The lesson is clear, whether learned by grassroots movements in Switzerland or elsewhere: Without a vision, the people perish. We don’t need to build our political identities around what we’re against. It’s time we align our tactics, strategies, and organizing approaches with a positive, common sense vision that inspires us.
This election provides more evidence that a majority of the U.S. population supports positions that progressives advocate.
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.
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?
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.
I was among the 100,000 who marched in San Francisco’s Women’s March the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. While enthusiasm for the struggle seemed high, an important question was looming: What’s the strategic plan, as we head into the Trump era? Although there’s no simple answer, I offer this 10-point plan — fully open for discussion and debate.