Intro to Social Movement Strategy

February 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Ayni Institute

MA 02128

As part of Week of Reciprocity, we will be providing a FREE introductory workshop about Social Movement Strategy.

Social Movements are constellations of organizations that seek to move an issue forward in order to change the lives of large numbers of people. This workshop seeks to accomplish two objectives: to understand the strategic need for social movements and to cultivate strategic capacity.

1. To understand the strategic need for social movements

The path of an activist starts with engagement around social issues: by being vocal, going to an event, voting ,or doing many individual actions that seek to move an issue forward. After a while of doing that, some of those activists realize that they need more people–a strong group or organization–to actually have more leverage on the issues.

After some time on this, these activist leaders realize that a single organization is not enough–in order for political issues to actually be solved, we need many organizations working together. In other words, these leaders come to understand that they need a social movement.

While this may seem like “common sense”, it rarely occurs in practice. Organizations might be aware that they are part of a movement, or that there are other organizations working on the same issue as them. But they don’t realize the extent of awareness that is required to move forward in alignment with the large movement.

We can think of a movement as a vehicle that moves differently from any individual organization. That’s why it is important to focus on breaking down the components and having a concrete understanding of what and how social movements move.

2. To cultivate strategic capacity

For people that are already aware of social movement strategy, we will expand that awareness in two ways. First, by understanding the cycles of social movements. Each cycle of social movement lasts 5-15 years. This is one reason why social movements can be so difficult to understand. They move in decades.

Second, we will understand the different types of organizations that exist within social movements, and how they can collaborate to create a movement ecology that is healthy and strategic.