September 25, 2007

IN ORDER TO PROMOTE INFORMED AND thoughtful participation by all its members, the urban popular movement has incorporated a number of practices which could be described as "popular education." These usually follow the participant's first experiences of collec- tive strength in the street, at city hall, or in community- initiated projects. Through "exchanges of experience" with other neigh- borhood organizations, which are an integral part of all regional and national conferences, people come to see them- selves as part of a larger urban movement. And through late night discussions with campesinos who arrive in the city annually to march on April u0 (tne anniversary of tmlllano Zapata's birth) or with street vendors who have marched in from Puebla, they extend that vision to other popular struggles nation-wide. After evaluating past actions and before planning future ones, organizations routinely develop a "snapshot" diagram of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their allies and opponents. This they call "anilisis de coyuntura."Another practice which is increasingly used is "'systematization of experiences." Here, people break down the history of their organizations into stages, defining for In Jalapa: "Women struggling are transforming the world-Woman, educate your children in the struggle" each stage their stated goals, their field of action, the prob- lems they faced and the strategies they have developed. These techniques are key to the building of autonomous grass-roots organizations in which decisions are made by those most affected by them. They serve to "raise the consciousness" of participants, enabling more people to assume greater levels of leadership, and helping the move- ment as a whole to act more intentionally.

Tags: Mexico, grassroots, organizing, education

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