7.11- Organizational Setup & Responsibilities (Master Plan)

July 11th, 2012

This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted/quoted from books and articles published by Albert Einstein Institution and similar sources.

The Timeless Attributes of Nonviolent Resistance (NVR) Project:
1. Without UNITY, There is no Mass Disobedience.
2. Without FREEDOM FUND, There is no Project or Strategy.
3. Without STRATEGY There is no Effective Action.
4. Without ORGANIZATION (Activists), There is no Capacity to Translate Strategy into Reality.
5. Action without Nonviolent DISCIPLINE Leads to Chaos and Vandalism.

Nonviolent movements are faced every day with stresses in the areas of leadership, fear-management, and avoiding contamination, so they need to be prepared. They also need to be tactically innovative and choose issues and actions that put the tyrant in dilemmas. Finally, management of key resources (material resources, human resources, time, and knowledge) are critical to operating a nonviolent movement or campaign.

Once a few movement supporters are enlisted, human resource management begins. The next important step is building an activist base. An effective model/method to do this is to compile a “master list” of all the names of people who have signed in at various meetings, activities or facebook. This list should be divided into four sections:
1. Activists: Active members who come to regular meetings.
2. Volunteers: Those who do specific tasks but do not come to regular meetings.
3. Supporters: Those who will come to rallies or events.
4. Future Supporters: Those who may become supporters, volunteers, or activists.
Your job is to make this section as small as possible by drawing these people into becoming supporters, volunteers, or activists.
Human resources increase the size and strength of a movement, and are therefore a source of power for several reasons.
1. Activists, volunteers, and supporters contribute to the movement, providing it with numbers.
2. Because they mostly or completely work on a volunteer basis, they are a source of free working hours for the movement.
3. Finally, they bring valuable skills, knowledge and social networks to the movement.
Activists, volunteers, and supporters are the infantry and field power of your nonviolent movement. Without them, victory is not possible.

There are two types of activists:
1. Those who provide skills and knowledge “behind the scenes”, and
2. Those who engage in nonviolent direct action.

Any long-term campaign must build a base of both types of supporters

“Human resources” are the people who dedicate their time and skills to your movement. The importance of volunteers to a nonviolent movement lies in their numbers, the free working hours that they dedicate to the struggle, and the skills, knowledge and social networks that they provide to your movement. Thus, to build a strong movement it is crucial to:
1. Continually recruit those interested in your movement or the issues that your movement is focusing on
2. Constantly reach out to potential supporters for whom direct involvement is not feasible
3. Train your new members and draw on their skills, knowledge, and social networks.