Democratic Culture

Democracy is like love in this: It cannot be brought to life by others on command. ~ Sidney Hook The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. ~ Ralph Nader Democracy is not merely legal or structural, it is a matter of art, relationships, and values. Look here for resources on democratic organizing, practice, and ideals.

CANNING AND REINSBORO: Re: Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World

February 13, 2010
Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning

What is "story-based strategy"? The people at smartMeme explain:

Storytelling has always been central to the work of organizers and movement builders. Narrative is the lens through which humans process the information we encounter, be it cultural, emotional, experiential, or political. We make up stories about ourselves, our histories, our futures, and our hopes.


Additional Information: 

Other SmartMeme resources for story-based organizing:

Re:Imagining Change (60 page full color booklet) (.pdf) A resource guide to smartMeme's story-based strategy approach providing tools, analysis, case studies and inspiration to change your campaign, your community and your world.

Re:Imagining Change (60 page printer-friendly black and white booklet) (.pdf)

Story-based Strategy Campaign Model Chart providing a step-by-step method for applying the story-based strategy approach to planning a campaign and taking creative action.

And more...

WADE: When Will Your Neighbor Join the Movement?

September 2, 2009
Megan Wade

For POCLAD's By What Authority?

"In Americas mass resignation represents a public manifestation of a private loss, a decline in what people think they have a political right to aspire to - in essence, a decline of individual political self-respect on the parts of millions of people."
---Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

Do you ever wonder why everyone around you isn't screaming in outrage? How do they go on with their lives as though the earth isn't burning, as though wars are not being waged across the globe, as though people's lives aren't harmed by mass injustices every day?

Additional Information: 

Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, Labor's Untold Story. Pittsburgh: United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, 2003 [1955].

Megan Wade works with Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC), PO Box 610, Eureka, CA 95502-0610. Website:

MANSKI: The New U.S. Democracy Movement

October 9, 2008
Ben Manski

Around the world, Americans are often maligned as self-serving, ignorant, and conservative. Yet Americans are generally a progressive people.

Public opinion research tells the story:

  • Most Americans favor creating a federal universal single payer health care system.
  • Most support trade policies based not on property rights, but human rights, environmental protection, and popular sovereignty.
  • Majorities believe that the U.S. should not act as the “world’s police force,” and large majorities support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Americans, by and large, believe that access to quality education is a basic right, and are willing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Additional Information: 

This article was written for Movement Vision Lab. Click here for the original edition.
~ Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of Liberty Tree

We are on the offensive: Make the most of it!

December 31, 2006
Ben Manski

Manski responds to Independent Politics News' question, "How can progressives get off of the defensive in 2006?"

What a change from four years ago. We're finally off the defensive. Impeachment talk has moved from beer halls to the halls of Congress. Opposition to the war is widespread. Confidence in the federal government is at historic lows. And the diverse strands of the broad progressive movement have begun to come together toward common, not cross, purposes.

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He was coordinator of the No Stolen Elections! campaign, and is a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

This article originally appeared in the Independent Politics News.

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