When I say learned, a lot of this is stuff I knew already, but which has become a lot more starkly clear through the Campaign.
- Talking to people is key to building any kind of resistance. There’s no real substitute for knocking on people’s doors or stopping them in the street and communicating your ideas. Things like handing out flyers and papers, while much easier, just don’t have the same effect as a face-to-face conversation. You also get to learn a lot about the level of politicisation, and the language it’s expressed in, outside of the activist bubble.
- How to talk to people. This is essential reading for anyone doing any kind of organising. The biggest revelation for me was that listening is much more important than talking.
- There’s too many of us for the State to handle. This sounds a bit like Communism 101, and I’ve known this intellectually for years now, but it’s only recently, through walking around working-class neighbourhoods (even in a small city) and seeing just how many people there are out there that I’ve started to feel that revolutionary change is actually a pretty realistic prospect (if we do our work properly). If we become ungovernable, even in a relatively small way like boycotting an unfair tax, the State actually doesn’t have the resources to govern us anymore.
- Democracy is strategically important and not just in the sense that our organisations should reflect the kind of society we want to create, but that only through participatory democracy can we build an effective campaign, because only grassroots democratic decision-making gives the campaign the benefit of the creativity and intelligence and experiences of a broad mass of people.
- Some people have really annoying letterboxes. I don’t get why people have letterboxes that have that weird carpetty stuff in them (and sometimes two flaps). Surely all of their post gets scrunched up and ruined like my flyers did. Also, some people hide their letter boxes in random places around their garden. Also, I’m more scared of dogs than I realised.
Check out: the Campaign Against The Household & Water Taxes website.