Here is the Peterborough Local Leap Manifesto’s advice in forming a local Leap Manifesto Group based completely on our own single experience.
- Best advice is that the endeavour is worth it – Do it! The activism, a fresh initiative, is directly related to our campaigns, nationally and locally.
- We delayed showing “This Changes Everything” for a few months until our local Reframe International Film Festival which draws thousands of people over a weekend. Our sponsored film was thus shown on January 31 and at that showing we announced a local LEAP meeting for two days later (Why Wait!), along with LEAP Manifesto pamphlets in large numbers. Two days later 170 people showed up.
- Show the film, following wide announcement. Many people haven’t seen it and others might want to view it again, particularly if some movement might arise from it. Allow discussion and, because there will be limited time that occasion, call a meeting of working groups shortly (Why Wait!).
- At this meeting, using the 15 Principles, recommend specific working groups, such as Democratic Reform (P.R.), Corporate Trade and Investment, Social Justice and Poverty, Agricultural Reform, Climate Change Measures, Renewable and Clean Energy, etc etc. These issues will likely be modified or expanded as the groups proceed. At a working group recommend, first, a review of the issues as not everyone is most knowledgeable; then, confirm the urgency; finally, begin to plan the research needed, steps ahead, when to meet again (perhaps at next whole LEAP meeting). Oh, yes, facilitators are required. After a 10-minute introduction get the working groups formed.
- It’s advisable for groups to ‘localize’ whenever useful. For example, the group I co- facilitated was Corporate Trade and Divestment. Horror at trade and investment agreements was shared, possible steps were discussed, but then for the time being a local issue – the potential sale of our electricity distribution company to a gradually being-privatized, huge public corporation – became our focus. This important ‘local’ issue tripled our working group membership. Most importantly, key members have been actively participating in the community.
- Invite all media to the first working group session. However are your media, provide the motivation and encouragement needed; otherwise they might skip it. Also, advertise this meeting broadly, such as on media community listings and postering. Use social media to attract younger people. We have had young people participate, because they are clearly interested. Also, although permanency is not always easy with youth, different young audiences attend over time.
- Important to leave ample time for report-backs from the working group sessions. It will show the motivation, the civic participation and perhaps an urge to shift working groups occasionally. Also, prior to the next scheduled meeting, encourage working groups to meet in the meantime.
- Have visuals, encouraging messaging and anything motivational and instructive on site, at least for the first meeting.
- Reach out to other groups and obvious allies. Advertise broadly. You will at least get individuals looking for more challenge (and perhaps disillusioned with organizational silos elsewhere) and also people who haven’t been joiners but are looking out for a real, meaningful challenge, particularly a Local LEAP that is fresh and inclusive.
We’d love to help. Contact us if you want more insights.