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1. Running a People's Campaign

Movement Building: Being involved with electoral politics is one tactic to build the progressive movement, alongside of education on issues and direct action. Making sure that the campaign is part of a larger organizing strategy to build your organization and the movement will allow your energy put in this direction to have much longer lasting positive effects.

Issue-oriented: A people's campaign is an issue-oriented campaign. Take this opportunity to choose issues that are relevant to you and your community. It is an opportunity to talk about these issues in terms of social justice, equity, good public policy, and in terms of intervening in the market for the good of the community.

Culturally competent: Assess the "cultural competence" of your campaign committee and volunteer pool. Hopefully, you will be successful at recruiting wage earners, active union members, people of color, members of the GLBT communities, people living on lower incomes and persons with disabilities as volunteers and advisors.

The manner you use to make decisions about the process and content of your campaign is important. Does the candidate make the decisions? Or is there a more democratic process used that allows many voices to be part of the decision making process?

These are structural suggestions are concrete and constructive ways to build a progressive coalition in your community. When many voices are around the decision-making table, a fuller vision can be implemented. You are also modeling inclusive government.

Cooperation: Cooperation with other progressive campaigns - either public or behind the scenes cooperation. Are you sharing resources and coordinating events so that you help versus hinder each other? For example, yard sign coordinators for two different campaigns could avoid duplication of efforts, by cooperatively driving/biking all over town to put up signs by dividing the community up geographically and putting up the appropriate signs in the yards of supporters.

Accountability: Many issues of fiscal accountability are lived out through financial disclosure decisions made by campaigns. See the finance section on page 15.

Good government: Candidates who are advocating good government and clean government must model this behavior as a candidate. You can show this by being a good listener on the campaign trail, turning in campaign disclosure forms on time and only making campaign promises you can keep.

Worker justice: Use union labor on all materials, if available. In some areas, you may have to hunt to find a union printer in your region. Be persistent in finding union printed materials. Ask local labor unions for help, they will know right where to send you. If there are no union printers locally, you may need to balance values by having some materials printed locally to invest in the local economy and send some work outside of the immediate community to get a union bug.

Environmental justice: Are the materials you use in your campaign lower-impact? Think about using and advertising your use of post-consumer recycled materials and non-toxic inks. You can educate the community by asking people to recycle them after use and telling them how to recycle them. Many times, lower-impact materials are more expensive than virgin materials.

Activism: Bring your activist tactics to city hall as a candidate or issue activist. Broader participation is good for everybody. Examples:

  1. Place campaign posters on public kiosks and on public transportation.
  2. Host a teach-in on the city budget.
  3. Create a watchdog group to monitor the policy making body to which you are striving to join.
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