The Proposal

I opened this essay with the claim that many of us want something more from our radical social and environmental justice movements, and in Part One I took time to lay out the bigger pieces of what “something more” means for me. To summarize using slightly different words, I long for the creation of more movement spaces and organizational forms that:

  • Publicly, imaginatively put forward a revolutionary vision, and work towards it
  • Are capable of supporting memberships of hundreds, or even thousands within an area, across multiple issues and all identities
  • Are recruitment friendly, warm, and accessible to non-activist people
  • Are capable of providing a democratic and nourishing political home to both hardcore activists and busy, tired working people—without making the hardcore people feel held back or “dumbed down,” or making the busy people feel tied to the vanguardism of a well-studied elite
  • Support approaches to movement building that see organizers as whole people with the need for balanced and healthy lives, and which give us tools to care for and mutually inspire each other
  • Are simultaneously building grassroots infrastructure to boost our capacity for disruptive action, for personal growth and political education, and for developing constructive counter-power
  • Are strategically spry and allow for the transience of populations and the quick shifting of social, political, and economic realities

I don’t just long for these qualities in our movements because they will make organizing more enjoyable and sustainable, or because I think they will give radical politics a popularity boost. I long for these qualities because I want to win. Because social movements, and the structures and groups within them, are vehicles—they drive people forward into new historical possibilities—and I am tired of us mostly just cruising around the block, or breaking down by the side of the road. I want so passionately for our movements to get at least some future generation to our destination, to a reality where hundreds of millions are collaboratively and freely building a better world together.

Here in Part Two of this essay, I will offer a set of interconnected proposals that form an approach to organizing and movement building that I think might move us faster and more effectively toward that destination. I have said that this is a vision-centered approach to movement building and, true to that description, this proposal begins with vision, and scaffolds itself in multiple directions from there.

1. (Re)Establish “The Idea” as a Broad Political Rallying Point
2. Utilize Our Groups to Keep Revolutionary Imagination Alive and In the Air
3. Make Our Visions Actionable, Not Just Hypothetical, By Naming Our Needs
4. Use a 3-Pronged Strategy to Make Today’s Projects and Campaigns Serve Tomorrow’s Visions
5. Embrace the Ecosystem of Movements That Already Exists, and Strengthen Its Root System
6. Use Crowdsourcing to Open Activism and Organizing to People of All Levels of Time, Skill, and Commitment
7. Create Home Bases for Personal Growth and Mutual Inspiration Over the Long-Haul and on a Mass Scale
8. Claim One Day a Week (or at least a month) for the Movement
9. Be Ready to Snatch Up Opportunities to Crystallize Our Counter-Power
10. Prepare for Resistance that Tests Every Bond, Every Pledge, Every Value

Continue to Proposal 1: (Re)Establish “The Idea” as a Broad Political Rallying Point

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