IN PART ONE OF THIS I DISCUSSED WHAT MAKES A CAMPAIGN SUCCESSFUL, WE LOOKED AT THE PRINCIPLES AND GUIDLINES OF PUTTING TOGETHER A SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN AND WAYS OF DEVELOPING SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES. THE FIRST OF THESE STRATEGIES WAS TO NAME AND DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM. IN THIS BLOG WE WILL LOOK AT ANALYSING THE PROBLEM AND CREATING A VISION, DEVELOPING A STRATEGY, VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF A CAMPAIGN. tHE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAMME.
ANALYSE WHY THE PROBLEM EXISTS.
In my previous blog we named and described the problem that we are looking to change. The next step is to analyse the problem. To transform a problem situation we need to understand why it exists and who potentially supports or opposes it. We need to analyse the power structure to find enrty points for resistance, constructive work, etc. A full analysis should consider the following questions.
1. Do we understand the context and the root cause of the problem?
2. Who benefits and who suffers from teh current situation?
3. Who holds the power, and who has the power to create change?
4. What are the strengths weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for a campaign to change this?
5. Is there a difference between male and female roles, research gender definitions?
6. What theories do we bring to this analysis?
7. How does our committment to social change affect our analysis?
CREATE A VISION OF WHAT WE WANT.
To move forward in any positive way, a campaign needs a vision of what it wants. Otherwise actions can simply be reactions, easy to disregard. A vision must include ambitious long term goals. Ask your group to discuss their vision, economic justice, social justice, civil justice, what kind of society do you want ot live in. The challenge then is to identify the first steps in those journeys: The short and medium range goals that lead to the long term goals. To get maximun support you must identify a ‘lowest common denominator’ goal, a point on which a range of people can and will agree on. This must have deeper implications, if it does not suggest further steps for social transformation then any change that comes about will be shallow and unsatisfactory. On the other hand goals that seem unrealistic will not mobilise people unless there are more attainable intermediate objectives. When the ultimate goals are significant and almost revolutionary in nature campaigns need to identify limited, but more acceptable stepping stones. Some questions to consider while developing goals….
1. Are the goals realistic? Can they be achieved in a certain period of time?
2. Will people believe that they can achieve the goals?
3. Does the goal match the groups purpose and capacity?
4. Are the goals measurable, will we know when we’ve achieved them?
5. Are the goals relevant to people’s lives, will they be moved to participate?
6. Will individuals feel empowered by the end result and at all stages prior to the end result?
DEVELOP A STRATEGY
Once you have described and analysed the problem, a vision of what you want and goals to move towards it, you need to develop a strategy, a plan to get there. Strategy development is not done in one meeting or by one person. It is a process of decision making, organising, mobilising, and developing creative strategies. There are recognised basic components of a successful campaign strategy, the following questions may help you and your group develop one. This needs to be regularily reviewed and discussed in a group environment.
1. COMMON UNDERSTANDING: Is there a common understanding of the problem or situation that exists? Have you analyzedwhy it exists? Does the analysis include the social, economical and political structures? Do we have a common understanding of what it means to be a part of and the reason behind having a campaign? Do we have an agreed decision making process?
2. DISCIPLINE: Have the organisers discussed and agreed to the principles layed out in early stages? Are there guidelines set out? Are these clearly set out for all to understand?
3. RESEARCH AND INFORMATION GATHERING: What do we know and what do we need to know? Are we trying to highlight the facts that have been overlooked or ignored or are we simply trying to ‘prove our side’ of the situation? Who can gather the information needed? Research reveals how others think about the issue. Listening projects and community surveys are a good way of gathering information needed. Listening projects help activists to look more deaply into an issue, gathering information on which to base future strategy while developing a connection between those involved and those with a common interest who may attend the event.
4. EDUCATION: Is the information understandable for the people we are trying to reach? A role of activists is to put the research in a form that can be widely used in a campaign, or facilitate people through that process. Have we developed good educational materials considering the target audience we are trying to reach? What other forms or education can we use, performing arts, flashmobs, briefing events, radio…..etc….How are we using the media to raise awareness?
5. TRAINING: Do we need training to learn skills to develop strategy and organise, e.g: group process, strategic planning, media work? Are we providing training to prepare people for the campaign action? Is training available to everyone? Do the training sessions address issues of oppression and how to deal with them in both social context and within groups and relationships?
5. ALLIES: Who are our allies and supporters, who might support us if we communicate with them on a more productive level? How do we reach out and build co-operative relationships with groups or individuals whom we want to work in coalition?
6. NEGOTIATION: Have we identified who we need to negotiate with? How we will communicate with them? Are we clear what we want? Are we clear about our aims and clear that we are looking to achieve an amicable solution?
7. CONSTRUCTIVE WORK / ALTERNATIVE INSTITUTIONS: ‘Constructive programmes’ are the beginning of building new society within the shell of the old. A key element of social change, it is designed to meet the needs of a poulation, (economic equality, communal unity) and to develop community. It’s okay saying no to a specificic injustice, but how do we say yes? How do we build towards the vision of what we are working towards? Alternative institutions may be temporary creations, such as setting up an alternative while boycotting the accepted.
8. LEGISLATIVE AND ELECTORAL ACTION: Is legislative or electoral action part of the campaign, either as educational tactic or end goal? How will you put pressure on politicions? How will you excercise your power? How will people participate in that action? What are your plans if your goals are not met?
9. DIRECT ACTION / CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE / CIVIL RESISTANCE: Have we done everything we can to build support on our action? Will it encourage more community involvement or will it be counter productive? How will it advance our cause rather than be an end in itself? Are our objectives clear? Will it put pressure on our adversaries that will influence them to move? Who will it pressure?
10. RECONCILIATION: As a way of engaging, sometimes campaigners attempt to bring reconciliation with them, strengthening social fabric, empowering those who are seen to be disadvantaged, including people from different sides in seeking a solution. Have we been working towards a win, win situation? Is the reconciliation public or private?
11. CELEBRATE: When we reach our goals, take time to recognise what has been achieved and celebrate your achievments. Sometimes we reach beyond our goals, or accomplish other goals along the way. Collective evaluation is vital. By documenting your successes and failures and sharing with others you document resources for others to learn from. This also gives you a firm setting on which to move your campaign forward. If key activists burn out they may not see what has or is being achieved, on the other hand some compulsive types may not accept that a campaign is stuck or hitting a barrier, documentation ensures that all progress is not lost and allows for refelection back to where it began to hit the barrier and therefore gives clarity around what does and doesn’t work.
11. EVALUATE: There is a lot to consider when developing a constructive strategic campaign. We need to learn how to think strategically, to develop our understanding of the power of campaigning, and to go through steps that can move us effectively to our goals. This could strengthen and empower our community along the way. It’s important to evaluate your campaign, not just at the end, but as you go through the various stages. If you do not do this then you will not learn from your mistakes until it is too late. Always listen ot everyone involved. Keep a record of all meetings, decisions, discussions and actions, and your work becomes a basis for your own case study. Whether you are successful or not you can always learn from your experience. It is crucial that you share your experiences for those who are following and for others who may be looking at launching similar campaigns.