You Gotta Have A Dream: five reflections on Occupy

1/ Framing ‘we’ broadly I saw (punk band) The Damned at the Lyceum in 1981. During the set, the guitarist, Captain Sensible, took time to criticise (fellow punks) The Clash for selling out. As it goes, a year later Captain Sensible himself was on Top Of The Pops performing (i.e. miming to) his hit cover […]

Developing activists: different models

US academic Hahrie Han was over in the UK last week and whilst she was here she presented a lecture, hosted by Westminster University. The lecture drew on her book ‘How Organizations Develop Activists’ in which she draws a distinction between mobilising and organising strategies. I would definitely recommend reading the book. (There are also […]

Natural causes

There are mixed views about the Today Programme in my house. As a result, whilst I generally try to avoid it, I sometimes end up hearing parts of it. And this accounts for the misfortune that befell me last week: I got to hear John Humphrys conducting an interview about the junior doctors’ strike. The […]

It’s The Sun wot has lost it

The thing that strikes me most about the whole Page 3 thing last week is how ineptly The Sun has handled it. The ‘Check ‘Em Tuesday’ debacle was an earlier sign of wrong-footedness. And now this (archetypally-unThatcherite) U-turn. Ditching Page 3 and then bringing it back is surely not about The Sun’s “sense of mischief”. It looks much […]

Mobilising vs organising

In this post I’ve had a go at summarising some key points and drawing some conclusions and implications from Hahrie Han’s ‘How Organizations Develop Activists’. The book is based on case studies of two US organisations’ engagement with, and support to, local activists. There’s a lot more in the book, but hopefully there are some […]

Succeeding by failing

I was at an NPC-hosted debate about campaigning this week where somebody cited No More Page 3 as an example of a successful combined online-and-offline campaign. In response, another panel member pointed out that Page 3 is still there, and so logically the campaign should not be claimed as a success. How long Page 3 […]

Happy Hat Land vs the Elephant & Castle roundabout

When my daughter was little, she was in a play called ‘Happy Hat Land’. Its moral was that ‘sharing can be fun’. Unfortunately, the lesson she took from it at the time was more along the lines that sharing is a bit rubbish. (The reasons for this are a bit complicated but revolve around the […]

100,000 flowers bloom

The No More Page 3 petition on is v close to securing 100,000 signatures This is an impressive milestone. After all, that’s the threshold that triggers – or actually not necessarily – parliamentary debate for e-petitions on the directgov site. Numbers of actions aren’t the same as meaningful results, but reaching this target does […]

If only the Luddites had had Twitter

Luddites have gone down in history as a movement that resisted ‘progress’. But what they were actually resisting was a form of mechanisation that brought profit to the capitalists but created unemployment and decimated a way of life for the workers. It was one possible model of progress, one that benefited the few not the […]