Online Author Talks for Organizers

A series of talks and trainings by authors of some of the most important recently-published movement-building books.

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As organizers and activists, it’s not always easy to stay abreast of the latest thinking and writing about movement-building. Yet it’s vital to bringing more wisdom, creativity and inspiration to this work! And connecting to others deeply committed to movement-building can help us re-charge.

These are author talks for some of the books listed here: Great Reads for Organizers. We hope you enjoy them. If you want to be notified of the next series of live author talks, make sure you're on SMT's email list or sign up.

Re:Imagining Change - How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World

by Doyle Canning and Patrick Reinsborough

As the resistance fights back in the era of “alternative facts,” making meaning through effective framing has never been more important. Progressive movements face threats in every arena, and we must remember that while the facts may be on our side, we need to tell our stories in ways that are strategic, compelling, and actionable.

Watch this Author Talk to:

  • Learn about narrative power analysis and the elements of a winning campaign story;
  • Reflect on inspiring examples of effective framing and storytelling from contemporary movements like #BlackLivesMatter, climate justice, anti-war and migrant justice;
  • Get tools to strengthen your own narrative strategies.

Doyle Canning and Patrick Reinsborough are co-founders of the Center for Story-based Strategy and have several decades of combined experience supporting movements for racial, economic, and ecological justice.

Erin Malone, Communications Director for Forward Together and long-time online/offline organizer, MCs this talk.

More information on this book. To order this book at half the cost, use coupon "change" here.

Organizing for Social Change

by Midwest Academy.

If you want to change the world, you need to organize.

Watch this Author Talk to:

  • Learn the principles of organizing from the leading manual on organizing for social change;
  • Join our cross-generational discussion on the foundational principles of advocacy and direct action organizing.

Heather Booth has been an organizer since the early civil rights and women's movement. She has directed or advised such major campaigns as financial reform (CFPB), immigration reform, marriage equality, tax fairness, health care reform and founded the Midwest Academy organizer training center.

Carmen Berkley intersects the issues of communities of color and women into campaigns that improve peoples lives. She serves as the Managing Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

More information on this book.

Rules for Revolutionaries

by Becky Bond and Zack Exley

The most innovative thing to talk about here is decoupling paid staff from the organizing process, which allows virtually unlimited scaling in a movement, because of the vast ocean of volunteers to draw from. Watch this Author Talk to:

  • Learn about the way we’re setting volunteers up to make commitments to each other instead of to paid staff;
  • Learn ways that ensure follow-through on hard, scary things like hosting phone banks and leading canvasses—and all the tools and techniques that allow for all this to scale massively.

Zack Exley has been a leader in online fundraising and engagement for nearly 20 years. Most recently, Zack served as a full-time senior adviser on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and was an architect of the campaign's national, volunteer-driven grassroots campaign.

Christine Miranda, organizer with Movimiento Cosecha and SMT Staff Partner, comments.

More information on this book.

How to Jumpstart Your Union: Lessons From the Chicago Teachers

A handful of rank-and-file teachers organized themselves, ran for office, charted a new direction for the 27,000-member Chicago Teachers Union, and led a citywide strike that became a model for unions across the country.

Watch this Author Talk to learn how they did it! Discover the steps CTU leaders are still using to:

  • Engage thousands of members to tackle problems on the job;
  • Work with their communities;
  • Spread their lessons beyond the city of Chicago.

Kim Goldaum is a Teacher, Elementary Functional VP of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU1), and Member of Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE)
Samantha Winslow is the Co-Director of Labor Notes and is a former union organizer.

More information on this book.

Secrets of a Successful Organizer

by Alexandra Bradbury, Mark Brenner, and Jane Slaughter

This session will show you how to fight back where you work and win. The book and free, downloadable training materials can help.

Watch this Author Talk to:

  • Identify the key issues in your workplace;
  • Build campaigns to tackle them;
  • Anticipate management’s tricks and traps;
  • Inspire your co-workers to stand together despite their fears.

Samantha Winslow is the Co-Director of Labor Notes and is a former union organizer.
Bianca Cunningham is a union activist and organizer for CWA District 1.

More information on this book.

Your Instructor

Micky Jordan
Micky Jordan

Micky is a Black queer and genderqueer visual artist and organizer who has called Richmond, Virginia home for over 20 years. He’s a mostly self-taught designer who has developed his design work with a range of organizing groups. In his current role at Southerners on New Ground (SONG) Micky does both design and larger organizational communications. He joined SONG as a member in 2014, then joined staff to lead campaign work around police accountability and continue to build SONG’s base. Through his work with SONG, the Virginia Anti-Violence Project and the LGBT youth center Side by Side, Micky brings in his experiences as a Black queer and trans organizer. He loves art, media, stand up comedy and dreaming about building a safer, beautiful, more affirming world for trans and queer people of color to not just survive in, but thrive in.

Recordings and Materials

  Re:Imagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World
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days after you enroll
  "Rules for Revolutionaries"
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days after you enroll
  "How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers"
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days after you enroll
  "Secrets of a Successful Organizer"
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
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