Whether agrarian, community, labor, student, or other types of organizing, collective action as a precursor for further steps should be considered a requirement for transformational — versus episodic and transactional — change. The success of many strategies — strategic litigation, popular tribunals, social movements, or opening civic spaces — depends upon the horizontal accountability mechanism of organized communities, consumers, farmers, voters, and workers, among other constituencies. This is our ultimate check on the power of economic and political elites.

Some examples of collective organizing include: the Indian farmers’ protest (2020-21); the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killings of two unarmed Black men, Eric Garner and Michael Brown (2014); the United Auto Workers strike at automotive plants in part to insist on a just transition (2023); and the Sunrise Movement organizing for a Green New Deal in the U.S. (2014-20).

Different forms of collective organizing include:

  • Trade unions and collective bargaining “provide a counterweight to captor elites and help to maintain equilibrium among the other key actors.”
  • Community organizingof affected populations.
  • Agrarian organizingof farmers, peasants, and communal landowners.
  • Transnational organizingincluding within sectors and companies.
  • Consumer organizingof affected people.
  • Pensionholder organizingof those invested in corporations.

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