10 episodes

The Craft of Campaigns podcast highlights stories and lessons from issue-based action campaigns, beyond one-off mobilizations and single election cycles. Campaigns channel grassroots energy to win concrete victories, build winning coalitions, and topple pillars of power standing in the way of justice. In each episode, we interview organizers about how a campaign unfolded, strategy decisions, and lessons for our current moment.

Craft of Campaigns Training for Change

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

The Craft of Campaigns podcast highlights stories and lessons from issue-based action campaigns, beyond one-off mobilizations and single election cycles. Campaigns channel grassroots energy to win concrete victories, build winning coalitions, and topple pillars of power standing in the way of justice. In each episode, we interview organizers about how a campaign unfolded, strategy decisions, and lessons for our current moment.

    S1E9: Justin J. Pearson on campaigning to stop a pipeline headed for a Black neighborhood in Memphis

    S1E9: Justin J. Pearson on campaigning to stop a pipeline headed for a Black neighborhood in Memphis

    You’ll hear about how Justin’s grandmothers’ stories inspired him to fight (9:02), the history of Boxtown in Southwest Memphis (11:31), what happened when two oil companies proposed to build a pipeline through that part of town (13:30), and how they tried to avoid answering questions until they started to get blowback for calling the neighborhood “the point of least resistance” (16:27), why five people at a rally against the pipeline decided to start a new organization  (18:13), how going door to door and working the phones helped them finally find homeowners who wanted to take on the companies (21:56), and partnered with largely-white climate groups and legal advocates to point of leverage to stop the pipeline (31:33),  and even though the companies’ put a local NAACP leader on the payroll (35:15) ended up finally activating local elected officials to get involved (36:29) and even national influencers like Al Gore (39:46), what it felt like to “get the call” they had won (56:48) and how they successfully passed new laws to keep out future pipelines (58:15).   
    Justin J. Pearson is President and founder of Memphis Community Against Pollution (MCAP) and co-founder of Memphis Community Against the Pipeline which is a Black-led environmental justice organization that successfully defeated a multi-billion dollar company's crude oil pipeline project that would have poisoned Memphis’s drinking water and stolen land from the community. He is the Co-Lead and the Strategic Advisor for the Poor People's Campaign: National Call for Moral Revival. And one week ago he won a special election to replace Tennessee State Representative Barbara Cooper, who passed away last year and was an early ally to MCAP in their campaign. Next week he’ll become one of the state’s youngest elected officials. 

    Read a summary of this campaign on our website or at The Forge. 
    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    S1E8: Daniel Hunter on never using the same tactic twice, undoing a “done deal” in Philadelphia

    S1E8: Daniel Hunter on never using the same tactic twice, undoing a “done deal” in Philadelphia

    In this episode we hear about how billionaire casino developers were threatening two working class neighborhoods (7:39), leading to a new campaigning organization to try NOT directly organizing against casinos but instead to win over more support by focusing on a lack of transparency (9:25), and doing it by designing tactics that used “show not tell” principles to create drama and suspense (11:11), and then designing subsequent short campaigns around possible leverage points to keep casinos away (20:15), but refusing to give up when they lost repeatedly in the courts (24:10), and why it was important to refuse to hold a march or rally and limit themselves to new tactics rather than use any that had worked in the past (27:34) and how a 17-year-old campaign feels especially relevant today (38:35). 
    For a description of each Casino-Free campaign you can read their direct action manual, and this calendar of Operation Transparency actions. You can also check out Daniel’s book, Strategy and Soul.

    Read more about this episode on our website and at The Forge.

    Daniel Hunter is the Associate Director for Global Training at 350.org, where he has developed numerous open source training materials available in many languages. He has trained thousands of activists, from ethnic minorities in Burma, pastors in Sierra Leone, to independence activists in northeast India, and has written multiple books, including the "Climate Resistance Handbook" and "Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow,” and he was an architect of Choose Democracy, a campaign to stop a coup in advance of the 2020 election. 


    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 42 min
    S1E7: Caitlin Breedlove on taking on Amazon’s price-gouging, using campaigns as “political identity formation moments”

    S1E7: Caitlin Breedlove on taking on Amazon’s price-gouging, using campaigns as “political identity formation moments”

    In this episode, you’ll hear about how an observation at a Walmart led to a short campaign against Amazon (10:02), about how Caitlin started to reconsider the idea of working “wide and shallow (26:54) and how Women’s March thinks about campaigns as “political identity formation moments” (30:34), works to combat elitism (36:02) and the difference between “sprint feminism” and “marathon feminism” (52:11).

    Caitlin Breedlove is the Deputy Executive Director at the Women's March and also serves as the Movement Strategist in Residence at Auburn Seminary. Since 2003, she has been organizing, writing and building movements in red states: working across race, class, culture, gender, sexuality and faith. She is a current board member and the former Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), and is also the former Campaign Director of Standing on the Side of Love at the Unitarian Universalist Association. Caitlin began her work in the South doing popular education and organizer training at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee. and is the former host of the podcast ‘Fortification‘, which interviewed movement leaders and organizers about their spiritual lives.

    Check out a writeup on this campaign at our website and at The Forge.




    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 57 min
    S1E6: Will Tanzman on ending cash bail in Illinois, how Chicago organizers built a statewide coalition & spent two years defending a legislative win

    S1E6: Will Tanzman on ending cash bail in Illinois, how Chicago organizers built a statewide coalition & spent two years defending a legislative win

    You’ll hear about how this campaign grew out of a national conversation sparked by publication of The New Jim Crow (7:59), the initial local campaign targeting a Chicago prosecutor (11:12) which then got a boost from uprisings against the murder of LaQuan McDonald (12:26), shifting to targeting a local judge (20:26), and then building a statewide coalition to take on the State Supreme Court  (24:06), how they handled the growing pains within the coalition that came along with that (32:51), how they channeled energy from the 2020 uprisings to win a historic vote (35:53), and then fought back against a targeted misinformation campaign in 2022 (43:16). 
    Will Tanzman is executive director of The People’s Lobby, where he’s been an organizer since 2008. During his time there The People’s Lobby’s has successfully raised the minimum wage in a number of Cook County suburbs from $8.25 to $13 and led a campaign of mass actions and civil disobedience that played a role in the closure of $125 million in corporate tax loopholes in Illinois. Will grew up in Chicago and began organizing as a high school student in the Chicago Public Schools, where he started an organization of students across the state working for a more just education system, successfully changing citywide standardized testing policies and practices.

    Check out a writeup on this campaign at our website and at The Forge.


    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 59 min
    S1E5: Debt Collective organizers on crafting campaigns against an idea and generating “inside game” leverage by keeping up “outside” pressure

    S1E5: Debt Collective organizers on crafting campaigns against an idea and generating “inside game” leverage by keeping up “outside” pressure

    No single executive order by President Biden may be as consequential as the one he signed in August, that may soon lead to forty million people having all of their student debt wiped away. But most of the stories chronicling the path to mainstream acceptance of student debt cancellation leave out the first five years the organizers were largely ridiculed and ignored... until they launched the nation’s first student debt strike, and ended up at a bargaining table with the Secretary of Education. 


    In this episode, we’ll hear about the campaign’s beginning at Occupy Wall Street (16:01) and its “scouting” phases (13:20); how they used crowdfunded medical, bail and student debt cancellation as an outreach tactic ( 13:42); “dropping a bomb” in a red box on Obama Administration officials (29:00); how they kept up outside pressure even when they were at the bargaining table (32:12); how their basebuilding and casework influenced the 2019 Democratic presidential primaries (36:13); focusing on Black women borrowers (43:25) and building a broader coalition to keep the pressure on (43:37). 

    You can watch some of the Debt Collective's actions, referenced in the episode, on their website.
    Ann Bowers is a former Corinthian Colleges Inc student and organizer with the Debt Collective. 
    Eleni Schirmer is a writer, educator and organizer. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Nation and Boston Review, and elsewhere. She currently works as a research associate with the Future of Finance Initiative at UCLA's Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, and organizes with The Debt Collective. 

    Check out a writeup on this campaign at our website and at The Forge.






    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 55 min
    S1E4: Mary Hooks & Kate Shapiro on ending bail in ATL & the Black Mama’s Bail Outs

    S1E4: Mary Hooks & Kate Shapiro on ending bail in ATL & the Black Mama’s Bail Outs

    What does it mean to look at an issue like “bail” and “the criminalizaton of LGBTQ people” through the lens of a campaigner? That was the question for Southerners on New Ground in the lead-up to launching their Free From Fear campaign framework, which they used to pilot successful campaigns to end wealth-based incarceration in the City of Atlanta - which reduced the jail population by over 90% - and inspired the Black Mama’s Bail Outs tactic that has since been replicated all over the United States.  
    In this episode, we’ll hear about how they realized they were “doing the most” in their first campaign in Durham, NC ( 13:44), organizing around ‘quality of life’ vs life or death issues (15:30), how agitation from organizers in Ferguson encouraged them to start their own campaign in Atlanta (19:22), ‘glitter bombing’ a judge during a campaign against fines and fees (25:55), landing on two regional demands via a debate between SONG members (35:06), developing a new tactic to help SONG chapters test campaign work and learn more about bail (35:49), how campaign work makes a different kind of community-building possible (1:04:10), the importance of making campaigns “a street fight” (58:21) on grassroots organizers’ terms and avoiding getting “out-paced” by advocates and attorneys (52:06). 

    Mary Hooks is a Black, lesbian, feminist, mother and Field Secretary on the field team for the Movement for Black Lives. Mary is the former co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG). Mary joined SONG as a member in 2009 and began organizing with the organization in 2010. Growing up in a family that migrated from Mississippi to the Midwest, Mary’s commitment to liberation is rooted in her experiences and the impacts of the War on Drugs on her community.
    Kate Shapiro was born in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where she still lives with her daughter. She has had the great honor to work in the service of US Southern freedom movements for gender, sexual, racial and economic justice for the last 16+ years. She is a grassroots organizer, trainer, popular educator and strategist. She has worked at Women’s March since 2020 and was on staff at SONG in a variety of roles for 8 years before that.

    SONG’s Atlanta campaign team wrote a reflection about the campaign. Kate Shapiro and other SONG leaders also developed the organizing curriculum "We Don't Want to be Stars," which they discuss in the interview.

    Check out a writeup for this episode on our website or at The Forge.




    Support the showVisit www.trainingforchange.org for workshops and training tools, or to make a donation. Follow us on social media @tfctrains. The Craft of Campaigns podcast is made possible by grassroots donors. We welcome your feedback; if you like these episodes, please consider donating, to keep the show running. This podcast is hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés and produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier.

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

B Loewe ,

Terrific behind the scenes of making change

With the world working for fewer and fewer people, more and more of us need to get involved to make change.

This podcast gets some movement leaders who have achieved and failed to share behind the scenes lessons that help us all do better.

Really terrific and helpful and even entertaining along the way.

K Pentz ,

Love the work you do

Really excited to hear what y’all create.

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