Restarting Outreach in Victoria

@Janecoker @ageorge

New topic to share what we are doing in Vic to restart our Outreach working group and support active sub groups.

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  • I think we need to work out what we want to focus on. I propose it be, creating and supporting Local Groups (the Australian mass mobilisation project) which is pretty much what we were already doing in Victoria before we kinda stopped…
  • If the LGs get a proper induction to XR comm’s platforms such as base, and base is filled with good information and ‘living’ working groups, then it enables autonomous participation and finding of WG’s and further involvement in the movement
  • TENSION FLAG: Although I think we are at a time when we can more easily work nationally, i think we shouldn’t be too hindered by trying to ‘officially’ be a national communities group etc, but what we can do is lead by example and share processes as they emerge and are successful. The tension is between that on-the-ground get it done approach, and the AusMM approach which is developing simultaneously. I think the best way forward is to work very closely to share ideas and resources with ausMM.
  • Question: is this mobilisation process just a sub-circle of the wider Communities circle (as it is in UK Glassfrog?) In which case - maybe my interest and focus is on this part and I can’t think as clearly about the other aspects of “communities”

The rest:
Ok this is very verbose and not concise and not a mandate proposal by any means…The google doc has a table of contents to navigate all this!

Andy’s thoughts on Vic outreach project:

  1. Perhaps we should re-name as Communities, because Outreach is either too specific or too generic for what this large circle may actually want to do.

  2. However, it may help to focus on the big picture and work our way back from there. The purpose of the Mobilisation WG of AusMM is: “To mobilise as many people as possible to participate in nationally coordinated acts of civil disobedience (mass mobilisation)” which I think sums it up nicely. (it’s important to remember that the point of Extinction Rebellion is not Extinction Rebellion :wink: )

  3. I think it’s worth noting that the UK support circle, with the Operations circle inside, with the Community circle inside is a national circle within the “UK Rebel Hive”, that sits alongside the big regional circles (Wales, the North, etc) . Particularly at these times of pandemic zoomyness I think we greatly need to consider what stuff we want or need to do in a ‘State-centric’ way and whether or not it will be more efficient to “nationalise” (as it were) a whole lot more systems (I duly note that nationailising in a time of minimal national SOS is not necessarily easy).

  1. A good way to link nationally (and thus share our learnings) is through the AusMM project, as this is perhap first platform for national collaboration and focus and chance for sharing of resources (it is still a work in progress and pretty full-on) - i suggest good linkage be maintained to AusMM

  2. Another option is just to invite people to participate in a National “communities” Space. This could best be done by using the Base forum and national mattermost so people can best see what’s going on (and thus get involved). I’m not sure this is the best way to do it. Maybe it’s better to focus on where we are and share from here when/if it works

  3. However, this is where we need to consider, if we are suddenly a ‘national’ working group, then how do we actually focus on Victoria ? Which is our backyard and thus warranting our attention (But once again it’s worth considering why is it worth focusing on Victoria or anywhere in Australia ? ) Basically I guess it comes down to Local Groups - starting local groups and supporting (or midwifing) their sustained existence. This is where national processes etc can exist, but sooner or later Local Groups are made locally and, whether by zoom or not, can be best focused on by locals from relatively nearby. Obviously when lockdown eventually goes away then this is really true

I think that a lot can happen in the ‘Communities’ space (see the UK glassfrog example) but the important thing is to work out what we want to focus on with our limited capacity, and thus work out how to grow the capacity - luckily we have an epic Welcoming team going here!

The AusMM plan is to grow Local Groups and support them in having a good culture of courage and community through actions and meaningful activities - ie 8 methods of mobilisation. This is proposed as the way to reach THE goal of getting 1000’s of rebels prepared to be arrested on the street in waves of mass civil disobedience (when we actually try to get our demands met).

I’m really interested in focusing on this approach, which may limit my ability to see the bigger picture of ‘communities’ circle For starting and supporting LG’s we need a few things

  • Process for starting new local groups (e.g. this one althought it’s not perfect)
  • Smooth pathway for local groups to follow (ie talk, group formation, nvda, actions) and connections along the way
  • Ongoing support/easy and accessible means of contact directly from the support group but also horizontally (between LG’s) via the most active and engaged rebels and/or rebels in a similar boat in the most transparent location (recommend BASE forum for this).
  • Systems for tracking LG’s including contact details, areas, and possibly other metrics too

The great thing about using BASE forum is that it removes all roadblocks to get involved, particularly for those tech savvy enough to get in there and explore ;). It could reduce the workload of the Integration/Welcoming team to fill roles within WG’s if keen people, already actively involved in their LG who are fiending for more, can easily find on the Base all the WG’s and their discussions and see when they are meeting and have the zoom link etc readily available. Obviously if groups, such as XR TV, are organising only on the base (as opposed to Mattermost or email as well) then their transparent and necessary organising is itself an invite for others to observe, learn more and get involved

Lesson from past: I/we did not spend enough energy directly supporting Local groups once they got going and we didn’t have a simple enough recipe for them to follow to have meaning as a LG - this is where ausMM steps in! All too late in Vic we created an Outreach Local group support MM channel (which was always a bit confusing - was it a working group space or was it the space LG’s were meant to ask for help?) and a “community coordinators” channel - where LG’s were meant to support each other but I think the lesson from the past is that

a) direct support/comms is better ie phoning a group coordinator once a week, and

b) onboarding to mattermost was poor and

c) eventually the community coordinators started organising meetings/calls amongst themselves (win) but this came more from fear over the non-transparent going’s on of “XR VIC CENTRAL” than out of the functional scenario of supporting fellow LG’s (my interpretation).
But based on the LG support calls Serena, Cj and I ran this year - the community coordinators calls were very different.

I recommend something like this for MM:
Outreach channel remain open on MM and the Outreach- XR talks channel

but the other channels be zzzz’d and we try and move discussions to the Base (national channel) and thus through transparency invite participation and collaboration there - e.g. around diversity and engaging other community groups that may want to mobilise collectively, etc. Note a national IT group is working on platform recommendations for the AusMM project so that as we start new groups we induct people in the simplest way possible to the right amount of platforms and info to empower them but not overwhelm them.

Moving forwards
I think it’s a good idea to work through a case study together, e.g. starting a new Local group via zoom. We have someone keen to get one going in Shepparton, with Action Network already set up for the area.

  • Someone (a mobiliser) leads on the project in liasion with the keen person from Shepparton to follow the steps listed in image below

  • Violet and I can do the zoom hFE talk (and in the meantime we need Talks and Training (maybe directly through AusMM which has now a national talks caucus) to run a talks training session to trian up more speakers

  • We could then either follow the AusMM plan and run a ‘group formation’/DNA meeting the following week, or jump straight to the NVDA training… Q : How long is the online NVDA training ?

  • Then we need to get contact details of external coordinators of the group and support them (and their group) as they begin to grow and develop (e.g. to form actions and mobilisation w.g.’s)

TENSIONS (there are more but i’m tired)

  • I think Action Network provides a source of slight tension. Creating a sub-group in Action network means knowing a groups boundaries specifically, which always clash with a neighbouring Local gov area (LGA). However a way around this is that if someone subscribes to an AN event by a group they can opt-in to mailing lists of the group. However, the question at the end of the day is, how much are people reading (or wanting to read) a local newsletter? We are trying to cater for those not on FB (which is good), but there is the existing Vic newsletter which maybe can be the one in this space… The thing rebels most want Action Network for is possibly to call their local rebels. I think rebelringing needs to be shared, or , for smaller regions, a ‘good enough for now, safe enough to try’ simple yet reasonably secure process of sharing the phone numbers needs to be available for LG’s to use.

To see where AusMM fits into Vic Communities, this is the accountabilities from AusMM Mobilisation wg:

  • Training (as yet unspecified amount of) volunteer mobilisers to set up mass-mobilisation focused groups

  • Providing the key mobilisation documentation

  • Supporting existing groups to mobilise

  • Supporting mobilisers

  • Coordinating with the Actions WG to align mobilisation with actions plans, including the first, second, and third waves

  • Working with the M&M WG on recruitment and training documents, and internal communications

  • Mapping the formation of groups

  • Facilitating H4E training and talks for mobilisers

So from these accountabilities we can see that there may be so much overlap that our time is better spent working on AusMM systems nationally, e.g. a national jobs board may be more beneficial and better use of resources than a Vic one.

However from above accountabilities we may interpret it that we need to really have a space for mobilisers to fit into our Vic Communities group. In some kind of amalgamation of the Talks and Training and Regional Development circles whose accountabilities are listed below.

Key resources:
UK Communities Glassfrog (See accountabilities for each section)

Two interesting parts:

Talks and training Accountabilities

  • Coordinating talks, trainings and workshops to the movement upon request
  • Proactively organising talks, trainings and workshops across the movement
  • Collating and cataloguing talk, training and workshop materials from across the movement.
  • Making training information accessible to the movement and ensuring that training materials, and trainings, are accessible to all rebels.
  • Maintaining a database of UK XR speakers, facilitators and trainers
  • Writing, updating and distributing the ‘Non Violent Direct Action’, ‘Heading for Extinction’, and ‘Meeting Facilitation’ training/talks materials
  • Providing support to other XR UK circles to improve the quality of their talks and trainings
  • Providing orientation sessions for rebels joining UK-wide or regional working groups, and supporting local groups in providing their own inductions

Regional Development Accountabilities

  • Helping Local Groups establish and ensure that their coordinators sign an agreement with XR to adhere to the basic principles and values
  • Providing trainings and support on how to run Local Groups and how to be a coordinator
  • Organising Local Groups to meet and discuss coordination of action and provide a facilitated means for LGs in a region to work together to make an impact
  • Liaising with Affinity Groups about upcoming actions / trainings and support in building relationships and facilitating meetings
  • Supporting LGs/CGs & their coordinators with ongoing work required to sustain & grow XR and decentralise
  • Supporting the growth and decentralisation of XR across the UK
  • Providing a formal line of communication between XR National & XR Local

Please comment and discuss this here or on the Google Doc