Tools for Radical Democracy by Minieri and Getsos has a great chapter on strategy. To define strategy, they explain:
Campaign strategy is the way or ways that a community power-building organization uses its power to win a demand. . . . If the organization just plunges into action with no clear strategy, it goes from event to event with no deep payoff.
This is key. Choose a strategy based on your best analysis of if it will give you what you want.
Don’t choose it based on what you want to do. Or what another group is doing. Or what you’ve done before.
Of course, this takes research into your issue, your target, and how you can actually have the impact you want.
Rallies and sit-ins can be fun. Media activism can feel empowering. Legal strategies have generated great wins. But this doesn’t mean that any of these are right for your specific issue.
Minieri and Getsos list seven different strategies:
- direct action
- public education
Each of these have their own benefits and drawbacks. And no, you can’t do them all at once.
If you’re building a house, you have to know when to use a hammer and when to use a saw. Likewise, when fighting for social justice, you have to know when to sue and when to sit-in.