Strategic Practice for Social Movements
How the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) models strategic practice.
* Power of Community: Organizing for the Schools St. Paul Children Deserve, is now available. Written by Eric S. Fought and co-produced by the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers local 28 (SPFT) and GPP, this report tells the story of SPFT's transformation from a business union to a social movement leader. This transformation has involved a process of shifting the union's internal culture, building lasting partnerships with parents and community leaders, shifting the conversation about teachers and public education, through ongoing work on narrative, and winning a landmark contract that emphasizes education quality and equity. GPP’s Minnesota Director, Dave Mann played a key leadership role in guiding the union through its transformation.
National People's Action's Strategic Inquiry
GPP has been partnering with National People's Action on their strategic inquiry process, which includes a focus on developing a long-term agenda. The long-term agenda helps provide a compass for orienting their immediate and mid-range work around a strategy to shift power in our society. It becomes a vehicle for tying various campaigns together – campaigns are no longer ends to themselves but together they are a strategy for advancing a long-term agenda and any one campaign can advance multiple pathways. The long-term agenda helps us shape decisions about the campaigns we run in the short term and also develop medium-term (eg 5 year) campaigns that move us in the direction we have charted.
We have just completed a case history of this strategic inquiry process with NPA. Their long term agenda is garnering lots of attention. Here are are few of the recent articles:
• David Moberg, in an article for In These Times, describes NPA's efforts as "a counterpoint to the short-term thinking that too often shapes the progressive agenda, and a template for how progressives can make greater gains." Moberg also gives a shout-out to GPP's Executive Director, Richard Healey, for his work with NPA over the past six years.
• Yes! Magazine honor's NPA's work in David Korten's article, We Know Who Stole the Economy --- National People's Action Moves to Take It Back. Korten commends NPA for moving beyond tinkering with the economy, bringing together big ideas and long-term strategy to transform both the economy and governance. Korten recommends the case history that GPP prepared jointly with NPA.
Other GPP News:
• GPP's Policy Director, Sandra Hinson, co-wrote a chapter with George Goehl that appears in From Foreclosure to Fair Lending, available at New Village Press.
• The Center on Race, Religion and Economic Democracy (C-RRED) has a new website, currently under construction. C-RRED taps into the power of our individual and collective longing for meaningful connection with others and real participation in our world. C-RRED works with leaders, organizations and networks to develop narratives of liberation and undermine ideologies of exploitation and dehumanization. C-RRED works with organizers and groups to engage on the terrain of ideas and align practices and relationships around shared values. GPP has been a close partner with C-RRED since it's inception in 2012. Together, we have explored the ways in which issues of mass incarceration and criminalization necessitate deep structural and cultural shifts in our society.
• On the Commons. GPP's Minnesota Director, Dave Mann is featured in the Commons Magazine. In an interview with Jessica Conrad, Dave talks about the power of the Commons as a framework for rethinking our relationships to each other and to the world around us, with the potential to transform our political economy.
Our writings on strategic practice: