5 Ideas About Low Intensity Organizing

Low Intensity Organizing (LIO) is an organizing paradigm rooted in mobilization examples from national liberation movements. Contained within the national liberation model is the idea social change comes directly from political education and cultural development that is not myopically focused on single issues but rather on developing a critical analysis and critique of the colonial situation. The main goal of LIO is to build broad politico-cultural fronts reconnecting sections of alienated parts of society to each other in the struggle against colonial oppression.

Low Intensity Organizing focuses on long term change. Change does not happen overnight.  The ability to confront entrenched beliefs and attitudes about each other takes long-term education. 

Low Intensity Organizing rejects single issue organizing. Single issue organizing is at its core reformist.  While it can be effective in terms of addressing a problem i.e. traffic lights, union drive or an electoral campaign what inevitably ends up happening is the build up of energy is allowed (encouraged in the case of electoral campaigns) to dissipate until the next round of issues is raised. 

Low Intensity Organizing is educational. Because the focus is not on generating action, the main purpose of LIO is to develop long-term educational programs within communities.  Programs that focus on strategies for challenging not only apathy but also that create opportunities for popular education campaigns.  Education produces analysis and critique.  These things can only be produced after prolonged discussion and political activity. 

Low Intensity Organizing builds community. Transformative organizing schemas like LIO begin with the belief those organizing share the fate of the community where they live and work.  The problem with issue based organizing is that it does not put individuals in true ideologically conflict since compromise is the stated goal.  LIO builds community through the production of theoretical knowledge and its application - PRAXIS.

Low Intensity Organizing builds dual power structures. Building effective and lasting institutions is important any struggle for liberation.  One of the reasons organizing and organizers have a bad rap is its inherent power to build movements that not only challenge the status quo but plan for long term change.

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