Facilitating collective power
Challenges people are facing in building collective power
- Individualism vs Collectivism in the US
- Tokenising by powerful interests
- Roadblocks due to gatekeeping with existing power structures
- Divisions among the group (created by the management or self-imposed.
- Building awareness -> Changing Mindset -> action
- Funding distractions
- Lack of time b/c fires
- Shared ‘enemy’ instead of defined shared vision
- Short-team, urgent tactics in favour of strategy
- Media distractions.
- Building Trust
- Speed vs consensus
- Collectivising conflict response
- Compromise vs. Co-create
FabRiders experience with building collective power
Any convening is an opportunity to build collective power, whether it’s a workshop or a meeting. The basic ingredient is to build trust and solidarity by getting folks in small groups early and often and providing them with tasks that they can accomplish together. Always set them up for successes
If you have a collective focused on creating social change - than a session on stakeholder mapping and power analysis will help move them forward. Helping them to strengthen their organising and leadership development muscles will be key.
If they are working on a campaign, the power analysis should identify who has power to make the change and then creating a strategy to get that person to do that. Another consideration on the power analysis is who doesn’t have power but should and how the campaign can be a step towards.
For movement building work the power analysis should focus on who doesn’t have power but should and then developing a long term strategy which might be a series of campaigns that will address that power imbalance.
See: Stakeholder mapping and power analysis on the FabRiders site. http://www.fabriders.net/spectrogram-stakeholder-map/
Best Practices for Building Collective Power
- Identify natural leaders and leadership roles
- Celebrate wins
- Recognising and connecting struggles
- Meeting Material Needs:
- Meeting folks where they are at.
- Tech wise
- Accessibility Language
- Clear understanding of oppositional power
- Acknowledge power dynamics & complexities of intersectional
- Establish method(s) of conflict resolution
- Conflict resolution strategies before they come up
- Diverse members
- Relationship building as a practice to share power
- Blameless post mortem
- Safe Feedback cycles
- Follow-up and actionable steps - a container for after
- Proactive open avenues of participation
- Shared sense of values
- Intentional decision making
- Iterative process to allow new participation
- Shared Analysis