Introducing the Progressive Strategy Handbook
Sunday 13 February 2011
by: Joe Brewer, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
(Image: Cognitive Policy Works)
Are you ready to build the progressive movement that America desperately needs? This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. We’ve finished writing the Progressive Strategy Handbook that you — the community — paid for last fall through a crowdfunding campaign.
So you want to be part of a real progressive movement? You’ve come to the right place.
We are tired of sitting idly by hoping that our elected officials will set a bold and visionary agenda for progressive change. We know that our political system is fundamentally broken and that swapping out one corporate-sponsored politician for another is only going to preserve, if not strengthen, the status quo.
And we’re tired of waiting for wealthy progressives to get the message that they need to fund a movement, not just another election cycle. Since they have shown an inability to put money into progressive infrastructure for the long haul, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. And with the power of social media tools, we believe it is now possible for us to come together and do this.
After years calling for investments in long-term capacity for the movement, we’ve grown tired of waiting for someone else to step up to the plate. So we’re doing something radical: We’re bypassing the elites, going straight to the crowd, and getting down to work.
A Strategy Handbook "By The People, For The People"
We are excited to announce the release of The Progressive Strategy Handbook: How Progressives Can Create A New Vision For America, a project funded by the crowd and collaboratively created using techniques that unleash the wisdom of crowds.
Ownership of the handbook is distributed to you and to all users. Since it was paid for by the crowd, the crowd owns it. We have released it under a creative commons license that distributes ownership across all users. The particulars of this legal arrangement provide clues to how it can be used.
- You are free to share it with your friends without being charged (right to distribute);
- You are free to revise and improve it (right to remix), so long as you give credit to those whose work you are building upon (the attribution clause);
- You have the right to release a new version so long as you preserve this license in the new version (the viral propagation clause).
These legal criteria are designed to encourage sharing and improvement of the handbook, while also ensuring that the ability to share and improve gets passed along to later versions. So if you contribute to this project, you will be given credit for your work and you will be free to access and use the materials generated by the crowd into the future.
In the spirit of collaboration, our team at Cognitive Policy Works will help foster dialogue around how to improve the handbook. We’ll provide online forums for open discussion and debate on our website. And we will help attract various experts to the effort as the need arises. In concrete terms, this means we are providing a space on our blog for targeted discussions about strategy development and action as new topics arise. And we offer our expertise as part of the mix to help clarify and extend what is already written.
Clearly this is no ordinary handbook. It is an open call to collaboratively build the tools we'll need to set a progressive agenda for the United States in the 21st Century.
What You'll Find In The Handbook
The first edition was written quickly to keep pace with the rapidly changing world. We were selective about what needs to be in place if we are to cultivate game-changing strategies in the midst of the great transition unfolding around us. So we started things off with a Snapshot of the Movement Today, then introduced a framework for strategic action with four central elements:
- Know the Landscape
- Set the Agenda
- Prepare to Engage
- Be an Innovator
Simply put, we want to take actions that increase our ability to influence the trajectory of America over time. But action is meaningless without knowing the landscape that (1) sets our context, (2) enables us to see what is possible now, and (3) gives us clues as to how things will change in the future. We provide an overview of global trends that place the United States in an emerging context in the section titled “America Is At An Inflection Point”.
In order to be strategic, we need our actions to set an agenda that moves us toward our progressive vision. The section “Setting The Agenda For America’s Future” introduces frame analysis as a method for strategic agenda-setting that will help us reframe the public discourse around our vision of the United States while countering conservative propaganda.
Creating a powerful Progressive Majority will require that we become more organized, more cohesive, and more broadly appealing to the masses. Our agenda will not unfold unless we are prepared to engage our fellow citizens in a deeper and more compelling dialogue than what they currently experience. This is covered in the section “Paving The Way to Engagement”where we explore the psychology of motivation and the power of social media for driving cultural and political change.
And finally, we have to be willing to question foundational assumptions about what it means to be a progressive. Every one of us must be an innovator who can participate in the creation of new business models, disruptive technologies, and organizing principles for our movement to succeed in the great transition that lays before us. We close things out with “Change How Politics Is Done” and a call-to-action in "Launch Strategic Initiatives".
Let's Get To Work!
As exciting as this fist step may be, it is only the beginning. We are already beginning to roll out the second phase of the project and we're going to need your help. In the next several weeks, we will introduce conversation topics on the branding of the progressive movement and the critical issue of funding social movements. These are huge topics that are best addressed by a wide diversity of people with unique skill sets and backgrounds.
You can get involved right away. Please help us build the progressive movement that sets America on the pathway to widespread health and prosperity in the 21st Century. Here are several things you can do right now:
- Download your free copy of the handbook (and pass it along to your friends);
- Join the discussion about how to improve the handbook;
- Write your own blog article about the need for movement-building capacity (and let us know so we can help spread the word);
- Seek us out on Twitter and Facebook to link your efforts with ours;
- And sign up for invitations to join upcoming strategy discussions.
We need everyone to be part of the solution and there is a lot of work to do. The first step toward bold and transformational change is to join the conversation. The second step follows from what we say to one another when we start talking. And then all of the subsequent steps become possible through collective action as we launch strategic initiatives and redefine the landscape of action.
Help us make America a beacon of progress in the world once again.
Join us now.
This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.