A SCHOOL FOR CHANGE

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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