Tools for analyzing the political situation and political problems organizations face.

Sample "Problem Trees"

Some problem trees (from around the world):

"Problem-cause-effect tree diagram" from Our People, Our Resources

Another tree, from Eric Mar's Asian Studies and Activism website.

How-to description of the problem tree activity, with a link to an image (near the top), from Dublin radion station Near 90.3 FM's Community Media Participatory Learning Manual

Description of the problem tree activity, from a BBC article about women organizing in Malawi.

Activity 7.2 Their Power Line and Ours: assessing strength and progress

By Matt Noyes (in collaboration with David Levin, David Pratt, and Steve Downs)

Okay, you have organized a rank-and-file reform group in your union. You are active and presenting a real challenge to the existing union administration. But how strong are you? How strong is the administration that you are challenging? How has your strength (and theirs) been changing? What are your weaknesses? What are theirs? Does everyone in your group share the same assessment? What are the implications for your strategy?

Activity 3.2 Interviewing the Activist

By Matt Noyes. (I got the idea from the late Spalding Gray's "interviewing the audience" performance technique, which I saw him perform in Brooklyn's Prospect Park one summer night. Gray circulated in the audience prior to the performance, finding interesting people who he later brought onstage for a rambling, but very entertaining, interview and conversation.)


Activity 5.4 Acting it out: so what happens next?

By Matt Noyes, from a workshop with Leon Rosenblatt

This is a spur of the moment role play where participants and educators act out the actions and problems they have been discussing, with no preparation or script.

Good for:

Activity 4.2 Robert's Roles

By Matt Noyes; the cuento vivo technique on which this is based comes from Alforja, Tomo I.

One of the problems with Robert's Rules is that most union members have little or no experience with using them. Using a "Cuento Vivo" (live story) technique, this activity has people act out a scene from a union meeting. The scripted parts help people practice the language and shows how the rules can be used.