building power from the ground up
Community organising brings people together to take collective action on their shared concerns. Starting from local problems and everyday injustices, it has the potential to strengthen people’s sense of agency, build solidarity, and foster leaderful communities. We’ll explore how politicisation can build from action on local concerns to the mobilising of new constituencies seeking radical structural transformation.
While activism and community organising often share goals of social transformation, they can often apply divergent practices, strategies and analysis.
We’ve found an increasing interest in community organising methods amongst many of the activist networks we’ve been working with. They seek a more embedded approach and the tools and skills to mobilise and engage more diverse constituencies.
At the same time, we’ve also been encountering many community organisers who feel their practice falls short of the level of politicisation and mobilisation they aim towards. Often the political ‘neutrality’ the methods can involve leave community power tackling local issues, while failing to confront deeper structural injustice.
This training will seek to bring community organising skills into a clear political framework, in a way that can enhance activist practice and extend the scope and ambition of community organising.
Community organising depends on key skills for reaching out beyond the circle of usual suspects. It offers methods for really listening for what matters and motivates people. It shares tools for connecting people and helping them organise to empower collective action. This training will share these key skills and the frameworks we can use for applying them.
We’ll combine community organising with political analysis, to bring fresh and powerful approaches to social change practice.
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.
Valery is a labour organizer, campaigner, trainer and a social and migrant rights activist. She worked for 9 years in the Justice for Janitors Campaign throughout the U.S., and then went on to share and jointly adapt a “social unionism” organising model in South Africa, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. She worked at the “Change to Win – European Organising Centre” for 8 years campaigning in various service and emerging economy sectors including airports, social care and renewable energy sectors. Valery is now working for the Strategic organising Unit at UNISON helping develop organising, campaigning capacity and worker organising centres for fragmented privatized workers in the United Kingdom.
a community of practice
Skills for building collective power
building collective agency - theory and practice
1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.
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.