Transformative Organizing with frontline communities

11 to 18 Nov 2023

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:

  • Transformative organizing with frontline communities
  • The role of the organizer
  • Concepts of power and tools for power analysis
  • Developing a long term agenda for structural change
  • Combining organizing and mobilizing in movement building processes
  • Organizing through one to one conversations
  • Power mapping and collective strategy building
  • Care, regenerative organizing and intersectionality

The aims of the training are:

  • Understand transformative organizing and its practices
  • Analyze and build power through organizing
  • Explore roes and toyboxes of organizers
  • Think strategically in organizing processes
  • Reflect on care and intersectionality

Through a blend of participatory education and immersive learning you will:

  • Practice building relationships with one to one conversations
  • Develop a long term agenda for your group/organization/campaign
  • Map power and develop strategy to build power in your context
  • Plan how to use transformative organizing strategically in your work

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.

Suggested Contribution
In the solidarity economy: €300/€500/€1200
(see the details of our approach to Solidarity Economics for details)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

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.