George Lakey’s Thoughts on Creating Change

Sharing a few learnings from a talk by George Lakey this week organised by Michaela O’Brien course leader of the MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change at the University of Westminster.

What he shared is informed by his experience as a campaigner as well as his time spent in, and study of, the Nordic nations. His tips for creating change in our current polarised times include:

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  1. Polarisation in nations creates the heat, volatility and shake up needed in order to reorganise. Use this energy to create change.
  2. Don’t just protest about what you don’t like. To reorganise effectively you need to have strong vision of what you want. Where major change happens, someone has projected a positive view of the change desired. The example he gave was the Movement for Black Lives policy platform.
  3. Campaigns need to stop telling people what the problems are, they need to teach supporters what the solutions are and how to change things. “Don’t drive your own people to despair”.
  4. It is important to understand the points of vulnerability in the organisations you are targeting. Those weaknesses, particularly in business, are important to help escalate a campaign.
  5. “Economic elites tell the politicians what to do, so don’t fuss with the middlemen”. Campaigns to change the way that business is done and the economic system that corporates sit within are critical.
  6. If you are not winning campaign think about how to reframe it so that everyone benefits e.g Solar creates jobs and has many environmental and other economic benefits.
  7. When gains are made, don’t go on the defensive.  Or in the words of someone else I spoke to recently “If we are going to continue to be change agents, honour the work that has been done, but don’t become prisoners to it, continue to blaze a new trail”. Many movements have failed as they have tried to hold on to ground gained rather than go on to push for greater things.

 

 

 

 

 

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