Note: This training was originally offered in a semester format in 2016.
Social movements are moving all around us. The basic idea of community organizing as ‘unite to fight back’ is real for our time. In the 1960’s Saul Alinsky offered a model of community organizing designed to disrupt the power of the “establishment” by connecting different interest groups to win campaigns that were of mutual benefit. In retrospect, Alinsky only had part of the answer, and his part was not easily resonant for People of Color, Trans people, LGB, or most women.
Today, we realize we need lessons from classic community organizing but we also need to understand hybrid models of organizing and movement that cross lines of race, class, culture, gender and other identities to offer hope and action in the face of backlash rooted in racism, gender oppression, xenophobia and hate. Backlash will be playing a massive role in the next few years of organizing, as it is ignited by progressive advances but also decreasing economic opportunity.
None of us have all the answers. Grappling with the questions at hand for organizing can sharpen and nurture our practice and growth.
This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century by Mark Engler & Paul Engler
Review from Google Books: There is a craft to uprising — and this craft can change the world
From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
Nonviolence is usually seen simply as a philosophy or moral code. This Is an Uprising shows how it can instead be deployed as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, we pass up the chance to truly understand how social transformation happens.