Jane McAlevey’s ‘No Shortcuts’: Organising is hard work

“Organising”, says Jane McAlevey, “is fundamentally about having hard conversations with people and not running away from hard issues.” Her latest book, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, is true to this sentiment. In it, McAlevey outlines a critique of most contemporary union campaigning, using case studies and other analysis to […]

Book review: “This is an Uprising”, Paul and Mark Engler

(This review was originally published by SEARCH Foundation in their special edition on environmental justice, benefitting from the editorial input of Geoff Evans.) Does strategic community organising create and lead sweeping social change? Or does social change momentum arrive from disruptive actions and sweep individuals and organisations along with it? This is the question tackled […]

How to structure teams for organising

In 2015 I completed a course in organising with Marshall Ganz: Leadership, Organizing and Action. Ganz’ deconstructs organising into five crafts: public narrative, relationships, structure (covered in this post), strategy, and action. In this post I review Ganz’ treatment of structure. All unsourced quotations come from the course. Organisers develop leaders to build teams. The organising […]

Hahrie Han on how relationships improve mobilisation

I have shocking news for you: people are more likely to take action if a relationship exists. The are particular ideas associated with relational engagement, and using these ideas can improve mobilisation outcomes. This is my takeaway from an upcoming paper by Hahrie Han: The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a […]

The role of stories in organising

Early in 2015 I completed a course in organising with Marshall Ganz: Leadership, Organizing and Action. Ganz’ deconstructs organising into five crafts: public narrative (covered in this post), relationships, structure, strategy, and action. In this post I summarise and explore Ganz’ treatment of public narrative. All unsourced quotations come from the course. Story is fundamental […]

Reflections on Training and Persuasion at People’s Climate March

As part of the People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014, Canberra hosted a “Festival of Community Action”, which I helped to organise. It had the rally tropes of speeches and chanting, but then transitioned into a set of workshops focused on climate campaigns or skills for activism, an attempt to embody “action, not words”. I co-facilitated […]