In the article “Plan for the Long Haul“, we set out to make an activism plan. After all, we’re going to be fighting for a good long time.
It’s time to get specific, so today we’ll be adding to our activism plan.
- Better focus: That thing you’re focusing on…what EXACTLY do you want to happen? A “no” vote from your senator? A position statement from an official? A new law?
- Task list: What exact tasks are you going to do? If you’re writing letters or making calls, who is the audience? Add their phone numbers/addresses to your action plan. If you’re going to join a group, add the group’s name and next event to your plan.
- How long: How often will you do your tasks, and for how long? When goal setting, it’s important to get as specific as possible, including the end date.
Let’s use one of my plans as an example:
- Focus: The President’s tax returns. (The goal here being a law that requires the release of the tax returns.)
- Tasks: Research. Find/join a group with the same goal. Letters to the appropriate individuals and/or organizations.
- Goals: Write 2 letters a week.
This is good, but it’s got some empty spaces in there. Research what, and by what date? Who will I be mailing letters to?
With just a couple of minutes’ worth of Googling, I can get MUCH more specific:
- Focus: Pass the Presidential Tax Transparency Act that’s currently in review, to require the President to release his tax returns. (Washington Post article.)
- Sign up for alerts on the bill at GovTrack.
- Find and join a group with the same goal.
- Write letters to my senators (Ted Cruz and John Cornyn), and to the committee that’s currently considering the bill (Committee on Rules and Administration).
- Write letters to newspapers and magazines. (I.e., my two local papers, plus Austin and Houston; New York Times, New York Post, and others to be listed).
- Write 2 letters a week to Senators, committees, and publications, until the bill either passes or dies.
That’s MUCH more specific now! I found out that there’s already a bill introduced, that I should be writing my Senators, and that this does not have NEARLY enough coverage in the news! (After all, I’ve been glued to Twitter and several news and activism updates.)
Why are we getting specific now?
I read an article called What Efffective Protest Could Look Like that said, among other things:
Protests are useful mostly to the extent that they mobilize people to participate in the follow-up meetings to realize the protest’s goals.
In short, shouting is good; DOING is better.
Even the largest rally must sooner or later disassemble and return home. What happens after that? The difference between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party was that only the second movement translated the energy and excitement of its early mass meetings into steady organizational work aimed at winning elections.
Protests are useful mostly to the extent that they mobilize people to participate in the follow-up meetings to realize the protest’s goals. Collect names and addresses. Form Facebook groups. Keep in touch. Don’t argue: recruit. Meet in real space as well as online. Serve cake.
This is my feeling, too. The big marches are great for a number of things, but after that we must act.
So, let’s get specific.