Rising Up! is a new organisation aiming to be a social movement. We are calling for a fundamental change of the political and economic system to one which maximises well being and minimises harm. We believe change needs to be rooted in reverence and gratitude and that confrontation through mass civil disobedience is necessary.
We have learned from other successful social movements and new ways of organising to maximise our chance of success. Any individual or group can take their own actions in the spirit of Rising Up! without seeking permission, so long as it fits to our movements "DNA". This encapsulates our Story of what is wrong and what change is needed, our Strategy and tactics and our decentralised Structure.
The movement is already here, it has been around for a long time, we just have to bring the parts together and take it to the next level. Many of us have been taking actions for positive change (internal and external) for a long time, some of us are more recent.
If you'd like to see a RisingUp group in your area, we're happy to come to you and help to get things going. Request a training here.
Our Grand Strategy is to enable a mass movement of movements, escalating a programme of ongoing disruptive actions, as part of a grand narrative that this system is fucked, building towards a nation-wide disruption in a short space of time, as a means to effect change. This means enabling collective action, increased disobedience and working with other movements / oppressed groups (“intersectionality”). We aim to work with the radical end of movements first, people who fully understand the need for system change, so forming alliances with groups such as:
- Climate change, climate justice and environmental activists
- Social and economic justice activists who focus on civil disobedience
(e.g. NHS, housing, migrant rights, inequality, tax and debt justice)
- Young and old radicals; radicals with a “spiritual” foundation
- The more traditional left and Rural / land based radicals
Actions that everyone can join in with will include higher, lower and zero risk activities, focussed on specific justice issues. We will also focus on the three pillars of the current system that keep it in place, because they are malfunctioning, broken or captured by vested interests:
- Democracy (e.g. strike actions and / or mass tax disobedience)
- The finance sector (e.g. a mass debt refusal)
- The media (e.g. ongoing swarm actions to disrupt the propaganda)
Our Goal: To create a movement big enough (3.5% of the population) to insist on change. To design a movement that, by virtue of how it operates, acts as a model for how society can run differently. To embed change, (through a much improved democracy) which supports our vision.
Our Objectives are to:
- Communicate a critique of the system we live under (“meta narrative”), targeting actions and power arrangements rather than people in themselves
- Communicate a vision of a different world and to propose a draft manifesto of the changes needed, (drafts that can be improved).
- Create a movement that has robust “DNA”, and a flexible, decentralised structure so that it cannot be stopped once momentum has begun. To enable local and regional hubs.
- Give people a clear way into to this movement, which inspires them and offers them experiences of real power, with accountability and democracy.
- Escalate our actions, absorb new people into active involvement, so we grow exponentially
- Take different forms of action in the world that asserts our collective power, compassion, peaceful disobedience and our intention to support and strengthen communities.
- To create a genuinely democratic process that discusses and improves a draft manifesto and then to ensure this is embedded in a programme of change within the UK. This necessarily means changing democracy itself.
Our sub strategies are to:
- Learn from the best movement tactics, trial and review them to template our own best practice. We can then share them with other movements and join in their actions using our templates (e.g. supporting rent and labour strikes, digital blockades etc).
- Create an inclusive, broad appeal narrative, whilst being radical- i.e. what is necessary
- Encourage subversive art, copied at swarm levels (e.g. about the NHS, housing, etc)
- To be ready to absorb people into our movement at times of upheaval and crisis
- “Spiritual” support for the movement, collective prayers, ceremonies, mediations, etc
Our tactics draw upon state of the art knowledge and experience gleaned from successful global, mass, grass-roots movements which have changed political landscapes and bought down regimes. The central lesson is that for a mass movement to succeed it must polarise the public and win active public support for its aims. Non-violent discipline, combined with a proactive and inclusive training, creates mass participation. We will train thousands of people in how we organise, our analysis of the problem and our aims (story, strategy, structure - or “movement DNA”).
Once trained, groups are autonomous and can organise their own actions within the movement DNA. This form of “distributed organisation” avoids the pitfalls of centralised models, release’s the initiative and creativity of participants, whilst safeguarding what is at the heart of the movement.
A schedule of escalation, focuses around mass direct actions and disobediences. These create win-win scenarios for the movement through dilemma actions - if the authorities choose to repress them this triggers further mobilisation by provoking solidarity. If no action is taken then political ground is lost and our success encourages more to join us. This is the path to achieving our objectives. Mass sacrifice and disruption challenges public perception until many more agree that profound political change is needed.
Additionally, as participants in this system we need to counter its’ effects on us. We need to build this into how we function as a movement, with a foundation of reverence and gratitude. This is also about making actions fun where possible, taking care of each other and building alliances.
We will make use of further tactics such as:
- Conditional commitment which enables people to give a provisional commitment to act if a certain number of other people will also act with them.
- Attrition Actions - when undertaken by lots of people / over many iterations, gradually wear down the opponent’s resources. Medium sized organisations are especially vulnerable.
- Swarm Actions - small semi-autonomous activist groups doing similar actions without needing to be coordinated by any centralising organisation
- Polarisation is the practice of asking the public which side are you on, - though it seems and is divisive it can be a useful tool– symbolic actions can be used to create polarity.
- Open Spaces- create a safe space where people can talk freely with each other about what is bothering them politically. Helps them to get stuff off their chest, clarify their own thoughts and the interaction with others breaks down sense of isolation.
- The Olympic principle- 30 small improvements added to up to enough total improvement to beat the other teams, so look at elements of the micro design for improvements.
- The Sequencing Principle – between action and organisation. The idea is to do a bit of one then a bit of the other and build up sequences of moves between them.
- The Investment Principle- actions can build up the resources for future success. Consider the “return on investment” for a given action- what it cost to do versus what was achieved.
Making room for everyone to join in – keeping a feeling of togetherness
As we design actions we need to include a spectrum of ways for people to participate:
- Higher risk elements that inspire and create the story
- Medium / low risk elements – peaceful mischief or acts of solidarity (e.g. a protest choir)
- Actions that people can take who are busy with caring duties, live rurally, etc
- Taking account of people’s skills, whilst encouraging people to try new things