KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Experimental College at SFSU

The following is a letter sent out by two students teaching a course in the SFSU Experimental College

Dear students/faculty/lecturers,

Over the past few semesters, we've seen classes disappear and class sizes increase beyond capacity. This is a problem that plagues both students and teachers, but we believe we have an alternative. The experimental college at SFSU allows groups of students to effectively teach themselves and each other curriculum for credit towards graduation. The college is designed to provide learning opportunities to fill in the gaps in the heavily stripped course catalog, as well as to provide aide to students who need access to classes that are usually impacted.

Currently, the experimental college is still setting up the infrastructure necessary to meet all its goals. This semester, we will focus on providing students with workshops to acclimate them to the idea of a self education. In the fall semester, we hope to provide a wide array of upper division and GE classes for students who were unable (or unwilling) to register for regular university courses.

We are, however, offering at least one course students can take for credit during the Spring '12 semester. The class will be a tour of social movements designed to push its students to critique their surroundings and promote activism. It is being offered through the political science department, sponsored by Kathy Emery and James Martel. Up to three units will be available for the class.

THE CLASS: Students will research and discuss social movements and the historical and social conditions that led to their necessity. Examples include the Southern Freedom movement, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, and the Earth Liberation Front. We will analyze the effectiveness of the movements using our established "11 Key Components for Effective Social Movements". Students taking the class for credit will be responsible for leading at least one class discussion, either alone or in a group. Grades will established by the students themselves on an honor system. Failing grades will only be given to students who registered but did not present, or to those who stopped attending/participating, with few exceptions. The first few weeks will be led by Will and I as a means of demonstration, then the reins of the class will be passed to its attendees. We will strive for a democratic environment. Our goals will be to heighten awareness and embody consciousness through research and experience.

Students: If you are interested in taking the class, or, if you would like to know how to offer your own class or workshop, reply to this email and information will be given.

Faculty/Lecturers: If you have students in excess on your first day of classes, we ask that you let them know about this alternative. It is important that the experimental college succeed so that students and teachers alike be alleviated of the burdens placed on them by the administration, cuts from the capital, and the overwhelming influence corporations have over public institutions of learning. We feel that, with your support, the success of the college will be inevitable.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our proposal. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions OR if you would like to meet with us to chat.

Sincerely,

Kelly Corwin, Will Nelson and facilitators of the Experimental College
Kelly: duckshirt@gmail.com, Will: willnelson272@gmail.com

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