Computer Science student, web professional

Archive for November, 2013

Midwest Academy – Organizing with Others

Nov 13

Today we discussed how to do recruitments and secrets to it. Frankly, the secrets are very common sense but when we are in the experience we may miss some of the key aspects of connecting with people and assembling them to action or tactics.

I always appreciated the reminder of how to connect with your constituents. As you recruit members you need to be mindful of the actions that you do so that the actions are appropriate to the group and demonstrate power. These actions are tactics in your overall strategic plan. We did an action role play which helped us to apply how to use a strategic plan to a tactic besides to the over all plan. It helped to identify pieces of an action and keep the group focused on the ask (I think the other days’ trainings were also helpful her).

The last session was regarding the building of Coalitions. These groups are made up of organizations – not individuals. Each organization demonstrates what they bring to the table and determine what joint issues they will be working on together. When you are considering a coalition you will assess who to invite and why and what are their benefits to the group and their liabilities. When asking an organization to join it would be important just as with an individual, you must relay why this coalition is in their self-interest.
This has opened my ideas as to what is possible, how to look at other organizations as allies, and how as an educational organization can be the initiator of coalitions. Inspired to connect!

Midwest Academy – Strategies and Relationships

Nov 12

Today opened with a presentation about economics. It was not the subject but rather the presentation that I was disappointed in. All of yesterday, we were in a u shape for all activities except for simulations. Today we were placed in rows and no input was requested. At the end of the presentation, I questioned the placement of one’s presentation on their take of the economic situation. If we were to be taking this organizing training to address the large issue of how the money is distributed and used in the US, then it would be appropriate conversation. Even then it should be a conversation not a I’m the teacher and you are the to be learned.

I was thankful that we did move into skill building with strategy. They provided a method that will help highly in taking my go-go-go personality type and help me plan so that my ‘go’ will be effective. I found the process of information useful in its delivery and then the simulation with small groups applicable. We were easily able to transfer the newly presented skills and make relatively structured plans with concrete goals.

The evening consisted of building relationships and what those can do in organizing. The relationships may be new but will be based in shared interests. Then we proceeded into how to have one-on-ones. Most it seemed had these types of conversations previously. Some have had training and other had not. It was good to see how some had more natural skills at it and others needed more practice. I look forward to continuing to use one-on-ones just to know people and use for moving forward groups with shared valued and focuses.

Midwest Academy Organizing for Social Change – Baltimore, MD

Nov 11

As we shared around the room the various organizations that participants come from, I was able to clearly see why each would be interested in organizing as well as why I would be interested in connecting with them. Joint action would mean bigger messages, bigger targets, and bigger results.
One aspect I took away from today was that organizing doesn’t typically happen in Republican affiliations. I found this an interesting thought because why not. What is it about the issues organizers support to be carried forward not those of Republicans. I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s finish the day.
Fundamentals of Direct Action Organizing opened up the training portion of the week. It provided a nice spectrum from direct service to direct action organizing. I the middle of the spectrum was education and research. I liked this! I thought we could provide the education and research to doers in the organizations and that releases time for organizing in the larger scale. I ultimately would like to be able to see a group of rank and file members supporting each other. Other rank and file members would also be used for actions outside the day-to-day advocate work.
Understanding the Relations of Power was eye-opening. I never put a lot of technical thought into how power fluctuates and why. I also questioned the activity given without a lot of instruction and preparation on why we would to the activity in real life.
I enjoyed being able to identify why and how you would choose and issue to organize around. I was pleased to see I chose the ultimate one that was sellable and was the one they wanted us to ‘organize’ around.
The end of the evening finished with small groups and telling of story.
What I have seen throughout today is that the trainers give you some points but don’t actually give you the skills to perform the requests. I am not bought into this type of training and question it. I think this leads into why I take a step back periodically to see where the group is going and what this is going to.
I anticipate the coming days to see where the training goes and what we get to be exposed to. I hope we dig in deep and get some hard skills to continue back in our own organizations.

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