Movement Generation’s political education programs include multi-day retreats, strategy labs, workshops, webinars, and online courses that aim to build the rich soils of analysis and strategy our movements need to activate, strengthen and grow. Our goal is to build shared understandings of the impacts of the global ecological crisis on our communities and the web of life that we depend on, while igniting strategies for a Just Transition.
Our programs support organizers to apply an ecological justice lens on their existing work in their organizations, communities, and issue sectors. Some of these programs are rooted in deep translocal relationship and movement building. In some regions and cities where we have cultivated multi-year relationships, our political education programs are designed to uplift and strengthen organizing on the ground, while also sharing and connecting strategies across locales and communities. At the same time these programs cultivate a political home for many of its alumni – offering spaces for organizers to connect, heal, strategize, and build together through MG’s analysis and transformative spaces.
Justice & Ecology Retreats
Held approximately once a year, MG’s Justice & Ecology Retreat brings together a selected cohort of organizers, leaders, and creatives within racial, economic and environmental justice movements to engage in ecological justice study and strategy development.
- What are the economic, cultural, political, and ecological contours of the systemic crisis we face? Together we grapple with the scale, pace and implications of the crisis through multiple lenses such as water, food, climate, work, democracy, race, and biocultural diversity.
- What can we learn from struggles for people and planet around the world? What are the lessons and inspirations we can draw from diverse domestic and international social movements? How does Just Transition manifest on the ground, in different sectors, and across communities?
- What role do organizers, activists, and cultural creatives, play in making those connections?
Each year we announce our application process through our email newsletter. Retreat participation is chosen through a selective application process as well as prioritized outreach to key partners. We have also interwoven our retreats into our Translocal Movement Building work by designing full-scale retreats for specific partner organizations, campaigns, and coalitions.
Workshops & Strategy Sessions
MG designs and facilitates interactive ecological justice workshops and strategy sessions in partnership with grassroots organizations and alliances. Some of these sessions provide an introduction to MG’s analysis and strategy tools, while others are woven into places where MG is engaged in multi-year relationships and strategy building.
Here are a few examples:
- In 2019, MG hosted a 5-day Just Transition Retreat in Buffalo, NY for 30 organizers. MG has been in a multi-year training and strategy support partnership with frontline organizations in Buffalo and Niagara Falls where vibrant Just Transition initiatives are being implemented on the ground. Some of those key regional partners include PUSH Buffalo, Fruitbelt Community Land Trust, African Heritage Food Coop, Ujima Theater Company Inc, and Cooperation Buffalo.
- Since 2018, MG has hosted a series of multi-day Just Transition retreats for organizers in Oregon, in partnership with OPAL and the Oregon Just Transition Alliance. We have embedded a rigorous and intentional ‘train-the-trainer’ methodology into this multi-year process, and local organizers have adapted MG curriculum to interplay with local conditions and strategic realities.
- In 2017 MG participated in a political education retreat for youth organizers within Alaska’s Climate Justice and Native Sovereignty movements, organized by Native Movement and the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition. The retreat was intended to support youth organizers preparing for an Organizers Summit with political framework such as Just Transition, Resilience-Based Organizing and the 3 Circles strategy. Native Movement has since continued sharing JT as part of the local movement for climate justice and indigenous sovereignty, and developed a beautiful popular JT Coloring Book!
MG’s Earth Skills Program is a seasonal training program of interactive, land-based workshops. They are designed to help us restore and deepen our relationship to our own work and to the life-sources that meet our basic needs. Organizers, community members and all participants gain practical skills that help communities weather the impacts of the ecological crises, reduce consumption and waste, and practice managing our life-sources without government or corporate oversight to ensure equity and participatory decision-making. We prioritize cultivating these skills in organized communities that want to build power by creating community-controlled economies.
Past Earth Skills trainings include:
- Composting & Soil Preparation
- Natural Building
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Restoring Health, Childbirth & Independence from Industrial Medicine
- Rooftop Gardens
- Waterless Compost Toilets
- Working with Medicinal Plants and Herbs
Along with Earth Skills trainings, we also periodically host the Permaculture for the People course (P4P), a permaculture certification course that pairs the design methodology of permaculture with a radical Ecological Justice framework.
Learn more in this 2015 Permaculture for the People video from Friends of MVMT Films.
MG hosts virtual courses and strategy sessions to develop a shared analysis of the ecological crisis and build translocal relationships to sharpen our place-based organizing.
As a result of the pandemic and the inability to host our annual in-person Justice & Ecology Retreat in 2020, MG dreamed up and developed a virtual space for our folks to process the range of emotions stirred up by the crisis and how it connects to the global ecological disaster we are continuing to face. In May 2020, we launched our 1st virtual training called Course Correction, a four session online series that offers a reframe of the COVID-19 crisis.
In September 2021 we launched ReKINdle, an online series prioritizing place-based organizing by inviting organized pods to study, strategize together, reconnect, and reKINdle our relationships. In collaboration with Creative Wildfire, ReKINdle deepened our analysis of the current state of the global pandemic and why we cannot “return to normal”.