Affiliated Organization: Rising Tide, Civil Liberties Defence Center
Areas of Training: Strategic Campaigning and Avoiding Burnout, Direct Action Planning, Blockades, NVDA,
Non-traditional Allies, How to Organize Against Corporations, How to Start a Group, How to Run a Meeting, Climate Justice, Know Your Rights, Security Culture 101
Monday morning I posted "Harmonize your expectations with your aspirations!" on Facebook. It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the day of President Obama's second Inaugural Address. Our giant Backbone puppet marched through DC streets with a primarily anti-drone, Inauguration day demonstration.
We participated on the principle that the generally sympathetic President Obama should be held no less accountable for his failures and violations of law as the despicable figurehead G. W. Bush. And it was MLK Day, a day to stand up for our highest aspirations and deepest principles. So, while our giant spine was protesting moral and policy failures in DC, our We the People and inflatable Earth celebrated Dr. King, social movement, and our place in journey along the the arc of justice in a Seattle parade.
After a very long day, I finally got a chance to sit down and listen to the inaugural address. I replayed it a number of times with competing emotions of skepticism and admiration. I am clearly no apologist for the Obama administration, nor a person who invested my hope for change in his presidency. Yet, as valid as the many critiques of President Obama are, i.e. his support of NDAA, counter -productive, illegal drone assassinations, the TPP, a general allegiance to Wall St., (the list goes on), I was still very impressed by his speech, his use of language, and the construction of his arguments.
|On Christmas Eve, we received a letter from a long time supporter who believes deeply in the Artful Activism of the Backbone Campaign. In the Letter was a challenge, a $10,000 matching fund for bringing in new members! With many people making their last minute end of year, tax-deductible (while it lasts?) gifts, TODAY is the perfect time to launch our "Backbone-a-Thon."
Our current goals are to:
Though rebellion is a muscle that must be exercised, it should be clear from the 2012 Highlights below that this kind of exercise is FUN!
All of the below were taken at a actions we either led or provided tactical support for. Enjoy and then please proudly and enthusiastically invite your friends to become part of this joyful, innovative, effective Artful Activist organization! 2013 is the perfect time to amplify Backbone's capacity to invigorate our movement of movements using strategic organizing and creative tactics to deliver power to We the People!
It takes Backbone to stand up for progressive values, but it is rewarding. Although Devin is being escorted out of a sit-in in a Senator's office, neither he, nor anyone of our team was arrested in the past nine years.
Enjoy 2012 Highlights: Only when the People Lead, will the Leaders Follow:
|More about achievements in 2012:
Backbone Campaign's 2012 goals were to strategically use and build expertise in creative tactics that incorporate elements of spectacle, humor, art, music, metaphor, ridicule, praise and ritual; as well as campaign strategy, media, and collaboration, in order to:
Thanks to the generous support of our many supporters, we continue to be enormously successful. Our 2012 Artful Activism Trainings deepened and expanded our partnerships with community-based activists around the country, enabling them to build local capacity to deliver victories through artful, “solutionary engagement” (i.e. - combining critique with proposal, proposition with opposition).
In 2012, the Backbone Campaign customized trainings and campaign support for activists in over 10 communities (Bellingham (WA), Bainbridge Island (WA), Biloxi/Gulfport (MS), Charlotte (NC), Olympia (WA), Pasadena (CA), Seattle (WA), Spokane (WA), Tacoma (WA), Vashon Island (WA), Washington (DC), and Baltimore (MD). We collaborated with over 35 grassroots and national partners to develop the overall strategy and conceptualize the most effective messages and creative tactics for their campaigns.
Your support is crucial to our continued capacity to serve a growing progressive movement with generosity, intelligence and strategic creativity.
On Christmas Eve, we received a letter from a long time supporter who believes deeply in the Artful Activism of the Backbone Campaign. In the Letter was a challenge, a $10,000 matching fund for bringing in new members! With many people making their last minute end of year, tax-deductible (while it lasts?) gifts, TODAY is the perfect time to launch our "Backbone-a-Thon."
Our current goals are to:
Backbone Campaign is a 501(c)(3) public charity so ALL donations are tax-deductible. Give $50 or more and receive a Backbone Campaign T-Shirt or a pound of bold and rich Backbone Blend coffee. Get both with a $100 contribution! [*There are exceptions for those who significantly increase their contributions, and there is a $3000 maximum donation according to the matching grant stipulations.]
Though rebellion is a muscle that must be exercised, it should be clear from the 2012 Highlights below (Click on "Read more" button) that THIS kind of exercise is FUN! Please help us spread the word about Backbone Campaign and invite your friends to Check out this fun collection of action shots and 2012 annual report.
On Wednesday, October 10 the Backbone Campaign honored two outstanding leaders for their courageous progressives stands, one at an extremely lonely moment, and the other from a very unexpected place. The Backbone Campaign in conjunction with the Progressive Democrats of America presented the Backbone Award to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca) and the Spine Award to Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
The Spine Award recognizes Mayor Anderson for his outstanding progressive leadership. It was presented by PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter and Backbone Campaign DC activist and blogger (democracycellproject.net) Karen Bradley. The inscription reads:
Mayor Anderson came to the attention of many of us in August of 2006, startling us with his Tell the Truth "welcome" speech when Bush and Co. visited Salt Lake City. Besides the excerpt quoted above, Rocky called out a litany of offenses, to which the audience responded "Tell the Truth!" His criticism extended to an "unquestioning news media," and a "complacent, complicit Congress." Mayor Anderson's progressive leadership spans the policy spectrum and the Spine Award is but one of many that he has received for his great leadership. See below for other striking achievements.
Anderson thanked the entire progressive community for its work, and requested a Backbone Campaign T-shirt! On the night of the awards, Karen Bradley asked Anderson about working as a progressive in a conservative state. He said Salt Lake City is basically progressive and that most of his hate mail comes from other places in Utah.
Representative Barbara Lee is no stranger to hate mail. She gained national attention for her stand in 2001 as the only member of Congress to vote "no" on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Like Anderson, most of the response she received from her constituents was positive, but individuals from outside that area made death threats to her and her family resulting in Capitol Hill Police providing round the clock bodyguards. Backbone Awards are given to federal elected officials who take a strong progressive stand at "politically lonely moments." What could be braver than her sole vote that September day six years ago? (watch video below)
The Backbone Campaign has been attempting to work out logistics to present this award for years. We are delighted that this week, with the help of PDA, we succeeded. The inscription on her Backbone Award reads:
Rep. Lee has continued to be a leader for peace, justice and humanity as Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and long time member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She supports legislation creating a Department of Peace. Lee has authored numerous bills to reign in and end the occupation of Iraq including legislation for no permanent bases and only funding withdrawal. She fought to bar the administration from another illegal attack, this time against Iran. Whether it be HIV, housing, foreign aid, education, immigration, accountability or peace Rep. Barbara Lee is consistently out in front, often the go to person for submitting progressive legislation. Read more about Rep. Lee and her legislative initiatives below.
Rep. Lee was joined by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) at the Busboys and Poets PDA event. Each emphasized the importance of the other, how as a team they were able to be so much more effective as the conscience of the House than either could alone. When Karen Bradley presented Lee with her Backbone award, Lee grinned and laughed in pleasure at being so honored, as evidenced in this photo.
The Backbone Campaign is as always thrilled to work with the wonderful folks at Progressive Democrats of America. Thanks also to Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets for providing the food for the evening, and more important, for providing a venue for the progressive community to meet. We couldn't provide these resources without our great artists, Jason Sawatzki of Seattle, WA who created the Spine Award, and Hans and Eric Nelsen of Vashon Island, WA creators of the Backbone Award.
Above all we thank our volunteers, contributors and members of the Lumbar Club. We can't do this work without you. An effort like this costs the Backbone Campaign approximately $500 in time and expenses. We invite you to become a member of the Lumbar Club and provide the sustaining support it takes to keep showing up the way the Backbone Campaign does.
More on Rocky Anderson:
More on Rep. Barbara Lee:
Ecotopia or Fossil Fuel Corridor?
Extraction Resistance and the Future of the Pacific NW
photo by Jonathan Hayward/The Canandian Press
The threatened transformation of the Pacific Northwest into an energy corridor for fossil fuels may be the region's defining issue of our time. The battles against the pipelines, coal mines and coal plants, coal trains and coal ports, tankers, fracking and LNG export terminals in the Pacific Northwest are heating up. The Defend Our Coast rally was a pivotal moment, a milestone in an unprecedented process of coming together to occupy a common vision, shared aspirations and our collective, cross-border power to shape the future.
Description: Flash mobs can be a fun and engaging tactic that enhances and moves forward your overall campaign. The most effective flashmobs involve considerable advanced planning and involve numerous participants in a variety of roles. A key to the success of most flashmobs is the ability to quickly edit raw footage and make it broadly available to the real audience, the online community or media. People at the action are more like extras than your intended audience. Song and dance flash mobs are a particularly effective means of putting pressure on your opponent without them being able to demonize you since its more difficult to demonize someone if they are singing a catchy tune, busting a move, smiling, and have bystanders singing along too.
"Target Ain't People"
Public Option Annie
Creativity for Building Grassroots Power
Bill Moyer (Trainer Bio Here)
An Interview for Fellowship Of Reconciliation in Olympia, WA,
Aired on Public Television February, 2012
Description: This presentation begins with the assumption that social movements have historically been the greatest force for social transformation. This presentation is a reflection on how organizers can work towards building power, with the aim of growing social movements to be impactful enough that they can effect social change. The presentation on grand strategy highlights a set of pricinples and theoretical framework which can be utilized for evaluating the effectiveness of their actions and their tactics. While simultaneously employing tactics consistent with the principles of grand strategy, and imbuing those tactics with creativity and artful expression, organizers can enliven and engage people in the process of social change. There are numerous additional resources included at the bottom of this page gathered from several sources. The additional resources include some powerpoint slides used in this presentation and accompanying handouts and exercises that can be used to workshop your own campaign.
Building A Papier-mâché Puppet
Chris Lutter (Trainer Bio Here)
During Preparation For United Workers' "Our Harbor Day"
The Mission of Chris's Puppet Farm Arts is to enliven and enrich communities by engaging people in collaborative and eco-conscious art-making (Learn More Here)
Description: In this four-part video series Chris Lutter demonstrates how to form a beautiful puppet using recycled and reclaimed trash. You can follow this tutorial to make your own. This Harriet Tubman puppet was used in a United Workers campaign that eventually led them to win living wages for workers in Baltimore harbor.