LABOUR ORGANISING ACADEMY
Organising our Communities
An organising taskforce with roots in every corner of the country to develop the party’s membership and transform how Labour campaigns. Labour was founded as a party of the majority, and must engage the majority with our values, and our commitment to building a fairer Britain.
The vast expansion in Labour membership since September 2015 requires a re-assessment of our campaigning strategy and tactics before the next general election. Our new members and the skills, connections, energy and contributions they bring enable us to pursue new forms of political organising, and build on existing work. From the National Council of Labour Colleges in the interwar years, to the community organising efforts of Movement for Change and David Miliband, our party has a rich history of transformative initiatives to empower people.
Our current approach needs renewal. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign is announcing plans to transform Labour’s campaigning culture with an Organising Innovation Taskforce to incubate ideas and gather expertise. The project will enable Labour’s membership to apply our values and become a dynamic, meaningful, campaigning presence in every community in Britain. It will relentlessly focus on winning elections and the battle of ideas, underpinned by engaging people directly to win hearts and minds to an agenda of hope.
We are committing to:
■ Convene an Organising Innovation Task Force, bringing together experts in organising and campaigning from across the Labour movement to develop a strategy to hone the skills and campaigning abilities of Labour members. The Organising Innovation Taskforce will gather expertise from successful progressive campaigns and organisations at home and across the world. It will build on work developed under previous Labour leaderships on community organising and the modernisation of Labour’s campaigning techniques. And it will lead on the establishment of Labour Organising Academies.
■ The establishment of Labour Organising Academies across the country, which will employ education and training staff, and work with existing educational institutions alongside experts and successful campaigns, to deliver organising skills and training underpinned by Labour values to tens of thousands of members as we prepare for the next General Election.
■ The enrolment of party members who wish to gain new skills and commit to transforming their own community, into modern organising and campaigning training. The ambition would be to offer opportunities for further accredited specialist courses, from digital organising, campaign-coding, digital days, community listening campaigns, long-term community organising, and refreshing voter-ID operations to properly engage voters on the doorstep. Alongside – crucially – expanding the capacity of the new organising Academies by recruiting new trainers from within the membership, who in turn can train people in their communities growing our movement.
■ A significant targeted campaign fund and additional organising focus on post-industrial communities, including but not exclusive to areas that face a significant threat from UKIP. This would be a long term commitment, focussed on rebuilding trust in and support for Labour amongst voters living in post-industrial communities.
The programme will be developed in detail after the leadership election, but these aims will form the basis of a strategy that gives members the confidence to speak to friends, colleagues, families and communities, and engage them with a Labour vision of how society can be run. Labour is now large enough, and financially healthy enough, to consider embarking on such a project. Our growing resources will be deployed to demonstrate that local campaigning can bring meaningful change, and give power back to those that feel powerless.
In its initial stage, each Labour Organising Academy would be tasked with providing:
This is to ensure members are equipped to run a successful field campaign, whether at an election or on an important issue, whether on the doorstep or by phone, and can deliver persuasive strategies that engage people, high quality materials, and ensure volunteers are provided with a supportive and useful infrastructure that can allow them to contribute their best to Labour’s work in our communities.
The training will support members to listen to, engage with and persuade people, and give members the confidence to get involved in grassroots Labour activities, contact and recruit new members and organise community campaigns on local issues. It will also assist members in being a source of information and expertise in order to help us formulate strategy, policy and narratives on local, regional and national scales.
Through this work our party can be a real presence in local community life and convince those who have been left behind that they do have the power to transform society.
Further opportunities for member development, including accredited courses in:
■ Media and communications training; to assist members in feeling confident with taking part in interviews, writing campaign materials and acting as spokespeople for Labour
■ Social, digital and new media training; to recruit and develop a new generation of digital campaigners that can power high quality social media output, and use new and emerging technologies to serious effect, acting as an Academy that can deliver the most modern and effective election campaign ever.
■ Policy and politics training; to ensure members understand how local, regional and Westminster government works, a background to our movement and its aims, how Labour’s structures, committees and candidate selection processes work, and how to understand, develop and contribute to Labour’s policies.
■ Training members to deliver all of the above to new members.
The new programme will:
■ Bring together existing best practice by collating the work current education, leadership and candidate training programmes, to ensure what is already working gets the support it needs.
■ Commit to an all-member review of existing election campaign tactics, to gather a database of opinion and experience on how we can improve, and support our campaigners.
■ Examine the potential for campaign conferences that promote skill-sharing and equip a new generation of Labour activists with the skills to plan and run our elections on the ground.
■ Work with education institutions and education departments in the labour movement to offer a series of courses, delivered locally or online, available to Labour members that allow members to gain professional qualifications while learning new campaigning and organising skills.
■ Ensure maximum opportunities for women and BAME members and other harder to reach constituencies to benefit from the programmes.
Jeremy Corbyn said:
“Labour is now Europe’s biggest political party. That is a part of change in progressive politics around the world and that must lead to organisational and campaigning change. This plan puts the party’s more than half-a-million members at the front of our strategy to win the next general election. It represents the single biggest commitment by any political party in British history to aid in the learning and training of its members. Under my leadership, our membership will become an even-more active force for good in every single community, ensuring that Labour mounts the most successful electoral campaigns imaginable. The size of our membership means that the Labour party will be a visible presence in every neighbourhood, urban or rural, in every part of our country, not just at election times but all the time. Our members work tirelessly to build a decent society, and will benefit immensely from proper investment and support for their work. We’re committing to a bold, modern and brand-new strategy for developing Labour membership with campaign strategy skills, digital, new media and creative expertise, a thorough understanding of how the political process works, and professional communications training so we can build the most visible and dynamic general election campaign ever. Our Taskforce and academies will develop the confidence and campaign skills of tens of thousands of members. Our party’s membership will transform how Labour campaigns, so we can win the next general election and rebuild and transform Britain so that no-one, and no community, is left behind.”