Over time, the standard chants and slogans used on picket lines and in demonstrations, protests, and marches, become stale and cliche. The content gets lost and the music becomes sing-song. The chants have no impact. The whole experience becomes disempowering. (This has been true for so long that even complaining about it is stale and cliche!)
So, what's this handbook about?
This handbook is:
- a toolkit for educators and activists
- a case-study of grass-roots worker education in the US workers movement
- [an argument for popular education for union democracy, and
- [an argument for union democracy for worker education
- [a call for allies
- [a starter
[box]What kinds of activities can I use to help workers learn their rights and develop their ability to organize for democracy and power?[image: we're all here, now what do I do?]
I have made some progress: you can now find one activity from each chapter in the handbook: Popular Education for Union Democracy, along with an introductory piece that lists all the activities from that chapter and puts them in context.
Click on the link at left for a full table of contents.
Please let others know about the site and feel free to register and comment.
Adapted from "The triangle tool" in Educating for a Change.
Using a simple analytic tool, this activity helps people become aware of the different factors -- structure, culture and participation -- that combine to make a union more or less democratic. It also emphasizes the role of the rank-and-file as well as the officers and staff.
[In which some knowledgeable, highly respected labor educator sings the praises of this handbook and notes its unique contribution.
Elaine Bernard, Nadia Marin, Jerome Scott?]
Explain what popular education offers to union democracy and power.
Teaching/learning tech (learning techniques exist also)
Democratic teaching for democratic organizing...
Building capacity for collective action...
This should explain union democracy to an unfamiliar but pro-labor reader, in context of labor renewal. It should reinforce
Use triangle tool here to show union democracy as laws and procedures, culture, and participation.
Maybe include checklist of democratic organizing?
Links to AUD, quote material from AUD site.
Is Democracy Good for Unions? Is Democracy Good for Intellectuals? exchange
The Union Democracy Triangle
(The Triangle Tool is from Educating for a Change.)
I find it helpful to think of union democracy as having three main aspects:
This handout goes with the Visions of Unionism diagrams. It is not "the answer," but it does reveal my thinking about the diagrams and my biases. It is very schematic, just a starting point for discussion.
When I used this activity, I included this text in a packet of materials. I did not use it in the actual workshop because the workshop was about helping the participants articulate their own visions of unionism, not debating mine (much as I would enjoy that!).
[img_assist|nid=138|title=Visions of Unionism 1|desc=The first image -- what do you see? Who are these people? What do we know about them? What do the arrows and circles mean? Why are some pointing in different directions?|link=none|align=left|width=450|height=348]
[img_assist|nid=139|title=Visions of Unionism 2|desc=The second vision: What do you see here? Who are the various people? What are they all doing? What are their relationships to each other? Have you ever experienced this type of unionism?|link=none|align=left|width=450|height=348]
"Popular Education for Movement Building" or マットの英語でデモクラシー（仮）
I will be teaching a course at PARC's Freedom School in Tokyo, Japan, this May. The course is six sessions, from May to July, 2008. The cost (which may change) is 15,000 yen. The maximum number of participants is 15 people. Contact PARC to register.
It is an English course, but the subject of the class is unique. Here is the course description from PARC, followed by my description of the course in English: