Skip to main content

This blog is cross-posted at

One of the most important lessons we've learned over the last four years is that we cannot sit on our political laurels, that we must vigorously pursue public policy goals. Neither President Obama nor the Democratic Senate can make anything happen by themselves.

Of course, that doesn't mean nothing can happen. It only means that we must work and fight and struggle and organize for those policy goals that would make a more just America! We must rally Americans to our side and build the elements of a potentially broad-based mass movement.

Over the next few days and/or weeks we will discuss a policy agenda, but first let's discuss the elements of movement that we can work on immediately which could take root and blossom into a powerful social movement. What follows is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive:

    - There must be broad, popular, progressive consensus around the goal(s).
    - There must be major organizing around the goal.
    - There must be grassroots, organic leadership. Movement cannot be imposed.
    - Movement must take and maintain the moral high ground.
    - Movement must allow for creativity, particularly if that creativity arises from culture.
    - Movement must allow for spontaneity.

Please feel free to add to this list in comments.

If we think of recent movements we can see these elements, the very recent movement to overcome voter suppression where both individuals and our organizations fought to allow all Americans to vote, the movement of women in the last election to protect women's rights, the movement of all sorts of Americans to defeat the awful and obscene power of money.

If you can think of other elements of movement or examples of recent movements please send them to me through the contact page on my website.


Follow @StewartAcuff on Twitter!
Connect with Stewart Acuff on Facebook!

Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
Get the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site