VAW Social Change Resource Center

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Organizing for Social Change

















††††† Organizing is a skill that can be learned by anyone with passion for social justice.† There are some great websites for building general organizing skills.† Here we offer ideas for organizing around violence against women.†


Lorde, A. (1981).† The† masterís tools will never dismantle the† masterís house.† In Moraga, C. and Anzaldua, G. (Eds.).† This bridge called my back:† Writings of† radical women of color.†† New York:† Kitchen Table Press, pp. 98-101.

How Toís

Activist Writings


†††††††††††† Color of Violence 2002:† Building a Movement

Karla Mantilla presents a powerful summary of speakers at 2nd annual Color of Violence

Conference sponsored by INCITE!† Includes Beth Richie & Catlin Fulwood from the Battered

Women's Movement. Cherie Moraga author of This Bridge Called My Back.†


†††††††††††† From Collective to Coopted

Lois Ahrens describes the shift from collective to social service orientation at the Center for

Battered Women in Austin, TX.† AEGIS, pp. 5-9, 1978


Putting Community Back in the Domestic Violence Movement

Anannya Bhattacharjee takes a hard look at how the movement has limited relevance for some

women and calls for "alternative community based strategies" to address domestic violence. 2001


The Revolution will not be Funded

Andrea del Moral on the effect of Nonprofit status on social change vision and revolutionary

goals.† 2005


Ally Building

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Group Process and Class Cultures

Fred Rose highlights values middle-class organizers bring to groups and responses of working

class participants.† Excerpt from Coalitions Across the Class Divide on Class Matters.† n.d.


††††††††††††††† Race Divides Advocates

Conflict: white activists ignoring inequities in the system (Sarah Huntley, Rocky Mtn News

article, 2/7/05)


The Top 10 Mistakes of Middle-Class Activists in Mixed- Class Groups†††††††††

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Straightforward, thought-provoking list from Class Matters website.


Building Strengths


†††††††††††† Consensus Process

Brief overview of consensus process, roles, comparison to voting.† (On Starhawkís website.)


†††††††††††† Feminist clashes with the state

Chapter on tactical choices by state-funded rape crisis centers.† From Feminist Organizations:

Harvest of the New Womenís Movement.† (On-line book, pp. 291-305, 1995)


Moving onto the Terrain of the State

The Battered Women's Movement and the Politics of Engagement by Claire Reinalt in Feminist Organizations: Harvest of the New Womenís Movement. (On-line book, Chapter 6,

pages 84-104, 1995)†


†††††††††††† The Movement Action Plan

A strategic framework describing the 8 stages of successful social movements.† Bill Moyer, 1987


Making Common Cause


†††††††††††† Building Bridges to Womenís Experience

How the DAIP in Duluth continues to place womenís lives at the center of their philosophy and

practice.† Lucille Pope and Kathleen Ferraro, 2006.


Community Organizing

Basic overview of goals and steps for community organizing.† From the Asian & Pacific Islander

Institute on Domestic Violence.


†††††††††††† Making Social Change Through Organizing

Classic by Alice Ito and Debbie Lee defining social change, organizing and why itís important to

organize for social change. AEGIS magazine, 1987, pp. 10-14.


†††††††††††† The Citizen's Handbook A Guide to Building Community

Handbook for community organizing, community building activities, articles, resources.


†††††††††††† The Community Engagement Continuum

Definitions and examples for outreach, mobilization, organizing and accountability to address

violence against women in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities. Mimi Kim, 2005


†††††††††††† Social Justice and Progressive Philanthropy:† A Subversive Activity

Simone Joyaux commentary on social change philanthropy as activism for social justice.†

Resources for philanthropic giving. 2004


Recognizing Change


†††††††††††† Making Social Change

Ellen Pence describes the dynamics of education, action, and reflection.† From NCADV

Conference, 1986.


†††††††††††† Power and Organizing

Using our own understanding of power as the foundation for strategic organizing. Also in

Spanish. Otto Bremer Foundation site, n.d


Stability and Innovation in the Women's Movement:† A comparison of Two Movement Organizations

Suzanne Staggenborg compares organizational structures of two social movement groups in

Chicago.† Abstract of 1989 Social Problems article.† (Scroll down)


Unraveling Violence ... On Revolutionary Terms

Celina De Leon interviews Andrea Ritchie on the Color of Violence, The Revolution will not be

Funded, and impact of the movement on violence against women of color.† Offers alternatives

to nonprofits.††


Standing Alone


†††††††††††† Why Feminists Fight with each other

Courtney Martin interviews Deborah Siegel (author of Sisterhood Interrupted) about varying

causes of feminist conflict.† 2007


Theories of Change


†††††††††††† Bridging the Work of Social Change and Systems Reform

Lucille Pope and Kathleen Ferraro discuss proactive feminist communities and how Duluth

has developed political strategies that bridge social change with systems reform work.† 2006


†††††††††††† MUA Theory of Change

Excellent strategic planning process done by Mujeres Unidas Y Activas.† Check out theory of

change on pages 12 and 13!


Misconceptions about King's methods for change

Heather Gray challenges those committed to social change to examine the complex strategies

necessary to successfully organize. 2005


Favorite readings


†††††††††††† The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Jo Freeman (Joreen) presents the need for structure to combat elitism and political impotence of feminist organizations.† Outlines basics of democratic structure.† Class 1970!

Educational Tools

Liberatory Pedagogy/Radical Education


†††††††††††† Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon

Kathie Sarachild outlines the idea, program, and need for radical principles in order to bring about change.† Notes, sidebars. 1978


†††††††††††† Implementing a Liberatory Feminist Pedagogy

††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Michelle Bauer report on Bell Hook's strategies for transforming the classroom.† 2000


†††††††††††† How to start your own consciousness-raising group

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Leaflet distributed by the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, 1971


†††††††††††† Radical Education Theory - A Summary

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Outlines theories of key radical education theorists.† Andrew Robinson theory blog, 2004


Public Education


†††††††††††† General Classroom Activities

12 school activities for grade school children on violence and conflict.† Alternatives to Violence Educational Program for Youth, 1997.


†††††††††††† Girls for A Change

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† National organization that empowers girls to create social change.


†††††††††††† Teaching Tolerance

K-12 classroom activities, kits, handbooks, magazine, grants for educators.† A project of Southern Poverty Law Center.


Staff/Advocate Training


†††††††††††† Dilemmas of Community Organizers

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Betsy Leondar-Wright addresses the idealism of middle-class organizers and the tricky relationships

that present themselves in a working-class community.


†††††††††††† Political Consciousness:† A Perpetual Quest

Valerie Miller outlines dimensions of critical thinking in social justice advocacy. Paper from


†††††††††††† Ten Commandments for Changing the World

Angela Bischoff and Tooker Gomberg offer serious advice for social change activists with a keen

sense of humor!† From†


†††††††††††† Training for Change website

This site is loaded with training activities, articles, & tools for social change, democratically run organizations.† Training for Trainers workshops.


Favorite Readings

†††††††††††† Paul Kivel website

Paul Kivel is a prolific and accessible writer on social change, power, privilege, and class.

Examples of his work Ö.

Retaining Benefits, Avoiding Responsibility

The Ruling Class and the Buffer Zone

Young White Men: Scared, Entitled, and Cynical

The Culture of Power

Guidelines for Being Strong White Allies

Accountability: Who Benefits from Your Work?

Are you Mentoring for Social Justice?

Social Service or Social Change

Social Change Resource Center © 2007,† Afterwords, Inc.

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this societyís definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference; those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older, know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish.† It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.† For the masterís tools will never dismantle the masterís house.† They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.† And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the masterís house as their only source of support.† Lorde, 1981, p. 99




Introduction to Social Change

Reflections on Social Change

Cultural Supports

Oppression & Privilege

Questions of Research


Strategies for Action

Activist Writings



Domestic Violence


Power & Control Tools

Public Events

Nonviolent Action


†††††††††††† Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King Jr.ís letter justifying civil disobedience as a moral responsibility when faced with injustice. April 1963


†††††††††††† 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

The methods: nonviolent protest and persuasion; social noncooperation; economic noncooperation; political noncooperation; and nonviolent intervention.† List can be downloaded. From The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Vol. 2, 1973.


Two Kinds of Nonviolent Resistance

Brief definitions of Philosophical and Tactical nonviolence.† Bruce Hartford, 2004


†††††††††††† Acts of protest and persuasion


†††††††††††† Ladies Against Women

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Smart, satiric Ďcounter-protestí of the 80ís made change by making politics fun!


†††††††††††† †††††††††††† The Miss America Protest: 1968

Announcement and pictures from this famous protest. Found in archives at


†††††††††††† Women Plan 'Pom Pom' Protest

Activists use 'creative resistance' strategies to bring public attention to their issue.† Dionne Searcey in New York Newsday, 2004.


†††††††††††† Non-cooperation

†††††††††††† Nonviolent Action


†††††††††††† Women in Black

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† These women use silent vigils as a means of mobilization and strategy for action.


Direct Actions

†††††††††††† Starhawk Activism Resource Page


†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Making nonviolence work

Brief overview of how nonviolent action challenges systems of domination.† Describes

actions and questions to ask before deciding to act.

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Mass Direct Action - Options to Consider

Considerations for leaders developing a mass public movement.† George Lakey, 2000

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Philadelphia 8/00 Action Basic

†††† ††††††††††† Sample training agenda for direct (street) action. Exercises for oppression/liberation.

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Stages of Movement Development

Workshop agenda for challenging the power of institutions. George Lakey of Trainers for Change.

†††††††††††† †††††††††††† What A Direct Action Campaign Can Do

†††† ††††††††††† Excellent 1 page summary of direct action.