DE-MI-1 [*] DEEEP-GUIDE-2015-381

Reimagining Activism. A Practical Guide for the Great Transition

Michael Narberhaus ; Aryne Sheppard


Abstract: Introduction Most activists and social change leaders today would argue that a sus- tainable future will only be possible by making profound changes to our lives and our political and economic systems. Yet in many campaigns and strategies this is not reflected. Not few would agree that neo-liberal capitalism is at the root of many ecological and social problems. But for many activists terms like system change, Great Transition, paradigm shift are too big, too utopian or too abstract and very difficult to be broken down into tangible strategies and steps. If it is already so difficult to achieve our small little steps – and often we don’t achieve them – what sense does it make to work towards utopia? The idea of changing our economic system and the underlying culture that supports it can seem like an impossible task. But the current system was not given by the laws of nature. Instead it was created and continues to be shaped by human beings. And as such we as human beings can change it again. In fact, only if we take on this task collectively, will we have a chance to create a fairer and much more equal society where current and future generations thrive in harmony with nature. The purpose of this handbook is to help bring the dream of the Great Transition to life. Based on the research collated and the ideas and ex- periences generated by the Smart CSOs Lab, we provide guidance and support to activists who want to make a meaningful contribution to this deeper change. It was written for grassroots activists and social change leaders wor- king on diverse issues such as climate change, poverty, equality, health, human migrations and gender equality. It is for anyone committed to building or others who are already involved in the world of building and advocating alternative models of society and economy. They all work towards a just and ecologically sustainable world and are keen to learn how to create more effective strategies for deep systemic change. Re.imagining Activism provides practical advice and questions to ask ourselves when we want to change organisations, campaigns or become active on system change in another way. What obstacles do we need to overcome and how can we achieve this? Inside, you will find examples and case studies of other activists who have interesting experiences to share. A small caveat: This is not a recipe book for changing the world. There are no easy answers. The work of systemic change requires experimentation and jumping into deep waters. But we can learn from others about how best to jump. The Great Transition is a leap into a new world. Without a bold vision we will never change the world. What might seem impossible today can become reality tomorrow. The contexts in which our readers are active differ in some cases widely. We take this into consideration and address different circumstances to allow a wide range of activists to become involved in the Great Transition. In spite of the important differences especially between professional change agents and voluntary activism, the common challenges outweigh the differences and it is fundamental to overcome existing divides for the Great Transition to succeed. The Smart CSOs Lab is a space where activists and change agents from civil society come together as a community of practice to learn how to make change in the way civil society thinks, acts and operates. The ultimate aim is to give large-scale im- pulses for an activism that works effectively towards systemic change. Check here for more information:

Keyword(s): Activism ; Systemic Change ; Systemic Activism ; Global Inequality ; Poverty ; Philantrophy ; great transition ; Reimagining

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Books, Guides & Methodologies > Guides & Methodologies
DEAR and Education

[*] This refers to the hardcopy version which you can find in the CONCORD library. You are invited to our office to browse our resources.

 Record created 2015-11-10, last modified 2015-11-10

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