Advocacy, Organizing & Persuasion
• Educate public officials, candidates, and decision-makers regarding issues
• Influence major institutions to respond favorably to the movement’s ideas and proposals
• Exert an appropriate influence on the legal and judicial systems
• Organize and operate grassroots campaigns (other than legislative, such as those that pressure corporations and office holders)
• Train grassroots advocates and grassroots campaign managers
• Train individual persuaders and idea promoters
• Carry out online education, motivation, and fundraising for issue campaigns (e.g., by non-profits)
How did conservatives successfully define good government as limited government, fiscal responsibility as less government, and the common good as the private sector? The answer lies in the conservative movement’s ability to communicate their values and vision. The author explores the impact of a long-term vision statement, and the lack of one, on the ability of conservatives and progressives to communicate effectively. The criteria for writing a vision statement are presented, as well as a proposed progressive vision statement, “We Are Progressives.” It is then compared to the conservative vision statement, “Republican Principles,” in a side-by-side format. The lesson to be learned from the rise of conservatism is that a “clearly defined and consistent philosophy” is important to the success of a political movement.
Read the report here (pdf)
The American conservative movement has succeeded in moving public attitudes steadily rightward over the last 30 years, with far-reaching consequences for the country’s political governance. This success has been achieved through a well-funded and well-coordinated organizational infrastructure that follows a long-term, disciplined communications strategy. In order for moderates and progressives to maximize the power of their own ideas and values, and to compete effectively with conservatives over the coming decades, they must develop, without delay, their own infrastructural capacity and p
This paper uses Lewis Powell's 1971 "manifesto" as a framework for examining how the Right has gained power over the last 30 years relative to Progressives and Democrats. Particular focus is on think tanks, universities, judicial system, and media and marketing.
Read the white paper here (PDF)
American citizens today have a decreased sense of community spirit and less sense of civic responsibility, compared to the time of the nation's founding. They are motivated first and foremost to maximize their own personal interests. They have become passive consumers of American politics.
This seminal paper by the co-founders of the Commonweal Institute articulates the need for organizational infrastructure for the modern progressive movement. It describes the nature of political movement infrastructure, the infrastructure functions important to advancing the goals of a movement, important process considerations in the establishment and function of infrastructure, and options for funding and supporting infrastructure for the progressive movement.
The environmental movement, alongside the larger progressive network, has failed to recognize the incredibly effective strategies that have allowed the Right to take over the political systems of the country. Jeni Krencicki and Dahvi Wilson identified ten lessons that environmentalists and progressives more broadly must master in order to elevate their cause to a position equal to that of the Right.
Read the report.