A Poem for Campaigners

Our campaign manager, Anna Semlyen wrote a poem on campaigning that she put together for a  pub audience.

How to Campaign – a list poem Anna Semlyen

  1. Care about something. The ideal catalyst is pain. Endure a traumatic event or witness suffering with the empathy to intervene. Someone or something has got to hurt enough that heart cries. Bullying, rape, genital mutilation, deportation, sexism, gun massacre and so on. I got hit by a car
  2. Survive it! Obvious really. Heal yourself.
  3. Work from the anchoring scar of righteous anger - enough force to channel your indignant fire. Your ROAR! Speeders piss me off!
  4. Be excited about making the future better for yourself and others too! Personal gain isn’t campaigning, is it? That’s just doing well for yourself.
  5. Know what you are asking for. Spell it out. I say 20’s Plenty
  6. Be prepared for a long haul.
  7. Work with the willing. Others won’t change and could wear you down.
  8. Who’s your top target with the power to give you what you want?
    Be friendly to them. Discover what they care about.
    Think of how what you want fits with their agenda. Engage in win-win persuasion
  9. Explain the change you want. Speak with clarity. Only the relevant data, the pithy elevator pitch. The 20’s Plenty
    Too little science and you’re a crackpot, yet too many numbers will confuse.
  10. Politics works by lobbying the leader or committee chair first. Hope they will set the agenda and sway others. Then lobby everyone else with a vote.
  11. Research and join existing relevant campaigns.
  12. Persevere. As Gandhi is alleged to have said “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”
  13. Know that you will win. Visualise it in technicolour. With a sure hope and certainty. Doubt is the enemy as much as accepting the status quo.
  14. Build a team and delegate. You can’t be at every Council meeting.
  15. Campaigning tactics are a shifting buffet. Petition, tweet, Facebook, demonstrations, marches, photo calls, direct action and more.
  16. Have fun. Be creative
  17. Ignore detractors unless they get traction through lies. Then you must myth bust and report them to the authorities.
  18. Know the law, and be careful not reckless. Know your rights.
  19. Face the consequences with dignity. Tell the truth.
  20. Win.
  21. Repeat on another issue.


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