On May 15, at Hanover Friends Meeting House, Randy Schutt, a long-time progressive change advocate, discussed his ideas for a building a massive progressive movement as developed in his new book Inciting Democracy: A Practical Proposal for Creating a Good Society. [A copy of this book is available for circulation among UVPJG members. Call Kathleen Shepherd (802-649-5152) or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org)].
Randy has studied what made effective campaigns, e.g. the anti-apartheid campaign made the connection between the abuse of apartheid and Stanford University's investments. A well-designed program that made the link brought in people who would not have been involved. A good campaign requires long-term thinking as well as global thinking. It's key to choose a good campaign and be clear about it. We need to win our goals in order to leverage other campaigns.
He cautions against "non-reformist reform" e.g. legislation that pits two valuable campaigns against each other. Goal is to transform the system, not just single cases.
How to begin? Listen to those who disagree and ask how they came to think that. It's important to talk to people who are closer to your view. Must be able to support your ideas with logic. Be aware of people with apparently similar goals who act against them or use violent ways.
In an array of bad things happening, choose something where we can take action, to choose the next step. Select immediate, local goals and larger, long-term ones. Get the media out by showing real dangers, use drama. Organize media and police. Need spokespeople and strategists. Everyone needs to be able to say why they are there.
Randy's ideas for creating a good society are laid out in his large, thick, practical book. It's not a "cook-book" and parts of it might be good for a study by an activist group like UVPJG. On p. 66 he states "the main activities of progressive activists must be to develop and consistently convey alternative ideas to large numbers of people and help them integrate these ideas into society as they see fit." We are thinking ahead about what actions to take next. Does this statement help us in that task?