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Movement Lies We Tell Ourselves —- Post #1

Posted 10 years ago on Oct. 16, 2013, 6:52 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt (1) from Plainfield, NJ

My co-workers and I have started a running list of movement lies we tell ourselves. Or tell each other. Or allow to be told even when we’re squirming in our seat. These are myths, delusions, and either/or’s that hold us all back from creating the impact we seek.

Movement building means working on the collective processes and infrastructure that create shared vision, strategy, and action across different areas of social, economic, and ecological justice. It means trying to create movement conditions even when no big “movement moment” is in sight, and nurturing and sustaining those moments once they’ve begun. And like everything we imperfect beings do, we bring our foibles and bad habits to movement building. It’s good to step back every now and then and admit these, embrace the kernel of truth that made them useful, shake our heads, laugh together and let them go.

Here’s three from our Top Ten list, with more to come. What do you think of these? What’s on your Top Ten list?

Lie #1: We are so right and they are so wrong.

This might be my personal favorite because it feels so good when I let myself believe it: the self-congratulating and narrow definition of “we” that allows us to hang on to bad habits and tired ideas and the dehumanizing and possibility-killing definition of “they.” What if we took a chance and believed that we can actually take steps toward a world that works for everyone; a world based on love and care giving and dignity, rather than just reinforcing the lines that others have drawn around us?

Read More: http://bit.ly/16Onc9a



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[-] 2 points by HCHC4 (-28) 10 years ago

Great post, getting to the core of organizing!

"Like “How is this campaign a building block in a long term vision and strategy?”, “How can any wins be supported by an organizing base?”, “What values does this campaign seek to shift and how?”, “Does this campaign have an ambitious aspiration to engage unusual allies?” “Does it have a centralized core but roles for decentralized leadership?” “Is the side that supports our vision bigger, stronger and more unified after the campaign (or frustrated, betrayed, and divided even if they ‘win’)?” Questions like these are being asked in today’s best campaigns. "

These are all my personal beliefs, some rooted in political activism and some rooted in other management experiences.

1) Momentum is key. After an action, the debriefing is key. But more important than the core group discussin things (and usually some blame shifting) is getting the new members involved, and asking them what they thought, what were their initial reactions.

New members have an unbiased and very needed view. And they will not participate if the entire discussion is based on experiences the group went through, usually including mostly details that new members simply cannot discuss because they were not there.

Get them involved, lead off the debriefing meeting, and bring them in on the planning right from the get go. Save the core group debreifing till the end. It can wait. The core group is there because they are dedicated. It can wait.

2) After the action, get those emails out thanking for participation, and asking for an RSVP to the next meeting. Follow up as needed, and then obvisously a reminder email. If there are tasks to be done before the next meeting, toss it out to the new emails. Those who step up will be big assets going forward, showing initiative and then getting a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

3) I call this one "Ambient Activism".. Leaving things behind that will stay there for a while, that everyone can point to for the following days/weeks. Banners and yard signs are two obvious and basic example. Nothing feels better than driving past a yard sign that your group placed there a couple weeks ago and realizing how many people saw it as a direct result of your action.

You are absolutely right about the "We are so right and they are so wrong." aspect. Ive heard a lot of people tell me that political party types are just too obnoxious because of it. Of course the squeeky wheel theory applies, but its still true.

People want to see confidence in ones thoughts, not a blind and overly aggressive move against all others. Its not inspiring and its just not good leadership.