Chicago Street Scene

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

• Cell Blocks and Border Stops. GPP partnered with the Center on Race, Religion and Economic Democracy at the Union Theological Seminary on a series of inquiries around the roots of the twin crises of mass incarceration and mass deportations. As part of this ongoing inquiry, the Center and the Institute for Pragmatic Practice, at the Alliance for a Just Society co-hosted a conference: Cell Blocks and Border Stops

• 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: