Community Organising: The Art of Grassroots Campaigning (Part 8)

New Power

In their book, New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms write: “Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures. New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.”

Here is a comparison of old power and new power from an article by them in HBR:

I had written this a couple years ago: “Old Power is held by a few, is pushed down, is commanded, is closed and is transactional. Using Old Power, political parties have stolen our freedom and our wealth. New Power is made by many, pulled in, shared, open and based on relationships. New Power does not need a political party, it needs a technology platform to connect us all together. With New Power, we can make political parties irrelevant…We the people are at the heart of the New Power which can disrupt the political parties. We are the 70 crore voters who are not attached to any of the political parties. We are in the majority, we are 2 of every 3 eligible voters.”

UVI is about new power; it combines organising, relationships, the story of self-us-now and snowflakes. We need to build UVI chapters in every building, neighbourhood and village in India with an aim to win every polling booth at the time of elections. There is going to be no single supreme commander to guide us; we are our own leaders. We have to do it because we deserve better, because we have had enough of our politicians fooling and killing us. We are the alternative, and this movement has to be built by us because we need freedom from our politicians and their parties for our future prosperity.

A new book by Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna, and Michelle Oyakawa shows that the power of successful movements most often is rooted in their ability to act as “prisms of the people,” turning participation into political power just as prisms transform white light into rainbows. UVI must become the prism that transforms our votes into a Nayi Disha for India. So what is it that each of us can do to make UVI a reality?

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.