonization of Palestine, from the 1936 Great Palestinian Revolt, to the First and Second intifadas, to the Unity Intifada of 2021. Yet these grand revolts are only significant in how they have encompassed all the other revolts that have preceded them. For the past ten years, I made my home in a small apartment in Shu’fat, just north of Jerusalem’s Old City, after having lived in Jerusalem for more than two decades. Shu’fat is one of only 18 small and heavily policed areas afforded to Palestinians in Jerusalem.       I can see the Al-Sahel (the meadow) area west of my balcony. Most of it remains empty, untainted by construction. Yet it is also a strange scene for a community that suffers from discriminatory restrictions in housing opportunities.

Social Democracy Will Not Save Us

The Black Liberation Movement in the United States has reached an almost unprecedented level of ideological confusion. Unlike in the 20th century, significant sections of the contemporary Black Left openly embrace an understanding of ‘identity politics’[i] that is based in philosophical idealism.[ii]  A somewhat resurgent US Left has, correctly, begun to critique these perceived political errors. Unfortunately, social democrats such as DSA, Jacobin and Cedric Johnson in his award-winning article[iii] add to the ideological confusion.  This essay asserts that contrary to the claims of advancing democracy and freedom, social democracy has consistently undermined the struggle for national liberation and socialism.

Putting Indigenous Knowledge Into Practice For Climate Change

Indigenous people developed deep knowledge about their environment that they built through relationships with land and with place over hundreds and often thousands of years. They have learned how to live off the gifts of the earth and take care of them so that they will be healthy for many generations to come. This knowledge offers another way of seeing and understanding the world, one that is necessary to address climate change. Now scientists, governments and communities are finally recognizing that taking action to adapt to climate change is urgent and an increasing number of people are looking to indigenous knowledge for insight. If you live in a place where indigenous knowledge has been buried under centuries of colonial culture, the idea that you could use it to adapt to climate change may feel vague.

Indigenous Resistance And The Roots Of Ecuador’s National Strike

“He was my uncle. They killed him during the strike in the center of Puyo, here in Ecuador. He was my uncle, he was Oldemar Guatatoca Vargas.” Yolanda Vargas, a Shuar woman in her mid-30s, sits in her parked car in the remote jungle outpost of Palora, located within the province of Morona Santiago. She drove out there so she could get a cell phone signal to talk to me. The ride from her community takes roughly an hour over the dirt roads winding a narrow path through the Amazon. With everyone else in the community, besides her elderly and sick mother, in the capital of Quito taking part in El Paro Nacional—the National Strike—she’s had to bring her school-aged children with her, smooshed shoulder-to-shoulder in the front and back seats.

How Young Climate Activists Built A Mass Movement To Be Reckoned With

When I became a climate organizer in college in the early 2000s, the words “youth climate movement” referred more to something activists hoped to bring into existence than a real-world phenomenon. Growing numbers of young people were concerned about the climate crisis and had begun organizing in small groups on college campuses and in communities throughout the U.S. But as much as we talked about building a mass movement, it was mainly just a dream at that point. Almost 20 years later it’s impossible to deny a very real, vibrant youth climate movement has become an important force in national politics. With the rise of campaigns like the Fridays for Future school strikes a few years ago, it burst into the public spotlight in an unprecedented way. This year the United States passed its first major piece of national climate legislation.

How ‘Fist Rice’ Became A Symbol Of Korean Democracy

On a humid summer morning in the mountain-backed metropolis of Gwangju, a cluster of fifth graders shuffled into an auditorium at 5.18 Freedom Park. Here were the former barracks where the South Korean military dictator Chun Doo-hwan and his forces imprisoned, interrogated, tortured, and in some cases killed thousands of civilians in May of 1980. Today, Koreans refer to these events as “5.18,” marking the first day of the Gwangju Uprising, when city residents demanded democracy in the wake of Chun’s 1979 power grab after the assassination of Park Chung-hee, the previous dictator president. The Chun regime’s brutal response still reverberates in the lives of the city’s residents. As the young students took a breather from their field trip, a guide passed out jumbo rice balls called jumeokbap, or “fist rice.”

Inside The ‘Wasps’ Nest’: The Rise Of The Jenin Brigade

“Look, we are defending ourselves,” he says, in a voice both clear and firm, apparently anticipating the question. “I first became wanted [by Israel] two years ago,” he tells Mondoweiss. Pistol always on hand, his stature is imposing, his gait upright. Abu Daboor, 28, stands at the entrance of Jenin refugee camp. The brown flesh of his hands contrasts with his black top and dark sweatpants. Behind him, past the roundabout and through the barricades at the entrance of Jenin Refugee camp, a clumsy graffiti reads, “the wasps’ nest welcomes you.” Established in 1953, the 0.42 square kilometers comprising the camp is home to almost 12,000 Palestinians, many of whom are originally from areas near Haifa and Nazareth, north of historic Palestine.

Lessons On Workplace Activism From Winning Campaigns At Google

On Sept. 14, 2020, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a blog outlining the company’s “Third Decade of Climate Action,” with its escalated commitments to addressing the crisis. Among them were an elimination of Google’s entire carbon legacy, a commitment to run all of its campuses and data centers on carbon free electricity, and promises to invest in tools to promote energy efficiency. The announcement came on the heels of an escalating pressure campaign from Google workers for the tech giant to do better on climate change. Like many campaign victories, it was an imperfect one. Many of the Google workers’ demands, like a commitment to cease funding for climate-denying think tanks, remained unaddressed.

Climate Crisis: Blocking Roads Isn’t Crazy – It’s Our Last Hope

Cop27, the United Nations’ annual climate conference attended by world leaders, kicked off in Egypt at the weekend in the midst of a wave of civil disobedience actions in the UK. The protests have been led by environmental groups such as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion and come as oil giants have announced massive profits from surging energy prices caused by the Ukraine war, and new reports show catastrophic climate change is soon to reach a tipping point, becoming irreversible. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, warned on the eve of the summit that the world would be “doomed” if rich, heavily carbon-dependent economies could not reach an agreement with poorer countries. New figures show temperature rises across Europe have risen twice as fast as the global average, leading to increasingly unstable weather.

What Can The Western Left Learn From Lula’s Breathtaking Victory?

The Worker’s Party in Brazil has just won the most contested election in the country’s history. From a jailed politician up until 2019 to now the president elect with the largest amount of votes in the country’s history, Lula built a formidable coalition in order to overcome all obstacles, smears, and illegal use of public funds that would be used against him. The extent to which Bolsonaro moved every lever he could to get reelected cannot be overstated. At the beginning of the year, the federal government pushed through Congress a 50% increase in the direct cash payment program “Auxilio Brasil”, Bolsonaro’s rebranded version of “Bolsa Familia”, a worker’s party program. The move also expanded to include more families on the program. Then, after the first round of voting, his administration used State-owned banks to start offering government-backed micro-loans to beneficiaries of Auxilio Brasil.

Bosses Hate This One Trick

Work-to-rule has been deployed successfully across industries throughout the decades, especially when traditional strikes aren’t an option. In 1938, French railway workers barred from striking instead seized on a law requiring train engineers to consult crew members if there was any doubt about a bridge’s safety. Crew members began scrutinizing every bridge, incurring massive train delays and therefore gaining negotiating power.In the 1980s, when United Auto Workers realized during contract negotiations that manufacturers were trying to provoke workers into striking — to permanently replace them with scabs — the union turned to work-to-rule, throwing production into chaos and winning a 36% wage bump over three years at one plant.

Have We Learned Anything Since Striketober?

This month marks the one-year anniversary of “Striketober.” Last fall, many expressed hopes that the labor movement was experiencing a Phoenix-like resurgence in the form of a strike wave. New data and measures of strike activity reported “dramatic” increases that garnered significant media attention. Gathered by the likes of Payday Report and Cornell’s School of Industrial Relations, these new data and measures were partly meant to question official, government measures of strike activity collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which stopped collecting more comprehensive data in the early 1980s. However, subsequent commentary threw buckets of cold water on this pyre of hope.
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