Across the South, many facets of our existence and quality of life are being attacked and eroded by capitalism, partricharcy, and fascism. The continuous attacks on the autonomy of our bodies by legislators, the ever-growing effects of climate change, the crumbling of public infrastructure, the displacement of our communities through privatized gentrification, and the increased militarization of law enforcement are just a few of the ongoing conditions that our people are facing. Now more than ever, there is an outcry from communities to come together to practice governance, protect and defend our people, and share resources through mutual aid. While these attacks can feel overwhelming and insurmountable, we must hold to the knowledge that have what we need to get organized!
Two weeks ago, the SMA gathered with over 200 freedom fighters from across the US and global South for “The Power of the People's Movement Assembly Organizing Intensive”. This 2-day intensive was designed to train up on skills, build relationships, deepen our capacities, and learn how we can connect our strategies to the annual action plan produced by the Southern Movement Assembly process.
During the first day of the Organizing Intensive we began by exploring the history behind the people’s movement assembly process, followed by an in depth roundtable discussion with southern organizers to hear examples of how local people’s movement assemblies have impacted the lives of people in places like the Republic of Congo, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Kentucky.
“Assemblies are places for building relationships and communities, not just doing the work. To build community means we have to recognize people’s role in the work, not to perpetuate domination. We must continually engage in relationship building.” - April Taylor (LPD Accountability Lexington, KY
After grounding in the methodology and power behind people's movement assemblies, we ended the day with participants splitting off into a series of skill share sessions to train up and get equipped with resources to host local PMAs on frontline issues geared to address the experiences of their communities.
- Facilitation 101 - Watch here
- PMA Agenda Development
- Organizing PMAs (Before, During and After) - Watch here
- Organizing Creative Spaces for Virtual and Physical Assemblies
- PMA Fundamentals - Watch here
On the second day participants were challenged to put their skills to practice by hosting a mini PMA in real time. In small groups, organizers gathered based on frontline issues to answer the questions: “What are we facing on this frontline?, “What is our vision for the South on this frontline?”, “What are the types of People’s Movement Assemblies that would be strategic to organize?”, and “What are the first steps we need to take?” After naming the consciousness, visions, and strategies it was now time to practice synthesis.
The synthesis process in the PMA has been used by radical social movements as a guiding tool to make collective decisions and agreements towards action. Representatives from the frontline groups joined together to listen for the weight, volume, and frequency of the highlights and themes that came out of the frontline reportbacks. At the close of the Organizing Intensive, Southern Freedom Fighters expressed feeling energized and inspired to host a local people’s movement assembly in their community.
“What stood out to me in the organizing extensive: Lots of awesome and knowledgeable people around organizing, the toolkits, and the interaction and sharing of stories” - Maria Victoire, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
Access the Organizing Intensive Slideshow
Groups or organizations that are interested, or already planning, to hold a People's Movement Assembly please complete this brief form to notify SMA organizers.