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Strategize!

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.

Europe: A Crossroads Of Neoliberalism And The Aspirations Of The People

“Neither war that destroys us, nor peace that oppresses us”: This historic anti-war slogan of the Spanish feminist movement holds one of the fundamental keys to building a horizon of peace. It claims that peace is not just a ceasefire, nor is it surrender to or silence before those who impose their wars on others. Rather, peace is the building of a foundation for fostering relations based on mutual respect and cooperation. Such an idea is neither naïve nor impossible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Building a new path based on a lasting peace is the only possible alternative for the sustainability of all people and the planet. The opposite of this means a silencing of the people, the loss of human lives, a divided world, permanent war, living in constant fear of nuclear weapons, and misery for the people affected by war.

No More ‘Normal’

In Abbott Elementary, an ABC sitcom about an underfunded elementary school in Philadelphia, Quinta Brunson plays Janine Teagues, an enthusiastic 2nd-grade teacher who attempts to overcome every obstacle with her grit and determination — a flickering light in the back hallways, the perpetual lack of basic school supplies, a complicated reading software program. Barbara and Melissa, the older, more experienced teachers, remind her “to just worry about what you can control.” And for years, that’s what teachers have done. We’ve made do. Having kids paint with water, like Barbara, when there’s no money for paints. Ponying up pieces of our salaries to buy books for classroom libraries, highlighters for writing activities, pencils, food for hungry kids, printers, microphones, even textbooks. You name it, we’ve bought it.

The Radical Immigrant Farmers Who Helped Defeat The Robber Barons

“I was born in Fayette County, Texas, from German parents, and who fled from the reaction [to] the 1848 revolution. I think that I inherited some of my revolutionary qualifications. I am not responsible for them. I cannot help it.” So testified E.O. Meitzen before the Commission on Industrial Relations in March 1915 about why he involved himself in the political struggles of working farmers. At the time, Meitzen was a veteran leader of the Texas Socialist Party. Nearly thirty years earlier, his inheritance led him to help organize and lead the Fayette County Farmers’ Alliance. When the Farmers’ Alliance failed to bring relief to farmers, Meitzen joined the Populist revolt, becoming a statewide leader of the People’s Party. The Meitzen political legacy extended to E.O.’s children, in particular his son E.R., who was a leader successively in the Farmers’ Union, the Socialist Party, the Nonpartisan League and the Farm-Labor Union of America.

A Preemptive Response To Media Attacks On Defend The Atlanta Forest

Atlanta, Georgia - “We are on the timeline in which everyone loses,” a friend once said. It always felt that way. Even though we always tried, all of us, our victories were always innovations in methods, in discourse. Something is changing. In the forest. Across the city. Even more, it’s as if an astral plane has opened up. This plane, if it exists, seems to spiral outward in every direction. Everything is growing from one simple fact: we really intend to win. We won’t let them take everything from us, to pave over everything with condos and parking lots. Hundreds of people ride dirtbikes and ATVs on a Sunday afternoon, giving shared meaning and purpose across three generations of small-time mechanics and adventurers. Music pulses through the trees as small groups find their way down the walking path, dimly lit by glow sticks, dancing beneath the stars for free; no doorman, no cover fee. On the edge of town, apartment complexes split the cost of bounce houses so that all of the children can celebrate birthdays together, sharing food and community in the warm Georgia sun, despite whatever challenges the work week holds.

Bolivia: “We Are The Center Of The World”

Humanity is at a turning point. Not only war and climate change threaten life on our planet. Ideologies and some people as well. We know that money and the production of wealth and well-being have created a widening and deepening gap between people, neighborhoods, cities and countries that has been exacerbated in the wake of the pandemic. So I would like to stop thinking of ourselves as the poor periphery of an unequal, colonial and racist globalization. In Bolivia, since the beginning of this century, we have been struggling with some of the most important and decisive issues for the future of the human species: water, our sacred coca leaf, the goods that we can distribute thanks to the generosity of the Pachamama and – of course – the right to decide collectively about our lives.

Economic Disobedience: What Is It And How Does It Work?

As the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a standstill in March 2020, a peculiar trend popped up in multiple cities: People started hanging white sheets out of their windows. With April rent coming due alongside record unemployment numbers, the white flags became a protest symbol for struggling tenants on the verge of a rent strike. The symbol spread online and eventually showed up in Chicago, Brooklyn, and New Orleans, according to reporting from CNN. The rent crisis also led to a rise in tenant unions, with tenants-turned-housing-activists in Oakland and San Francisco successfully organizing multi-month rent strikes that resulted in impressive wins. Despite the threat of eviction and potential economic and legal fallout, ordinary people, acting out of necessity, engaged in a collective act of defiance.

The Left Must Be Ruthlessly Strategic

Sometimes I wish there were as many leftist reading groups on The Art of War as there are on Marx’s Capital. It’s not that I don’t think leftists should understand socialist economics. Plenty of people I respect teach classes on Marx’s Capital. But it’s one thing to know what you want; it’s another to know how to get it. One fair critique of the revived American left is that while we have developed a compelling platform and inspired many to embrace the creed of democratic socialism, we are insufficiently savvy about the pursuit and use of power. I don’t think this can entirely be blamed on the left. American socialism has always been marginal, and it’s impressive that we have as many democratic socialists in office around the United States as we do.

The Poor People’s Campaign And The Moral Dilemma Of Liberalism

Rev. William Barber, an indisputable champion of the poor and a consistent voice demanding an end to poverty, may have made a serious moral and ethical error that effectively placed him outside of the “Kingian” framework that informed Dr. King’s work especially during the last year of his life. In an attempt to make a point about the flawed priorities of the duopoly, Dr. Barber wrote in an email to the “movement family” on Saturday, April 30, 2022 that, “despite the political gridlock on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats have acted swiftly to approve historic military aid to Ukraine. In the face of such a moral imperative, it would be anathema for either party to ask, “How are we going to pay for it?”

The Full Story Of How Louisianans Defeated The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Baton Rouge, Louisiana - On May 3, the Louisiana House of Representatives Education Committee struck down this state’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by a seven to four vote. This decision came after a mass upsurge of students, parents, teachers, social workers and LGBTQ+ community members demanding to shut the bill down. HB 837, the “Don’t Say Gay” or “Classroom censorship” bill, attempted to prohibit all discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in K-8 classrooms. On top of this, it was an effort to ban teachers from disclosing their gender identities or sexual orientations to students. Once a legislator introduces a bill in either chamber of the legislature (House or Senate), it must meet the approval of a legislative committee before going for a full floor vote.

Dare To Win: Lessons From The Indian Farmers Movement

The Farmers Movement in India has inspired millions around the world who are fighting for justice, democracy and solidarity. The farmers held their ground in the face of threats, intimidation and relentless propaganda, and forced the Modi government to repeal the farm bills. This was one of the most spectacular victories of ordinary people against the combined assault of corporate power and the state, showing that determined struggle can defeat the mightiest of forces. On 19 November 2021 the Government of India announced that three highly contentious Farm Bills introduced in June 2020 would be repealed. The Government introduced the laws in the early months of the Covid-19 crisis, when opportunities for public and democratic discussion were extremely limited.

Marking Workers’ Day In Dispiriting Times

Most young people in South Africa do not have a job and are, under current circumstances, unlikely to ever have one. For years, deindustrialization and the collapse of mining laid waste to unionized jobs. Now state austerity is hacking away at the public sector. Many of the few new jobs that are being created are poorly paid, precarious and not well unionized. Some of this can be ascribed to powerful global forces that are difficult for any state to resist. And the deep structural features of our society were built by colonialism and are so entrenched that they cannot easily be changed. But there is no doubt that the ANC’s poor economic policy choices have also been a significant part of the failure to build a viable economy. This has been compounded by the appalling state of public education, the collapse of a significant part of the ANC into a violent kleptocracy, the decay of infrastructure and a series of damaging events such as the brutally enforced hard Covid lockdowns, the winter riots and the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

‘You’ve Got To Shut It Down’: Lessons From Wisconsin’s 2011 Worker Uprising

Wisconsin - With the passage of Act 10 in 2011, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, Republican Gov. Scott Walker declared war on the labor movement in general and on public sector workers specifically. Act 10 was a hammer blow that essentially stripped collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, made it much more difficult for workers to organize, and forced unions to take massive concessions on healthcare, retirement benefits, and much more. Soon after, in 2015, Walker signed legislation that turned Wisconsin into a “right to work” state, issuing another blow to unions in a state once heralded as a bellwether of progressive politics and the labor movement.

A Life In Transit: ‘What You Can Get Is Set By How Far You Are Prepared To Go’

Track workers and train operators could stop work over safety. Making the community aware of risks to hospitals and schools built important support—but we won because we had learned the work rules and organized transit workers to implement them. When something hits the tripping device on the undercarriage, it stops the train. The operator has to walk around the entire train, plus a reasonable length behind, to see what stopped it. Sometimes the operator would call the supervisor to investigate before proceeding; that was one way of stopping work over safety. Because of actions like this, management had to replace the walkways in the tunnels, which were made of old wood that would rot. Now they are all fiberglass and yellow. Exact work-to-rule is the basis of a slowdown. Sometimes it was as effective as a strike.

Peace Movement Needs To Demand Dismantling Of NATO

During World War II an “unnatural alliance” was created between the United States, Great Britain, and the former Soviet Union. What brought the three countries together—the emerging imperial giant (the United States), the declining capitalist power (Great Britain), and the first socialist state (the Soviet Union)—was the shared need to defeat fascism in Europe. Rhetorically, the high point of collaboration was reflected in the agreements made at the Yalta Conference, in February 1945, three months before the German armies were defeated. At Yalta, the great powers made decisions to facilitate democratization of former Nazi regimes in Eastern Europe, a “temporary” division of Germany for occupation purposes, and a schedule of future Soviet participation in the ongoing war against Japan.

One Simple Trick To Protect Workers From Inflation

Inflation is an economic phenomenon whose nuances remain a mystery even to economists. That hasn’t stopped politicians from wielding it as a weapon to villainize anyone they wish, from environmentalists (blamed for rising gas prices) to annoying outsiders (condemned for driving up housing costs). In reality, we know one group will always pay the price for inflation and bear the burden of increasing costs: working people. Yet the most important practical tool for protecting workers from the ravages of inflation — unionization— is almost totally absent from today’s panicked political dialogue. In the same way that seemingly every foreign war is compared with World War II, every bout of high inflation in America triggers immediate comparison to the late 1970s.
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