jump to navigation

WelcomeArt 1

I am so glad you found this website.  It’s full of  information, resources, photos, stories and more from past movements, campaigns and actions.  I hope it will be useful to you as an organizer, student, activist, journalist or researcher.

This website is based on the notes I use for training.  They reflect lessons from 35 years of organizing. I feel very privileged for all the opportunities I’ve had to learn.  Weaving together work within and between the student, environmental, labor, immigrant, anti-war and global justice grassroots movements has made me a very wealthy woman (not financially unfortunately!).

These training notes are now divided up onto tabs corresponding to what I call the “building blocks” for change. Understanding these building blocks gives us an ability to think critically and constructively about our work. These notes continue to evolve as I do and are not the be all and end all of my thoughts.

In addition to having an analysis, organizers need a wide range of skills and access to the right tools. When I was a young organizer I decided to develop my skills in every aspect of organizing, so I’ve gathered lots of tools and resources over the years.  Many have now been added to this website, with more on the way.   My hope is that more people will choose to develop themselves into effective organizers.  We need more people out there fighting injustice and doing it in effective and just ways.  Speaking of justice!  This website was made possible by Samantha Miller, an impressive young organizer and ally who has worked diligently to bring this vision to reality. Thank you and may we all benefit from it!!!!

for peace with justice,

Lisa Fithian

Building Blocks for Change

Power, Interest, Strategy, Campaigns, Actions and Organizing

A good organizer pays attention.  In a society that teaches us to be unconscious we have to work hard at waking up.  Conscious organizing means acting from a place of awareness and clear intent, with the consequences assessed in advance. This awareness is key to developing our power so that we can create and live in the kind of world we want (or at least win some victory in the problems we face.)

Over the years I have learned there is no right or wrong way to solve our problems or manifest  that world we want, but some ways are more effective than others.   Each community has it’s own issues, cultures, leaders and practices. Paying attention to and learning the interests of the community you are working in will go a long way in developing clear goals and an effective strategy .  Once you can articulate the problem,  offer a realistic  solution and have a plan that is credible and tells a story, people will be more likely inspired to action

This plan must take into account the interests, fears and resources of you and your opponents. The strategy, manifesting in campaigns and escalating creative actions, will build your power. Engage people’s imagination – add color, music, food and art. Root the work in spirit and song and a vision of what can be. When we weave this all together our struggle becomes alive and we start building movements. These building blocks for change have been successful through the ages in communities and cultures around the world.


To all the organizers, activists, visionaries and healers who have come before me, I am deeply grateful for your work. You are the foundation on which we stand; you have laid the ground on which we walk.

I am grateful to those who have come after me. You carry on the struggle and have been proven to be some of my best teachers.

I want to thank all my allies, seen and unseen, who have supported and guided me in my action and service.

I believe there is no such thing as an original idea. What you find here is not new. It has come before through other people, times and places. The work and lessons of so many inform these notes and my work. I have harvested and woven together the bits in pieces in a way that I hope is accessible. As we are all channels for wisdom and truth, I hope you will take these notes and evolve them to serve yourself and others as well.

There are far to many over the years to list, but it is the people, the music and the movements–the civil rights, labor, youth, women, queer, immigrant, peace, environmental and global justice movements that continue to inspire me to keep organizing and taking action to amass the power we need to create the just world we want.

Please, take what is useful and leave the rest…