We seek consensus. When unanimity can’t be reached in a workable timeframe we decide by a two-thirds vote. This process applies within teams and committees as well as the General Meeting. Regional and Local Organizing Committees will have latitude to develop and adapt the campaign to local conditions and opportunities.
Maine Public Power is a project of the Maine Commons Committee of Maine DSA. Our structure will consist of a pyramid of organizing committees (local, regional, and state), plus a set of teams that provide specific supports such as data management and fundraising. The Maine Commons Committee will serve as our formal connection to Maine DSA, and our General Meetings will bring everyone together. However, throughout the structure, the agency of the individual to take effective action will be our central focus.
While email, Slack, texting, and the like will necessarily play some role in our work, reliance on them as our primary methods of moving people to action would guarantee that we remain a small group of overstretched people who have slight impact. The proposed structure follows the example of well-organized unions who create high-participation organizations by building structures of direct person-to-person relationships. Everyone in the organizing structure has their set of people they talk to, like a phone tree but with two-way, relationship-building communication. In addition to depending heavily on one-on-one conversations, the success of this approach ultimately depends on identifying and developing the leadership of individuals who have significant social networks they can reliably mobilize to action.
This will be our core organizing skill. We will use it for:
- Building connections within the group
- Moving people to take action
- Providing support to volunteers
- Two-way communication throughout the organizing structure
- Building skill/seeking and providing mentorship
- Canvassing to build support for the consumer-owned utility
- Recruiting people to volunteer or take on new responsibilities
Specific skills we will all develop to use in one-on-ones include:
- Making empathic connections
- Telling personal stories
- Curiosity and listening
- Brainstorming/problem solving
- Framing useful questions
- Making asks
Our work will likely culminate in a months-long effort to move Mainers to vote in favor of a COU. Every skill we develop in building our organizing structure will serve us as we turn to door-knocking and phone banking using deep canvassing methods. Deep canvassing involves building connection 1-1, sharing personal stories, listening, and asking questions that move people to act for the common good.