A.8 What would it take to win? Tools for organising and building power.

  • 2019-08-05, 10:00–12:30, Tent 18
  • 2019-08-06, 10:00–12:30, Tent 18
  • 2019-08-07, 10:00–12:30, Tent 18
  • 2019-08-08, 10:00–12:30, Tent 18

In this course we will reflect on strategies and dynamics of social movements and develop ideas on how they can start winning big. We will use the book “Hegemony how-to” by Jonathan Smucker as a basis for our discussions. The book’s focus is not just on winning a particular campaign demand, but in building the power as a movement to change society as a whole. We want to use this course to share the basic ideas of the book and discuss their relevance to the degrowth and climate justice movement.


What can movements do to break out of the activist bubble? How do we become a force for broader change in society? What are important elements of activist culture that we need to cherish and maintain to keep our strength? What elements can be potentially alienating and prevent us from reaching out to broader society? Should we try to build power or reject power? Those are some of the questions the US activist and writer Jonathan Smucker addresses in his book “Hegemony how-to: A roadmap for radicals”. In this course we will present and debate his ideas and discuss if and how the climate justice movement could learn from them. The course aims to provide ideas and inspiration for participants to use in groups they are or want to get active in.
The first session we will demystify the basic concepts of Hegemony and set out how it can be a useful concept. This should help to bring everybody on the same page. In the next session we will discuss in more detail the ideas in the book and how concretely movements could try to win bigger. We will start the third session witha a guest input about the sunrise movement in the US and try to develop our own ideas and strategies based on a case study. Finally we will summarise what we discussed and learned in the course and try to present it visually so that we can more easily share it with others on the camp.
There is no previous knowledge required for the course; only an interest in discussing how we can broaden our movement. Participants are welcome to read the book in advance, but this is not required at all. We will have a couple of copies available for participants to borrow between the sessions. What we expect is a strong interest in the questions we discuss and active participation in the course. In the first two sessions, the facilitators will present important concepts and ideas and they will be discussed in small groups and in the plenary. The third and fourth session will be more participant-led and include role-playing, small group work and the creation of a poster. The course and the discussions will be in English and a good command of the language is needed to participate.


Prerequisites for participants – Good level of English Interest in discussing social movements and their strategies