We discussed the deep organizing model of social change. Wisconsin’s largest protest in recent history occurred in early 2011, where hundreds of thousands protested at the State Capital building against the Budget Repair Bill. Yet a single protest had, at most, 2% of the state population.
Activists, or those who work for social change, probably account for less than 1% of all people. You can’t change the world with just 1% of everyone, no matter how devoted they are. Just 1% of people show up to protests and meetings on important issues. Movements that have successfully changed society (like the Civil Rights Movement) did so because they found a way to get a massive amount of people who were not attending meetings and protests, and got them actively involved. As our first reading shows, it took decades to lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement; it took decades of painstaking, unglamorous organizing, but it all paid off.
The deep organizing model is about convincing people that a better world is possible if we all work together, and then getting them to act accordingly. An important idea is that activists often do not (and cannot) make good organizers.
- NPR: “How ‘Communism’ Brought Racial Equality To The South“
- Jacobin: “The Power of Deep Organizing“
- Jacobin: “Let’s Get to Work“
- n+1: “A Recognition that We’re All Getting Screwed”