ORGANIZING FOR POWER: Capacity-Building & Strategic Escalation

Please check out this lesson!  This is an incredibly powerful half-day training – I could feel a certain kind of transformative energy crackling around the room as we were facilitating – originally created by one of the most talented and experienced organizers I know, and then recently spiced up and illustrated a little by yours truly.

In the first month I was in Tucson, a friend asked me to help give this training to the Tucson Water Protectors (and open to the public).  Later I did an abbreviated version for Tucson SURJ.  Nearly all of this was taught to both of us by Lisa Fithian, a super-badass organizer with decades of experience in the union & anti-globalization movements.  She deserves 99% of the credit for the content of this training; I just made some nice-looking notes.  Most of the content is also available in some form on her website:

As this was my first time facilitating this workshop, I made very specific notes, and then blew them up huge so that everyone could see them, and added a few cute scribbly cartoons too!  I have started doing this for most of my more formal workshops, it is always appreciated.  Our program included lots of activities – not only discussions and questions (some of these papers were partly blank when we started), but also more lively spectrograms and circles and role-plays, etc – so the notes that we repeatedly returned to felt focused and allowed folks to move at their own pace (we crammed a lot into four hours, and we were always behind time, often rushing to wrap up a conversation after only a few minutes).  They did not feel like some painfully boring powerpoint show of bullet-point lists, and because they were on paper, at the end when all the pages were lined up in order on the wall, participants could photo them so that they could have easy and legible notes to study later, much better than a boring typed hand-out.  A lot of people love this, I always hear a lot of gratitude when I do comprehensive notes for complex topics.

This was originally intended to include a 40 minute Basic Street Mobile Tactics section at the end.  When Fithian does full-day workshops during the lead-up to mobilizations and protests she makes that one of the larger parts of the program.  We got started very late and a few other sections went a little long, so we cut it.  We had previously decided that because there was no specific impending action it would be best to keep this section brief, just a taste to get participants psyched for a future workshop, so we did not see this omission as a problem.

OK, get to it already… without further ado:

Organizing for Power (Part 1).



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