Letters: Messaging and Action

The following are excerpts from Facebook comments in response to Barbara Madeloni's Slingshot, “Less Messaging, More Action” from the June issue of Labor Notes.

As a communications staffer for unions, I often feel acutely what this article is NAILING. Got an uphill battle? Focus on the organizing and the PR will follow. I am going to have a copy of this article in my back pocket for all time.

I can't tell you how many campaigns I worked on where bargaining team members were convinced a full-page ad in the Oregonian would move the employer.

Megan Hise
Portland, OR

Funny—my organizer-heavy Facebook has the opposite analysis. Organizers are saying, in summary, “Yes, we need to mobilize workers, etc...but having a decent, semi-thought-out message and a way to spread the word shouldn't be ignored.” The lesson I'm taking home is: Get you a union that can do both!

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Daniel Mendez-Moore
Minneapolis, MN

Re: “Less Messaging, More Action,” I somewhat agree. I often feel as if messaging has become the newest consulting gold mine in our movements. And we can’t let anything get in the way of organizing and collective action. On the other hand, though, it’s not nothing that the right wing has over decades won the fight for what’s considered the “normal” or reasonable way of thinking about so much of what affects our lives. Abortion, unions, economic injustice, taxes, government services, the safety net, etc. This is a huge problem and we cannot ignore it!

Why can’t the left organize AND work to dominate the public discourse? I think the messaging propagated by Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the fast food strikes, Bernie, teachers strikes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more all had an enormous impact on reclaiming parts of the public discourse and has also boosted organizing immeasurably.

Matt Plummer
St. Paul, MN

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