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Introduction and Goals of Workshop


Electoral activity is just one arm of a rounded strategy for positive social change. It must be used in collaboration with education and direct action activities to reap the full potential of its power. There are three ways to view electoral activity.

The first, is to see it as the cult of personality. This kind of campaign can have a lot of momentum -- for a moment, but does little to build a progressive movement. The second is to view an electoral strategy as a way of educating your community about the issues involved in the campaign and how it has relevance in the lives and environment around you. It is a tool to use to reframe how the world is run, how conflicts are resolved and how things get done. The third way to view electoral activity is that it is one way to build your organization -- whether that be a political party, a neighborhood organization and/or an issue centered group.

In short, electoral campaigns can be an integral part of building community and to building the progressive movement.

On a certain level, campaign strategy is independent of political leanings: whether left, right, or center. If you spend enough money and get enough volunteers out, you can win an election. Yet, it is our belief that progressive politics is identified by the values on which it stands.

This manual is geared toward a campaign that is grassroots and democratic, actively engaging citizens and campaign volunteers. Such a campaign is ecological in its use of resources as well as in its policy positions. A people's campaign is one in which means and ends are harmoniously interwoven: the conduct of the campaign is fully reflective of the values and political positions of the candidate. It shows its commitment to social justice through inclusion of diverse citizens in its deliberations.

This manual may get you a little closer to getting out a progressive message in an accessible form at the right time to people who vote. From this information, you can create a plan for success.

A bottom line for many voters is whether or not the candidate is likeable. Much of the campaign, besides educating the community on the issues, is about building relationships. This manual will help you explore various ways of building relationships within your community. It's the fastest way towards positive, radical social change.


  1. Allow progressives interested in local government to network.
  2. To give you a sense of the "cradle to grave" steps involved in the campaign process.
  3. To allow candidates and campaign workers an opportunity to practice skills.
  4. To instill a knowledge base and sense of confidence about being involved in a campaign.
  5. To get feedback to improve the outline and content for the next workshop.
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