Strategic Plan part 3 – inspire

3. Inspire
“If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.” Noam Chomsky

“You know enough already. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.” Sven Lindqvist

We want to inspire people to get involved, to stay involved, and to get their friends and family involved in making Manchester far greener and fairer than it currently is.

3.1 What is inspiring, in our opinion. And what is not.
3.1.1 Effective action
Effective action that stops stupidity from happening (see glossary for the difference between protest and demonstration). We define stupidity as anything that locks Manchester into a high-carbon pathway. Airport City, much?
Effective action that demonstrates how things could be done better within existing resource constraints
Effective action that is happening in other parts of the UK and globally, that could and should be imitated by Manchester’s government, businesses and people (please note that we did not use the phrase “best practice” or talk about “league tables”)

We are especially inspired by people and organisations that have displayed innovation, resilience and persistence in getting to where they are, and have credible plans for getting better at what they do.

3.1.2 Ineffective and dis-inspiring action
Examples of ineffective action (that we would not feel obliged to report) would include
boring top-down meetings that focus on getting people to attend marches/camps etc outside of Greater Manchester’s boundaries,
greenwash-style announcements of projects that are unlikely to happen
groups that go up like a rocket and down like a stick
other cack events.

3.2 Encouraging the sharing of “lessons learnt”
We will, via our publications and personal communications, encourage local government and the public sector, business and campaigning/activist groups to reflect on both their successes and their failures, in public, so that other organisations can learn from their experiences. We think the website is fabulous.
We will walk the walk, by publishing audits of our work, and commissioning independent critiques of our publications. We welcome criticism
Our weekly bulletin will include a section entitled “lessons we like to believe we’ve learnt this week”

3.3 The difference between honesty and negativity

3.4 Spreading the love – training and volunteers
There is a major skills deficit, in our opinion, among campaigning groups in Manchester, especially around meeting design, facilitation, communications and the like.
Decent (reliable, diligent) volunteers inspire us. We hope we inspire them.

3.4.1 Training
MCFly will run a training programme in 2012 around the following themes
– investigative reporting (including how to cover meetings, how to read documents, how to use the Freedom of Information Act and other tools, the ins and outs of interviewing)
– the why and how of participatory meetings
the making of very simple (“low-fi” youtube videos
other training as requested by a sufficient number of our readers

3.4.2 Volunteers
MCFly is already running a volunteer programme. As of mid-December 2011 we have three formally inducted volunteers. Because we are new at this, we are going – for now – to cap the number of volunteers we have at any one time at five. When volunteers decide to end or significantly reduce their commitment to MCFly, we will advertise for new volunteers. We will be explicit about who we are looking for, and what they can expect to be asked to do.

To attract and keep volunteers, we think that MCFly needs to be unmistakeably growing.learning, organising, winning
We need to be able to offer these volunteers work that is appropriate (in time and difficulty) worthwhile, challenges them in useful ways. And offers opportunities for autonomy, mastery and purpose.
We are big believers in “legitimate peripheral participation” – we do not expect volunteers to attend long boring meetings.

We will try to “be the change we want to see” and other hippy bollocks.

We will make sure that we get some sort of balance between news (which is usually not so inspiring!) and puff piece in the weekly mix of stories published on the website, and in the monthly publication.

We will label puff-pieces as such. A puff-piece is an article that we have commissioned from a campaigning or doing organisation, or an article we have largely/entirely based on a press release.
We will always attach a “public health warning” to puff-pieces, and create a category as such.

We will make sure that puff-pieces are then the basis of us (and other people?) asking comparable organisations “why aren’t you doing this?” and “Why aren’t you doing better than this?”


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