We live in a time where people crave change. Galling inequality, environmental destruction, and the erosion of our democratic rights and freedoms call for a new kind of politics – a politics of participation where people can come together and take part in the development of policies which influence them. The question everyone is asking is “how can this be done”.
The Radical Think Tank aims to create a collective of researchers, activists and community organisers. It will research into grassroots campaigns (both past and present) in order to discover effective mechanisms to achieve this bottom up transformative political change. More generally it will research practical strategies and processes to create radical political participation.
The Radical Think Tank is an organisation that intends to be embedded in the communities in which it operates. We are a think and do tank. This means our intention is not simply to publish papers, but rather to popularise this effective knowledge and bring it to the heart of grassroots campaigning. We are already working with a number of campaigns across London to bring about more effective political organisation and strategy and to empower them to democratically develop approaches which best enable them to achieve their aims
We are broadly concerned with two areas:
- Effective democratic organisational structures: Successful radical collective action requires democratic structures which maximise participation at all levels. Groups often seek to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and wind up making the same mistakes which have been made thousands of times before. Our aim is to draw examples of best practice from current and past campaigns and movements whilst continuing to monitor, evaluate and improve their design. By sharing this knowledge with campaign groups we seek to overcome the tendency to ‘start from scratch’ and instead to have groups learn from what has been proven to work well and use this information to democratically decide how best to organise themselves.
- Developing strategies which lead to success: Winning campaigns requires an intelligent and holistic political strategy. Whilst specific campaign design is to be decided democratically by those actually involved in the campaign, history provides us with a wealth of lessons of what an effective political strategy necessarily must consider. It is our intention to make groups aware of these lessons and considerations to inform the development of strategies which are likely to lead to success.
If there is one value which guides us in the research we do and the advice we give it is that we are concerned with finding out what works. Our recommendations aren’t motivated by ideology (unless we consider equality, democracy and justice), but rather with what is empirically proven to lead to success. As such we will test and monitor various organisational procedures and campaign strategies and tactics to find out what works best.
Radical think tank is starting work with radical grassroots campaigns – on issues such as tenant rents/evictions, causalisation, and inequality. It is already working with a number of campaigns in London. We are committed to working as a democratic collective and are looking for other researchers, students, activists, and community organisers to work with us to collectively assemble the data and do testing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to become involved.