Working people create value collectively. If they organize they
can control what they create.
1. Never do anything for anyone that they can do for themselves.
2. Never give in. But flexibility is key to survival.
3. All but power is illusion. In every organizing effort, power
is ultimately the issue.
4. Power goes to those with the money and those with the people.
All organizing is partisan. People take sides.
5. You must have a concrete analysis of material conditions and
an action plan for change.
A. What are the physical, economic, social and ideological
circumstances at hand? (The building, the pay, the boss,
the divisions in work force.)
B. What can be changed? What will it take?
1. Study the Material Situation
2. Who is the real boss?
3. Who, what controls the boss? How do these people
4. Who creates the rules? Who controls the rulemakers?
b) What are avenues of redress? Do they work? Are there checks and balances?
5. What are the problems?
b) Who controls that person?
B. What value do the workers create? (Cars? Tax Revenue?
2. Who gains most from that value?
3. Is there a sense of pride in the work or are the workers alienated, demoralized?
C. What natural lines of communication exist among the
2. What are the organizations formal line of
b. What workers are at key points on the formal
c. Does the formal structure provide for feedback - both ways -up and down the ladder?
D. What key elements unite/divide the workers?
2. What are key unifying forces?
2. Identify Leaders
B. People lead for ego, social, ideological reasons.
2. Most people seek power, achievement or affiliation.
C. There are usually social and task leaders in any work
2. Ask, "If you got fired, who would you really want
to see for advice?"
3. Look for people who are empathetic, listeners, people who include others.
D. Organize the left to move the center; isolate the right.
2. Center = honest, undecided about correct direction,
vacillating between workers organization and
loyalty/fear of the boss.
3. Right = individualist, racist/sexist, pro-employer, seeking promotions at all costs, etc.
3. Work from Peoples' Strengths
B. Pay attention to the details of material circumstances in
C. Identify the barriers to their potential and help them make an individual action plan for change.
4. Identify Issues in Problem Situations
PROBLEMS SITUATION ISSUES
Global in Nature Disciplined workers Specific in nature
Create situations caused by speed up Emanate from situations
Long-lasting caused by layoffs caused Short-lived
Source or cause is by budget cuts Source is near and
Encourage study Encourage action
Resolved only over Resolved over a short
long period of time period of time
5. Validate Issue (immediate, specific, controversial, winnable) with Local Leaders and the
Work Force Base
Is it immediate ... close at hand?
Is it specific, tangible, easy to understand?
Is there an identifiable enemy?
Is it controversial, their position vs. ours, lends itself to polarization?
Is it the right size - can we control or manage it?
Is it winnable .. a win/win/sure thing? What constitutes a win?
Can we appear 100% correct?
Can it spread - involve lots of people?
Does it meet broad organizational objectives?
Can we win something quickly?
Will it gain publicity?
What community links can come of it?
6. Action Around Issue
B. Review potential traps and identify enemies.
C. Formulate tentative action plan.
D. Identify skills. People needed on task force.
E. Identify needed resources.
F. Set time table and identify series of actions.
G. Try to give everyone a task with a completion date.
H. Reward volunteers.
I. Expand the base - more people, always.
7. Formulate Organizing Theme and Slogans
8. Identify Initial Change Cadre (2 or 3 people)
9. Evaluate Along the Way
A. Create benchmarks for evaluation.
10. Implement the Plan
B. Assess support, opposition, neutrals.
C. Sell the need for a "showdown."
D. Establish the time and situation for confronting the decision maker and the best
possible forum in which to work.
E. Confront the enemy. Try to force him to justify or change his position now.
F. Shoot for win within 14 days. Make sure the planning group is accessible to your base.
Power is not only what you have but what the other side thinks you have.
Avoid going beyond the experience of your people but explore creative unorthodox suggestions.
Whenever possible, go beyond the experience of the opposition.
Make the opposition live up to their own rules.
Ridicule is a most potent weapon.
Your people must enjoy their own tactics.
Tactics that "drag on" fizzle.
Keep the pressure on.
Threat of action is often more potent than action.
Pick target, personalize it, polarize the positions.
Mass action on the site is better than action away from the focal point of worker effectiveness, the
"Status Quoism" on part of members.
Ignoring big picture - tunnel vision (not understanding "problems" makes it impossible to understand
Substituting symbolic attitudes for action.
Substituting rhetoric for action.
Failure to honestly and constantly evaluate self and others.
Indecisiveness - seeing too much of both sides.
Protecting turf - individualism.
Inability of participants to deal with conflict.
Accepting responsibility for constructing solutions.
Issue becoming an end in itself, the point is to build an organization.
Did we achieve our objective?
What did we learn?
What was won?
How do we proclaim it?
Announce the win.
Institutionalize the results.
Identify new leaders and issues.
1. "In and Out" Organizers -- No staying power.
2. Vision of organizers as hired guns, different from rank and file.
3. No vision of a resolution in the future - except more confrontation.
2. "Reformers as Morning Glories" (People who make the change have often lacked staying power.)
-- see "Plunkett of Tammany Hall."
B. Hired gun organizers burned out and disappeared. System went on --
old flaws reappeared. Failed to create indigenous leaders or a
structure with its own life.
C. Believed that patching up "flaws" in system would suffice.
D. Relied on "heroes," leaders who eventually were bought off, rather
than building a collective movement.
E. Mistook reflections of the power of organized workers, i.e., laws contracts, remedy systems, for real power. Real power flows from control of the work place.
Our plan is based on building deep personal ties for the long haul and aimed at real unionism by uniting the federal sector civilian workers to take action to gain collective strength.