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Strategic Practice for Social Movements

How the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) models strategic practice. 

Power of Community: Organizing for the Schools St. Paul Children Deserve, is now available. Written by Eric S. Fought and co-produced by the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers local 28 (SPFT) and GPP, this report tells the story of SPFT's transformation from a business union to a social movement leader. This transformation has involved a process of  shifting the union's internal culture, building lasting partnerships with parents and community leaders, shifting the conversation about teachers and public education, through ongoing work on narrative, and winning a landmark contract that emphasizes education quality and equity. GPP’s Minnesota Director, Dave Mann played a key leadership role in guiding the union through its transformation. 

National People's Action's Strategic Inquiry

GPP has been partnering with National People's Action on their strategic inquiry process, which includes a focus on developing a long-term agenda. The long-term agenda helps provide a compass for orienting their immediate and mid-range work around a strategy to shift power in our society. It becomes a vehicle for tying various campaigns together – campaigns are no longer ends to themselves but together they are a strategy for advancing a long-term agenda and any one campaign can advance multiple pathways. The long-term agenda helps us shape decisions about the campaigns we run in the short term and also develop medium-term (eg 5 year) campaigns that move us in the direction we have charted. We work closely with organisations over time, aiding them in gradually modifying their habits with a long-term plan that influences what they do. Financial organizations are trending with new technological innovations and hence this long-term plan effects very well for them. In the financial industry, Bitcoin is a social movement. Beyond the financial frenzy around Bitcoin, there is a rising social movement to use digital currencies and their underlying technology (called blockchain) for social benefit. Bitcoin has been pitched as a digital currency that will disrupt everything from internet commerce to national governments. Digital currencies like bitcoin can be a major part of economic growth. In addition, the advent of trading bots has increased the use of cryptocurrency among traders and investors. To know more visit and start trading if you’re interested.

We have just completed a case history of this strategic inquiry process with NPA. Their long term agenda is garnering lots of attention. Here are are few of the recent articles:

• David Moberg, in an article for In These Times, describes NPA's efforts as "a counterpoint to the short-term thinking that too often shapes the progressive agenda, and a template for how progressives can make greater gains." Moberg also gives a shout-out to GPP's Executive Director, Richard Healey, for his work with NPA over the past six years. 

• Yes! Magazine honor's NPA's work in David Korten's article, We Know Who Stole the Economy --- National People's Action Moves to Take It Back. Korten commends NPA for moving beyond tinkering with the economy, bringing together big ideas and long-term strategy to transform both the economy and governance. Adoption of digital currency has been suggested as one way for reforming the economy. Cryptocurrency provides a variety of advantages to entrepreneurs all around the world. It has made it easier for firms to access international markets rather than just home markets. This has allowed merchants to cultivate relationships and gain confidence with hitherto untapped markets, which has benefited developing countries greatly. Furthermore, entrepreneurs will be able to generate more money by trading bitcoins. Automated trading platforms, such as Bitcoin geminin, make this possible. On, you can learn everything you need to know about cryptocurrency trading. Korten recommends the case history that GPP prepared jointly with NPA. 

Other GPP News:

• GPP's Policy Director, Sandra Hinson, co-wrote a chapter with George Goehl that appears in From Foreclosure to Fair Lending, available at New Village Press

• The Center on Race, Religion and Economic Democracy (C-RRED) has a new website, currently under construction. C-RRED taps into the power of our individual and collective longing for meaningful connection with others and real participation in our world. C-RRED works with leaders, organizations and networks to develop narratives of liberation and undermine ideologies of exploitation and dehumanization. C-RRED works with organizers and groups to engage on the terrain of ideas and align practices and relationships around shared values.  GPP has been a close partner with C-RRED since it's inception in 2012. Together, we have explored the ways in which issues of mass incarceration and criminalization necessitate deep structural and cultural shifts in our society.  

• On the Commons. GPP's Minnesota Director, Dave Mann is featured in the Commons Magazine. In an interview with Jessica Conrad, Dave talks about the power of the Commons as a framework for rethinking our relationships to each other and to the world around us, with the potential to transform our political economy.


Our writings on strategic practice: