Organizing for Humans....
Organizing for Humans: an Activist's Card Game
A GAME FOR OUR TIMES: Organizing for Humans is both a teaching tool and a process that provides structure and equity for the planning aspect in organizing. Those of you who have participated in movements or groups can attest to the fact that no matter how anti-establishment or revolutionary a group may aim to be, it is still subject to the acculturation of those who participate in it. This means race, gender, religion, orientation, language, educational background and class can all act as strictures that undermine the organizing process with hierarchical behavior by participants. O4H attempts to alleviate this through the randomization of roles in its planning process. While this is set up as a “game” and can be fun, we stress that this is a tool so that we can cogently format plans to make this world a better place. It is designed to be applicable to whatever type of social justice mission you plan to undertake.
The symbols on the back of the O4H cards are an Adinkra Symbols. These symbols are from Ghana West Africa and were originally used for funeral rites, but have evolved to be cultural signifiers of values and principles. The two represented here are indicative of what we hope Organizing 4 Humans inspires: this particular one on the left is called “Wo Nsa Da Mu A”, which represents hands sharing a dish which can be interpreted as democracy and pluralism. The Adinkra on the right is is called “mmere dane”, which represents changes or life's dynamics.
Implementation (Organizing) Cards
Start with an idea- “Let's plan a march to City Hall to protest….”
or “Let's plan a campaign to raise awareness of...”
In organizing or in business planning, we always start with an idea...but finding our way through the processes to bring that idea to fruition is often difficult. We have our own biases, our own weaknesses that we tend to shy away from ("I'm not good with numbers!" or "I'm not so much of a people person!") so we end up turning a blind eye towards important aspects of whatever it is we are planning. The first part of O4H lays out cards with different categories for you to figure out what you need to do to bring the idea to life. All you need is at least two people to play, but preferably four. Anything above four is fine; O4H scales well for large group gatherings. Here are some details of the implementation portion of the game:
- A different person in your group shuffles and deals each time.
- Cards should never be never marked! No cheating!
- Each person gets one card. The Goal is to have multiple people working on each “category” during a session.
- If there are under 10 people, each person gets 2 cards.
- Once cards are dealt, everyone shows their (first) card.
- People with cards that fall under the same category group together.
- Groups have a set amount of time to come up with 3 “can-do's” and 3“challenges” for their category.
- When the 15 minutes is up, each group selects a person to read off the can-dos and challenges.
Once you have played through the first round of O4H, you should have your plan together. Congratulations! You are getting organized! As they say on television, “but wait, there is more!”
In organizing, the plan is important, but implementation
is where you take your plan and see your efforts come
to fruition. Needless to say, in life, change is inevitable.
Groups and organizations that are prepared for their
plans to encounter obstacles are the groups that
achieve success. So in this part of the game, you are
going to test your mettle as a group to see if you can
get your plan through the fire.
The scenarios provided are general scenarios that are
applicable and adaptable to your real life scenarios.
Some of the challenges you will face will come from
other organizations; some of the challenges will come
from government institutions, and some will in fact
come from the people with whom you are organizing.