Effective organizing in New Afrikan communities must rest on a foundation of philosophy, ideology, theory, line, and correct policies…
By “philosophy,” i mean, essentially, that NAC cadres must know “how the world works.” Our cadres must have a firm grasp on the laws of social development, and the relation between thinking and being…
By “ideology,” i mean, essentially, that NAC cadres must know who We are, why We struggle, and what We struggle for…
By “theory,” i mean, in essence, that We must know how philosophy and ideology inform how We struggle, how to deal with the questions that arise in the course of struggle — pursuing a “strategy” that is consistent with our ideology…
By “line and correct policies,” i mean, in essence, the guides to action developed for specific time periods and with regard to specific issues or situations…
A. We must stand on philosophy because the success of our practice (i.e., community organizing), depends largely upon the correctness of our thinking… Our grasp and use of rev. philosophy is/will be a measure of our ability to build an org. (to build a movement; to help in the development of new people) with an intellectual content powerful enough to oppose and overcome the hegemony of the empire and all reactionary philosophical expressions…
The process of organizing in New Afrikan communities requires a conscious expression of our conception of the world and the process of social development. Such conscious expression is one of the missing components of a NAIM “style,” and accounts for the absence of a comprehensive movement and struggle, i.e., our general failure to attack the ideas of the empire, the philosophical foundations of bourgeois hegemony — the many concrete manifestations of idealism that present themselves as obstacles to the development of national and revolutionary consciousness and practice among our people and their would-be vanguards…
The failure to (properly) deal with philosophy in the past led to some of the frustration felt by those who approached the masses and found things more difficult than they had anticipated — and who then tried to replace the action of the masses with action by small groups that were isolated from the masses…” Left adventurism” is as much a philosophical problem as it is a problem of “politics not in command”…
Philosophy, ideology, and theory, are the foundations for lines and policies. Plans must be systematically worked out, and vague popular beliefs must be turned into clearly formulated doctrines and concrete initiatives, i.e., making the link & transition between “abstract” philosophical principles to the ideas, beliefs, and actions of the masses…
Moreover, We must know (and share the knowledge) what the “ideas” are, how they arise, develop, pass away; what makes an idea “good” or “bad”? “true” or “false”? Knowing all this is intimately related to our ability to identify mistakes in our practice (and in the practice of others), to rectify them — if you’re out there talking to young people and someone says “i may as well continue to gang- bang because it’s always been this way”, that’s a philosophical challenge to the cadre! When We hear our youth talk about the inevitability of their death before they reach the age of twenty- one, that’s a philosophical challenge to the community organizer. To one extent or another, the organizer’s grasp of rev. philosophical principles will come into play — if the organizer expects to “change the mind” of our youth, and help to change their practice! All thought, & consequently, all practice, is rooted in some overall view of the world — how it works, how and why change occurs, i.e., in an idealist way, or in a materialist way… in a mechanical- metaphysical way, or in a dialectical way…
B. There’s really no hard line between philosophy and ideology — what people think and how people think will come into play when you raise the questions on who they are and why they should struggle for independence and socialism, and not struggle merely to “end racism” or for “empowerment.”
Ideological struggle, in various forms and levels of intensity, will take up much of the time of all effective community organizers. (See Book Seven, pps. 39-43.) In the process of any concrete programmatic initiative, We inevitably talk about “who We are,” “why We must struggle for land and socialism,” and how each issue that We raise is related to such questions. However, the organizer must be tactful, and must know how to “blend” or connect what may seem to be separate issues, e.g., “police brutality” & “the struggle for land.”
It’s very important for cadres to remember that ideological struggle must take place not only between national forces and the forces of the empire, but inside the nation as well, i.e., inside the org., inside the movement, and primarily between the basic class formations (i.e., prols, petty-bourgeoisie, pseudo-bourgeoisie). A major requirement for NAC cadres is to know when and how to conduct ideological struggle when the targets are “New Afrikans,” because We always want the people — the masses — to understand why such struggles are necessary, what the issues are, and why choices must be made.
Therefore, as part of our on-going political education, We must deal with the general theme of “intra-national” ideological struggle. When the masses are moving under a general banner of “unity- based-on-color,” they will not readily understand an attack upon forces that they consider to be “leading” or “righteous” or “black”…. Moreover, our own line and policy requires that We promote and engage in “alliances” with all classes and strata inside the nation, when such alliances serve to promote the interests of the masses and the struggle. A key to the conduct of ideological struggle is this: We don’t necessarily attack particular orgs or particular individuals – – We attack ideas, concepts, lines, policies, programs, etc. We emphasize what We believe, and why We believe it. We point out why We think other ideas, etc., are wrong, contrary to our people’s interests, etc.
C. The ideology tells us that We are a nation, the theory tells us how, as a nation, We must struggle. In this sense, theory is a product of ideological development, but it becomes a more concrete expression through strategy and tactics, in the form of lines, policies, issues and programs — and is a result of an analysis of the nation’s development, the nature of the contradictions between the nation and the empire, and the nature of the contradictions inside the nation. (See Cabral’s “The Weapon of Theory,” esp. re: the contrast between the colonial and neo-colonial situations.)
We must be mindful that We are still developing our theory, while standing on what We recognize as a theory which says that We are a unique “domestic neo-colony,” waging a “people’s war” in a highly technological and urban environment, surrounded on all sides by hostile forces, and our own forces are materially and ideologically weak and disorganized. What do We draw from this?
D. We draw our line(s) and policy (policies) from the theory. More to the point, We draw line and policies from analyses of previous experience and concrete conditions, and on the basis of our perceived needs and interests.
The line is still captured in the slogan/word “re-build” — with emphasis upon the element of “re-orientation.” i immediately reflect upon the quotes from Malcolm, Mao, and Lukacs that were used to open Book Two. That is, We must emphasize that which influences how and what people think — as part of the process of, and in order to — get them to act in ways conducive to national revolutionary struggle.
When you go into the community to organize, the obstacles that you confront won’t be labeled simply by “the people aren’t struggling” — why aren’t they struggling? Or, seen from another angle: The people are struggling — but for things and/or in ways that We believe are incorrect. So, how do We induce change? Re-orientate!
In this piece, i’ve been using the term “policy” to refer to particular lines, drawn to guide our actions and to reflect the interests of the people with regard to specific issues, campaigns, programs, etc. As with more general lines, policies must be formulated on the basis of analyses of situations that they are meant to address. These analyses must not only take account of the objective characteristics of a situation, but must also take into account the subjective factors, i.e., the level of class and national consciousness of the various strata of people involved, and their inclinations, e.g., who will support a call to fight around an issue? who will be neutral? who will oppose? what must be the agitational and propaganda tasks of the cadres — to persuade the people that a correct policy has been adopted and should be fought for?
Analysis of Social Structure
By “social structure” i mean the totality of classes, sections, and groups that comprise conscious and unconscious citizens of the nations — and their interrelationships, revolutionary capacities, and inclinations. Another way to term this analysis is to call it a “class analysis,” but i lean toward the phrase “social structure” because of the way Cabral and others “similarly situated” approached the task, i.e., colonized peoples.
Because of our proximity to the empire and its hegemony, We (all left forces here) still tend to be somewhat doctrinaire when it comes to our approach to class analysis. More on point, We tend to get confused over the relation between class and national oppression. Most of the materials that We study articulate the dichotomous class relations in a “classical” capitalist society, i.e. relations & analyses of the “proletariat” and the “bourgeoisie.” Such analyses emphasize the economic/material elements of each class, and pay only secondary attention to subjective factors — even though all the “classic” works by people such as Marx and Lenin clearly indicate the presence of such factors or elements, and their importance for a full and correct analysis of “class.” (i see that i can easily get long- winded on this subject, so i’ll make some major points and then move on.)
The most important point is this: The development of classes within oppressed nations does not/can not take “classical” forms, and oppressed classes do not develop or operate “freely.” Peoples fighting imperialism have had to “expand” or further develop the concept “class,” and the approach to class analyses in colonial and neo-colonial societies, so that more consideration is given to subjective factors, i.e., “national” and/or “cultural” factors; questions of “attitude” or degree of support for/dependence upon imperialism. Consequently, their approach to alliances among class forces also differed from peoples engaged in “classical” struggles against capitalist social formations.
Mao began his “Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society” by asking not ‘who are the workers/proletariat and who are the bourgeoisie’, but by asking “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?… To distinguish real friends from real enemies, we must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitudes toward the revolution.” (My emphasis.) He ended the piece this way: “To sum up, it can be seen that our enemies are all those in league with imperialism — the warlords, the bureaucrats, the comprador class, the big landlord class and the reactionary section of the intelligentsia attached to them. The leading force in our revolution is the industrial proletariat. Our closest friends are the entire semi-proletariat and petty bourgeoisie. As for the vacillating middle bourgeoisie, their right- wing may become our enemy and their left-wing may become our friend — but we must be constantly on our guard and not let them create confusion within our ranks.”
In “A Brief Analysis of the Social Structure of Guinea,” Amilcar Cabral dealt with class not only in terms of “relationship to means of production,” but also in terms of “culture” and “attitude,” e.g., each class/strata/group was considered from the point of view of their relation to the colonial eco political structure, as well as their attitude toward the national liberation struggle and their likely behavior once independence was won. (Also see “The Weapon of Theory,” i.e., “the foundation and objectives of national liberation in relation to the social structure.”)
Working in and for the community presupposes knowing the community, i.e., research, or “social investigation” (a more comprehensive term). We can break down the social investigation process into two aspects: 1) “cold” and 2) “warm”.
“Cold” research, or the “cold” aspect of social investigation uses indirect and written sources; the “warm” research or warm aspect of social investigation is based on direct experience, as cadres move through the community, observing, interacting/working with the people, listening to the people, and asking questions.
Social investigation, i.e., “learning,” is an on-going process, but there should be a minimum amount of time spent by cadres on the “cold” aspect, so that a foundation of knowledge can serve as the basis and guide for more intense activity.
Cadres will find it worthwhile if they start with the “big picture,” i.e., begin to gather information on the most general level possible (e.g., the regional or state level), and move to the most particular level i.e., the block or building where one lives. Moving from the general to the particular in this way, one may avoid some difficulties down the road, in the course of struggle around local issues that are affected by state government, its agencies, and applicable stats, laws, policies & practices, etc. Moreover, as will all social investigation, the knowledge one acquires re: the “big picture” will be useful in choosing targets, making decisions (tactical & strategic), and the general conduct of local campaigns and day-to- day activity. For example, most cities and states have “planning commissions,” the activities of which are generally unknown to the masses of people. These agencies are engaged in activity today that will result in changes in our communities “tomorrow” — We need to know what they are doing, who’s involved, who’s interests are being served, etc.
What are some of the sources & methods for acquiring “cold data”? The most readily available sources are newspapers and magazines — and the services on-line via computer. Much information is available to the public from state and local governments and their agencies, e.g., office of the governor or mayor, state atty. general or city/county atty.; state and local legislative bodies; boards of education, health agencies, economic and business related arms of government; the bureaus of vital statistics/census; transportation and labor-related agencies, etc. Other sources are the “private” and “public-interest” agencies, e.g., league of women voters, better business bureaus, bar associations and other professional associations, as well as local community organizations and the old- line civil rights/blm orgs.
Just as We start on the broad level with cold research, We start on the broad level w/regard to the history of the local area, and the concrete conditions of the area, and the forces involved in struggle there.
What are some of the methods principles of “warm” research? This level of social investigation is based primarily upon the direct observation and participation of the cadre. While conducting “research,” the cadre is also establishing a presence in the community, and this presence can be an “open” one, where the org. is openly represented, or it can be a “closed” one, where the cadre acts as just “a resident,” or under the cover of some other community org. or institution.
The cadre will want to know the general history of the city, the neighborhood, or the block and surrounding area, as well as the history of struggle of the areas. What is the history of the N. Af. people in the city? What areas of the city have there been struggles in? What were the issues? What forces were involved? What type of leaderships were involved? How did the struggles begin, develop, and end? What was the level of consciousness and degree of organization among the people before and after the struggles? Were these struggles “purely” local, or were they related to broader issues/struggles taking place throughout the nation? What were the strengths and weaknesses of the forces involved, etc., etc.
The cadre should aim for a comprehensive demographic, socio- cultural breakdown: age groups, age and gender breakdown; number & economic position of families & types of families, e.g., two-parent, single-parent, etc.; the situation of elderly residents; the overall housing situation (ownership, rentals, conditions); number & condition of vacant lots and vacant buildings, types of federal, state & city projects & employment; number and type of large and small businesses & industries, ownership, employment, contribution to the area; police, fire and other city/state & federal services (sanitation, health, community patrols); number & type of schools, churches, parks, youth centers & other recreational and cultural facilities; traffic, transportation; lighting; condition of streets and sidewalks. At bottom, all such information is vital to the cadre, the org. & movement, because it helps to understand what the real issues are and how to make the right choices in picking issues to struggle around, and in the decisions related to the conduct of struggles. In principle, issues should be ones that affect the broadest cross- section of people in the areas.
At bottom, We conduct warm social investigation by talking with people — primarily by asking questions and listening to what the people have to say. We do this as We go to the offices of all kinds of “issue-oriented” groups that are operating in the area. And We do it as We go to the local hang-out, whether it be a barber shop, a video arcade, or a nightspot. We gotta go to the parks (best if We go with our children), the churches & schools. Hang out at the unemployment office. (tho i’m told that in some areas the number of unemployed is so high that folks don’t go to the office, they just call- in). Check out the local welfare org. Check out some labor unions. What’s on the minds of the people — what are they complaining about? What do they struggle for?
Planting Seeds/Active Service
Using/taking a survey is a good method for conducting research and for establishing the presence of the cadre in the area. Develop a list of questions that can start people thinking and searching for answers, esp. about the issues that they feel affect them. The survey is a method for identifying key issues and key people; it also begins the process of giving people info on the cadre and what the cadre represents. Some of the people met in the course of conducting a survey may be asked to become part of the survey process, i.e., become a “survey taker” — which constitutes “community organizing,” getting people involved in the process, and beginning their training as “community organizers”!
As i sit here thinking about what next to say about “survey,” i feel a need to remind y’all that this piece is just an “outline,” a base upon which We can stand & expand. We could easily write whole books on each of the particular elements that the outline will cover. We’re gonna have to do that “later” or “in-process,” and meanwhile, be creative, use your own initiative, etc.
Altho i’m basically talking about one-on-one surveys, when cadres go door-to-door, there are also surveys that can be designed for groups (e.g., students, people at workplaces, in prisons, etc.). And, there are “polls,” where maybe only one or two questions are asked, and the cadre takes the poll while walking the streets or standing on a busy corner — a new corner each day, for seven days. There can be general surveys, on a wide range of questions and/or aimed at broad cross-sections of people; or surveys that focus on a more particular subject and/or aimed at a specific group or section of people (e.g., prisoners, welfare recipients, residents of housing projects, hospital workers, sanitation workers, “gang” members, etc.). Begin to use the contacts We make (teachers, professors, editors of mags) to say “Give this survey to your students,” or “can i attend one of your meetings to deal w/this survey/poll?” If you go somewhere to speak, take the poll/survey w/you & ask the people to deal w/it. Then pass out a card w/your/the org/s name, address, & phone number.
Plain and simple door knocking is another method of doing social investigation and planting seeds. This method is similar to the survey, or poll, in that, ideally, the cadre goes door-to-door, but here, there is no preconceived set of questions. The cadre merely goes knocking on doors, introduces self, and asks to come in and discuss, say, the conditions in the building, on the block, in the neighborhood. You can say: “i live next door/down the street, and i just joined the CRSN, and i’m moving door-to door to acquaint people with our program.” Even if they don’t let you in, try to leave some literature & ask if you can come back at a better time. And be sure to come back if they say “yeah.”
Another principle, and method, is to live in the area that one is working in — or work with someone that lives in the area, if you don’t. The first thing i must say here is: don’t get discouraged, because people won’t always respond as you may think they will or should. Secondly, you must “exhaust the process” before you give up on (the) people. Thirdly, do some minimal level of type of “homework” before you bring out the big guns/heavy issues.
If you start on your block or in your building, you should already be familiar with your neighbors & they with you. What do you already know about them? What do they already know about you? You may want to approach people by saying something like this: “i’m so-so & live down the street. i’ve recently been bitten by the ‘activist bug’ or the ‘socially concerned bug,’ and want to do something to help the building or help the block — but i don’t know where to start. i thought i’d talk to you and some of the other people in the building/on the block, to see what you think.”
We are & will be involved with all kinds of issues, and when We do, We should be sure to let the people in the areas where We live be the first ones to know about our involvement. If you got a petition that’s aimed at getting a new hearing for Sundiata, carry it around to the people on your block! If you got a leaflet about an upcoming event, pay some of the children on the block to stuff it in all of the doorways & mailboxes. If one method fails, try something else. Don’t expect to get “everyone” interested or involved — but believe that some-one will be, or become, interested, and will today or tomorrow, get involved. Now, let’s touch on the “one-sheets,” then do a bit of summing up.
The “one-sheet” can be a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) newsletter or flyer that focuses on one issue. If possible, distribute it at no charge (donations accepted) throughout the area. Be consistent in the distribution, because while at first the response is likely to be minimal, the people will respond when they see: 1) consistency in the cadre; 2) correctness of the analysis and the policies presented in the one-sheet. These one-sheets are a tool for the cadre to build lines of communication with people as you distribute them, talk to people about them. Over time, you’ll begin to find people who will help you to distribute and some who will want to take on other tasks.
Obviously, there’s overlap, where “warm” research or social investigation begins to lead into a “seed planting” or “active service,” phase. As the cadres begin to meet people, they will also begin to work with and for people. This is where the cadres observe, and where they are observed — as We engage in small-scale activity/services, such as giving people rides to prisons; giving referrals to attorneys, doctors, or jobs; providing financial assistance, assistance in obtaining housing or resolving housing issues, etc. This also where the cadres may join or work with one or more of the issue-oriented groups in the area, especially when there’s a struggle around an issue with a limited time frame, and/or where the cadre’s membership in our org. is open, and the relationship tends to lend itself toward a more formal “alliance”. As the cadres establish themselves, as helpful and reliable, trust is established between the org and the people — because, whether “open” or “closed,” the cadre is not an “individual,” but is representing the org. Thus, the cadre’s activities also take the org into the process of establishing contacts and laying the groundwork for networks and various forms of organized mass-based activity.
Although certain safeguards must be in place, the cadre should keep a record or log of daily activity. Such a record is important for several reasons. If helps the cadre in making reports to the org. Review of the log helps the cadre analyze activity and draw lessons necessary for the evaluation of past actions and for the planning of future actions. A record is also important for the purpose of passing on knowledge that can be used by the org and by the movement, for present and future generations. Someone once said that “Everyone can be ‘great,’ because everyone can serve.” Similarly, it’s been said that “No one can do everything, but every one can do something.” The NAC cadre understands that not all comrads can be “community organizers,” but there are areas of work for each comrad. In the same way, the org and the movement needs various kinds of organizers, “spotters,” etc., and various kinds of networks, institutions, committees, etc., both overt and covert. The need for this kind of specialization and departmentalization is something that must be kept in mind by all comrads, as in the course of daily activity We’ll meet people from all kinds of backgrounds, in all kinds of professions, and with all kinds of interests. Our studies have given us examples of struggles/orgs where some people had the sole responsibility of being “spotters.” That is, they would usually operate in a “closed” manner, but when they ran across someone “with potential,” they would make the info available to the org, and the org would assign someone else to do the actual recruiting. Deep reflection on this…
Comrad C. has written a fine piece on “block organizing” that should be studied and used by cadres. And for that reason i’ll try not to duplicate what’s in that piece. Organizing communities by “block” is a good method of building political organizations where there is an existing level of cohesiveness. An advantage of block organizing is that entire neighborhoods can be organized, block-by-block, into layer organizations and/or coalitions. In such a case, each block org. can act on its own when necessary, and can also act in concert with other blocks orgs. Sometimes issues will arise that will only be important to people on the block, but the coalition of block orgs will allow the people to feel the strength of, and to act with the leverage of, a larger group.
Cadres will eventually reach a point where they will want to create a new form of organization in the community, whether this a block org, a day care center, a welfare rights org, etc. When this point is reached, the cadre will want to start by forming an “organizing committee.” This point has been preceded by the prior social investigation, active service, etc., that the cadre has performed in the area. Therefore, the cadre has already identified the key people who have expressed a willingness to “do something” about one or more specific issues.
Of course, the purpose of the organizing committee is to plan the formation of an org., and the committee does this by: 1) discussing the general purposes or purpose of the org., and the principles by which it will operate, i.e., why the committee has come together, what the people want to do; 2) discuss how orgs. function, how meetings are conducted, choose a spokesperson, discuss the division of labor; discuss the childcare and transportation needs of the committee members when meetings or other events are planned. (The cadre should have an outline of activities such as these prior to the first meeting.); 3) make plans for reaching larger numbers of people, both for the purpose of bringing more people into the org., and for the purpose of beginning to mobilize the community toward resolution of the issue or issues that have been decided upon. This will mean more door-knocking, more surveys, letters & flyers & phone calls, small meetings in homes and larger meetings in churches; research on the issue, etc.
From this point, the cadre will be concerned with organizational and leadership development. Above, i’ve touched some of the ways that the org can begin its recruitment of members. Other opportunities for recruitment are: during a direct action, during a speaking engagement or a radio appearance. The org. can conduct a recruitment drive, and it can/should hold dances, picnics, slide shows and film/video presentations, dinners, raffles, etc. Keep in mind that people will join the org for various reasons, and that people will tend to respond on a personal level, i.e., some people will be motivated to join because of their concern over the issue, while others will join because they want “to serve,” while still others will be motivated by a “need to be needed.” The cadre should be able to talk one-on-one with people and identify & relate to individual needs.
Being able to relate to the motivations of each individual coming into the org is also essential for the process of developing the individual and leadership capacities of org members. A key part of the organizers overall task is to help the people acquire skills, and confidence in their ability to lead themselves. We gain self- confidence after the successful completion of tasks, for instance. The cadre helps to provide for such success by helping to carefully choose tasks — tasks suited to the present interests and abilities of the people — and then making sure that the work is carefully planned. The cadre must then provide any needed support, a summation of the experience — and, it won’t hurt to reward the completion of tasks. For example, establish a set of criteria for selecting a “Member of the Month.” with a prize (e.g., a book, video, children’s game, etc.)
Successful task completion is the basis for skill building and leadership training. The first skills to develop are those that the org depends on to carry out its “day-to-day” operation as an org., and those related to communicating with the people in the community. Everything should be discussed, and planned, and where necessary, rehearsed, i.e., door-knocking, the survey taking, phone calls, etc. Prepare people with a standard approach, and prepare them to handle questions and difficult people.
The process of skill building and leadership development can take place formally and informally. The formal methods can be based on “workshops” designed not only to develop “technical” skills, but also to raise the level of political consciousness.
A very important part of org. development involves holding “inner- group activities” that build comradship and help to change “me” to “We.” These are social events for members of the org. and their families, ideally held at least once a year — twice a year is better.
If you’ve reached the point of having an organizing committee for a community group, block org. or issue-oriented org., then you’ve probably already settled on the issue that your activity will address. That is, if you’ve done one or more surveys, taken one or more polls, done some door knocking, etc. then you’ve already gotten a significant number of people to talk and think about a number of issues and possible solutions; you’ve identified “advanced,” “intermediate,” and “backward” forces in the community; you know which issue or issues affect a significant number of people in the area, you’ve laid a foundation for a group to struggle around that/those issues, and you’ve identified the people to lead the that struggle.
Here are some guidelines for choosing issues: 1) The issue should be one that is chosen by the people and deeply felt by them; 2) it should be a local issue, but one that affects many people/has a broad appeal; 3) it should be an issue that is winnable and that the people believe is winnable; 4) it should be an issue that is clear (a clear target) and easy to explain; 5) it should be an issue that will make an immediate and concrete improvement in the lives of the people in the area; 6) the struggle around the issue should have a definite time frame.
Planning an Action (march, rally, demo, etc.)
Nothing works better than advance planning — recon of areas & buildings, timetables, notices to the press, radio; flyers. Check routes and/or location; obtain any necessary permits. See to security needs. Rehearse such things as fallback plans, security methods, the overall “script” of the program (i.e., who’ll do what, and when). Have a fall-back plan, i.e., what to do if something goes wrong, if someone doesn’t show. Plan & do a follow-up: contact the people that aided & attended and thank them for their support; let those who weren’t there know what happened. Bring key participants together to sum up the action and draw lessons.
Planning a Campaign, i.e., an action that unfolds over a considerable period of time (there should be a projected ending time frame, and guidelines to help determine whether and when the campaign has succeeded, or can/should go no further), which usually focuses on a specific issue (e.g., the shooting of a homeless person by an off- duty police officer), to redefine something (e.g., “from ‘Afrikan- Americans’ to ‘New Afrikans'”), to seize some objective (e.g., a building fund, the establishment of day care or health center), etc.
Research is especially needed for mapping a strategy, and to help determine when and how to take the campaign to higher and more focused stages.
Throughout the campaign, have the members of the org. participate in discussion of the steps taken, and let them — not the cadre — make the decisions.
Be clear about the politics and aims of the campaign. Seek to expand the orgs audience during the campaign, and to pull other groups and strata into the struggle.
Make periodic assessments to measure the development of consciousness and organization during the campaign, and be particularly mindful of the need to raise people’s spirits when necessary, and to (prevent) correct any “left” or “right” deviations that may occur.
Campaigns: produce leadership, develop practical and analytical/ political skills; provide common experience and bonding; sense of collective strength; models for alternate ways of acting and for creating community/national institutions; redefine the community.
Coalitions (temporary alliances for the conduct of joint action around a specific issue or campaign), and alliances (a long-term, formal union, for struggle around common interests): Both of these increase the power and effectiveness of the org. However, alliances and coalitions should be formal around existing and clearly defined interests. There must also be clear standards and methods for leadership, and for decision-making. Responsibilities and rights of parties should be clear, and the operational identity of the alliance or coalition should be distinguishable from the identity of the parties, i.e., when actions are taken in the name of the coalition or alliance, and when actions are taken in the name of the groups forming the union.
Coalitions and alliances formed with established orgs. in the community, are good “trainees” for cadres, and for the new formations that they help to create.