Union demonstrators march outside the Fleetwood and Cadillac plan in Detroit and a General Motors strike in 1936. Credit: The Detroit News
Labor

Unions Have Been Down Before, History Shows How They Can Come Back

Two ways we can honor unions at this time of trial are to ask others to join union picket lines and to learn from their innovations and successes for whatever campaigns we are committed to today. According to labor historian Sidney Fine, the union breakthrough in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, was “the most significant American labor conflict in the twentieth century.” In some ways the struggle was more strategically sophisticated than many campaigns are today, which is why it offers important lessons on tactics, racism, using the spectrum of allies and sequencing the focus of organizing.

Protest signs at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last year. (Wikimedia / Mark Dixon)
Global News and Analysis

Why the Resistance Can’t Win Without Vision

We’ve had our first year of tweets and leaks from the White House, complete with reactions and outrage in the United States and abroad. The tsunami of words and feelings about Trump has dominated the media and is likely to continue. The question is: Will reactivity to Trump continue among activists, or are we ready to channel our passion into more focused movement-building for change?

Protesters taking direct action to stop work on the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (Credit: Reuters, A. Cullen)
Activism

Organizing for Structural Change: A Manual for a New Era of Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigns

We can learn a lot about strategy from the U.S. civil rights movement. What worked for them in facing an almost overwhelming array of forces was a particular technique known as the escalating nonviolent direct action campaign. Since that 1955-65 decade we’ve learned much more about how powerful campaigns build powerful movements leading to major change. Some of those lessons are here.