|To the reader:
There is a rich tradition of organizing for peace and justice on U.S. college campuses, but too often students have no access to the wealth of experience and skills accumulated by previous generations of activists. Each year, hundreds of students "reinvent the wheel" by struggling to learn basic activism skills from scratch. The purpose of this guidebook is to provide a missing link, to get campus activists of the 90s started more quickly, building upon the work of their predecessors and of students at other campuses.
We could have created a mammoth 80-page encyclopedia on organizing, but lengthy guides already exist to hone the skills of organizing "experts." We also could have created a guide on a single-issue, but it would quickly be outdated.
Instead, we decided to design a basic, introductory guide to serve the thousands of student activists just getting their feet wet. We have tried wherever possible to avoid assumptions based on race, gender, type of college, etc. to make this guide useful to everyone. This guide is by no means the comprehensive or final word on how to organize. It is not a blueprint for activism, but as a set of guidelines and suggestions distilled from our experience. Since every situation is different, you will have to adapt the specifics to your own campus and campus group. Activism is an ongoing experience of learning, and we highly recommend you explore some of the resources listed in the Bibliography, as well as constantly apply your own experience to established principles of organizing.
This Guide is intended for activists who want to increase participation by and equality for all groups in society, and address the root causes of social, economic, and political injustice. It is not designed for "new right" groups who want to protect and reinforce the status quo, "sectarian" groups who demand allegiance only to their own ideology or dogma, or service groups who address symptoms with no interest in confronting root causes.
Specific information on a particular peace and justice issue, while not included in this guide, is available in 2-page inserts which can be ordered from the Center for Campus Organizing. We thank Citizens for Participation in Political Action, Young Koreans United, DC Student Coalition Against Racism, Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Friends Service Committee, National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for their help in preparing the first of what will become over 25 such inserts on a wide range of issues (see inside back cover for details).
One final appeal. This service will not attract the money of the rich and powerful groups that fuel the right. We were fortunate to receive some seed funding from progressive foundations. But in the long run, we feel that CCO can best be supported by donors who are now or were once campus activists, so that the infrastructure we create will not need to be torn down and rebuilt every six years as funding patterns shift. We invite your financial support by subscribing to our newsletter, Study War No More, or by making a tax-exempt donation. We also invite new student activists and professors to become CCO campus contacts to help us stay in touch with the grassroots and help you stay in touch with the national movement.