THEORIES OF CHANGE
Strategy outlines what we need to do, why and how we’re going to smash it. A Theory of Change (ToC) describes why we think it’ll work - of course, the term “theory” means a Theory of Change can be wrong - but it’s our canniest guess considering the real, unpredictable world. And worth giving it some welly. Every ToC includes:
A Goal - what we aim to achieve
Activities - what we do
Assumptions - what we can’t influence but reckon is true so that the activities achieve the goals; but the world is unpredictable so ToCs must be often scrutinized.
Nonviolent Direct Action-Focused Theory of Change
Goal: Doh. Tis the Three demands
Civil disobedience: breaking laws at scale in a non-violent way
Movement building: mobilising the masses to our cause through actions, outreach - whatever it takes, and building alliances with other movements with similar goals
Establishing the relevant structures to operate in line with our theory of change (e.g. a Self-Organising System (SOS) and a regenerative culture)
Education: making the general public and decision-makers aware of the urgency of the Climate and Ecologic Emergency (CEE) - facts and causes.
We can combat bias, inertia, denial, and misinformation about the CEE through storytelling and creative actions
We can make it politically and economically more costly for the government to go on with “business as usual” when we are in mass protest mode, than to meet our three demands (it’s a “dilemma” strategy)
The public will generally sympathise with us rather than with the state due to our nonviolent, creative actions and the awareness we are morally in the right - 76% of the public in recent polling
Once the Three Demands are met, a Citizens’ Assembly will help create and legitimize the legislation we need to combat the CEE, and give politics and democracy a kick up the bottom.
An Ecology of Theories of Change Watch Mummy Gail here
A ToC needs friends - one vegan egg substitute in one basket is not savvy. Our world is complicated - governments across the globe are unique and challenging, cultures diverse, and the threats to our natural world vast, with ever-changing impacts. To be successful, our ToCs must be adaptive, multi-faceted and creative. We must hedge our bets. Find our allies.
Movement of Movements Theories of Change
It would be arrogant to not acknowledge that we are just one cog in a long-existing network of groups in the climate and environmental movement, each with their own ToCs. We aim to humbly work alongside them and to collectively boost our impact as part of a ‘movement ecology’ (groups working to a common cause as part of a larger change movement).
We are indebted to the work of XR UK Internationalist Solidarity Network for focusing on this movement-building, and during the last year they have worked hard to forge links and actions with those focusing on different parts of the CEE, often in different ways, both in the UK and in other areas of the world. Thank you.
We have also birthed our own Movement of Movements and we are inspired and grateful to those rebels who embraced their autonomy and passion to build their own movements: Amazon Rebellion, Animal Rebellion, Climate Emergency Centres, XR Fashion Action, Global Justice Bloc, the alliance of HS2 Rebellion, Money Rebellion, Ocean Rebellion, Plastics Rebellion, Rainbow Rebellion, Rewilding Rebellion, Trust the People, XR Unify, and XR Zero Waste.
Influencer-Focused Theory of Change
Goal: people in positions of power can be wooed over with the truth to help us achieve the legal, social and behavioural changes needed to achieve our goals
Activity: creatively pester individuals with influence e.g.people in the civil service, banking, media, celebrities or religious institutions, MPs and local councils; they can use their positions to influence large groups of people
Assumption: these magic folk will use their social power to change the course of their institutions, or influence the general public to join us. Wehey.
Personal Transformation-Focused Theory of Change
Goal: every person - in and out of XR - has the power to change and actively seek a more positive future. Collectively, this can affect large-scale change against our toxic system.
Activity: be the change you want to see in the world. By knowing our own impacts on the living world, we can reduce them. And we can inspire others with our living vision, through showcasing sustainable and regenerative practices. By educating ourselves beyond our own cultural experiences we can be enriched by indiginous ways of living, both in terms of community self-organising, and living in harmony with the earth. We can also explore with our own indigenous History to reconnect with our environment.
Assumption: Most people are great. And there are way more of us than the 1% oligarchs and tyrants. Are our government bad people? Or individuals also caught in a toxic system. Most people want social, planetary and global justice - so, we’ve got a lot of chatting and listening to do.
The Strategy Assembly discussed if the ToCs could be revisited and scrutinised, and if there was potential for developing new ToCs - this will be work in progress.
(Pst, read this, if intense theory is your thing: XR Summary Theory of Change)
Sigh, time-wasters... Watch this and then get back to me when you've fully digested the implications:
They're like Gandhi writing letters to Hitler & Mussolini and then being surprised that it didn't change their minds and make them seek out the way of peace & nonviolence - https://www.mkgandhi.org/letters/hitler_ltr1.htm