This draft document is work-in-progress
“It wouldn’t be too far fetched to consider this a form of evangelization!”
What comes first: ground-work or a leadership team? – and should we find supporters first or leaders first? See the answer discussed here.
1) What are the actions needed to attract and build a leadership team?
2) What will mobilisation look like?
1) Attracting new leadership – through shared policies
The way to attract leaders is to frame the discussion around policy. People will join only if they share the vision and policy platform. The members of the Team should therefore contribute articles to the press, write brochures, and create draft organisational processes. Other activities could include collecting relevant data, refining the vision, mission, plan and strategy including a strategy for publicity.
We’ll soon be quite astonished with the huge differences between us on policy matters the moment we start writing policy brochures! For 2 people to agree is very hard. For 20 to agree quite difficult. For 1500 to agree virtually impossible! We are trying for the virtually impossible, since that is the only way to change India. Write, share. Get feedback. Revise. Do this again, and again, and again; until 1500 potential MP candidates agree on each word of a few key documents.
Nothing can be done in a formal sense by the Freedom Team until all 1500 people (who hopefully will ultimately join this group) agree on its key documents. This team does not have a formal view on anything until these 1500 people will – in the future – formally endorse the policies and documents we are drafting.
Once policy snippets, brochures, etc., are agreed to, effort can then go into designing a draft Blueprint of action to be based on the relevant brochures.
Putting in place internal checks and balances.
Reputation is everything and credibility is a must. When we say we will provide India with a clean government which will deliver world-best policy, we MUST be in a position to do that. There is therefore a need to put in place appropriate checks and balances prior to any action under the Freedom Team banner. The highest standards must be articulated, understood, contractually agreed to by each member, and only then should authorised action begun under the banner of this team.
It is important to have the same message articulated in different ways, depending who the recipient of the message is. Each person who has been exposed to a given ideology has a way of thinking through issues and FTI will be more effective if it can stand in their shoes before making a case for the FTI concept (customized examples, appreciating their concerns etc).
2) Strategy for mobilisation
Once 1500 outstanding leaders and policies are in place the Team should commence work on the ground. Until then, actions on the ground are best conducted as experiments by individual members. Such actions can inform future actions by the Team. Till 500 members assemble in a pre-Convention gathering, members who have an existing outreach program should continue, and indeed, increase their activities. They can use the Freedom Team to communicate with others about their activities so that members can join with them. Roughly a third the people on this (very small!) Team are already doing things on the ground. Members who wish could initiate their own activities on the ground.
Some initial thoughts on a Communication and Mobilisation Strategy. These can be developed further.
Objective: All we need at the end of the day is that people vote for the candidates offered by the Team.
The strategy can be built out of the following components:
a) Media presence
- Writing short and crisp articles in the media.
b) Persuading and gaining support of key people in each constituency
- Distributing brochures and flyers
c) Gaining the support of ordinary voters
- talking to the people, and going door-to-door, for 3 years.
d) Issues based actions
The general public wants to know what is in it for them. They want to see changes or benefits to their lives now. The Team cannot build its reputation only on what it intends to do when in power – though that will be a core strategy of persuasion. Communication will need to revolve around the issues that affect peoples lives now.
e) Leveraging existing associations
There are many NGOs in India and some actually do excellent things. Local linkages should be developed with like minded associations. Collaborating with others will always remain an option for each local ‘candidate’ to consider.
f) National Campaigns
These will be coordinated and will be considered only after 500 members have assembled. Even so, it is suggested that a full-fledged coordinated national movement should not start till 1500 members have assembled, since starting such campaigns could build expectations that cannot be delivered.
The kind of coordinated actions that could be undertaken could include things like the following. These are suggestive – the team will have to think as a whole and then decide.
1) One-off activities:
a) One rupee Freedom Movement (as suggested in my book), and a blitz of articles in the press on the corrupt electoral system.
b) Door-to-door campaigns, about one year before elections, to distribute brochures to each village/ mohalla in each constituency (that presumes the existence of brochures!)
c) Membership drive (Rs. 10 each) for “Supporters of the Freedom Team” to raise funds and to engage everyone in India into this effort.
d) “Supporters of Freedom Families” could be started in each village, limited to 8-12 people each.
2) Repeating activities
a) 26 January each year: ‘State Freedom Torches’ to be lit by the poorest peasant in an interior village in each State. These torches to be then carried in a procession through a ‘Freedom March’ which would pass through each constituency and end up in each state headquarter. In the larger states this march could take up to two months to complete, so the timing of these marches should be designed to end everywhere on the same date, say, on 24 January each year. These State torches can then be carried in a truck from each state headquarter (with proper banners) to reach Rajghat on 26 January each year and be used to light one single National Freedom Torch. The other torches can then be extinguished and sent back to the states.
The National Torch can then be placed in the national office of the Freedom Team, and extinguished when the next batch comes in, each subsequent year. The symbolism here would be that the Team will ensure that the poorest peasant is able to achieve freedom, which means equal opportunity through education, abolition of poverty, and guaranteed health care. This annual marches will stop ONLY when these minimum conditions are achieved by each person in India.
b) 2 October each year: A national day of satyagraha against corruption (and other political evils such as communalism) by members of the Freedom Team in each state headquarter, simultaneously.
c) 15 August each year: A national “Head Hanging Ceremony” at 9 am sharp on each independence day for a minute, to recall that we are one of the most corrupt countries in the world. These two activities, (b), (c) should stop ONLY when India becomes the least corrupt country in the world.
Of course, no activity should ever result in lawlessness, disorder, or injure anyone.