Building power from the margins to achieve large scale social transformation
How do we use organizing strategically in our activism and movement building? How do we develop a practice of transformative organizing, from organizing in silos to building long term alignments, from fighting short term campaigns to advancing a long-term agenda, from applying narrow approaches to power to an expansive one, from protesting from the outside to building governing power? This training designed and delivered by the European Community Organizing Network (ECON) and part of the Ulex Programme will help you address some of these challenges by developing your competencies for Transformative Organizing.
What is Organizing?
“Community organizing” is a term on more and more people’s lips these days. But what is it? And how can it be a part of strategies for large scale social transformation?
This training will focus on one particular organizing tradition: Transformative Organizing. Compared to some others, there has been less written about this approach – in part, because it is an emergent tradition where many of the practices are still being defined. However, early thinking on this practice has been defined by the US-based organizer Steve Williams, some of which he elaborated in the essay Demand Everything: Lessons from the Transformative Organizing Model.
In Europe, work is being done by a number of people and organizations to define this practice for the European context. Echos of this approach – including a more expansive view of power and adopting a longer strategic time horizon – are found in ECON’s publication, The Power of Organizing: Stories from Community Organizing Campaigns Across Europe. And a newly-forming, Berlin-based organization called Organizing Re:Generation, is attempting to develop a systematized training approach to support the growth of this tendency.
This training will be both rooted in the theory of Transformative Organizing, as well as a hands-on and very practical approach to how the skills of organizing can be applied in the field. You don’t need to have had formal training in organizing to get a lot out of this course. And if you are already a trained organizer, this training is designed to help push your thinking about your practice further. Together, we will look at how Transformative Organizing can be applied to building power within communities that are “closest to the pain” of our unjust system, and how we can build the power we need to achieve large-scale social transformation from below.
We will explore ideas and practices related to:
The aims of the training are:
Through a blend of participatory education and immersive learning you will:
Who is it aimed at?
Anyone involved in socially engaged action addressing ecological, political and social justice issues. We embrace a broad definition of activism, including: Resistance – action preventing further damage to ecosystems and social justice; Renewal – action focused on developing and creating alternatives for healthier societies and communities; and Building Resilience – action supporting increased resilience in communities to weather the uncertain times ahead.
Steve has 20 years of experience working as a community, union, and political organizer in both the United States and Europe. He currently lives in Prague, and works on several trans-European and transatlantic organizing initiatives. Tracing his roots to the US labor movement, he made the transition to political organizing in 2010 when he went to work for the Working Families Party (WFP). In 2014 he moved to Europe, but he continues to support US-based organizing at the WFP, and has also taken a leadership role in developing the European Community Organizing Network, a hub for the community organizing sector in Europe. He has developed a community of practice with the organizers and movement educators of the Grassroots Policy Project, a movement support organization founded with the goal of shifting community organizing practice towards less-siloed, more transformative approaches. In this role he serves as a link between the US and European organizing sectors.
skills, insights, and practices for creating transformative teams and effective collaborations
new stories to change the world
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2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.
3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.