Envisioning Changes

A common thread within our class has been the difference between mobilizing and organizing. Several social movements today fall into mobilization efforts, where groups spend the majority of their time already speaking to people who agree with them. Organizing, on the other hand, relies on building structures and relationships that will last longer than a mobilization. These points were expanded on this week with out guest speakers, Jane McAlevey and Francis Calpotura. Both speakers emphasized the importance of organizing within their work, as organizing was one of the only ways that they were able to build their bases. Further, with organizing, they were able to bring in voices from the margins, as they will be the ones who are able to speak most strongly about what needs to be changed.

Yet, even with these definitions, it’s hard to imagine how we can bring organizing into our movements, rather than relying on mobilizing. It’s easier to imagine mobilizing, especially when the social movements of our time often require quick responses. An article shared by our classmates, however, shows us how organizers shifted their frame of thinking from organizing to mobilizing. Further, they reveal when they discovered that within organizing, they weren’t just fighting for one cause, but for the intersections of several social problems. Perhaps these interviews show us how we can begin to shift our frameworks to make lasting changes. Check out some of the interviews below.

From Commodification to Public Good: Changing Our Housing Narratives
“I’m used to making phone calls, getting people onto bus and like turning folks out to get them to an action. I don’t really know what it looks like to build power on twitter, but we did it.” – Tara Raghuveer

Putting the Nails in Neoliberalism’s Coffin
“It’s like faux democracy for consumers, like we’re just doing what consumers want. It’s all about the individual, and people need meat so we got to force them back to work with no rights. This is where it intersects with immigrants rights.” – Dorian Warren

Just Transition: Moving from an Extractive to a Regenerative Economy
“The entire economy is extractive because the whole economy is based on this concept that we first started with, that is that our labor, our humanity, the land that we live on, the air we breathe and the water we drink are all resources to be extracted from… we fundamentally extract from our communities ability to survive in order to drive profit for these polluting industries.” – Miya