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Rethinking the DiEM25 Academy: Proposal for a Permanent Transnational Education System
At the Prague Assembly, members discussed, amended and approved the following proposal (among others) to improve DiEM25’s work and its potential in the coming year. Please evaluate it carefully, especially the amendments compared to the pre-Prague version (highlighted in green), and decide whether this is something DiEM25 should invest its limited energy into.
Area: Running an Effective Movement (strengthening our OPs and Manifesto, improving internal processes; fundraising; IT)
At present there is no common way of managing transnational and local activities in DiEM25; many members are led to reinvent the wheel, and members leaving the movement take away crucial information with them. Yet there are so many members with experience, knowledge, skills and tools that could be useful, if shared, to improve the DiEM25 experience, take new members on board as efficiently as possible, and move from trial-and-error towards a more systematic skill sharing and capacity building approach - an approach that will really make the movement move.
This proposal aims to harness past & current efforts, facilitate the work of activists and volunteers, and foster transnational action: our main advantage compared to other progressive movements. This can happen by building up the capacity of members & making DiEM25 a learning organization, where highly-skilled grassroots organizers become not only capable of organizing events, but also people.
Most of DiEM25’s activities are volunteer-based and unpaid, thus a main motivation to be part of a movement is: learning through meaningful practice. At the same time DiEM25 needs to acknowledge that new members should progressively take responsibilities and tasks and climb the “ladder of engagement”.
This system would require few resources (we already have most of what we need) and a strong coordination effort to gather knowledge, templates and tools, and make them readily available to members who may need it.
The three key activities are (1) coordinating the collection of training material, resources, and tools, (2) making this material available via a dedicated online education platform, (3) collect & manage content relevant to the work of local activists.
The final product will be a permanent transnational online and offline education system (aim at quarterly transnational DiEM Academy, mass webinars, video tutorials, regional workshops, mentoring partnerships, DSC-internal coachings etc.), build from the very experiences of members.
This proposal should be a collaboration with the DiEM25 Explore proposal.
Any form of training must be voluntary. Video training session must not become mandatory for participation as members of DiEM25.
How will this proposal help DiEM25 achieve its goals?
Common modus operandi is a prerequisite to the success of ANY organisation, especially political (see Gen Sharp’s views on structuring movements and Marshall Ganz’s approach to transformative community organizing). Harnessing the power of DiEM25’s member base requires a minimum of common structures, avenues for collaboration, and collective intelligence.
DIAGNOSTIC: (1) Issue with member capacity & information sharing (few templates, several communication channels, etc.). (2) Many members have little to no political experience, and practically have to re-learn how to organize a community, how to organize events, how to advertise their actions etc. (3) This situation deters members from becoming more greatly involved in the movement, especially lone members.
OBJECTIVES: Make political activism, movement building, leadership, grassroots organizing and fundraising methods accessible to all DiEM25 members, by (1) providing all members with a common experience of movement politics (2) coordinating information & experience-sharing across DiEM25 at member-level. This notably includes ready-made activities (such as [From Dusk Till Dawn]) or detailed briefings of a level accessible to all members on the core topics of our agenda [relaunching the Progressive Agenda]
How will your proposal be implemented (timeline and steps)?
RESOURCES: Most already in-house:
(1) Many members have decades of local activism experience, others with professional skills to design templates, tools and trainings to be used in DiEM25.
(2) Our work is already done remotely, designed by members, consolidated/collected by national/transnational coordinators, accessible via DiEM25 wiki/Cloud, translated by volunteers.
(3) One transnational coordinator is organising the Academy, appointed by the CC and responsible for events and finance. This is to ensure the smooth functioning of Academies and their compatibility with other DiEM25 events and priorities. Also to ensure the content and desired outputs of academy workshops are closely tied to DiEM25’s general strategy.
1-1. Identify PES coordinator/volunteers
1-2. Gather volunteers for regular onboarding seminars to members (new & all)
Establish a structure that provides voice to volunteers, liaises with DiEM25 bodies, and strategic and financial accountabilities.
In every phase of the process, we ask that all the members with voting rights have the possibility to participate and to candidate themselves as coordinator or to propose topics. The coordinator is voted by all members.
2-1. Online training platform (website, video channel, MOOC, cloud/wiki)
2.2. Review ""welcome e-mail"" sent by CC to all new members to include material from 3.4 (coord. with CC/NCs)
2.3. Train moderators (in EN & more) to re-direct members to resources
2.4. As part of a holistic vision for DiEM25, that embraces diversity in the movement, all members should have access to training to sensitise and equip them to deal with incidents of inequality that may arise at events and meetings where DiEM25 has a presence.
3-1. Collect existing content, tools, contacts of trainers, etc.
3-2. Design templates, as needed (concept note, budget, project planning tools...)
3-3. Design & disseminate resources & toolkits for ready-made activities (esp. Fundraising & Grassroots organizing) to all DSCs through multiple media (videos, workshops/Academies, mentoring, possible guests/trainers...)
3-4. Design online onboarding manual presenting DiEM25, templates, tools, methods for getting things done (.ppt ok for start) + send to all members 1x/year
3-5. Have a biannual reassessment of material to ensure it’s up to date.
You will know your proposal has succeeded when:
1-1. PES coordinator & volunteers identified & introduced to NCs/DSCs
1-2. Min. 10 participants follow an onboarding webinar per month
2-1. Education platform is available in members’ area
2-2. Min. 50 visits & content downloads (trainings, templates...) per month
3-1. Min. 10 workshop presentations, lists of resources, templates are collected from DSCs/NCs/CC & posted on the training platform - including a toolkit for activities
3-2. Min. 3 .ppt trainings designed & shared with DSCs/lone members
3-3. DiEM25 project templates are used in min. 50% of proposals submitted to NCs/CC
Should DiEM25 invest energy and resources into this?