Digital Boots Online: The Conference!

digital boots online

The next Organizing 2.0 training conference has a date: June 6+7. And we’re proud to be returning to the site of our first conference ever, way back in 2009: The Murphy Institute. Once again, we’ll be bringing together the labor and organizing world’s most enthusiastic trainers in organizing, digital strategy, social media, grassroots fundraising and advocacy.

Register today

The Organizing 2.0 Conference (our 5th!) brings organizers together for workshops, trainings, discussions, consulting and networking, visionary speakers, and thoughtful debates about our strategies and practices.

Over two days in Manhattan hundreds of people will come together to learn from each other, share stories and build our skills, organizations and movements.

Featured tracks include online to offline organizing, digital strategy on a budget, member engagement and grassroots fundraising. (We’re still accepting ideas for speakers and workshops – let us know what you need and/or what you can offer.)

Register today

The cost is $100 for the two full-days. Scholarships are available. This year’s conference is brought to you by our partners:  The Murphy Institute for Worker Education (CUNY), New York State AFL-CIO, New York City Central Labor Council, and the New York Civic Engagement Table. Dozens of other organizations, sponsors, volunteers and donors will be announced in the coming days.

The conference will be held at the The Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd St. Conference is wheelchair accessible.

For sponsorships, group registration and all other inquiries, reply to this email or contact conference@organizing20.org / 202-460-5199.

Not ready to register? RSVP on our Facebook event page and help spread the word. Thank you!

A Rebel Alliance for New York

A couple weeks ago, Justine of STORG tweeted about a “Nonviolent Militia” and sent the dispersed remnants of #Occupy atwitter. Part of the problem is surely the word ‘militia’ connoting as it does racially pure compounds in Idaho.

NVDA – Infrastructure and History

Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) has a long history. But over the last generation of activists, it has become intertwined with anarchist politics. This isn’t a surprise:

  • The famous Battle of Seattle fight against globalization and the WTO spawned a generation of tourist mobilizers for whom large gatherings, spokescouncils and twinkle fingers merged into an unbroken whole of glorified resistance.
  • Those who focused on or sought professional training in NVDA tended to be more marginal political types in the first place, bleeding not only into anarchist political thought but alterna-whatevers: punk rock, veganism, giant puppets, and single-syllable names like “Tree” or “Free”. When ‘regular people’ train in NVDA before an action, the person training them is often some kind of anarchist.
  • One of the legacies of the anti-globalization movement was the formation (and break up) of the Direct Action Network. Many of the veterans of DAN continue as trouble-makers active in various niches, including David Graeber and Lisa Fithian, who were very active in OWS. There is an unbroken chain linking the development, theory and practice of NVDA in the United States to avowed supporters of anarchist politics.

And there’s actually an existing infrastructure devoted to NVDA in the broad sense of the term. This includes State Dept. advisers like Gene Sharp, The Ruckus Society, The Backbone Campaign, Training for Change, The Other 98%, and many more. These folks engage in trainings, but seem to show up more visibly before and during large mobilizations OR when a group with funding wants to purchase some spectacle for an upcoming action.  Here’s a list of what they don’t do:

  • Focus on one city for the long term
  • Build permanent infrastructure in a single community
  • Serve as embedded leaders – they prefer to be trainers, advisers, consultants.

The “Nonviolent Militia” Broken Down

The core of Justine’s idea can be isolated and simplified as follows:

  • An organized entity devoted to the intelligent, long term practice of NVDA within a specific city and by specific people (“members”).
  • A refusal to adhere to the norms of anarchist political practice and theory while using whatever works.

In discussions with smart people inside and outside of Occupy I heard a lot of support for the combination of these two ideas. It seems that no one can remember a time and place that simply had a kind of ‘reserve’ community of trained NVDA practitioners who were on call within a structure capable of issuing that call. And for good reason – it’s hard. Lots of problems to solve…

How can we get a group of 24 people who are not only trained in NVDA, but trained with each other, to be on call for specific local actions on a regular basis, with the intention of putting together complicated scenarios at the drop of a hat?

Start a training program that has participants commit to a full day once a month for five months and an additional commitment to participate in 12 NVDA actions over the course of a year. In exchange for this, offer a stipend of $2500. This assumes that acceptance is competitive, with due attention to diversity, organizational backgrounds, experience, and one year commitment. The filter would exclude many who currently overpopulate front lines of rowdy protests: students, young white males, the undisciplined and the unkempt. But it would incentivize others to consider making a commitment in line with their values.

By working with cohorts of 12 every three months, you’d grow a stable group of current ‘members’ and alumns who speak the same language of direct action and have developed an esprit de corp, the special something that bonds people together and creates a willingness to sacrifice. Because a stable organization is managing the administration, the people doing the NVDA don’t also have to focus on other details that would otherwise sap their focus and reduce motivation.

Over time, leaders would emerge who can take formal roles (scenario planner) while enjoying legitimacy from their fellows. Leadership won’t be something we count upon to emerge spontaneously, it will be planned for and taken into account.

How can we agree on which actions this group should support? Who would be in a position to call on them?

A city like New York has countless struggles and battles going on at any one time. And most of them are likely to be led by a community more invested in that particular struggle than in the use of a particular tactic. At the same time, a great many existing groups are familiar with NVDA and welcome it, depending on circumstances, and they welcome respectful allies who can be trusted.

My dream ‘executive council’ would be made up of leaders I know and trust. These are people who serve different communities and issues, but they share a broad left politics, an emphasis on grassroots activism, and a desire to have real world impact based on existing electoral or legislative time frames. These are the folks who know what is bubbling up elsewhere, and they are in a position to make suggestions: how about having this great group of NVDA folks take part? What role might they play? What parameters would need to be worked out?

With explicitly political leadership playing that role, community groups accountable to their own base could more safely invite NVDA folks. They would know in advance that this won’t result in crazy messaging, temper tantrums, efforts by un-designated activists to grant press interviews, or any adventurism. But they would have folks who know each other, who can withstand aggressive policing, provocations from opponents, who have privileges (education, legal support, life circumstances) that allow them to protect and serve.

Keep in mind, this happens, sort of, all the time. In that sense this proposal seeks to ratchet up a kind of existing cross-community cooperation to a higher and more accountable level.

Another point which deserves to be made explicit: this group shouldn’t operate using general assemblies. Not everyone gets an invite to the planning sessions. You might not be allowed to join. And joining, as a paid or volunteer member doesn’t mean your voice is equal to everyone else’s. This makes the project ‘hierarchical’! For me, that’s one of the strengths. At the same time, affinity groups can be quite useful. Building consent is important – no one should ever be ‘ordered’ into a risky situation! No one is building an army where leaders must be followed. There will always be a tension in our small ‘d’ democratic activism between inclusiveness and efficiency. Let’s live with it while getting bigger and better projects done, like this one.

Wouldn’t this kind of effort attract the attention of law-enforcement? Aren’t some parts of NVDA inherently illegal and risky?

Of course! I’d assume constant infiltration and surveillance. But a few points are in order. The practice of NVDA assumes that participants are willing to put themselves, their bodies, arrest records and employment prospects on the line. That isn’t new.

Good NVDA also tends to follow certain best practices. These include very serious discussions of the legal ramifications of any given action, planning for legal consequences and the provision of ongoing support, and serious attention to things like political goals and professional communications. Doing these things with a higher level of organization that draws in more serious practitioners over longer periods of time but with serious political and financial support – that makes all of it less risky than a lot of what passes for militant activism today.

Creative NVDA with well trained, trustworthy and physically present volunteers opens up whole vistas of possibilities in a wide range of situations. Let’s list a few:

  • Fighting a school closure with high school students and parents.
  • Rapid response to police violence and lack of accountability.
  • Support for workers who might lack English, documentation, or a union contract against private employers used to acting with impunity.
  • Supporting a large mobilization with trainings and planning far in advance.
  • Occupying a bank lobby, politician’s office, or fancy fundraiser.
  • Homeowner’s militant defense against foreclosure.

Why a Rebel Alliance?

Calling something a militia suggests that we are acting in service to established authority. A Rebel Alliance on the other hand borrows a heroic posture from pop culture. Specifically, a piece of pop culture based on expert story telling and myth making strategies from the master – Joseph Campbell.

This age of discontent has already produced an inspiring wave of revolt, from the Arab Spring to the Spanish Indignados to Occupy Wall Street. But in all of these cases, part of what was lacking was serious, long term, deep organizing. Base building member organizations competing for scraps from the state are mostly unable to contain the millions of educated, middle class, youthful activists eager for a ‘plan b’ alternative to what this society offers. And this cohort doesn’t have a name or political expression. Yet they are at the front lines of whatever struggle emerges, looking for a way to make a difference with their bodies. Why aren’t we building strong containers for this energy, to harness it better in service to winnable campaigns?

Some theorists have hypothisized that the proportion of the population that needs to be active in pursuing real change is 1-5 per cent for there to be any chance of success. We aren’t there – not by a long shot. But obviously a large number of those people are going to be from the demographic mentioned previously. They’ll show up no matter what. Wouldn’t it be better to have stronger institutions made up of this constituency?

It’s a small-big plan. A pilot. Let’s be sane, humble and self-sacrificing practitioners of nonviolent direct action in close knit coordination with other movements and communities. Let’s be a Rebel Alliance of sorts. Wouldn’t you want to be part of the Rebel Alliance, if it existed?

I know I would.

Boots Online: Digital At #AFLCIO13

The advance of online tools and digital strategy is very much in evidence at the AFL-CIO Convention. Some data points:

  • The listening sessions conducted for many months included robust online conversations.
  • There is now a Digital Department that has had thousands of participants in online webinars and offline training events.
  • A number of well-regarded netroots pros have been hired over the last two years.
  • Quite a few advanced software projects have been rolled out, or will be soon, including the Labor Web’s replacement and the RePurpose election tool.

So it was a pleasant surprise, though not a complete shock, to see that the most prominent booth display at the convention was for the Digital Dept., complete with an amazing “Boots Online!” sign.

Jessica Morales of the AFL-CIO Digital Dept.

Jessica Morales of the AFL-CIO Digital Dept.

It’s also been great witnessing a robust conversation on the official hashtag #aflcio13. One journalist present even suggested that part of the program – dozens of 90 minute action sessions – were “designed to give the proceedings the trendy buzz of a Netroots Nation conference.” Sounds good, right?

We’ve been advocating since 2009 that unions take digital strategy more seriously. This requires a number of things all done at the same time, including:

  • Strong, public support from the top for this direction.
  • Changes in job titles, duties, and the mix of staffer specialties in communications and organizing departments.
  • Actually organizing the digital aspects of unions with metrics and evaluations.
  • Finding ways for the digitally savvy to exert what we might call ‘expertise based influence’ that does not derive from how long they’ve been employed, who they know, or their spot on the pecking order.
  • Pushing change to the edge of the labor movement – the locals – and assigning appropriate resources to make that happen. (As opposed to merely having a decent team at the International working on strategic campaigns.)
  • Working with a wider array of capacity building partners and encouraging more local connections between unions and capacity building opportunities outside the union- or labor-movements. (Like NTEN, local alternative media conferences, and of course Organizing 2.0.)
  • Setting a goal of training 1000 digital strategists inside the labor movement – and making it easy to find out where they are.
  • Helping locals evaluate the cost and quality of digital communications services that they purchase.
  • Launching a Circuit Rider program that creates jobs for social media and digital strategy freelancers to work with multiple locals at the same time, as part of a coordinated, managed and sustainable effort to help every local – not just the strong ones.
  • Collecting case studies across a wide array of situations and make them available for inspiration, with an appropriate taxonomy. Include both successes AND failures.

The union movement is clearly on the right track when it comes to integrating online and offline organizing, and this convention sets some very positive precedents for that work. But in the rush to celebrate accomplishments, it’s easy to skip over the need for an accurate map of the terrain. The labor movement is weak and it needs as much help and as many allies as it can get. AFL-CIO President Trumka has made it clear that he wants to open-source the labor movement, creating programs, tools and campaigns that everyone can join, modify, and share. Those of us excited about how new communication tools can make a difference for the labor movement have a duty to accept that challenge.

[Got ideas and feedback of your own? Offer them here or on Twitter!]

Live Blogging The AFL-CIO Convention (Part 1)

Organizing 2.0 is here at the AFL-CIO Convention in Los Angeles. We hope to cover some topics of interest to the broader labor movement and investigate some of our favorite topics. If you’re just getting started in all things AFL-CIO Convention, consider starting with Josh Eidelson at The Nation and Labor Notes’ collection of ten great articles. If you just want the short version, this might be it:

Unions are in decline. Past efforts to organize more workers did not reverse the trend. Have we reached the bottom of the trough? Is there enough pain to force enough labor leaders to think and act differently? AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is proposing new kinds of relationships with environmentalists, civil rights groups and others; but the devil is in the details, and we simply do not know how these initiatives will pan out.

Meanwhie the alt-labor sector is generating a lot of attention. Is the future of labor to be found in worker centers, community-labor alliances, fast-food workers, domestic workers and others traditionally outside the union movement? Will minority unionism or direct action unionism stage a comeback? We just don’t know, but increasingly, such efforts are being prioritized by various unions – especially SEIU (fast food) and UFCW (OUR Walmart).

This is what most of the ink spilled will be about. My own interests are a little less macro and meta, though it’s unclear if I can learn much about them at this convention.

  • The last big push for organizing (in the 90′s) has a spotty record. Even when large unions took the plunge and spent big in an effort to organize the unorganized, it just didn’t add up. The cost per new member was too high. At a time when organizing is prioritized (again), we should be asking: how and why will this be different? Do unions have new, proven and cost-effective organizing strategies and tactics waiting to be rolled out? Or are we in the verge of another experiment that might fail?
  • The average age of a union member continues to go up. The chances of a young worker belonging to a union are in decline. What does the ‘young worker movement’ mean for the vast majority of young workers unlikely to ever see the inside of a union hall?
  • Organizing has changed dramatically as a result of new communications technologies. But the tools of online organizing are only rarely well integrated with the tools of offline organizing. To a large extent, the changes that the new Digital Department seeks to implement across the labor movement are in their infancy. What is the state of this transition?
  • The vast majority of workers in America don’t belong to a union. To the extent that supporting the labor movement is an attractive political or social opportunity, unions have not been very good at creating them for non-union members. Working America is the largest ‘labor solidarity’ organization meant to address this need. But actually, there are many labor solidarity efforts built by and for individuals who want to play a role in the labor movement that does not correspond to their day job. What is the future of this sector? How is it perceived by labor leaders? Can we expect increased attention paid to groups like Jobs with Justice, 99 Pickets, Brandworkers and Occupy related efforts?

If you have questions – or answers – please add them below or tweet me @organize20.

Training: Digital Skills for Labor – Aug. 21

We’re pleased to be co-presenting a daylong training on online organizing aimed at people in the labor movement. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to hone your skills with more advanced trainings, we’ll have something for you.

All participants MUST register here. The language in this form focuses on affiliates of the New York City Central Labor Council, but we are welcoming colleagues from community organizing groups, unions and labor groups who aren’t part of the CLC, students, activists and others allied with the labor movement. Wondering if this training is really for you? Just ask by emailing us here.

Details:

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 | 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
New York City Central Labor Council
275 Seventh Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10001

This event is sponsored by the New York City Central Labor Council, the New York State AFL-CIO, the AFL-CIO, Organizing 2.0, the Consortium for Worker Education and the New York Paid Leave Coalition. Trainers hailing from the CLC, AFL-CIO and Organizing 2.0 will be on hand to give you a training tailored to labor’s needs. We’ll be teaching things like the Salsa email blast and petition system, social media skills for all levels, how to get buy-in for online organizing and what to look for in making a campaign website.

Registration is limited and expected to fill up rapidly. Register Today.

An Idea for Big List Online Organizing

Together with Democrats.com, we’re trying to address an interesting – but extremely sensitive – issue. How can the important organizations with large lists of progressives work together to influence the outcome of local races of importance? Specifically, the kinds of races that often fall in the cracks: local, primaries, recalls, non-Federal, but in a context where the outcome can have national significance.

Examples abound: The New York City mayoral primary and the Colorado recall races against John Morse and Angela Giron come to mind for this September. Because of the importance of these local races, it is likely that groups we know and love with large national lists will weigh in – perhaps fundraising, perhaps volunteer opportunities, but for sure with endorsements and calls to help get out the vote.

And yet, more could be done.

Imagine a scenario where different progressive groups combine their names into a single CRM. Some black box mechanism that assures everyone that no one is stealing their names, no one is going to spam folks uncontrollably, but that coordinates the messaging. Imagine further that the names and emails on this shared list are matched with the voter file, so that even smaller chunks can be messaged for campaigners working in smaller geographic units, or that emails can be written ‘from’ someone who is close by. Imagine that this shared list is run through a social media matching service (like Attentive.ly) to figure out who the best prospects are for high touch engagement.

(By ‘coordinates the messaging’ we don’t mean send the same email to everyone, we mean making sure that it’s possible to reach the right people, at the right time, with excellent emails that are both responsive to campaign priorities, are seen as legitimate by the recipients, and that take into account the local news cycle. It can be done!)

I bet such an effort increases turnout for everyone in that shared list. In a low turnout race, that can make a big difference. More importantly, I think that the combined effort would boost overall turnout AND get national press, particularly if this kind of cooperation was trumpeted as a news story. It’s widely known in our circles that simply emailing people might not improve GOTV, but working a list in this fashion, early and carefully with an experienced local staff person taking charge, does not constitute a program of simply emailing to boost GOTV.

There isn’t much time if we wanted to roll such an effort out for September. On the other hand, so many of the obstacles DO have solutions, even if they require some fancy footwork and goodwill. Examples:

Privacy issues and ‘can’t pass on emails to other organizations.’ There are solutions to this. First of all, a combined effort of multiple organizations working in close partnership doesn’t constitute ‘giving emails to another entity.’ It’s entirely possible to work with a CRM that keeps track of every email address’ source, and for that CRM to be formally owned/managed by a consortium of partners.

Lack of staff time in the national orgs for such a small fraction of members. Well that’s the whole point. We can’t really expect the managers of national lists to be focused on a local race, which is why having a local person take charge of the process makes so much sense. Imagine what your list could do if it was worked in the most efficient manner for a specific race for a limited amount of time?

List members might complain. But isn’t that always true? This exercise isn’t about building a list or raising money for the large org, it’s about winning an election. And we can’t trust candidates and their campaigns to do it on their own, particularly in small races that might not have access to the staffing and talents of a statewide or national race. More importantly – our progressive list members want to be effective, want to be informed of how they can make a real difference. That doesn’t always happen in local races.

If you think this is worth doing – please say so and let’s be in touch. If you can identify obstacles or hurdles, even ones you think are insurmountable – please post or email them. Sometimes, what looks like a problem from far away is an opportunity when a talented group examine it close up.

(comment below or email me at clenchner@organizing20.org)

Knowledge Donors for Labor Fights


These days there are many new ways for people who are not members of a labor union to participate in the labor movement.
In addition to working with existing unions people can become members of Working America or join the OWS offshoot 99 Pickets.  If you work in the sector they represent you can join the Freelancers Union, OUR Walmart, Fast Food Forward or one of the many new worker centers like the Restaurant Opportunities Center. or Retail Action Project. Unions as well as these newer entities are all making calls for solidarity from the public in the form of petition signatures, help with picketing and demonstrations, boycotts, and help spreading the word on social media. But with rare exceptions, they do not have a structure for engaging with skilled volunteers – what many are calling knowledge donors.

Managing volunteers can be a challenge no matter what; but managing knowledge donors is a step beyond that. Organizations that have relied on groups of interchangeable supporters to show up at a certain time, perform an action, and then go home aren’t always able to handle individual volunteers with a specific skill. This can be complicated even more with tensions around volunteers who don’t represent your core constituency. What do you do with someone who isn’t even a member, might not come from the same community, and has a generational or class difference from the people they are trying to help? No wonder you won’t find many examples of knowledge donors in the labor world.

Organizing 2.0 is launching a new effort to recruit skilled volunteers who will be in service to labor and community organizing struggles. We’re looking specifically for digitally applicable skills, including social media proficiency, writing for the web, graphic design, online video, web development, trainers in digital tools and online advertising. These are the skill sets that (we observe) many union locals do not have. Even very large union locals are sometimes configured in such a way that staff are unable to run a real digital media campaign.

We have seen many cases where union locals go on strike — an action they have been preparing for for weeks or months — but don’t have a plan for social media outreach or any online communications. It’s only once the strike is imminent that they realize that they want additional support from the broader public and see the internet as a means for getting it and of putting pressure on the employer. However, the union local doesn’t have a plan for how to get that support or relationships with people who can help them. Sometimes they come to Organizing 2.0 for help at the last minute. We want to be able to do that at a larger scale. In particular, we want to help those who ‘don’t know who or how to ask.’

Our plan is to look for both knowledge donors and labor or community organizing fights that can benefit from them. By connecting and applying our knowledge and understanding of both labor and digital strategy, we can make a difference that is both meaningful and visible.

Of course, questions remain. Will we be able to recruit, train, manage and retain skilled volunteers? Will we find willing partners interested in their help? We think so but we’re not sure. As an organization run entirely by volunteers, everything we ever do has a certain question mark over it. But we do have a track record of training and engaging thousands of people at events over nearly four years. We’ve built an amazing Advisory Board (details coming soon!). And a great many of our peers working in the labor movement have offered encouragement and support for this new direction. Plus we’ve already done this on a micro scale for a few locals.

We can’t wait to find out. Meanwhile, everyone reading our post is encouraged to help us figure this out. Please – offer your suggestions and questions below, and sign up if you a)have skills and b)want to contribute them to help workers win labor fights.

Interning For Organizing 2.0 Is Amazeballs

amazeballsHere at Organizing 2.0 we take internships seriously. So we’ve crafted a thoughtful description, posted it in a variety of useful places, and asked all our supporters to share on social media. But there’s nothing as powerful as personal testimony. So here goes:

Hey folks! My name is Katie and I just graduated Harvard. I know, being an intern isn’t always great—lots of busy work, and often little actual experience in the field you’re interested in. But when Charles asked me to help recruit interns, I couldn’t turn him down. I can honestly tell you that interning with Charles a few years ago was an amazing experience. I didn’t feel like an intern, I felt like part of his team.

That’s probably due in part to the small size of his team, but it’s also in large part because of the type of boss Charles is. As his intern, you might be in charge of everything from setting his schedule to helping run presentations to reaching out to contacts yourself. There’s no limit to what the intern can do, it’s just a matter of what you can handle. And that’s the genuinely cool thing about this opportunity: you can grow in your responsibilities as your term progresses. If you’re at all interested in online organizing, you’ll get more experience in this internship than anywhere else.

That’s from Katie, a native of Brooklyn and Russia who worked with me a few years ago.

More recently, I had the pleasure of working with Sam:

My name is Sam and I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin. Like many graduates, I didn’t have that much work experience when I left the bubble of college life and entered the real working world. I had done a few summer and mid-semester internships, but always found these work environments more of an opportunity for observation than contribution. Then I joined Charles. Within the first week, it became abundantly clear that I was not there to sit back and learn passively. Charles genuinely needed me to learn the trade and execute tasks to keep things moving forward. This is what I found so great about my experience interning with Charles- I was finally a contributing member of a team.

As my work progressed, I earned more and more freedoms and would say that I worked with Charles rather than for him. I learned so much so rapidly that around a month with Charles equated the same value for me as all my previous experiences. My daily work was dynamic and I learned tons of new areas of expertise: managing, supporter engagement, reporting, social media, design and more. I became more than an intern, I felt like an asset. So, if you are looking to really improve your skills in online marketing, organizing and writing- take this internship with Charles. But only do so if you really want to learn and work; and when you leave this internship, I promise you will be better prepared to enter the workforce. Your coffee making skills will not improve from this internship, but all of your other ones likely will.

Look, these are personal testimonies from people who have interned with me, Charles Lenchner. I’m going to be the primary supervisor for our Fall interns. So while most interns are focused on the letter of recommendation they get from their supervisors, candidates should be aware that at Organizing 2.0 we think about the letters of recommendation we’ll be getting from you.

If you like our approach – please apply to become our intern!

Organizing 2.0 Fall Internship

fill-this-intern-coffee-cup
We’re pleased to announce our brand new internship program. Please help us share this posting widely. It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in labor, progressive communications, local politics and digital strategy. (Download flyer here.)

Fall 2013 Internship Open in New York City

Do you support social justice, equality, and other progressive values? Do your friends rely on you for political news and current events? Do you regularly use social media, blogs, and your smartphone to make your voice heard?

Organizing 2.0 is a New York-based organization committed to building power for workers and community organizing groups. We’ve trained over 2000 people in the last three years to harness online tools for organizing – and we want you to join us. [BTW, read what former interns have to say about working with us...]

What’s in it for me?

Our interns will be helping to organize training events, our annual organizing training conference, and using our tools in support of local labor struggles that need us. We’re a lean organization run by volunteers, which means you’ll have plenty of serious responsibilities, if you can handle them. No fetching coffee or photocopying in our office!

The ideal candidate is comfortable with technology, activism and progressive politics. Our ideal candidate wants to make a difference – strengthening labor groups and unions, helping marginalized people organizing from below and progressive political groups fighting for the 99%.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to plan and manage professional events from A to Z
  • Organizing software and tools including Salsa, Bit.ly, Google Analytics, WordPress, Thunderclap and more
  • The makeup of New York’s and America’s progressive movement(s), including labor, community organizing, and
  • progressive infrastructure
  • The basics of online marketing as applied towards social good
  • Nonprofit management skills

What We Require:

  • Knowledge of current events and comfort with social media
  • A passion for progressive political change
  • Highly organized, with an ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments
  • Fearlessness – not afraid to be a bold and outside the box thinker
  • Honesty and integrity in fulfilling your commitments

It Would Be Great If You Could:

  • Use graphics, video editing and web development software
  • Point to previous leadership experience in clubs, student government and community groups

We strongly encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply (PoC, LGBT, Differently Abled, or Undocumented.)

This is a rolling admission – we accept new interns during August and September.

  • Minimum commitment is 15 hours/week, preference for 20-40
  • 12 week minimum
  • Stipends of $500-$1000 a month available (25 hours/week and up)
  • Suitable for school credit in a variety of majors

To apply, click here. No phone calls or emails please.

Organizing 2.0 is a collective of communicators and online organizers working for unions and social justice groups. We run events, trainings, consult and promote uncommon interactions within and between our communities. We cross boundaries between labor, progressives, nonprofits, tech firms, faith communities and techies of all stripes. We are located near Union Square in a co-working facility.

Commitment to Intern Rights. We believe that many internships are exploitative and amount to unpaid slave labor imposed on young people interested in interesting and challenging careers. Our commitment is that you will not be performing the job of a paid staff person, this will be primarily a learning experience, and you will be treated at all times with respect.

The Future of the Left – A Conversation on Unity

This event is over! But it was great and you should have been there. This is what you missed:

Welcome to our event! We’re sitting at the livestream table at SEIU1199 near Times Square in New York City. The full description of the event is below the video feed.
Participate in the conversation via Twitter using the hashtag #futureleft

A conversation on left unityFuture of the Left

Chaired by Pat Fry – Left Labor Project

Opening remarks from Mark Solomon – Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. (Read the article that launched a thousand conversations.)

Responses by:

  • Bhaskar Sunkara, Editor – Jacobin Magazine
  • Libero Della Piana, Vice Chair – Communist Party USA
  • Maria Svart, National Director – Democratic Socialists of America
  • Eric Odell – Freedom Road Socialist Organization

After the conversation, join us for a reception with light food and beverages. We’d love to get to know you, and we hope to give you
the chance to meet and speak with other like-minded people!

Hosted by:

  • Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
  • Communist Party USA
  • Democratic Socialists of America
  • Freedom Road Socialist Organization

With participation and support from:
Jacobin Magazine | Left Labor Project | Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office | The Brecht Forum