Overview

This page is the supporting evidence showcasing my output outcomes for my second MSc pre-capstone output.

Professional Outcomes

Details

Professional Pathway Progression

When I designed this output as part of my Learning Intentions Pathway Design I set some professional goals. These can be seen in the table below, as well as if they have been achieved and some of my observations of my patterns in relationship to them.

 

Professional goals & learning edges

Achieved? Yes/No

Re-negotiation

Observations of my patterns

To feel confident with being an Advisor for Gaia University

Yes

N/A

Achieved through changing my attitude & challenging my perception of ‘advisors’ as supporters/facilitators of self-supported learning vs experts. Placing education in its political context also helped.

To have my systems set up for being a Tutor with the Permaculture Association

No

Intend to complete diploma in November after OP2 submission

Community organising commitments have pushed time availability & I have consciously prioritised organising & Gaia U over the DAPD

To design my liberation permaculture course and feel more confident around course design and curriculum development

Yes

N/A

Working collaboratively rather than solo on a piece of work makes it way more likely to happen. This course has been an independent project and I have now recognised my desire to work with other people to make this variety of radical education happen. A  decision which has informed my proposal for a Radicle Ecology Collective.

To thoroughly observe, analyse and optimise my community organising skill flexes, such as group facilitation, event organising, strategic thinking, communication and so forth.

Yes

N/A

Definitely achieved through so much active organising and reflective systems designed into my pathway e.g. journalling, action learning guilds.

To increase my confidence and ability to write professional articles for more mainstream magazines.

Yes 50%

Realisation that I do not want to work for corporate publications and therefore the ‘market’ for my work is more of a niche & less likely to be paid

I have made gains in this skill flex however through:

  • Continuing to write for publications congruent with my beliefs e.g. this Red Pepper article

  • Approaching Editor Maddy Harland at Permanent Publications about a book about Access to Land, in which she was supportive & has encouraged me to write a manuscript

  • Working with Gaia U and exploring options such as a Journal which could be another part of my polylivelihood   


 

Details

Skill Flex Outcomes: Developing as a Popular Educator

Keywords: Popular education, Radical education, Alternative education, Ecological literacy, Political literacy, Social change, Participatory learning

 

Why this is a key skillflex for me:

Permaculture designer and Gaia U graduate Ethan Roland identifies intellectual capital as one of the eight forms of capital. In my observations of social movements and community organising over the last decade, a common limiting factor is political literacy, understanding how power flows through systems on interpersonal, community, state and corporate levels.

 

A key way of building what I have labelled as ‘radical intellectual capital’ is through popular education. Popular education is a methodology first introduced by Brazilian educator and writer Paulo Freire, “a process which aims to empower people who feel marginalized socially and politically to take control of their own learning and to effect social change.” Everyone is a student and everyone is a teacher.

 

Below is a mindmap I created about popular education that I used on a Community Outreach Training course in May:

 

 

The question I asked myself during this output was ‘What does popular education mean in practice and for me as an educator?’

 

Action learning I used to explore this question included:

  • Designing & facilitating several workshops over the year

  • Designing a two day weekend ‘Community Outreach Training’ with the Frack Free Somerset campaign, which was the longest designed course I have planned and organised to date. See my design & reflections of the course here.

  • Designing the liberation permaculture course, and using educational tools I had learned in the Permaculture training of teachers course I undertook in 2012 and through better understanding the Gaia U pedagogy through the TALC course.

 My key learnings through reading, and reflection on my own popular education oriented practice were that:

 

  • The primary attraction and aim of education work I seek to engage in, is to use education as a tool to explicitly challenge oppression and exploitative systems & behaviours. I do not want to help anyone fit better into an oppressive society, or in the words of Freire, “Education as an exercise of domination stimulates the credulity of students, with the ideological intent (often not perceived by educators) of indoctrinating them to adapt to a world of oppression.”

  • To build radical intellectual capital, we need to understand and integrate action learning into our work, so that we can add to the knowledge commons and become more resilient and effective. Therefore supporting people to learn how to learn is highly important.

  • That I am craving more opportunities to engage with popular education because:

    • Current opportunities feel reformist & less effective & I am having to repress my political beliefs & values

    • There are abundant people to teach things like permaculture, land-based skills and so forth but few bring together the threads of political literacy and community organising necessary for social change

    • There are limited actual radical learning opportunities, where there is co-creation of learning between students and teachers and a commitment to addressing hierarchies

 What next following this output?

 With this learning and reflection I have now decided to:

  • Increase my commitment to Gaia U in terms of advising & other work to build the University, as I am increasingly recognising its radicalness

  • Work with Gaia U to develop a Diploma in Community Organising, that I intend to write a seed proposal for by the end of November, which could then be crowdsource fundraised for.

  • Optimise my radical niche in both my Gaia U and Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design tutoring - that is explicitly marketing myself with these skillsets and political beliefs and working with learners dedicating to challenging oppression and building permanent cultures

  • Work with others at Frack Off & other local groups to start a Community Training Collective that can do popular education in communities on the frontlines of resistance to unconventional gas, looking at political literacy as well as practical organising skills

  • Undertake prison-related popular education with the Empty Cages Collective

  • Put a ‘call out’ for others to start a Radicle Ecology Collective - which is my attempt at articulating my needs and howling for my pack. Read the proposal here.

Details

Other Professional Gains

Other professional progression and gains through this output time period include:

  • Improvements in managing my time and promises. These have mainly come through my skill flex advising sessions with Advisor Jennifer English. You can see my call notes & gains on this tracker document here.
  • Facilitation skills - have been stretched massively through all the events I have organised in 2013, especially in working with groups of over 60 people. I have also developed conflict resolution skills through group dynamics surfacing in two events this year.
  • Herbalism - Following the radical herbalism gathering I met a tutor I respected and felt inspired to engage with herbalism on ‘another level’. Therefore I have invested in beginning a six year part time apprenticeship with Frances Wright. You can read about this journey here.
Details

Political Outcomes

Popular Education

  • Designed & led know your rights & the arrest process, workshops in Balcombe & Brighton

    • Workshop Design

    • Outcomes:

      • May have reduced shock/impacts of policing at Balcombe community protection camp

      • Built relationship between local groups in Somerset & Sussex, for ongoing solidarity

      • Now have a workshop prepared that can be used elsewhere (as it was repeated in Balcombe throughout the blockade

  • Co-designed & led Prison Abolition & Interconnected Struggles Workshop at the Earth First Summer Gathering

    • Workshop Design

    • Evidence of workshop & input generated

    • Outcomes:

      • Repeatable workshop design

      • Contacts who want to be involved in Prison Abolition 2014 Projects

      • Increased awareness/empowerment of those involved in workshop

      • Friendship & solidarity built between Bristol & Edinburgh ABC groups which may lead to future collaboration

  • Supported workshop Prison Abolition 101 at Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

    • Outcomes:

      • Increased confidence in myself that I can talk about prison publicly

      • Relationship building within ABC group

      • Repeatable workshop design

  • Designed & led Resilience to Repression workshop at International Animal Rights Gathering

    • Workshop Design

    • Evidence of workshop & input generated

    • Outcomes:

      • Repeatable workshop design

      • Awareness of repression projects including SHAC made history, Stop UK Repression & SOCPA Solidarity

      • International contacts that want to collaborate on repression related projects

      • Increased awareness/empowerment of those involved in workshop

      • Huge personal milestone in empowerment & healing

  • Designed & led Repression Workshop at Camp Frack

    • Workshop Design

    • Evidence of workshop & input generated

    • Outcomes:

      • Repeatable workshop design

      • Increased awareness/empowerment of those involved in workshop

      • Personal empowerment in my first workshop on repression

      • UK contacts for groups keen to host repression related workshops

Speaking & Events

 

Articles & Publications

During output period

Projects

 

Some core projects have emerged as a result of my output work & relationship building over the summer. In summary there are:

 

Prison Abolition 2014 - A close ally & I have started the Empty Cages Collective and we intend to design & organise a whole year of events relating to prison abolition next year. You can a recent grant application we wrote here to get a picture of what we will be doing. The basic summary is organising a large conference in November 2014 to bring together people harmed by & organising around the prison system. We will generate energy for this event through a speaking tour in February and various community organising events in 2014. We have created a website where we will be creating up to date resources about the prison industrial complex in the UK & posting all other news and events: prisonabolition.org


Resilience to Repression Project with the Animal Action Network, Stop UK Repression and Bristol ABC - a small group & I are designing a project that can support the animal liberation movement & others to reflect on the impact that repression has had on our movement, and look at how we can be more resilient in the years of struggle ahead. The basic plan is to help organise & facilitate workshops and events in different cities with complimentary zines & resources to build more movement-level resilience. We will also be doing info evenings about the ‘SOCPA7’ who are seven people still facing charges relating to the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign.

 

Details

Balcombe Defendant Solidarity

Since the end of July 2013 the community in Balcombe, Sussex has been resisting attempts by fracking company Cuadrilla Resources to start drilling in their village. There has been a rolling blockade and camp outside the site from day one.

 

Two months previous to the blockade, I worked with others from Frack Free Somerset, to lead a workshop on community direct action, in which I designed and led the know your rights/understanding the arrest process elements, as we were aware of the company’s intentions to drill. Balcombe is an incredibly privileged community, and I found the workshop very restimulating in that many local people did not believe the police would treat them in a certain way and that if they stayed within the law everything would be fine.

 

It felt like real action learning therefore to witness the same individuals being arrested or undertaking legal observing or support work for those that were. In the workshop we repeated in Brighton, many people had their first introduction to police removal tactics, which then became a reality on the second day of the blockade (see picture).

 

Action learning aspects of this work have included:

  • Preparing communities for repression - through know your rights workshops & popular education. Ensuring literature such as ‘bust cards’ are available on the ground & to people travelling to site

  • Creating support structures for arrestees - such as secure trackers of contact details, setting up email lists & communication structures, arrest support phonelines

  • Supporting with on the ground training - directing people to resources for legal observing, understanding repression, trauma support & so forth

  • Emotionally checking-in with arrestees - I personally phone more than 40 people to listen to how they were feeling following arrest (I’ve now supported the handover of this process & created a support team for this work) as I think its important to recognise the emotional impacts of repression

  • Practical support - ensuring people have money to travel to court and so forth

  • Court supporting - driving people to court, ensuring there is food around & a presence outside

  • Solidarity actions - organising Solidarity Sunday, getting people to the Blockade from the other side of the UK and now supporting a documentation project to reflect on Balcombe

I felt it was interesting that this blockade coincided with my personal studying of repression. I suddenly had increased awareness and ideas about necessary actions and next steps to support those experiencing repression.

Other activities I undertook are in the outcomes section below.

Details

Project Outcomes

 

Events

 Please note aside from the Anarchist Bookfair, Camp Frack, Animal Rights Gatherings, Jail Break, Radical Herbalism & Earth First Flyers, I designed all of the below leaflets. 

South West Extreme Energy Gathering

 

 

 

 

Event link: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/02/17/south-west-extreme-energy-gathering/

 

Outcomes: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/mur1.png

 

 

 

National Extreme Energy Gathering

 

 

Event link: http://extreme-energy-gathering.org.uk/

 

Outcomes: http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/re-designing-societys-need-extreme-energy

 

 

 

Prison abolition workshop at  Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

 

 

 

 

Group learning visit to Incredible Edible Todmorden

 

 

Link: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/our-learning-from-visiting-incredible-edible-todmorden

 

 

 

Frack Free Somerset Public meetings in Ston Easton & Compton Martin

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/upcoming-events/public-meeting-in-ston-easton/

 

Outcomes:

 

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Villagers-willing-active-fracking/story-18903425-detail/story.html

 

http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Public-meetings-Compton-Martin-Ston-Easton/story-18719365-detail/story.html#axzz2hfcqm0hb

 

http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/05/01/more-than-90-people-attend-public-meeting-in-ston-easton/

 

http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/05/02/huge-community-concern-about-fracking-in-compton-martin/

 

 

 

Public meeting with Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith with councillors

 

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/upcoming-events/morning-for-councillors-with-dr-mariann-lloyd-smith/

 

 

 

Outcomes:

 

http://frackfreecv.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/unanimous-banes-vote-on-unconventional-gas/

 

http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/10/01/mendip-district-council-fracking-motion-unanimously-adopted/

 

 

 

Frack Free Somerset Community Outreach Training

 

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/upcoming-events/community-outreach-training/

 

 

 

Outcomes: Group of confident speakers in Coalition. See the course design & further evidence here.

 

 

 

 

 

Public meeting with Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith in Bath

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/upcoming-events/public-meeting-in-bath-with-dr-mariann-lloyd-smith/

 

Outcomes: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/05/18/successful-meetings-in-bath-wells-with-dr-mariann-lloyd-smith/

 

 

 

Repression workshop at Camp Frack

 

 

Link: http://frack-off.org.uk/event/camp-frack-2/

 

Outcomes:  See the course workshop design & feedback here.

 

South West Permaculture Convergence

 

 

Link: http://www.wildheartpermaculture.co.uk/?tag=south-west-permaculture-convergence

 

Outcomes: http://www.wildheartpermaculture.co.uk/?p=3281

 

 

 

Know Your Rights Workshop & Community Action Training, Balcombe

 

See design & evidence in my supporting materials section.

 

 

 

Gasland Film Showing  in Priddy

 

 

Link:http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2013/05/08/gasland-film-showing-in-priddy/

 

Outcomes: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Documentary/story-19206012-detail/story.html#axzz2hfcqm0hb

 

 

 

Radical Herbalism Gathering

 

 

https://radicalherbalism.wordpress.com/

 

Outcomes: https://radicalherbalism.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/herbalism-healing-and-resistance-the-uks-first-radical-herbalism-gathering-2013/

 

 

 

Frack Free Somerset Review & Strategy Day

 

See design & evidence in my supporting materials section.

 

Prison Break Day, Cardiff

 

 

Link: http://southwalesanarchists.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/jail-break-all-day-fundraiser-for-cardiff-anarchist-black-cross/

 

 

 

South Wales Unconventional Gas Tour

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreewales.org/?p=198

 

Outcomes: Frack Free Wales! New local groups all over the country. 

 

How can we resist unconventional gas in South Wales? Meeting

 

 

Link: http://www.frackfreewales.org/?p=193

 

Outcomes: Frack Free Wales Coalition, working group, email list, new groups, demonstrations.

 

Skill sharing workshop with Charles Dowding

 

 

Link: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/somerset-master-gardeners-visit-charles-dowding

 

UK Animal Rights Gathering

 

 

Animal Action Network workshop at UK Animal Rights Gathering

 

What is Anarchism? Workshop at Animal Rights Gathering

 

Link: www.argathering.org.uk/‎

 

 

 

Solidarity Sunday, Balcombe

 

 

Link: http://frack-off.org.uk/latest-news-from-the-great-gas-gala-day-25/

 

Outcomes:

 

Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjLRYzzDhSA

 

Flickr feed - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickhi/9543255084/

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hundreds-converge-on-balcombe-as-fracking-protests-continue-8772365.html

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23749448

 

Earth First Gathering

 

 

Link: http://efgathering.weebly.com/

 

Prison abolition workshop at Earth First Gathering

 

Extreme Energy workshop at Earth First Gathering

 

 

 

Repression workshop at International Animal Rights Gathering

 

 

See design & evidence in my supporting materials section.

 

Good Food For Everyone Forever

 

 

Link: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/page/good-food

 

Outcomes: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pictures-from-good-food-for-everyone-forever

 

 

 

Glastonbury Harvest Show

 

 

Link: http://glastonburyharvestshow.wordpress.com/

 

Outcomes: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/photos-from-glastonbury-harvest-show

 

 

 

Incredible Edible Somerset Open Gardens

 

 

Link: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/page/open-gardens

 

Outcomes: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/inspiring-incredible-edible-somerset-open-gardens-2013

 

Medicinal Landscaping Workshop

 

 

Link: http://www.wildheartpermaculture.co.uk/?p=3171

 

Outcomes: http://www.wildheartpermaculture.co.uk/?p=3222

 

 

 

Premier of Frack Free Somerset Documentary

 

Link: http://bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/766099

 

Outcomes: Frack Free Bristol, new public meetings, increased awareness

 

Master Gardener Conference

 

http://covandwarks.mastergardeners.org.uk/2013/10/08/garden-organics-national-volunteer-masters-come-together-to-celebrate-growing-people-and-plants/

 

 

 

Community Growers Gathering

 

 

Link: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/community-growing-local-food-event-in-taunton

 

Outcomes: http://incredible-edible-somerset.ning.com/profiles/blogs/community-growers-come-together

 

 

 

Incredible Edible Somerset at Wells Food Festival

 

Link: http://wellsfoodfestival.co.uk/artisan-market/

 

 

 

Life After Prison Evening, Bristol

 

 

Link:http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/life-after-prison-evening-at-hydra/

 

 

 

Details

Peer Outcomes

Details

How can we work for radical social change with those not identifying as radical?

Key readings: Winds from Below, Small Town Organising for Anarchists Zine, Roots to Power, Bradford White’s call ‘Liberals vs Radicals’, Beyond Walls & Cages, Globalise Liberation

 

Key positive examples & case studies:

 Key personal action learning:

  • Organising with Frack Free Somerset & other Welsh & Sussex based rural communities on the frontlines of unconventional gas extraction

  • Working with individuals & groups developing Incredible Edible Somerset

Key learnings:

Paulo Freire describes radicalisation as an increased commitment to the position one has chosen. This definition was a useful step in understanding what my goals were when organising with people not identifying as radical.

Gaia U Bradford White associate distinguishes between radicals and liberals in his Gaia U radio call. See my call notes here. He stresses the differences are:

 

Liberals

  • Focus on individualism, nationalism, volunteerism, naturalism
  • Individuals & lifestyle changes are focus point
  • Principle over the material e.g. Nonviolence, abstract principles & ideas

Radicals

  • Focus on materialism, constructivism, social determinism, feminism
  • Visibility of power relationships - aim is to dismantle institutions & get to root of the problem
  • Oppression is not natural or voluntary, but as a result of of an unjust political arrangement that can be changed
  • Lifestyle changes only a tactic when used as a tool for targeting specific economic, political or social institutions

A close friend & ally I organise with gave a presentation at our Frack Free Somerset Community Outreach Training, which I feel communicates the difference between liberals and radicals very effectively:

 

The red dots are those already organised - the state, corporations and other oppressive institutions.

 

Liberals focus on colouring in the dots green.

Radicals focus on helping the dots become organised.


Therefore through this process I came to realise the focus of radical community organising is not necessarily to convert everyone to anarchism or one way of thinking but to support them to become more organised in their own community.

 

As Tom Knoche describes in an article on the goals of anarchist organising this means helping people experiment with decentralised, collective and cooperative forms of organisation and increasing the control that people have over actions that affect them, and increasing local self-reliance.

 

Therefore my own work is already radical when I can see in all my projects that my tendency is to consistently aim to help disjointed, unconnected, fairly liberal individuals and groups come together to become more organised. And through popular education, support that group to develop their political literacy enough so they can observe power relationships and become more committed to their position, one which is generally aligned with positive social change.

 

Practical organising approaches have included:

  • Asking a community’s vision so we can see our shared values (e.g. With Frack Free Somerset its ‘clean water for all’ as the basis of our organising)
  • Appealing to deeply held self interest e.g. Community safety, economics
  • Ensuring organising goals are specific to the group and ‘winnable’ in the sense that they can give some gratification
  • Radical community organising is all about dialogue & not propaganda. Its all about relationship building - which includes good communication, earning trust, embracing a multiplicity of perspectives and broadening local definitions of community.
  • We need to support anti-oppression cultures and it can be challenging to address power and privilege in groups but there are many resources to support with this, something the Coal Action Network have been doing as they work with frontline communities across the UK
  • Share decision making from day one & create liberating facilitation structures, so that people don’t dominate and that everyone can participate
  • Use the vision & model concept - have clear and compelling goals and reinforce vision with successful examples and precedents. At Frack Free Somerset meetings we always do a section on community resistance in Australia to prove that communities can defeat unconventional gas

In terms of other personal learnings in this topic I have identified that:

  • It can be lonely on the edge. If you are in a liberal/rural community then maintain links & allies in more radical areas/local cities to stop you going insane!
  • Try to have at least one project in your life that is with people that really do share the same political worldview
  • There are no shortcuts! This is long term, often hard, challenging and difficult work. Find a way to keep yourself going & placing your efforts in the bigger picture.

Frack Free Somerset meeting in Compton Martin, took two hours of door to door leafleting to achieve this attendence, now local contacts that have never organised before are now working as a group in a wider coalition to resist unconventional gas.

Details

How can we build power in movements and communities?

Key readings: Roots to Power, Globalise Liberation, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Winds from Below, How Nonviolence Protects the State, Beyond Walls & Cages

 

Key positive examples & case studies:

 

Key personal action learning:

  • Frack Free Somerset

  • South West Extreme Energy Gathering

  • National Extreme Energy Gathering

Key learnings:

 

Building power in communities & movements means:

 

  • Becoming more organised (see the above section)

  • Moving away from demand politics (demands on the state) towards organised political resistance

  • Having maximum involvement and direction by people directly experiencing oppression

  • Building strategic alliances & creating a culture of solidarity and resistance

  • Thinking long term - there are no shortcuts

  • Creating new forms of community identities through political struggle

We can increase our power through:

  • Maximising or optimising opportunities for access to struggle - creating projects, groups & movements with lots of ‘points of entry’ for people to become involved & find allies

  • Catchin & storing our own energy - through creating burn out aware & people care cultures - we can’t afford to loose people in radical/minority led movements

  • Building relationships

  • Withdrawing our social license for oppressive or exploitative behaviour e.g. Gas Field Free Communities
  • Cultivating resilience to repression
  • When we are working in organisations we can build power by expanding, energising & democratising the organisations

  • Building radical intellectual capital

  • Recognising the power of networks & the necessity of connections

  • Positive feedback loops - winning small victories and attainable goals to empower

  • Manifestations of resistance e.g. camps, demonstrations, actions are empowering and valid byt need to be grounded in larger day to day struggles in movements and communities. For example Solidarity Sunday drew attention to local struggles against unconventional gas.

  • Recognising constellations of alternatives (Angela Davies) and not seeking ‘one solution’ or shared consensus on what total liberation will look like.

  • Popular education for conscientization (Freire) that enables organisational leaders to actively reflect about their personal life experience, to recognise similar experiences shared by others, to develop a political critique of systemic oppression, and to prepare to act collectively to challenge and change the conditions of their lives.

Details

What tools, methodologies & approaches are available to support group-led strategic thinking, analysis and design for social change?

Key readings: Systems Thinking, Strategic Action for Animals, Winds from Below, Roots to Power, Resilience Thinking

Key positive examples & case studies:

Key personal action learning:

  • Frack Free Somerset

  • South West Permaculture Convergence

  • Permaculture, social justice & community organising workshop

 

Key learnings:

  • Key methodologies I have identified include skilled facilitation, popular education, action learning and design process support.

  • A strategy is simply a well thought out approach to achieve a goal and specific objectives, some may say a design, which requires thoughtful observation.

 

Design process support

  • Groups and organisers can be supported to observe and survey themselves and their communities;

  • This involves mapping the organising territory including demographics, values, key actors, histories, desires, limits and so forth.

  • It involves looking at a community, or ideally exploring with a community itself how are they organised and not organised?

  • It may also involve surveying other models of effective resistance elsewhere, for example when designing the Frack Free Somerset campaign we looked heavily at the Gas Field Free Communities model in Eastern Australia.

  • Analysis will involve looking at other social/political/economic factors and the relationships between them, for example, which conditions & trends do we not have control over? What collaborations are possible?

  • A SWOT analysis is very useful particularly if designing for resilience to repression, we may ask, who are our enemies (or who are those with power who’s interests are threatened) and how hard will they fight you?

 

Popular Education, Facilitation & Action Learning

  • In terms of actual design of a campaign, or of an organisation struggling for social change, there is a huge toolbox, that could be drawn on to make our efforts more effective. However to access this tool box there needs to be a critical awareness that this level of design process is necessary. This requires praxis - action and reflection (Friere). This means we need to learn from what we are already doing or those who have come before us.

  • Action learning therefore plays an essential role, and groups can be encouraged to adopt these techniques e.g. Even as simply as asking at a meeting what is going well and what has been challenging.

  • Popular education pedagogies can also play a major role in supporting people to develop their conscientisation.

  • With skilled, authentic, facilitation people can reflect on their own lives and gain a greater critical analysis of power, and through popular education they can gain greater historical understandings of struggles for social justice.
Details

What are the points of leverage, patterns and practices for community organising in a systems context?

Key readings: Roots to Power, How Nonviolence Protects the State, Systems Thinking, Strategic Action for Animals, Uses of a Whirlwind, Winds from Below, Globalise Liberation, SHAC A critical assessment, Writings on Earth & Animal Liberation Zine, Beyond Walls & Cages

 

Key positive examples & case studies:

  • Gasfield Free Communities in Australia

  • Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty

  • Borderlands Autonomist Collective

 

Key personal action learning:

  • Frack Free Somerset - group design process & ongoing action learning

  • Animal Action Network - undertaking a group systems, functions & elements analysis

Key learnings:

Points of Leverage

  • Exploiting niches - using new & diverse tactics
  • Multiplicity of tactics & sites of action - optimum edge
  • Clear functions are essential
  • Turning organisational minuses into pluses (problem is the solution)
  • Social licenses - as justification of militancy & role of withdrawing power e.g. Gas Field Free Communities
  • Increasing helping forces, decreasing hindering forces
  • One intervention is slowing things down
  • Handles - are points of leverage that an action group can use to influence or affect a target system
  • Target opposition’s vulnerability, their achilles heel
  • Interference with the targets system’s ability to operate normally (SHAC) is another point of leverage

 

Patterns for community organising in systems context

  • Cycles apply to groups & movements too as well as ecosystems - rapid growth, conservation, release, re-organisation
  • Diversity of tactics - diversity is health in ecosystems
  • Efficiency is often prioritised over process but this is not the most empowering or effective over long term
  • Systems are complex & not linear - wecan’t control or predict system behaviour
  • Function is the biggest effector of a system - movements need to hold on to their aims & functions e.g. for example liberal groups can change a function of a campaign to lobbying vs social change
  • Stacking functions - building movements while empowering ourselves? Creating new ways of interacting, building liberating groups vs perpetuating same old misogynist sexist bullshit?
  • Targets must have ability to meet demands and be accessible to pressure from them
  • Systems/functions/elements is a useful design tool
  • Stable states - can be more than one - movements will be changing
  • We do not live in a vacuum - other agendas at play e.g. State, society, business
  • Transient people not always discreet localities, people interact with systems differently
  • Stacking functions - challenging existing constellation of power relationships while attempting to redistribute resources or reduce power disparities
  • “Ignoring state will not make it go away”

Practices for community organising

  • Capitalising on political moments ‘orgasms of history’ is important but so is recognising work that goes on behind them/beforehand e.g. Peasants in Spain - organising as anarchists for three generations
  • ‘Nothing about us without us’

  • Solidarity also means attack/taking the offensive

  • Ability to mix, match & modify tactics as needed

  • Always embrace a diversity of tactics

  • People need to see the functions of “issues” and injustices to understand power relationships e.g. At my Permaculture, Social Justice & Community Organising workshop at the South West Permaculture Convergence participants were asked What is the function of this injustice? E.g. the function of poverty is to make money for the few - this exposes power relations

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