OWR is forming local chapters and, separately, we’re forming statewide workgroups. These two things – local chapters and statewide workgroups – are the major places within OWR for getting work done. As the organization develops in the future, we can add things and change things as needed (more on how to do this below).
Right now, there are six statewide workgroups and a seventh on the way. The six statewide workgroups are, in no particular order: Program, Students and Campus, Communications, Organization and Governance, Political Strategy, and Popular Education.
Here is some basic information on these and how you can plug in. They are listed in no particular order. You can join more than one if you want to. To join a workgroup, please go here:
There is a list of workgroups along the right side. Check the box next to the workgroup you’re interested in.
Are you into legislative programs or bill drafting? Cool. You’re made for the Program Workgroup! The point of this workgroup is to craft the state and local government expression of a strong progressive platform, inspired by the Sanders campaign (but not limited by it). We want to make a framework of supporting materials, like model ordinances, statute language, one-pagers, and policy briefs, for all kinds of audiences.
- A city- and village-level platform
- A township-level platform
- A county-level platform
- A school district-level platform
- A state-level platform
- Some kind of overarching unifying document for a cross-jurisdictional platform
- Model language for policy items in the platform
- Supporting materials for policy items in the platform, which is a nice general way of saying whatever else the workgroup members decide is a good idea.
Students and Campus Workgroup
Are you excited about growing OWR among young people? Maybe you’re in high school or college, or a recent graduate, or a person who has insight into how to appeal to high school and college students. You’d be awesome for the Students and Campus Workgroup. The point of this workgroup is to develop a plan for outreach to students in high school and college, then implement it. We want a campus and student-oriented Plan To Win. We want to build chapters on campuses throughout Wisconsin. On some campuses, this could be a campus-specific thing. On others, it might involve plugging the students into the nearby local chapter. Or the workgroup might come up with other configurations. The biggest numbers are most likely at the high school and college levels. But, remember that back in 2011 a few middle schoolers walked out of class in protest against Act 10 and joined the high school marches. You never know how old the next political activist will be.
- Taking the work that’s been done to develop an OWR chapter at UW-Madison to other campuses
- A campus chapter development plan (including organizational stuff, like how to set up college student membership)
- An organizing plan for youth who aren’t on campuses, which is a general way of saying whatever else the workgroup members decide is a good idea.
Do you know something about communication strategy? Got any news media experience? Are you a Facebook nerd, videographer, or web designer? Awesome! Join our Communications Workgroup. The point of this workgroup is to develop organization-building and program-moving communications projects, and then implement them. Sounds easy, right?
- A hard-launch rollout plan. This is organizing-speak for launching the organization in a mass public way. (Soft launching was all those community meetings and presentations to prospective members in January and February.) This would include doing news media interviews, public speaking engagements, and more – generally amping up the public profile of OWR
- A digital communications plan and initial implementation of it
- Packaging for the platform that the Program Workgroup creates
- Other communication projects – which is to say, whatever else the workgroup members think up
Organization and Governance
Do you geek out on organizing strategy? Or, are you into law and legalese? Know something about organizational structures? We need you for the Organization and Governance Workgroup. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘governance’ – this is not the workgroup that’s in charge of the other workgroups. This is the workgroup that develops OWR’s organizational structure. It’s about figuring out how OWR organizes itself, so unlike most of the other workgroups, this one is inward-looking. That thing we said earlier about adding and changing how we do our work as the organization develops in the future? This is the place for that.
- An outline and description of organizational structure – the exact form or forms this takes is up to the members of the workgroup
- A draft and re-draft of organizational bylaws
Political Strategy Workgroup
Are you into campaign strategy? Are you excited to start identifying candidates that OWR might want to encourage to run for office, train, and endorse in 2018? Do you have experience in training organizers or aspiring politicians? Fabulous! Join the Political Strategy Workgroup. This workgroup will develop the tools to create a statewide plan of political action.
- A draft of OWR’s endorsement guidelines and process
- A template candidate questionnaire
- A draft of candidate recruitment guidelines
- An assembled candidate toolbox – some people call this the “campaign in a box”
- A document that assesses initial political opportunities
- A process to scale through local chapters, with a framework for ongoing development – which is a way of saying go ahead and develop whatever else workgroup members want
Popular Education Workgroup
Are you excited to educate the public about progressive ideology, democratic socialism (aka Bernie program stuff, for instance), and the way forward? Great! Join the Popular Education Workgroup. The purpose of the popular education workgroup is to spread information that’s useful to members of Our Wisconsin Revolution and to the public at large about why we can and will bring Bernie Sanders’ political revolution home to Wisconsin. The pop ed group functions as a space for creating knowledge collectively, for writing op-eds and blog posts (for Wisconsin and beyond), and for putting together scalable reading groups and teach-ins that can be used by OWR chapters across the state. Additionally, the pop ed group is a place where folks potentially interested in running for office can hang, and get some basic information on how to bring the Sanders’ revolution home to Wisconsin. In this movement of pragmatic visionaries, the pop ed workgroup is the right home for those of you who love to read, write, debate ideas, and build a community that’s united by a shared analysis of what’s wrong in Wisconsin, and how we can fix it.
- A vetted set of tools and resources for popular education
- An initial popular education curriculum
- Other means of popular education that workgroup members decide to do
You can join any of these statewide workgroups by going here:
Some of the local chapters are also organizing themselves into local versions of workgroups that may or may not mirror the statewide structure. Obviously this is a good thing. Local chapters should set themselves up to meet their own needs.
The seventh workgroup, not yet formed but on the way, is going to plan the statewide convention, which we plan to hold later this spring. Stay tuned for information on this.
-Maxwell Love and Matthew Lawrence Kearney
(edited April 22, 2017)