Connecting with the Community

So mobilising people to join the Rebellion is only one side of the coin. We need to offer an alternative so that those in our communities who don’t wish to engage in Direct Action can also have their voices heard. ALL of us need to come together to demand change. This Rebellion has to break out of the XR bubble. Imagine bringing every centre of worship, charity, trust, research group, book group, parents association and local business together to discuss the future of your area. Imagine hearing the dreams of our children held up as goals for our neighbourhoods. Imagine everybody’s voice being heard in a plan to protect our world. Where we realise that our fight for climate justice is our fight for social justice and our fight for racial justice.

Making Connections

Your local area will be made up of neighbourhood communities, organisations, businesses, and communities of identity. Polls show that UK citizens care about Climate Breakdown and a quarter of these believe XR is effective as a movement, but only a small portion of the UK population self-identify as an activist, and even less so as a rebel who glues themselves to a boat! So, XR Community groups offer a powerful entry opportunity to discuss Climate Breakdown, and social & climate justice, within their peer group, in relevant and thoughtful framing.

Making Connections

How to Make Contact

Each XR Community of Identity (XR Lawyers, XR Buddhists etc.) has put together a letter framing the scale of the crisis according to that particular community. These letters will send the message that WE are the ones that will save us. No one else is coming to rescue us.

These letters will open a connection to Extinction Rebellion. Whether or not they choose to join our movement is up to them. They should be left in no doubt however that the invitation to the Community Assembly is for everyone.

Your local area will be made up of neighborhood communities and communities of identity. We suggest the following steps or your own thoughtful take on them.


What to put in the Emails?

The XR Communities groups have each written template letters for Local Groups to send on their behalf.
When tailoring your emails remember the Four Rules above and don't forget to:


Next Steps

Get in contact with your Regional Communities Coordinator, if you have one, or connect with other Local groups nearby to see how they are doing it! Remember to share your successes across your region! xr.connectioncommunities@gmail.com

Making Connections

Who to Contact


Thinking about your current connections

Get your LG together to identify local organisations and communities who you want to contact. Think deeply about the multiple layers of where you live:


Mapping your Local Area

Coming Soon

Maintaining Relationships

The strength of any community depends on good relationships built on trust, cooperation, caring and resilience.

Maintaining Relationships

Standing in Solidarity

Solidarity is a collaboration where both parties are working towards shared liberation, based on mutual respect and understanding of the challenge.

Solidarity is an ongoing process and an essential quality for any activist to be developing.

This guide is not definitive. It is simply a collection of best practices and there are plenty of others out there. There are ongoing groups within XR that are continuing to explore and deepen understanding of these areas, from workshops to discussion and action groups.

See this list of resources for readings, videos, listening and learning:

Ask yourself why you want to do a solidarity action.

Is it because you truly understand their struggle as equal to your own? Or because you just want them to support your issues. Good solidarity comes without expecting credit or reward. Good solidarity empowers everybody, but especially those who need that solidarity more.

This guide is split into two: first we talk about qualities needed for good solidarity, next we talk about practical guidelines for how to implement these qualities in acts of solidarity.


Qualities of Good Solidarity

Humility

This is not about feeling better about ourselves. It’s about compassion. You should offer your services as an act of love towards different communities. You should come from a place of humility rather than acting as a saviour.

Think about where the action fits into the timeline of their campaign - rather than your own. Solidarity may involve not using XR branding, and sometimes may not even be public. Think about whether your solidarity action accidentally drowns out the work of groups you’re trying to act in solidarity.

Solidarity is a personal practice too. Good solidarity can only happen through every rebel engaging in authentic human connection and action for other groups outside of XR.

Be prepared to make mistakes, say something insensitive, or use your power inappropriately...that’s ok, because you are trying authentically, reflecting and learning as you go along. Remember it’s never too late to say sorry, build bonds of trust and be better. Feeling uncomfortable is part of the process, it is in this space that you grow.

Willingness to learn and change

Get rid of preconceived ideas of how this is going to work, and instead try to listen and learn. What you shouldn’t do is presume to know what a group does, what it is about, how it organises, who it mobilises and what it wants. Nor should you presume to understand what the issue they work on is a hi bout. Understanding your own privilege before going into a meeting with a justice group will help to understand the cultural differences and ways of working. Be aware that we all carry expectations and judgements held from the past that we project onto others.

You are going to get things wrong, and that’s ok, notice a tendency to get defensive and fight it. Check your unconscious bias, and remember how infuriating it can be to be on the receiving end of this kind of bias. Here are some useful resources to tackle it.

Understand white saviorism and be guarded against it. But guilt is not helpful. We have to not worry too much about being called white saviours as long as we are doing this right. This is because white solidarity is important and necessary. Solidarity between the environmental movement and other movements is necessary for us all to succeed.

Active (not Passive)

Understanding issues is important, but bridge towards building personal relationships with people involved in the struggle, not just the organisers of each group, but every participant. Find out what actions they are taking, what little ways you can support (going to actions, platforming the issues, fundraising, ongoing dialogue, authentic friendship)

Collective Liberation

We are mutually librating each other in our common struggles as we seek to collaborate and work alongside one another. By showing solidarity with another group, you are helping their cause but also yours in turn.

Long term relationship and community building

Our work is to aid others in their development and that takes a while to establish. To build trusting networks of connections is a long term commitment that requires grassroots community building and strong interpersonal relationships.

Based on personal relationships

Not just organisational connection between the ‘leaders’ and a transactional arrangement; fostering empathy, compassion and a sense of service to others on a personal and organisational level are important to open up trust and loyalty.


10 Practical Guidelines

  1. Make sure the offer of solidarity and its design is led by the needs of the other party that you are acting in solidarity with. Nobody knows better what they need and what would be most helpful than them.

  2. Make sure the action you undertake is clearly communicated beforehand in case the framing or parts of the action itself unintentionally damage your solidarity partner. Poor communication can harm their interests on the day or in general. (eg: Phulbari action)

  3. It’s a good idea to research the issue(s) that your solidarity partner works on, and research the group you are acting in solidarity with. This helps to understand what kind of solidarity they are likely to be more keen on, and also helps to build a relationship- it clearly demonstrateOne way of researching is to ask other activists who may know more about the group or issue. If possible, try to get to know the people you are trying to act in solidarity with. The process of creating a relationship that goes further than a working relationship, or further than a simply need-to-know basis, is also called ‘deep hanging out’. In all things it’s important to remember solidarity is a two-way relationship, in this particular case remember to share things about yourself instead of simply trying to find out all you can about others.

  4. Solidarity is mostly about a relationship of trust, which means reliable support that isn’t self-serving. It also means that solidarity isn’t a one-off, it happens more than once such that it can be relied on and called upon when really needed. Trust is the bedrock of all relationships.

  5. Solidarity across divides necessarily involves compromise. Extinction Rebellion has set behaviours and guidelines, and you can choose which are flexible and which are red lines (for example, you may be happy to make your messaging more radical, but you don’t want to collaborate in a violent action). However, it must involve significant compromise of some kind, as XR needs to build a wide coalition outside the environmental movement to win. Only acting in solidarity or in coalition with groups that are closest to your theory, practice and focus is not the kind of relationship that is most needed right now.

  6. Be especially careful about drowning out other groups’ voices. Extinction Rebellion is a large group with a large media following. Our actions can accidentally drown out the actions of other groups. For example, during one of the rebellions the group ‘Mothers against Knives’ were due to hold a march they had been planning for a long time. Our rebellion totally drowned out any interest in their march, and a lot of their organising time had been wasted as a result.

  7. Understand XR’s failings in the past, and why it's reputation is damaged, and why other groups don’t trust us, and how defensiveness doesn’t rebuild any trust. For example, frequent XR messaging about a climate armageddon that will happen in the future effectively rolled back the concerted efforts of many groups over decades to get wider recognition among environmental organisations that climate change is actually happening now (and predominantly to the Global South). Other examples of previous XR messaging that intended to resonate with anti-migrant sentiments and nationalism has actively contributed towards the abuse and attacks on people in our society who are already on the frontline of the climate crisis (for example, many BME people, migrants groups), forever alienating them from Extinction Rebellion. The focus on arrest was also given heavy attention as a strategy which did not provide room for marginalised people, and showed a lack of recognition that the police are dangerous to marginalised peoples. The police are an institution that murder, they ruin peoples’ lives (especially those of migrants who can be deported for being at a protest) and while they 90are in uniform they will be dutiful in shutting down our protests.

  8. Understand and argue persuasively the case for intersections between climate and other issues. Racism is one of the main reasons people don’t care about climate change - because it mainly hits people of colour in the Global South. The system we fight as environmentalists involves extraction, limitless profit, unregulated markets, extreme inequality, brutal class and international division, unchecked corporate power and fatal exploitation. This is the system that drives climate change, and it is the system that divides its victims from each other. The way our climate and nature is being destroyed is simply another way our political and economic system rears its head, whilst modern-day colonialism, poverty, war, and oppression are other ways. Solidarity is a way of building strong relationships of unity, and unity scares those who want to protect the way things are.

  9. Understand what parts of XR culture can be alienating to other groups. It’s important to remember that being overly-spiritual can be alienating. Being nice or being spiritual is not the secret to worldwide social, cultural or political renewal. The bonds of solidarity, directed at those truly responsible for the crisis, boldly aiming for a true system break, and backed up by reliable action and practice, are what will get us to where we want to be. Focussing on nature and the environment too much can be alienating elsewhere (for example, if a community is facing the direct onslaughts of a brutal police force such as black people in the west, or if a community is facing total eradication or forced relocation such as the people of Palestine, Kurdistan or West Papua, then they have other existential crises to be focussing on). The belief that climate change is the biggest issue, rather than part of a wider issue, is too simple and binary. Use of XR-specific terms that describe our strategy (‘rebellion’, ‘whirlwind moment’, ‘momentum-driven organising’), or our inner workings (‘rebellion weavers’, ‘the hive’, ‘movement of movements’) can be alienating too because no one knows what they mean. Some institutions within XR can also be alienating in terms of lack of disclosure, structural inequalities and putting those already privileged in positions of facilitation/coordination.

  10. XR is not the only movement or best movement, NVDA and momentum (US) organising is not the only or best strategy. There are multiple strategies in existence, many have much more success than XR’s DNA gives them credit for. The belief that “everything else before us has failed” is completely wrong. There are multiple strategies in existence and they can either work together or work apart. Solidarity is forging true relationships of mutual assistance across broad divisions.

For more information, check out this document made by XR Youth on what good solidarity involves.

Bringing the Community Together

Imagine bringing every centre of worship, charity, trust, research group, book group, parents association and local business together to discuss the future of your area. Imagine hearing the dreams of our children held up as goals for our neighbourhoods. Imagine everybody’s voice being heard in a plan to protect our world. Where we realise that our fight for climate justice is our fight for social justice and our fight for racial justice.

Bringing the Community Together

Guide to Community Assemblies

Community Assembly Manual

How to Organise and Run Assemblies in Your Community

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it’ - Goethe

The past year has shown us that waiting for top-down democratic change is not enough, we need to proactively build the system we want to see, a system based on grassroots, community-level democracy: a politics for and by the people. But to do this, we need to create spaces in which we can share ideas, listen to each other and grow together. This is where people’s assemblies come in.

First and foremost, people’s assemblies are democratic exercises that allow people to share thoughts and feelings, discuss problems and generate solutions in a highly structured way. The structure facilitates participation and inclusion, and gives people a voice – everyone is listened to and everybody listens. People’s assemblies thus work to build trust, community and connection, whilst facilitating participatory and deliberative democracy.

This manual outlines the various steps that you can take to run a people’s assembly in your local community. It has been created by people in XR’s Future Democracy Hub, however, it is not their work alone. This manual collates best practice from the people throughout history and from all over the globe, who have used People's Assemblies to come together and achieve great things.

Background on People’s Assemblies

People's assemblies are 'self selected' meaning that anyone can choose to take part. They are not to be confused with citizens’ assemblies, which are composed of people randomly selected from the population by the process of sortition to make sure they are representative of society (for CAs, key characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography are taken into consideration). Citizens’ assembly members are selected to make a decision on a specific topic, before making a decision they would learn about critical thinking and hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders. They would then spend time deliberating in small facilitated groups, similar to the break-out groups used in People’s Assemblies.

People’s assemblies have been used throughout history and all over the world as a means to enable people to come together and achieve real social change, and shape a society for the good of all:

The Three Pillars

A people’s assembly differs from debate where one person is 'right' and the other is 'wrong', and from the typical discussion or conversation where people have a tendency to dominate with questions and interjections. People’s assemblies create a space in which each participant is respected and listened to without judgement, whilst sharing from the heart, and in which each participant listens to the ideas of others.The three key elements of people’s assemblies (often referred to as ‘the three pillars’), which support this supportive and empathetic interaction are radical inclusivity, active listening and trust.

Radical Inclusivity

Effective assemblies achieve radical inclusivity, where the emphasis on all being heard and valued equally means no voices dominate and the collective wisdom of the assembly is harnessed. People can participate safely and openly without fear of judgement or ridicule. At its heart, radical inclusivity is a practical step, which enables the widening of a movement by providing agency to all who participate.

Radical Inclusivity, therefore, also means being aware of potential barriers to engagement and working those affected to enable their participation. It is important to think about disabled access, sign language, whisper interpretation for those for whom English isn’t their first language, and other possible means by which barriers can be removed. When planning for and holding an assembly, ask if there are any barriers to engagement that need to be identified and then work together to find ways to remove them.

“Diversity in opinion will pay you back in the long run socially… if we don’t fix this problem to start with we are simply going to replicate existing power structures.” - Eleanor Saitta, hacker and designer.

Active Listening

Active listening is focusing on hearing someone all the way through before developing your responses, and overcoming the urge to start mapping out your response in your mind whilst someone is still talking. Assemblies are not an arena for intellectual jousting or point scoring; they are spaces which recognise that no one person or group holds all the answers, and that it is through the wisdom of the crowds that we gain powerful intelligence about the issues being discussed. Active listening is also vital as it enhances our capacity to empathise: When we fully listen to others, we gain more of an understanding of people, their views and their concerns.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” - Aristotle

Trust

Once the system and process for people’s assemblies has been agreed on, it is essential that all participants trust the process, trust the facilitators and trust the various working groups involved. It is essential that the facilitators and assembly team enable this trust through sticking to the agreed process and ensuring that everyone follows the facilitators. It is not meant to be a perfect system and can only be effective if people trust that those involved have come together in humility, to work towards decisions and actions that are best for all.

“I see the 15M assemblies and neighbourhood organising in retrospective and I'm amazed how it could work and most importantly all the trust that it meant.” - Carolina, a founder of 15M and www.takethesquare.net

A Note on Capacity

Everything in this manual requires a time and energy commitment. Evaluate your resources and choose the paths and practices that work for you, and that can be maintained in the longer term. Many great community endeavours fail due to a disparity between the time and energy resources available over time, and the ambition of the activities initiated – you need to be able to maintain the activities, after they have been initiated, and following through with any commitments made. It is helpful if all of the roles are backed up by at least one other person, so that people can take breaks as and when they are needed. Create a model that works for your own resources and needs, and evaluate it regularly to check that it is still maintainable.

To learn more about sustainable community development, take a look at Nurture Development’s information on Asset Based Community Development.

Creating a Team

‘I can’t change the world on my own, it’ll take at least three of us’ - Bill Mollison.

You may start with a tiny group of interested folk who want to bring a deeper sense of democracy and connection to their community, or you may have a whole room full of people ready to take on roles. The working groups listed here are suggestions for getting started and form the basic team for bringing a community together in assembly. You may have three people covering the whole thing or a large team making up each group. The important thing is to select your approach based on the capacity of those involved, whilst creating and maintaining a pathway for bringing new people into the project.

Team Working Groups

Connecting with the Community

Before you attempt to bring a community together in Assembly you need to actually familiarise yourself with that community. Who makes up the community in question? Where are they? Who are the obvious future participants? Who are the less obvious ones? Which communities are hidden to you? Where are the community connections that already exist happening? Are those connections deliberate or organic/cultural? Who are the influencers, or the stakeholders, or the ‘Elders’ within this community?

This initial engagement is a vital part of the process of creating community assemblies, and shouldn’t be rushed or overlooked. It’s also important to remember that whilst we are connecting with the community we need to connect with ourselves as well. We need to ask ourselves what assumptions we carry about the community we are trying to reach. What fears or blocks might we carry that may be consciously or unconsciously acting on our ability to effectively connect and listen? We must challenge our own blind spots and prejudices at every opportunity, and continue to do so throughout the process.

It is also vital to develop active listening skills, so that when you are engaging with others in your community, you are taking time to understand them, their needs and their wants, rather than trying to push your own agenda. Properly listening to someone lays the foundations for empathy, understanding and trust, and creates the opportunity to learn from others.

To help you better connect with your community, take a look at the following modules in the Community Transformer Program:

To help boost your ability to connect with those in your community, consider the following:

Much of the promotion section below can also be integrated as part of the Connecting with Your Community phase even if you do not have an upcoming assembly to promote.

Preparing to Hold an Assembly

Assembling

So, you’ve hung out within the community. You’ve met with people on their own turf and on their own terms. You’ve identified different demographics within the community and how to effectively deliver information about the assembly to them. Now, you need to create a space to bring everyone together in a well facilitated conversation. In short, you need to assemble. There are several ways to do this, but we recommend doing so using a people’s assembly (though other methods you may want to consider are Open Space Technology or Goldfish Bowl). Although this manual focuses on the people’s assembly process, almost all of the information around framing, promoting and organising an assembly is applicable to any other appropriate model.

Framing, Scope and Process

The exact framing, scope and process for the assembly needs to be agreed upon before any promotional work can occur. The destination and legitimacy of the results of the assembly should be discussed and decided upon prior to convening the assembly, and it is important that all assembly participants are made aware of this information before the assembly begins.

An Assembly for Sharing and Community Building

If, for example, you are planning to host an assembly designed to bring community members together to discuss issues that are important to them in the spirit of creating community bonds and finding common ground, then the framing, scope and process are as follows:

An Assembly for Discussing a Specific Topic and Generating Ideas

If you are convening an assembly which focuses on specific issues and where what is discussed will be shared beyond the local community with an external body, such as a council, then the scope would be broader. Say, for example, a local sustainability group advertises an open assembly on their facebook page and social media channels to discuss how the local council can act after declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency, then the framing, scope and process would be as follows:

An Assembly for Making Decisions and Proposals

Assemblies can also be convened to ask for the opinions of members of a group and to make decisions. Say, for example, a local group calls an assembly to discuss whether they join with a larger group for a day of action or create their own one locally, and they advertise it to all members through every channel of communication, then the framing, scope and process are as follows:

What to Discuss

Bringing people together around a common cause is more likely to generate enthusiasm and engagement than initiatives centred around issues identified as a priority by the local authority, or abstract debates to identify shared values and visions. Find out what people care about or want to change in their local community, and use that as a starting point for discussion.

You may have gathered a good sense of this through your community engagement practices, or you may want to hold your first assembly as an invitation to the community to hear people’s concerns and priorities.

Simple online digital democracy tools like Your Priorities can be used to allow people to choose or suggest subjects for assemblies, as well as to continue community discussion and to help priortise ideas. Whenever you use digital tools you must always consider inclusivity issues around the digital divide and make steps to ensure those in the community not able to access information digitally are still able to take part in those conversations.

An assembly agenda could include:

Proposals

Decision Making

When a temperature check is used to decide between two or more options and there is no clear decision then the assembly will need to decide how to proceed. It may be a case of taking an actual counted vote, or returning the options to the breakout groups to find a solution that can accommodate the points raised or the differing wishes.

Promotion

The more actively engaged you are with your local community, the more engagement you will create. That said all promotion and engagement activities require time and energy. The following suggested means of promotion are, therefore, ordered in terms of capacity, so that you can try methods that fit in with your schedule.

Low Capacity

Medium Capacity

High Capacity

Remember, you will create a far more genuine connection to the local community by going to them than by expecting them to come to you.

Assembly Planning

This is a framework for organising an open public assembly. This is essentially a ‘best practice’ scenario and many assemblies will be created without this level of input or forward planning. Assemblies can often be convened as part of a talk, larger event, or meetings, in which case you can pick through the planning process detailed here and see which elements apply, or jump straight in using the ‘Quick Start Guide’.

Choose the venue
In-depth Plan with Timings

One Month To Go:

Think about back-up venues in case of any issues nearer the day, especially if it is being hosted outdoors.

Organise hosts and facilitators, along with others to take appropriate roles such as:

Create print media such as posters and flyers.

Think about advertising:

Sort any advertising with a long lead in time such as:

Two Weeks to Go:

One Week to Go:

Check in with all crew - Make sure you know who is responsible for:

One Day to Go:

One Hour to Go:

During the Assembly:

After the Assembly:

People’s Assemblies - a Quick Start guide!

This is the basic framework for creating and running a People’s Assembly. This ‘Quick Start Guide’ is essentially all you need to run an assembly. If you are running an assembly it is suggested that you read through the entire manual first, but if you are in an emergency democracy situation, you can just jump straight in here!

If you would like the process broken down into more detail, please use a script. We have versions for both online assemblies and in-person assemblies.

Hand Signals

Assemblies maintain inclusivity and ensure all voices are heard equally by using hand signals to facilitate the discussion. Using hand signals helps people to take it in turns to speak, and allows others to finish what they are saying without being spoken over or interrupted, as so often happens in daily conversation.

Point (or ‘I would like to speak’)

When someone in the group wants to say something, they should point their index finger up and wait for the facilitator to let them have their turn in speaking. It is vital that people do not talk over anyone else and wait for their turn. If someone, who has not yet said anything, puts their finger up to speak, whilst others have spoken a lot, then the facilitator should give that person priority over the 'stack' (the queue or order of speakers based on the order they raised their finger to speak).

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can type STACK in the chat or use the raised hand in the participants’ panel, or say ‘stack’ for their name to be stacked.

Wavy Hands (I Agree)

The 'wavy hands' signal of approval is used to show agreement or support for something someone has said. It instantly indicates how much consensus there is towards something and can highlight how popular an idea is. If everybody erupts into a forest of waving hands during a breakout session, for example, the note taker can see that this is one of the more popular points made and it will become one of the key bullet points fed back to the main meeting room.

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can use the ‘clapping hands’ icon under ‘more’ in the participants’ panel, or write ‘AGREE’ in the chat.

Clarification

If someone says something that is unclear, people can hold their hand in a ‘C’ shape as the 'clarification' signal. The facilitator will then pause the discussion giving the person who made the signal the opportunity to ask a question to clear up any confusion. This signal should be given priority above all others as it means that someone does not understand something and it may thus inhibit their ability to engage in the discussion.

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can write ‘Clarification’ in the chat, or unmute and say ‘Clarification and their name’.

Direct Point

If someone has directly relevant information to what is being said, then they can make the 'direct point' hand signal and the facilitator will let them provide that information immediately after the person speaking has finished. Think of the direct point hand signal as being like brackets, which are used to add critical information that a speaker is not aware of e.g. “the action has now been changed to Wednesday”. The direct point signal is not an excuse to jump the queue just to make a point. It is important that people do not abuse this signal as otherwise it can make all present lose trust in the process.

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can write Direct Point or DP in the chat, or unmute and say ‘Direct Point’ and their name.

Technical Point

If someone has information that is immediately relevant to the running of the meeting, they make a 'technical point' signal by making a ‘T’ shape with their hands. This is only to be used for concerns external to the discussion that need to be addressed immediately e.g. “We only have ten minutes left” or “I am the note taker and I need the loo so can someone else take over?” The facilitator should stop the discussion to address the technical point.

*Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can write Technical Point or TP in the chat, or unmute and say ‘Technical Point’ and their name.

Round Up

Facilitators need to ensure that no one speaks for more than necessary (two minutes is a suggested maximum amount of time as it encourages people to be concise). If someone has been speaking for two minutes (or whatever the set amount of time is), the facilitator makes the ‘round up’ hand signal by repeatedly making a circular motion with their hands (as if they a tracing a ball). This must be done sensitively, but firmly as it ensures that no one person dominates the meeting.

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can use the ‘time’ icon under ‘more’ in the participants panel.

Speak up

If someone is speaking too quietly or they cannot be heard, others can ask them to raise their voice by raising and lowering their hands with palms open and facing up.

Online consideration: If people do not have their video turned on, they can write ‘Speak Up’ in the chat, or unmute and say ‘speak up’ or use the ‘thumbs up’ icon in the participants panel. If using this second option you will need to explain to the whole assembly what the thumbs up icon means so they know to increase their volume if speaking.

Temperature check

Jiggle the fingers on the palms of both hands at a level that corresponds with feelings. If hands are pointed upwards and jiggled, this suggests support. If they are held horizontally, this suggests people are ambivalent, and if they are pointed downwards, then this suggests that people do not support something. A temperature check can be used to quickly check the feelings of the group.

Roles

Each assembly needs:

Each breakout group needs:

Structure

There are three main phases of people’s assembly, these are the input phase, the deliberation phase and the integration/feedback phase.

Input Phase

Introduction

“We value all voices equally in the assembly, as the aim is to hear the wisdom of the crowd gathered here and not to have the assembly dominated by individual voices or groups. We recognise that confident speakers are not always right and that those who are not confident speakers will often have the most useful ideas or opinions to put into the discussion. This is why we value all voices equally and we ask you to do the same. We do not tolerate any calling out, abuse or shaming and should conflicts arise in this way, there are conflict resolution tools you can use to resolve them. We welcome all people but not all behaviours.”

Input

The Topic

Testify

Deliberation Phase

Main Deliberation

Breakout Groups

Integration Phase

Feeding Back

Finishing Up

What Next?

After holding a community assembly, it is really important to think about what next? What will be done with the ideas and information discussed? This takes you to community organising. To learn about different ways to organise as a community, about the different tools in existence and about what others around the world have done, check out the Community Organising module.